I noticed a lot of interest in travel to Portugal a few years ago. I had been myself around 20 years ago but only as an ending to a trip to Spain. I had done a lot of research for my client’s trips and was eager to travel there myself. Portugal is a country with very diverse scenery and climate. We started our trip by flying into Lisbon. Our intent was to rent a car and drive 3 hours to Porto to begin our adventure. One can take very short flight from Lisbon to Porto but I figured that we needed a car eventually and flying was around the same amount of time as driving. Looking back I really should have considered flying to Porto. We arrived in Lisbon to see a couple thousand people waiting for immigration and passport control After 14 hours travel time, jet lagged and hungry that is the last thing you want to see. After 2 ½ hours in the line we finally made it to the car rental which was unorganized and crowded as well. 3 ½ hours after we landed we were on the road for our 3 hour drive. If we had connected in Lisbon we could have easily gone through the short line for connecting flights, been on the plane within an hour and in Porto in another hour. Lessons learned! Apparently there has been a boom in travel to Portugal and immigration told us that since everyone had put off summer travel to Portugal, everyone was going now.
The drive to Porto was very easy. Road signs in Portugal are in English as well as Portuguese. We were rewarded for our difficult time traveling to Porto by this beautiful city. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, which I highly recommend because of it’s wonderful location to the old city, beautiful rooms, amazing service and beautiful historical building. We explored a bit that evening, finding an excellent seafood restaurant. The next day we took a walking tour of the city which included a Douro River cruise. This was a fun way to get to know Porto and the scenery along the river. The city itself is a exquisite city with historic, amazing architecture. One thing you notice is the colorful blue tiles on the buildings. There was a great street market along the river and we enjoyed browsing the city after our tour. We had wonderful Portuguese food that evening which consist mainly of seafood since Porto is a fishing port. Get ready to have the whole fish or whole prawn ready to dissect, but once you finish it’s well worth it for the freshest seafood you may ever have.