Staff Review

A Short Break in Portugal: Pasteis, Pingados and Port


18 May 2017

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

Lisbon's friendly rival, Oporto is an unspoilt city at the mouth of the Douro River. This is where my tour through Portugal began. Oporto’s riverfront area is home to several port houses, many of which are magnificently covered in ornate blue tiles and offer tastings, local specialities and wine pairings. The Kirker Concierge can arrange full day trips to the Douro Valley including lunch, to make the most of the area. My recommendation would be to spend two or three nights at the hotel Infante de Sagres, (dating back to the early 1950's, tastefully combining old and new and located in a very up and coming part of the city), before travelling on to Lisbon. We chose to travel by train and 3 hours later (and 10 degrees warmer!) we arrived at the Four Seasons The Ritz. A plate of "pasteis de natas" and a glass of Ramos Pinto port wine provided a very warm welcome.

Lisbon is a city to become immersed in....drop down a couple of gears....wander along the Avenue Liberdade, stop for a ‘pingado’ (a short coffee with hot milk) and have a delicious seafood dinner in the trendy docks area. We dined at Bistrot 100 Maneiras, a wonderful local find in the Chiado district of the city. We will gladly recommend restaurants and make advance table reservations for our clients.

Our journey then took us to Cascais - just a 30 minute drive from Lisbon, with bright blue skies, cool Atlantic breezes and rugged sand dunes. A few nights at the Senhora da Guia (Kirker offers sea view rooms at no extra charge) would complement a Lisbon city break very well. Spend time relaxing in the spa, take a long stroll along the coastal boardwalk or cycle in to the town for the twice weekly food market. Cascais was a real high point for me – in season, it offers safe sheltered swimming and plenty of beach and sea-based activities for young families. The beaches are broad and sandy and often fairly quiet (even in high season), particularly if you drive just 15 minutes along the coast towards Guincho. Cascais and the surrounding coastline are also very flat, so perfect for gentle cycling and walking. If you happen to incorporate a weekend, I would highly recommend booking Sunday Brunch at the Grande Real Villa Italia. A perfect introduction to the local cuisine.

A few days on the Algarve rounded off our week in Portugal. The drive from Lisbon involves a straight-forward motorway and takes about 2 ½ hours. Alternatively a direct train service to Tunes will take the same amount of time. The Algarve offers outstanding value for money and numerous provisions for families, notably the Villa Vita Parc hotels; kids clubs, water sports, early family dining and private villa accommodation.

Portugal is a country of many contrasts and makes a perfect multi-centre holiday - we would be delighted to help tailor-make an itinerary.

Speak to an expert - 020 7593 2288

Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


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