Portugal

Algarve, Portugal – Sun and Sea

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Algarve, Portugal – Sun and Sea

Portugal’s southern coast, known as the Algarve, is famous for its 100 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and 300 days a year of sunshine. It has long drawn Europeans, and it’s true that some of the coastal development is dense and unattractive. Yet the region remains mostly unspoiled, and especially in the western Algarve you find quiet towns and villages, dramatic cliffs and rock formations, beautiful coves and grottos, intimate beaches. I took an early bus from Seville to Lagos, the westernmost of the coastal towns. I had bought a ticket on a “directo” bus, which I...

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Pestana Palace Hotel Lisbon

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Pestana Palace Hotel Lisbon

At the mouth of the Tagus River, about 6 kilometers from the center of Lisbon, is the historic neighborhood of Belem. Belem is characterized by many distinctive buildings and landmarks, including the Jeronimos Monastery built in 1459, and the Tower of Belem. Also found here is a modern construction, an arts complex, the Centro Cultural de Belem, and the Belem Palace, the official residence of the Portuguese President. The presence of so many beautiful buildings is due to the fact that Belem suffered the least destruction in the great Lisbon earthquake and tsunami of 1755. So the royal...

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Old Belem to Seaside Sesimbra

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Old Belem to Seaside Sesimbra

Our tour of Azeitao and Arrabida began with the arrival of our guide, Vitor Martins in his midnight blue Mercedes. Lisbon is a welcoming city, but the personable Vitor, who speaks four languages and is an expert driver, takes you to the next level. He knows Lisbon, its history, its neighborhoods and its surroundings. Vitor suggested an optional first stop at Lisbon’s most renown¬†coffee house, ‘Pasteis de Belem‘ — known for their delicious custard tartlets sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. We agreed, of course. This establishment has been in continuous operation and...

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