The ideal time to visit Lisbon is either from March to May or September to end of October, the weather is still perfectly warm and there are fewer crowds than in summer. You can even squeeze in a few beach days. We are so ready for travel and site inspections are on our radar. Between the two of us, miles will be covered in an array of delightful destinations including: a splendid Italian Grande Tour and add a few side Journeys to explore areas missed on our global galavanting.
Lisbon, Portugal’s vibrant capital on the Tagus River, offers beautiful cityscapes, rich culture, and splendid food and wine. Experience the city as an insider during private touring with an expert local guide. Spend a few days to properly explore the historic Alfama district, the sophisticated Bairro Alto and Lapa districts and the riverside Belem district.
Wander around St. George’s Castle, the famed Mosteiro dos Jeronimos monastery, Belem Tower and other impressive monuments and understand the periods of Manueline and Moorish architecture. Peruse chic shops offering authentic Portuguese specialties such as azulejo tiles, embroidered linens, fine handmade leather gloves, Indo-Portuguese furniture, and explore the old shops which sell gold and silver jewelry in traditional patterns.
Nibble local food specialties, including the yummy aspasteis de nata custard tarts, bakeries featuring sweets are on almost every block! Tour all or a select few of the many museums including the National Tile Museum, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the Museum of Folk Art. You might enjoy interesting contemporary architecture at the Portugal Pavilion and MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology).
Site trips are in place for fall excursions! Exploring the cobbled streets, hopefully having gloves made at the teeny Glove shop Luvaria Ulisse on R. do Carmo 87 A, 1200-093 Lisboa. My gloves go with on every winter Journey, a Lisbon memory.
Divine dining at one of the World’s best 50 restaurants.We’ve booked dinner at Belcanto a legendary Lisbon establishment that opened its doors as a men’s club in 1958, chef José Avillez took Belcanto’s helm in 2012. Occupying a former convent in the Bairro Alto (Chiado), the Belcanto offers one of the country’s best dining experiences. José Avillez conjures up serious yet creative cuisine. Two Michelin Stars.
Hotel Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. This landmark hotel was built in 1959 by the Dictator Salazar to prove that Lisbon could do luxury as well as any other European capital. More than half a century later it is still setting the bar. Located in the heart of Lisbon, the historic Hotel wears the cultural heart and soul of Portugal on its sleeve. Inside, art-deco sensibilities mingle with an updated Louis XVI style, and a collection of important contemporary local artwork fills the halls. Outside, views of the city’s rolling hills and brightly tiled exteriors spread out before you. The best spa in Lisbon with an 18-meter lap pool as its centerpiece.
And after the beach escape, return for a night or two at Bario Alto Hotel – the hip fun walk about day and night. Visitors can wander the steep cobbled streets of bohemian Bairro Alto to ride the Bica Funicular, visit lavish São Roque Church and take in the views from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Many of the centuries-old houses in the neighborhood are decorated with vivid street art. After sundown, a diverse crowd fill the hip, quirky bars, while the evocative sound of Fado music is heard from traditional restaurants, it’s a hip scene!
Do include a memorable fado music performance at a local night club. If you have an interest, we can suggest a visit to the private Ricardo do Spirito Santo Silva Foundation, dedicated to the preservation and reproduction of traditional Portuguese design and decorative art.
Escape the lively city and transfer to the sunny coast for a leisurely few days, on the way, pass through the wine region of Azeitão, famous for its wine production and some of the best wine taverns in the country. The wine cellar of José Maria de Fonseca is over 200 years old. It is a family business, still run by the same family. The wine cellar is located on a beautiful estate whose centerpiece is the historic house. Once it was inhabited by the Fonseca family, today it is a museum where you can learn more about the history of the estate. Many bodegas line the country roads, pop in for a tasting and fill your bags full of rioja or port.
Just an hour away from Lisbon, arrive at the beach in Comporta. Sublme Hotel is nestled here on the coast. Calling a hotel property sublime sets up certain expectations: Sublime Comporta doesn’t disappoint, thanks to its sleepy pastoral setting nestled on a stunning 17-hectare estate, surrounded by undulating umbrella pines and cork trees, wild sand dunes, stunning rice fields and over 60km of pristine, white-sand beaches. We carry a big Journal all over the world for jotting down notes: observations after a stay: Like camp for grownups with four star tastes, travelers seeking rejuvenating treatments and private solitude. Sand dunes, quiet roads, coastal pines and a sprinkle of cork trees and rice paddies, the client demographic is a mix of families, singles and romantic couples. Chic and a little shaggy at the same time. Surrounded by natural pines and sand all the structures and grounds remind me of a more modern 70’s central California coastal retreat, with abundant natural woods and flora. Enchantment in the air at night, fire pits glowing, twinkle lights peeking from tree branches.
Sublime is a magical, unspoiled place. Décor is understated with a minimalist design – all glittering glass, white wood and modernist va-va-voom – and sublime Portuguese food.
We think these are the must sublime rooms and have confirmed! The Bio-Pool Suites are nine cabanas built overlooking one of Europe’s largest biological pools, inspired by the fishing port of Carrasqueira built by local fishermen. The Bio-Pool Suites include private terraces that allow guests a direct plunge into the freshwater.
With this accommodation, Sublime Comporta’s sustainability stance is deepened, as the water is solely treated with aquatic plants, no chemicals are used whatsoever. It is a true living ecosystem and as such, different species of plants and animals coexist in perfect harmony. During the summer, be prepared to listen to the sounds of nature including the symphony of the frog mating season. This is the perfect summer symphony!
Each suite is built based on the architectural style of the cabanas in the village of Comporta, inhabited by local farmers and fishermen. Sublime Comporta has honored the heritage and craftsmanship in the area by using materials such as wood and straw for the thatched roofs. All nine suites have a deck and star their own unique decoration. Each has a king bed, sitting area with a salamander and a large bathroom with a walk-in shower and a freestanding bathtub.
Bike around on hotel provided bikes. Bring your thirst: Herdade da Comporta is home to some excellent wineries. Enjoy Portugal’s culinary delights at Sem Porta, the main restaurant. For an absolutely unique spring and summer experience, dine in the middle of their organic experience garden at The Food Circle. Yet another option is Tasca da Comporta, a seasonal outdoor restaurant where you can enjoy the classic Portuguese petiscos.
In the middle of the Organic Garden, you will find the Food Circle – Sublime Comporta’s outdoor “farm-to-table” restaurant, inspired by the principles of permaculture. With a menu based on sustainable production and with fire playing a leading role in the cooking process, people can enjoy an unforgettable experience in direct contact with the chefs and the earth, dining under the stars and surrounded by the aromas of the garden.
Travel Recipe City and Coast or Coast & City- you choose, we advise!