veen on the road: a week in portugal with ellie + ben.

when ellie and i caught up in new york last october, we floated the idea of coordinating a trip somewhere together for the spring. we each tossed around a few places until we settled on portugal, a country neither of us had been to but were very interested in seeing. we invited ben, ellie’s boyfriend, along on the journey, and we spent 8 days journeying around portugal and having a blast. below are some highlights from the trip.

lisbon.

after a cancelled flight on ellie and ben’s part and an all-day sleep on mine, we were all finally reunited in lisbon. we spent our one full day and two nights walking all over the city, stopping when we wanted some food or drink or when we found a shop that looked interesting. we stuffed our faces with burgers and seafood, gulped down lots of red wine, and got in a good workout with all those hills and steps. we rode tram no 28 from one end of the city to the other, marveling at the beautiful tiles and the colorful old homes and relishing the spring weather.

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the view from our flat. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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queueing for the tram. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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such tourists. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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friendly window boxes. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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major tile envy. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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more tile envy. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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making friends. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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pretty trees and all the steps. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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colorful lisboa. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.
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all the tiles. lisbon, portugal. march 2018.

sintra.

our journey to sintra got off to a slow start after some issues with our rental car, but once we got that sorted we had a great time. our guest house was lovely and was run by one of the nicest women i’ve ever met, and it was such a peaceful place to read and relax. the next morning we took patricia’s advice and ventured over to the quinta de regaleira palace and spent three hours wandering through the gardens, climbing to the tops of towers, exploring underground tunnels and walkways, and oohing and aahing at the greenhouse and the fountains and the views.

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watchtowers. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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stepping up and up and up. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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pretty doors, bad graffiti. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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wandering along. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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i’m a sucker for wells. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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hidden waterfall. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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portal of the guardians. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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looking out over the town. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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pretty tiles. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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quinta de regaleira palace. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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loved this greenhouse. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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the greenhouse to end all greenhouses. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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love these two. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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wandering the town. sintra, portugal. march 2018.
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our home for the evening. sintra, portugal. march 2018.

along the coast.

one of the best decisions we made for our journey was to rent a car. it allowed us to move on our own schedule, and it meant we could make pit stops wherever we wished along the way. as we were leaving sintra, ben found a lovely cafe about 30 minutes away nestled high up on a cliff overlooking the ocean; it was a no-brainer that we would head there for lunch. after we finished our meal, we headed down to the beach to walk on the sand and enjoy the ocean breeze. it was so nice to be able to change plans on the fly and be able to take 45 minutes to enjoy a nice day and some sand between our toes.

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lunch with a view. janis, portugal. march 2018.
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again with the tiles. janis, portugal. march 2018.
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beach strolls are the best. guincho beach, portugal. march 2018.
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with my bear. guincho beach, portugal. march 2018.

porto.

porto was maybe my favorite spot that we visited. it was very windy and rained for a good portion of our time in the city, but i loved the feel as we wandered our way from one end to the other. it is almost as hilly as lisbon, has some lovely palaces and cathedrals and gardens, and is very laidback and relaxed. when rain threatened we holed up in a cafe for food and wine, and when the sun emerged so did we. before we left we walked across the bridge to see the city from afar, and it was lovely and colorful and vibrant. i could easily have spent the entire week wandering through porto.

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our lovely street. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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i loved the colors and the balconies and the tiles. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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views from the sé cathedral. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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porto streets. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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another beautiful church. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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steak-and-shake mural [yes, you read that correctly]. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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porto views. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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more tiles. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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enjoying the gardens and the views. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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palacio da bolsa interior. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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and again. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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looking across the river. porto, portugal. march 2018.
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views from the bridge. porto, portugal. march 2018.

peniche.

we had an extra night to play around with between porto and getting back to lisbon, so ellie booked us in to stay outside peniche, a town along the coast a little over an hour outside lisbon. it’s a small, sleepy surf town that appeared to attract mostly local visitors, but it has a lovely fort, some cliffs to explore, and a beach that was great for walking. we explored a bit, but we also just hung out at a beachside restaurant and chatted and ate and read and enjoyed the great weather. it was the perfect way to wrap up our holiday and spend some nice quality time with one another before we parted.

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i’m such a sucker for lighthouses. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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the view from the fort. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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i’m also a sucker for forts. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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a windy beach walk. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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portugal sunsets are pretty nice. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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strolling through the fields. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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tiny ben. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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favorite travel companions. peniche, portugal. march 2018.
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the grounds of our guesthouse. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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wandering on cliffs. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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kind of made me feel like i was in an indiana jones movie. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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pretty views. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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views of the town. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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bear wandering. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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maybe my favorite. peniche, portugal. april 2018.
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getting her toes wet. peniche, portugal. april 2018.

as you can see, we had a great time. it was the perfect combination of sightseeing and relaxation, which was exactly what i was looking for. sharing it with ellie and ben was such fun, and i am already looking forward to our next adventure.

have you ever been to portugal? what was your favorite place?

xx

14 thoughts on “veen on the road: a week in portugal with ellie + ben.

  1. blight83 says:

    Hey Veen – was waiting to see how your trip went along, clearly shows you guys had a great time… nice pictures and looks like time well spent….

    I (we) hope to come along with you for one of these trips soon, sooner or soonest :)- Cheers !

    Like

  2. vikramrangaswami1204 says:

    Lighthouses and Beaches and Forts, Oh My! Hahaha. You are my Hero Veen. Congrats on checking one off the list of the “Top 18 Places to Visit.” Hopefully, I can join on one of the next ones. I think Ole Blue Eyes, Frank “Sintra” is my favorite spot you visited, mostly because of the genius word play on my part. You know what I’m sayin’.

    Like

  3. Tim Blight says:

    Sintra looks wonderful, and I’ve been reading so much about Portugal lately that I really want to go there! Glad you had a great time, and thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

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