No matter how long or short your trip might be, you will always be under the impression that you can’t experience it all.
I can relate to that, believe me! You want to taste every dish, absorb every sound and flavor around you, and no matter how many hours you spend people watching at that cozy cafe everyone told you about, there aren’t enough days to soak it all in.
In a nutshell, that’s Portugal. Vibrant, eclectic, rich, with mesmerizing sunsets, outstanding wine and a heritage that is so entangled with different influences that we can’t tell where one starts and the other ends.
Can you have it all?
Well, you must certainly can give it a shot of embracing it all at one of these design hotels in Portugal for cultural tourists. They stand out for their unique style but without compromising your encounter with the true belle of the ball – the destination.
1. Torre de Palma Wine Hotel (Monforte, Alentejo)
The unique landscape and the vast cultural heritage of Alentejo transports you to a new dimension in time and space. Everything is languishing in Alentejo and I don’t mean it in a negative way.
On the contrary.
Alentejo forces you to take things slow, to enjoy the passage of time, and it lures you in with locally produced full-bodied red wine and a selection of pungent cheeses that desire no other companion than a thick slice of pão Alentejano (regional bread).
Yes, life is that simple.
And Alentejo is so diverse that you can choose a popular place like Évora or venture into discovering a more relaxed side of your personality in a place like Monforte.
At the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel in Monforte*, a restored 14th Century farmhouse, you’ll be surrounded by what Alentejo does best – wine and olives. The hand-picked vintage furniture, wood textures, and whitewashed walls set the vintage tone that gives this 18-room hotel its homey feel.
Top Things to do in Monforte
- Travel back to the Ancient Roman times at the Villa Lusitano-Romana de Torre de Palma;
- Meander through the ruins of an old Medieval fortress at Castelo de Monforte;
- Follow the locals’ cuisine recommendations and savor the mouth-watering migas with fried spare ribs, and pair the finest local wine with the best cheese locally produced at Monforqueijo;
- Get close to the magnificent birds of prey, falcons, eagles, and owls, at the Falcoaria Alter-Real.
2. Furnas Boutique Hotel, Thermal and Spa (São Miguel, Azores)
The Azores islands are the hot destination of 2017 and it’s not hard to see why. Nine islands that are so diverse that they appeal to all kinds of travelers and budgets, as long as you keep putting this European wonder destination on the map.
I’ve mentioned before that visiting Sao Miguel is a good start to ease into the isolated islander lifestyle, just in case you are not completely ready for an offbeat destination.
The largest island in the Portuguese archipelago is a great first introduction to the quiet contemplation of nature that visitors rave about. The Furnas Boutique Hotel Thermal and Spa*, highly praised by tourists and locals, is the most precious example of the island’s way of life, located in one of the most famous areas of Sao Miguel.
Top Things to do in São Miguel Island
- Visit the oldest tea plantation in Europe, Gorreana;
- Experience what slow cooking is really like with the famous cozido das Furnas;
- Explore nature’s magic touch at the Sete Cidades and Fogo lagoons;
- Go whale watching with one of the certified responsible tour companies in the island.
3. Memmo Alfama (Lisbon)
Loved by tourists, Alfama is one of the most famous neighborhoods of Lisbon. Winding cobblestone streets, secret fountains, and endless possibilities of an urban adventure are just some of the details that make Alfama one of the must-see places in the city.
There is no best way to get to know it than by getting yourself lost on purpose. You’ll unlikely lose your North since the city of seven hills has a subtle way of getting you back on track.
The Memmo Alfama*, right at the heart of the neighborhood, blends the modern comfort and unique style with the sturdy bones of a 19th Century building. As the area that surrounds it, this hotel has a strong personality with a long-lasting impression without the pretentiousness.
Top Things to do in Lisbon
- Catch a live Fado music show in one of the many casas de Fado in Alfama;
- Take a stroll by the river Tejo channeling the fearless spirit of the sailors of the Age of Discoveries in Belém;
- Discover Portuguese art in one of the top five museums in the city;
- Explore Lisbon from the top at one of these top 10 viewpoints.
4. Hotel Teatro (Porto)
If you’ve visited Porto before or know someone who has, you must know by now that this city by the Douro river makes a great first impression. If cities were represented as people, Porto would be the confident one, very sure of his History, and proud of his legacy.
Porto has the weight of the centuries-long heritage and a tendency to breed artists and other creative minds. The Hotel Teatro*, located on the site of the 1859 Teatro Baquet, pays tribute to the city’s cultural heritage with a theater-themed decor that’s all opulence, drama, and fanfare. “Set the scene” comes to mind as the appropriate theatrical lingo to be used here.
Top Things to do in Porto
- Uncover the secret flavors of Porto’s famous sandwich, the Francesinha;
- Stroll by the river Douro and cross the D. Luis bridge to admire Porto’s Ribeira from Vila Nova de Gaia;
- Become acquainted with Port wine in one of the many tours available;
- Visit some of the unique must-see places in the city, from Livraria Lello to Mercado do Bolhão.
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