Like any Harry Potter fan, if you’re in Porto, you have to visit Livraria Lello. J.K. Rowling lived in Porto teaching English from 1991 to 1993 and was a frequent customer and many say it was a direct inspiration for the books (which when you see below if evident). Livraria Lello is not only one of the world’s oldest bookstores (opened in 1906), but frequently ranks as one of the most beautiful.
Located just outside of Ponta Delgada is the A. Arruda Pineapple Plantation which you’re able to visit for free. You’re able to peak inside the greenhouses and see the different stages of the pineapple growth. Inside the gift shop we were also able to sample pineapple liquor and buy a few pineapples to take back with us. Yum!
Sunday we headed to the neighborhood of Alcântara to check out the LXFactory, a creative island in a factory setting with cool shops, restaurants, and galleries. Because it was Sunday, we were also able to see the weekly flea market. We loved walking around the photogenic LXFactory and enjoying all of the art.
One the biggest attractions in Lisbon is the district of Belém, situated west of the city center. We were staying in Alfama, and although we like to walk every where, Belém is more than hour away. So we took an Uber! There is not so much to do in Belém – it’s more things to see, so you only need to plan in a half day.
After exploring Quinta da Regaleira and having sweets at Piriquita, we visited the crown jewel of Sintra – the Pena Palace. For our trip to Sintra I was most looking forward to visiting the beauitful palace at the top of the Sintra Mountains in Pena Park. Just a tip – wear sneakers to Sintra! I had no idea that to get to the palace you literally need to hike uphill and regretted my sandals! But it was worth it (even though super crowded)!
If you have enough time while in Lisbon, the most popular day trip is to the resort town of Sintra at the foot of the Sintra Mountains – only 25 minutes by train. The city is beautiful and filled with many historical palaces and castles (and also a ton of tourists!). Just google Sintra and you’ll see all of the picturesque sites and understand why it’s such a popular destination!
Sometimes things just work out. While planning for our trip to Portugal, it can get overwhelming try to decide on where to stay in each city. For Lisbon I had debated between Alfama – the eastern part of the city – or a central neighborhood like Chiado or Baixa. Luckily in the end I chose Alfama! What a romantic, beautiful neighborhood!
One of the great things about London is that the museums are free to the public (althought you do have to pay to enter any special exhibitions). We had a few hours to kill before our train, so we headed to The National Gallery, “the story of European art, masterpiece by masterpiece”.
Koen and I love visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum. The permanent collection is free to explore and there are always very interesting exhibits throughout the year that you can pay to explore. To be honest, we originally went to the V&A to visit Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, but it was sold out for three straight weeks! Fashioned by from Nature seemed interesting to me because I studied textiles and work in fashion. Luckily Koen was interested as well, so we decided to buy tickets for this exhibit instead. l.ucky us! If you’re in London any time between now and January 27th, 2019, I recommend you check it out!