10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 5.Parque Natural do Alvao

Sometimes its good to get away for a while from the beautiful churches,  bridges, streets and vineyards.   This park isn’t too far off the beaten track and will definitely clear the head.   There are plenty of hiking trails but its rugged terrain is also lovely just for a drive.   There are a few small villages […]

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10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 4.Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Cóa

If prehistory is your thing then you will want to visit the Coa Valley.   In the early 1990’s,  engravings were discovered when the area was being surveyed for a dam.   Thanks to national and international pressure,  plans for the dam were shelved and archaeologists moved in.   To date,  thousands of engravings have been found at […]

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10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 3.Lamego

Here’s another gorgeous town that is perfect for a short visit. Most people come for stairway but there’s also a nice old centre and impressive cathedral. Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios The church is lovely but the approaching staircase is the real star of the show. With 686 steps, its a bit of a […]

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10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 2.Palácio de Mateus

Yes – this IS the place on the wine bottle.   No – its NOT where they produce, or ever produced,  the famous rosé wine.   In the 1940’s,   the company developing this new wine needed a marketing ploy and approached the owners of the Mateus estate for the name and image.   The story goes that they […]

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Vignettes from a Lifetime of Travel

M is for Matinee Yesterday,  I went to a Wednesday matinee in London.   Not exactly an earth shattering announcement I know but I went with 3 pals as a day trip from Dublin.   It had never occurred to us before but was easily done:  Ryanair €44 return to Gatwick –  top up the Oyster cards […]

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10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 1.Amarante

You could spend a lovely day here,  wandering along by the river and through the old village but for most (including tour buses because its on the day tour circuit)  its all about the bridge,  the church and then coffee or lunch before moving on.   Ponte de Sao Goncalo The bridge IS impressive.   Its […]

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Douro Valley – 10 Things to Observe in the Landscape

The River Douro rises in Spain and flows from almost 900kms across through Portugal before reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Porto.  The UNESCO listed Douro Valley refers to the Portuguese stretch of the river and is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world.   It is best admired from the river itself but […]

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