Saturday, November 27

‘Out of a fairy tale’: the best cities and towns in Portugal, by readers | Holidays in Portugal


Winning tip: Tavira, Algarve

Even the most ruthless atheist cannot help but be impressed by the 37 churches of Tavira, the small town which, thanks to its location a bit inland, has prevented the overdevelopment of some Algarve resorts. And what could be more appropriate than staying in a converted convent? Pousada Convento Tavira – In the city center, from where the ferries to the island of Tavira leave for beach lovers? But it’s hard to get away from riverside restaurants and bars overlooking the famous Ponte Romana bridge.
pousadas.pt, doubles from € 123
Malcolm Matthew


SOUTH

Aljezur, Algarve

Aljezur, the city and the ruin of the Arab castle
The Moorish castle of Aljezur dominates the city. Photograph: Mikehoward 2 / Alamy

In October, you can smell wood smoke swirling and twirling in the fresh morning air over the whitewashed houses of Aljezur. The old town is a cascade of narrow, winding streets. They passed through a jumble of buildings: half fancy Airbnbs, half crooked cabins full of pumpkins and firewood. A Moorish castle, a ubiquitous feature in southern Portuguese cities, looms over their heads. Go there at sunset to watch the light fade over the Aljezur estuary. During the day, drive through the wildflower meadows to Arrifana Beach to surf and sunbathe.
Joseph Francis

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Tips for Guardian Travel Readers

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations on their trips. A selection of tips will be presented online and may be in print. To enter the latest contest, visit the Reader Tips Home Page

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Évora, Alentejo

View from the Miradoro do Jardim Diana, Evora.
View from Diana’s garden, Evora. Photograph: Jon Lovette / Alamy

Évora, a beautiful historic city, is a living museum with monuments from Roman times. The landscape is beautiful and it is surrounded by impressive villages with, I think, the best wine in the world and typical Alentejo cuisine. It has excellent restaurants and bars, as well as several museums and galleries. In summer, temperatures reach 40 ° C, but fortunately Évora has beautiful pools and several river beaches. There is also a university, founded in 1559; this is truly a cultural city.
John domingues

Elvas, Alentejo

The late medieval aqueduct of Amoreira, Elvas, Portalegre district, Portugal.  The aqueduct of Amoreira.  Aqueduto da Amoreira.  Built between 1498 and 1622. It is five miles long.  Elvas is a U
Amoreira Aqueduct, Elvas. Photograph: Ken Welsh / Alamy

Elvas is right next to the Spanish border and is full of historical significance for Portugal, as many battles have been fought between Portugal and Spain in the area. Sites like the city fortress, the castle, the aqueduct and the army museum were very interesting to me. The local cuisine is amazing and it is easy to get great food at a reasonable price. Accommodation is affordable even during the summer (£ 50- £ 70 per night with breakfast and outdoor pool), the place is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities and offers the possibility of a day trip to Spain , a few miles away.
Bruno

CENTRAL

Piodão, Serra do Açor

Piodao on the hillside with the houses in slate and slate
Photography: Luis Costa / Alamy

There is a small town nestled in the mountains of the Serra do Açor that looks like something out of a fairy tale. This town is called Piodão and it is one of the 12 classified as Aldeias Históricas de Portugal – Historic Villages of Portugal. Piódão has appeared in historical accounts since the 14th century and was probably used by medieval fugitives hiding in the wild Portuguese mountains. In fact, on a rainy day you must look from the other side of the mountain to see the town emerging from the fog. We went to Piodão on a rainy day and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We loved exploring all the quirky alleys made from shale rock and trying some of the boxed – milk cakes.
Laura Di Stefano

Monsanto, White Castle

Monsanto, Portugal
Photograph: Cro Magnon / Alamy

Monsanto is a mountain town with houses built on rock formations and a fabulous Hostal – posada – with a magnificent restaurant. It is an ancient and truly atmospheric town where local traditions are still played out in the streets, especially during religious festivals, and it is also a good field for walking. The eastern plains of Portugal stretch to the west and from the castle above the village, it seems that you have a view of the entire country. The cost of food and drink is low, even for Portugal, and the bars serve simple local dishes that are as impressive as anything found in more exclusive venues. A truly magical little town.
James david rattigan

Take, Santarem

The castle and the church of the Knights Templar, Tomar.
The castle and the church of the Knights Templar, Tomar. Photograph: Wayne Perry / Alamy

Tomar is truly a hidden gem, home to one of the most important Templar fortresses, which evolved into the Convent of Christ, now a Unesco world heritage site, as the extraordinary design of the chapel is unique in the world. . It is a pleasure to stroll through the quiet cobbled streets and alleys of the old town or sit in one of the bars in the main square with views of the fortifications on the hill above. While you’re there, drop into The little french for brunch or coffee and delicious pastries sitting on a quiet side street.
Gus MacLeod

Santa Comba Dão, Viseu, central Portugal

Santa Comba Dão is a beautiful small inland town that overlooks the Cris River where it joins the Dão, before the Dão joins the Mondego. The local granite buildings come with a beautifully shaped wooden walkway through the old town. The local township center used to provide a summer retreat for the wealthy. Now the local facilities of the bike path, the Dão Ecotrack, and the beautiful beach of Ribeira da Senhora on the Mondego river are available to everyone.
Diana

WEST

Aveiro

Traditional moliceiro boats with hand painted bows in Aveiro
Moliceiro boats with hand painted bows in Aveiro. Photography: Sergio Azenha / Alamy

After touring most of Portugal at the end of this summer, it was the picturesque Aveiro that stopped the most surprises. It was in this historic canal city, sometimes regarded as the “Portuguese Venice”, that we discovered art nouveau buildings, vast, unspoiled beaches lined with distinctively colored striped houses (originally cabins built by local fishermen), and a variety of options. to eat (try the traditional egg sweets soft eggs) including vegetarian / vegan, sometimes a rarity in other parts of the country. Like Venice, there is much to discover beyond gliding down the canals, in this case in a moliceiro, not a gondola.
Victoria Tall

NORTH

Guimaraes

People in the Plaza de Oliveira.
Oliveira Square, Guimarães. Photograph: Tasfoto / Alamy

Given its claim to be the “birthplace of Portugal”, it is strange that Guimarães is not on the usual tourist itinerary. A 55-minute train ride from Porto and a 10-minute walk take you to the old town, with elegant and understated buildings, quiet streets where people take their kitchen chairs to the sidewalk to chat, royal monasteries, palaces and the general . Relaxed atmosphere of a small Portuguese town that doesn’t flaunt its treasures. A gondola provides an easy route up Penha Hill, a large area of ​​forest and giant rocks, with a remarkable mid-20th century church that draws crowds on Catholic holidays and festivals. From here, the views of the northern plains are spectacular.
Barbara forbes


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