Lisbon’s popularity has soared in recent years, but within an hour’s drive of Portugal’s capital city, lots of quiet towns and interesting regions that are still somewhat off-the-beaten path await.
Santarém is a city within the fertile wetland region of the Tagus River valley, known for farming, cattle breeding and bullfighting. Northeast of Lisbon, the city lies an hour from Lisbon’s center. The city was a highly developed region during the Middle Ages, evidence of which is still visible today in its monuments, key features in the history of Portuguese art.
Check out Portas do Sol Gardens, the citadel of the old castle which D. Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, captured from the Moors in a surprise attack during the night in 1147. The UrbiScallabis Visitor’s Center is also nearby, where a visitor can obtain maps and information about the city.
The Setúbal Peninsula is also just an easy, one-hour drive south of Lisbon. The peninsula offers great scenery, beaches and wineries, and the port city of Setubal is a wonderful, non-touristy place to visit with great seafood. Cross the 25 de Abril Bridge toward Sesimbra, then take the road to Cabo Espichel, located at the end of the peninsula. On reaching the headland, stop at the isolated Shrine of Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape). With its extraordinary views of the sea and the long Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica you see to the right, you will feel Lisbon is a million miles away. For wineries, you can’t go wrong at José Maria de Fonseca, Quinta do Alcube and Bacalhoa Vinhos de Portugal.
Just 50 minutes northwest of Lisbon, along the Atlantic coast, is the sun-splashed town of Ericeira. Once a small fishing village, the town features a nice mix of traditional stone homes, modern, white residential towers and a nice selection of small restaurants. Fishing is still an important local industry here, as the town sits along most of Portugal’s Atlantic coastline. Stop for lunch at Ti Matilde Restaurante, which lies at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean and the surfers always gathered on the beach below. During the past 10 years, Ericeira has gained a reputation as a surfing mecca, as well as for its grilled fish and especially lobsters, raised in local sea farms.
The best food tours go beyond reliving a newly arrived traveler of having to figure out which restaurant or bar to hit first. They also provide context in explaining how a destination’s crops and cuisine tie in with a place’s historical events and different populations. During a vacation in Iceland, 20-year veteran tour guide and proud Madeira native Jaqueline Freitas was reminded of this when she put herself in the hands of a savvy Reykjavik guide leading a street food tour.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
Wilderness Reserve, an 8,000-acre estate of historic and charming properties, woodlands and lakes, invites visitors to its newly launched YOXMAN, a three-day, Michelin-starred dining experience. Four United Kingdom chefs come together to prepare an array of different cuisines throughout the weekend, and guests are treated to plenty of entertainment throughout the experience.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts adds to its growing collection with Rosewood Hotel Bauer, slated to open in Venice in 2025. Led by Venice-based architect Alberto Torsello and interior design group BAR Studio, the property will lie in the city’s historic San Marco district.
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PONANT recently announced a new collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys for a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. Led by two Smithsonian Journeys experts, such as an art historian, solar astrophysicist or international relations expert, the 21 itineraries seek to deepen travelers’ immersion and knowledge of different destinations.
Savoy Signature Hotel Group continues to generate a buzz in international hospitality about the way its diverse portfolio shapes Madeira’s future as a destination; the brand keeps existing fans (particularly the traditional group of older British and German visitors) interested while drawing younger, more active travelers beyond the confines of Europe. The Savoy Palace, opened in 2019, took on the “legacy” mantle of a predecessor (the former Savoy Hotel) that stood on the same site, and then reopened with a lot of enthusiasm after the height of the pandemic passed.
Acqualina Resort & Residences, located in Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach, invites guests to enjoy its new elevated pool experience at the adult pool on the property’s north side. Surrounded by palm trees and greenery, the space welcomes guests 18 years and older to indulge in its newest amenities and features.