Portugal Photo Tour

This collection of photos were mainly taken during a 2 week trip around Portugal in 2006 armed with my, then new, Canon 5D. We did a big loop starting in Lisbon and zooming up to Porto and back down the long way through many towns and cities including Coimbra, Lamego, Sintra and Tomar.

I had lived in Portugal for 4 years at the end of the 1990s but for some reason I cannot now comprehend I had managed to take about 20 photo and most of those were of people?! Also, I had rarely strayed inland so this journey covers a host of new spots as well as my old favourites.

Sintra

Sintra's Town hall (Camara Municipal)
Sintra's Town hall (Camara Municipal) | Source

I thought I'd start with Sintra as this is my favourite spot in all of Portugal. The photo above is the town's Neo-Manueline town hall. The styling reflects the eclectic, fairy-tale style architecture that can be seen all over the old town.

The Pena Palace - Sintra
The Pena Palace - Sintra | Source

Sintra's fairy tale Pena Palace is straight out of a Disney story. Perched on the very top of the high hill that overlooks Sintra the views from the palace are spectacular. The surroundings are equally wonderful with assorted grottoes, follies and formal gardens dotted around the forest that covers the hillside.

The palace is an extravagant mix of Romantic, Manueline and Moorish styles and is built on the site of a 16th century Hieronymite monastery. It was built in the late 19th century by the Prince Ferdinand de Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for his wife, Queen Maria II. I hope she was sutiably charmed (and didn't ask how much it cost!)

Moorish Castle - Sintra
Moorish Castle - Sintra | Source

The other castle in Sintra is the Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros). Situated on the hilltop near the Pena Palace, the castle enjoys equally commanding views. The original Moor's castle dates back to the 8th century but most of what you see today is in fact another of the spendthrift King Constort Ferdinand de Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's grand follies.

Ericeira

Typical street in the fishing village of Ericeira
Typical street in the fishing village of Ericeira | Source

Located around 45 minutes drive north of Lisbon is the fishing village of Ericeira. At its heart is a jumble of whitewashed cottages lining cobbled streets all leading to the harbour. Located on the stormy Atlantic coast the fishermen here must be a hardy bunch.

In latter years the village has expanded rapidly with many new apartment blocks being built to accommodate weekenders from Lisbon. The main draw of the village is its excellent beaches, some of which provide world class surf.

Tomar

Tomar town square
Tomar town square | Source

The charming town of Tomar is located just over 100 Km north of Lisbon. It is a very pretty town with an affluent feel to it. The photograph above is of the town's main square with its distinctive Church of Saint John the Baptist and statue of Gualdim Pais, the town's founder.

What you cannot see above is the castle and UNESCO listed Convento do Cristo that dominate the town from their hilltop postition.

Cloister of D. João III
Cloister of D. João III | Source

The Convento de Cristo in Tomar is a vast building adjoining the castle. Much of it is open to the public including the beautiful cloisters. Above is the Claustro de D. João III, probably the finest in the monastery. Built in 1591 the cloister was designed by Italian architect Filippo Terzi in the Mannerist style. Design details aside this is a beautiful, peaceful place.

The Round Chapel - Convento de Cristo - Tomar
The Round Chapel - Convento de Cristo - Tomar | Source

The sumptuously ornate Charola Rotunda (Round Chapel) in the Convento de Cristo has to be seen to be believed. Dating back to the 12th century this chapel in particular has strong links with the Knights Templar. With features like this it is not hard to imagine why the convent has UNESCO World Heritage site status.

Lisbon

The downtown Baixa district of Lisbon
The downtown Baixa district of Lisbon | Source

Back to Lisbon. Looking at the smart, regular downtown buildings in Lisbon it is hard to imagine the higgledy-piggledy winding crowded streets of the Alfama and Bairro Alto on either side. Of course, much of this is due to the rebuilding that occurred following the devastating 1755 earthquake. You can make out some of the ruins of the Convento do Carmo, one of the buildings ruined on that fateful Sunday morning.

Just out of shot is the Elevador de Santa Justa, an elevator taking shoppers from the Baixa to the Praca do Carmo above.

Statue of Dom João I in Praca de Figueira
Statue of Dom João I in Praca de Figueira | Source

The statue of Dom João I in Lisbon's central Praca de Figueira is overlooked by the Castelo do São Jorge. João was the 10th king of Portugal and in the country he was known as 'João the Good', outside he was often referred to as 'John the Bastard'!

Ministerio de Justicia, Lisboa
Ministerio de Justicia, Lisboa | Source

Down by the waterside Praca de Comercio is the Ministerio de Justicia building with this great corridor of arches.

Porto

View across the Douro to Porto
View across the Douro to Porto | Source

Set on the northern bank of the River Douro as it makes its final meander to the Atlantic Ocean is Portugal's second city. Porto's historic city centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and spending any time there should male it clear why. The city has an olde-worlde feel to it. It's not just the historic buildings, the whole city oozes history. This is however contrasted with bursts of ultra-modernism such as the Casa da Musica and Serralves Museum.

One of Porto's defining features is its array of bridges. In the photo above is the Ponte Dom Luis I, Porto's best known bridge. It leads from the Port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia to Porto's bar and restaurant district, the Ribeira.

The Ribeira, Porto
The Ribeira, Porto | Source

The Ribeira is a great place to spend some time day or night, eating or drinking. I have some great memories of nights sipping beer around the 'Cube' and then heading between bars and clubs around the Ribeira.

The Majestic Cafe in Porto
The Majestic Cafe in Porto | Source

The Majestic Cafe is a fine example of Belle Epoque design and harks back to the town's heyday in the early 1920s. It is located on the busy shopping street of Rua de Santa Catarina in the heart of the city. The interior is in keeping with the wonderful facade and is well worth a visit.

Porto cafes
Porto cafes | Source

I found this little row of cafes particularly fetching. They are located a minute or two out of the city centre in the Jardim da Cordoaria which nestles between the imposing churches of Clerigos and Carmo.

Igreja do Carmo - Porto
Igreja do Carmo - Porto | Source

This is the view across to the Igreja do Carmo from Praca de Lisboa in Porto. This large Baroque / Rococo church is in fact two churches; the Igreja dos Carmelitas and the Igreja do Carmo. What is strange is the two a separated by a 1 metre wide house!

The blue and white tiles on the side of the church are an outstanding example of azulejos. The interiors of the churches are equally well adorned.

Amarante

River Tamega at Amarante
River Tamega at Amarante | Source

Some miles inland and up the River Douro is the town of Amarante. The name is apparently derived from the Portuguese word for love, 'Amar' and it is an attractive little town. Situated on the river Tamega one of the town's main features is this bridge which in 1809 was the scene of a famous battle between French and Portuguese armies.

Across the bridge is the church of São Gonçalo. The saint's local claim to fame is the Festas de São Gonçalo (festival) where the town's bakers sell phallic shaped cakes!

Vila Real

Vila Real square
Vila Real square | Source

Vila Real is about as far inland as I ventured in Portugal. To some extent you can tell how far inland you have gone by how much people stare at you! Vila Real is an attractive town with some fine buildings such as the 15th century cathedral and town hall. What I liked about the town is if you walk 5 minutes out of the town centre in the right direction the town just stops with valleys running away beneath.

Lamego

Fountain in front of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios
Fountain in front of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios

Lamego is around 60Km inland of Porto. The town is dominated by the Santuário Nossa Senhora dos Remédios which consists of an 18th century church set at the top of 14 terraces with 611 steps leading to it. From here you can look out over the whole town below. There are also plenty of things to explore in the surrounding woodlands and at some of the stages on the ascent to the church.

Lamego street
Lamego street | Source

Lamego also has a small 12th century castle to which the streets of the inner town all lead. This is one of those streets and it leads to the Porta do Sol, a gateway through which the walled part of the town can be accessed.

Coimbra

Coimbra University
Coimbra University | Source

Coimbra is home to Portugal's most prestigious and oldest university. The Portuguese equivalent of Oxford / Cambridge or Havard / Yale, all rolled into one! This photo is the old part of the university. It was opened in 1290 making it the second oldest in the world and is steeped in tradition. There is a strong link with the traditional fado music, with groups of cape wearing students (tuna acedemicas) making impromptu performances on the streets at night. Other traditions include the Festa das Latas at the beginning of the academic year and the 'burning of the ribbons' at the end of one's academic career.

The old university is also home to the Dom Joao V library with its stunningly ornate baroque interior.

Igreja Santa Cruz, Coimbra
Igreja Santa Cruz, Coimbra | Source

Yet another of Portugal's Manueline extravagances. This one is the entrance to Coimbra's Santa Cruz church. The 12th century church contains the tombs of two of Portugal's earliest kings, Afonso I and his son Sancho I

Coimbra city centre
Coimbra city centre | Source

Coimbra is a small but attractive city and has many examples of interesting architecture such as these buildings on the town's main shopping street which seem to blend from grand to back street in the blink of an eye.

Sagres

Sagres Headland from the air
Sagres Headland from the air | Source

This photo dates back to a previous trip to Portugal. It is of the point in Sagres which as far as Portugal is concerned is the edge of the civilised world. This stretch of land is intimately associated with Henry the Navigator and was allegedly home to his maritime college.

Sagres is at the very western tip of the Algarve and has until recently escaped the rampant advances of tourism. This stretch of coast faces the full force of the Atlantic Ocean and accompanying winds so is less favoured with the package holiday trade.

The Azores

Lagoa do Fogo - Sao Miguel - Azores
Lagoa do Fogo - Sao Miguel - Azores | Source

This last photograph was taken by a friend of mine, I myself have never had the fortune of visting the Atlantic islands of the Azores. The photo is of the spectacular Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire), a volcanic crater on Sao Miguel island.

I hope you have enjoyed this random, yet geographically diverse collection of photos of Portugal. I have to admit I enjoyed taking every single one of them and am looking forward to the day I can get back over there and finish the job!

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38 comments

Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

Beautiful photos Chris - I am particularly taken with Sintra. I tend to stay further up the coast with family, but would love to go further south. I've put it on my (long) travel list.

Can I put a link to this hub from my blog?

Voted up, shared etc.


Chaval profile image

Chaval 4 years ago from UK

I've travelled to a lot of the places here, and your pictures are really clear and evocative. Always had an ambition to buy a Sintra quinta, but last time I checked the prices, I realised it was likely to remain a fantasy. The beaches of the western Algarve are also fantastic, such a contrast to the developed stretch of coast.


surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 4 years ago from Cornwall UK Author

Thanks Judi. Sintra is great - full of faded grandeur. It's also a great drive down to Lisbon along the coast from here. I used to live the other side of Sintra and work in Lisbon. Happy days!

And yes, of course you can put a link to it. Please do!


surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 4 years ago from Cornwall UK Author

Hi Chaval. Thanks - it's a great country for touring. Just the right size.

Last time I was in Sintra I asked about all the fantastic old houses going that seemed to be going to ruin. Apparently many are a badge of honour for well healed Lisbon families who can no longer afford the upkeep but won't sell them either.


Ercolano profile image

Ercolano 4 years ago from Vancouver, BC

The photographs are stunning, very good indeed, and very nicely narrated. I had to laugh at you saying you had only taken about twenty photos, I too am dazed as to all of the places that I've ever been; I seem to have so few photos to record the memories for (my) posterity, when I'm old and looking back from my rocking chair. You captured the essence of Portugal beautifully here though. Great job. Pressed all the appropriate buttons and up.


surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 4 years ago from Cornwall UK Author

Thanks Ercolano. I now have to opposite problem, i.e. thousands of photos filling up my hard-drive and a phone full of baby pics!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I knew that portugal was beautiful, but I had no idea that it was THIS beautiful!!! What a gorgeous gallery! Now I have to figure out how to get there.


surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 4 years ago from Cornwall UK Author

@Simone. Thanks, but I have to say no gallery can do Portugal justice. I missed photographing some of the most amazing places because the weather was bad.

Anyway, get yourself over there!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Congratulations on the hub of the day! Thanks for sharing this photos with us. It is amazing. Voted up and useful!


myownlife profile image

myownlife 4 years ago from london

wow beautiful collections, historical pictures tempt everyone, congratulations for being hubber of the day. Great hub,


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

This 'tour' makes has given me a glimpse of some fascinating places I would love to visit. The Mooorish castle is tucked up there looking so alluring. It seems perhaps Rapunzel may be there waiting to drop down her golden stairway. And the fishing village...those whitewashed buildings seem to hold secrets we need to know. Thank you for sharing...and...Congratulations on hub of the day


Aneegma profile image

Aneegma 4 years ago

Fantastic photos. As a former Lisbon resident it's good to be reminded of Beautiful Portugal every now and then.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Congrats on hub of the day,and i can see why all your photos are so beautiful. You have a great eye for detail,well done !

Vote up and more !!!


bamuscarella profile image

bamuscarella 4 years ago from Buffalo, NY

Beautiful photos! Inspiration for a trip I'm planning to Portugal. Thank you for sharing.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Congrats on the hub of the day! Through this engaging hub filled with beautifully captured photos, well-written description for each photo and other details concerning unique architecture, you gave me a wonderful virtual tour to Portugal. This made me want to visit Portugual in the near future! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful and Awesome. Voted up.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Congrats on a delightful Hub of the Day! Thanks for the scenic tour via your photos--beautiful!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Congrats on receiving Hub of the Day for this stunningly beautiful hub about Portugal. I thoroughly enjoyed my cyber-visit and the brief descriptions that you gave about each photo.

I also found it interesting that you had lived in Portugal for four years and yet hadn't photographed many of these places until you returned for a two week vacation!

Voted up, useful, interesting, beautiful and awesome.


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

What a beautiful site these are? Love this ancient landmarks, especially the Coimbra City Centre pic.

Thanks for sharing. Voted Up and beautiful!

And congrats on being the HOTD!


albela rahi profile image

albela rahi 4 years ago

WOw excellent photography and great share!! i'll be looking forward to reading and WATCHING more of your beautiful hubs!! this one really deserves the hub of the day!!

thanks

albela


pearlmacb profile image

pearlmacb 4 years ago from Switzerland

Brillant hub!I especially enjoyed the images you have captured so wonderfully! Congrats for HOTD :)


Taxusbaccata profile image

Taxusbaccata 4 years ago from Germany

Beautiful fotos...However, the University of Coimbra is not the second oldest in the world. Oxford, Paris, Cambridge, Salamanca, Bologna make to top 5. Coimbra is just the 13th on that list, of the oldest universities still existing today. Just out of curiosity, the university started first in Lisbon and was only definitely installed in Coimbra in 1537.


ladeda profile image

ladeda 4 years ago

Love the photography! Thanks for giving us a great glimpse of Portugal!


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! Vote up beautiful.

These are lovely scenes. The photos are amazing! I like the Pena Palace in Sintra. The River Douro are known for its amazing bridges. Lovely photo and description. I wouldn't mind taking a nice photo at Vila Real Square just need to make sure that I buy a good camera. The Majestic Cafe is another one of my favorites. I could picture myself sitting there chilling with a good cup of hot chocolate and logged on to hubpages too. I could fall in love in Amarante. Coimbra Santa Cruz Church as well as the University is a masterpiece. I haven't seen anything more beautiful than the Azores. Thank you for the lovely tour of Portugal. Hopefully, I can visit in the near future.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Stunning photos and a really fun tour! I love your architecture compositions. You have so many unique, well composed shots. Congrats on getting Hub of the Day.


Ann M Reid profile image

Ann M Reid 4 years ago from Lancaster County, PA

Just gorgeous! Congrats on getting Hub of the Day!


rasik26 profile image

rasik26 4 years ago from America

Your an extremely talented photographer!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I have never been to Portugal but would definitely enjoy visiting there someday. Your photos are so beautiful. Loved the architecture, the fountains and other shots as well as your descriptions. Thank you so much for assembing this collection. This is a well deserved HOTD! Up votes and SHARING!


livingpah2004 profile image

livingpah2004 4 years ago from USA

Congratulations on Hub of the day. Pictures are really stunning! Especially Moorish Castle, Sintra. Made in 8th century. Wow! You are so lucky to visit there. Voted up!


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

These are stunning photos. I particularly like your shot of the Moorish castle. Congratulations on the HOTD.


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Breath taking


sammimills profile image

sammimills 4 years ago from California, USA

Stunning. Congrats on being HOTD.


Maine Photography profile image

Maine Photography 4 years ago from Portland, Maine

Beautiful. Kudos.


Kena Bladel 4 years ago

That's my country!


Kena Bladel 4 years ago

Cool photos


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Insanely beautiful hub!


surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 3 years ago from Cornwall UK Author

Wow, thanks so much for all the wonderful feedback. I have been completely immersed in other projects and only discovered I'd got a Hub of the Day today?!

I spent 4 years living in Portugal and it is the most amazing country. As soon as my kids are old enough I plan on going back there more. With so much natural beauty and fantastic history it is easier than you'd think to put a hub like this together.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 18 months ago from Norfolk

Gorgeous Hub with some terrific images. Thanks for sharing. I would love to read a hub about what it was like to live in Portugal:)


surfgatinho profile image

surfgatinho 18 months ago from Cornwall UK Author

Thanks @sallybea One day I may write my memoires!

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