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Travel Tips Around The World

Jun 23 2017

Fairy tale castles in Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal, just 15 miles from Lisbon, may be small, but it packs a powerful punch with a number of incredible castles and villas, many of them with exquisite gardens. The palaces and manors nestled among the forested mountains are stunning, and exploring them all could merit a stay of several days in Sintra. The town also makes for a great day trip from Lisbon; and while all the sights are worth seeing, these are some the castles that we think are the dreamiest.

                         Palacio Nacional da Pena

                                                     The Pena Palace; photo via Sintra-Portugal.com.

The Palacio Nacional da Pena is the most iconic sight of the Sintra skyline. Its colorful facade, which mixes an almost dizzying number of architectural styles, contains a well preserved 19-century summer home, but the big draw here is the stunning views from windows and terraces. On that note: It's a rather steep climb up to the palace—taxis and tuktuks are available, but we recommend bringing plenty of water and good walking shoes, because the ascent through lush gardens and forest is almost as wonderful as the views from the top. This is perhaps the most popular tourist site in Sintra, so get there early to avoid long lines—and to avoid intense heat in summer.

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Apr 7 2017

Earthly delights: Shopping in Porto, Portugal

Set along the gorgeous Douro River, Porto, Portugal is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and a must-see for many reasons. Among the historic sites and museums, there is also magnificent shopping to be found, for everything from artisan chocolate to fine clothing. Portugal's second largest city is full of chain and specialty stores for any and every kind of product, but these are a few of our favorite spots for special souvenirs and exciting experiences.

                 

                                             The grand staircase at Livraria Lello; photo via Portugal Resident.

Can there be any doubt that Livraria Lello is the most beautiful bookstore in the world? It draws people in such numbers that there is now a charge of a few euros to even enter the store—but the fee goes towards any books you may buy! This ornate shop stays packed; go early in the day, when it's less crowded. An absolute must-see in Porto.

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Jun 6 2014

World Cup stars and their dreamy hometowns

If you're in the market for a summer boyfriend, you might as well find somebody who can take you on a nice end-of-summer trip. And if you don't mind competing with fashion models and pop divas for his attention, you could do worse than dating an international football star. True, he'd be fairly tied up starting June 12 with the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but come August he'll be in the mood to take you home to meet Mom. Or July, if his team doesn't survive the group matches; you could help him find the upside of defeat. More...

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May 15 2013

Uniquely Lisbon

Category: Destinations | Dining | Nightlife | Recreation | SightseeingKaren @ 07:55

I find it fascinating how all of the world's different cultures can still be categorized into very similar areas: Visit any city in the world and you're likely to find museums, shopping malls, nightclubs, athletic venues and theaters. It just goes to show that people are people no matter what language they speak or their geographical location. Of course, every culture has some things that are uniquely its own, and those experiences are what make a trip to a new place truly memorable. More...

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Feb 16 2012

White-sand beaches and wine tastings in Portugal

Category: Destinations | DiningMegan Leader @ 10:10

Here at travel42, we're dreaming of sunny skies and warm beaches. Can you tell? In the past few weeks, Christine posted about sunny Miami, Karen posted about exotic yet easy-to-access Puerto Rico, Cindy wrote about luxurious California hotels and Janet had a post called, "Florida, Florida, Florida." We're all just a tiny bit bitter about Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of six more weeks of winter manifested in the cold, gray drizzle steadily pouring over Winston-Salem as I type this post. More...

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