Portugal

Lady at the Six Senses Douro Valley

It’s not often that I travel just for a hotel. Most destinations trump accommodations. But every once in awhile there’s a hotel so special that I will take a trip just to stay there, and today that hotel is the new Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal.

Six Senses Douro Valley

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Lady in the Douro Valley

It’s not often that I’m awed when I travel somewhere new. Over the years, the threshold for a destination to elicit a “wow” feeling from me has steadily risen. But sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by a place, and the Douro Valley in Portugal was one of them.

Grapes in the Douro Valley in Portugal

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Lady in Vila Nova de Gaia

I like wine. I won’t lie; it’s one of my favorite things to drink. When I travel to a country that produces it, I like to go to the source and taste the offerings. From Australia to South Africa, New Zealand to California, I have done the wine regions of many countries. But while my knowledge of wine has grown over the years, my knowledge of Port has not. As such, when I was invited to Portugal to spend four days learning about the Portuguese wine and Port industry, I gladly accepted.

Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal

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Lady in Porto

When most people visit Portugal, they head south for the sunshine. The Algarve region is packed year-round with tourists from sun-starved latitudes, all of them seeking the ever-elusive vitamin D. But there’s more to Portugal than just the beaches, and more sun-blessed regions in the country than just the Algarve. One particularly sunny off-the-beaten path destination is Porto.

Houses in Porto Portugal

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Lady in Wonderland

My journey from northern to southern Portugal continued for another day in Lisbon, during which my boyfriend and I traveled out to Lisbon’s Belem district. There we came face to face with the crazy Manueline Mosterio dos Jeronimos. The church was decorated from dome to kneeler with nautical-themed decor, and housed the tomb of Vasco da Gama. Although smaller than I had anticipated (the last church I saw in England had the longest nave in Europe, after all), all of the uniquely Portuguese aspects of the design were fascinating.

Building in Belem Lisbon

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Lady in Lisbon

Just days ago Portugal was one of the few countries in Europe I had yet to visit. Yesterday I set out to change that. I sleepwalked over to Stansted airport at 4am for a 0.01GBP Ryanair flight to Porto. I arrived in the city at 9am, excited to start exploring.

Port house in Porto Portugal

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