Sintra, Portugal

Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner stayed in Portugal with her grandparents and Aunt after our family cruise through Spain. Sadly, Mr. Traveling Honeymooner had to return to the States to go back to work. After spending a few days in Lisbon, we decided we wanted a bit of a slower pace so we hired a driver and tour guide to take us to Sintra.

Sintra is located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains and is known for the pastel colored villas and palaces. The town is charming, the people are kind and the food is delicious. If you have a chance to spend some quality time in Sintra, I highly recommend it. One day there was simply not long enough to see everything we wanted to see!

The highlight of our Sintra trip was exploring Pena Palace. It was a hike to get to the top but well worth it. The views of the city were spectacular. We were grateful to have our guide with us to tell us the history of the palace during our tour.

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Pena Palace

The town of Sintra is so beautiful, with so much to offer. I think a couple of days there would be the perfect amount of time. We were in Sintra in June and the weather was absolutely perfect!

There was this french bakery right in the center of town that had delicious pastries and coffee.

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We can’t wait to plan another trip to Portugal!

Thanks for stopping by!

Windstar Cruise: The Treasures of Southern Spain and Morocco

Mrs. Traveling Honeymooners grandparents were celebrating a very special anniversary recently and chose to spend it with our family. After pondering what a family of thirteen people could do all together, we came up with the idea to take a Windstar cruise!

Before we get ahead of ourselves here, we are a bit of a picky crowd because we all LOVE to travel, eat good food and cruising. We have been on multiple cruises in our lifetime, on a variety of cruise lines. With that being said, we knew we wanted something really special for this trip. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner’s Aunt had been on a Windstar Cruise along the Dalmatian Coast the previous year and loved every second of it. Thats really all she talked about for about a year so the rest of us figured we needed to try out a Windstar Cruise.

Benefits of Traveling on a Windstar Cruise:

  • The ships are more like yachts and typically hold between 200-350 people or less
  • The food is fantastic
  • The service is fantastic
  • Every room is an exterior room
  • The stops are well planned and all have a lot to offer

Our Itinerary:

Click here to see our Itinerary

We also used Rosie Goldberger from Vanguard travel to help us plan our day trips and accommodations in Barcelona and Lisbon.

Our family loves history and exploring historical sites so we spent a majority of time exploring at each port.

Barcelona

To learn more about our time in Barcelona click here. We spent three days in Barcelona before setting sail on our cruise and enjoyed every minute of it.

Tarragona

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Ibiza

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Cartagena

We docked in Cartagena on Sunday so many of the restaurants and stores were closed.  However, we were able to tour a few historical sites and wonder the streets before heading back to the boat. The weather in Cartagena was beautiful and made it easy for us to explore. fullsizeoutput_97ee

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Granada

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Alhambra. The pictures we took do not even begin to do justice to this beautiful place. We hired a private driver and tour guide and took a day trip from port and it was one of the coolest things any of us had ever experienced. I would highly recommend hiring a driver and a tour guide if you plan on visiting the Alhambra.

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Malaga

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Tangier

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Lisbon

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We had so much fun on our cruise and would take another Windstar Cruise in a heartbeat.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO,

Traveling Honeymooners

Amarante, Portugal

Mr. Traveling Honeymooner was unable to join us on this leg of the trip, unfortunately, because he had to return home to go back to work. Boring eh?! We forgive him though because by the time we made it to Portugal, we had already been traveling Europe for about three weeks, with my family. Anyhow, I stayed behind with a few family members and we toured part of the Douro Valley and Amarante during our stay. Everywhere we visited was absolutely gorgeous and boy did we have a blast! I think we ate and drank more in the last four days of our trip than the rest of the trip combined! By the way, eating paleo ad gluten free in Portugal is as easy as can be, so I got to eat my little heart out.  If you are interested in our time in Porto and the Douro Valley, stay tuned…more post to come!

We had the pleasure of visiting this little town on our way back to Porto from the Douro Valley and loved every minute of it. Amarante is a small village with a population of about 12,000 people and is located in the northern Portuguese district of Porto, right on the Tamega River. It is a quint town that has a cozy and creative feel to it. When we arrived, we immediately felt a sense of calmness. We had to stop for a few minutes and just take in the views. There were not many people wandering the streets but we felt welcome and at ease. Even though the town center is small, they had a city center with restaurants, shops and a market. My favorite shop was an art supply store that was located along the main road. The store was small but had everything one would need to paint a beautiful piece of art or draw a pretty picture. The thought that kept running through my head as I walked the street was, ” I want to stay here for a week and just paint what I am experiencing.”

 

We visited the Sao Goncalo convent and church that is right across from the center of town. The first thing we noticed was that the doors of the empty church were open and it was free to enter. This was a bit shocking to us because we had been in Europe for about three weeks at that point and have never been able to enter a national monument for free. Once we walked in, we immediately noticed the gold leaf that lined the walls, which was stunning. We learned that Napoleon tried to demolish Amarate during his time and was successful in destroying almost half of the city, including one of the bridges that was located in the center of town.  The original pictures still hung on the walls but had large pieces of frame missing because Napoleon’s army removed parts of the gold leaf coated frames to see if more gold was hiding inside.

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A luxury hotel sits in the heart of Amarante called Casa da Calcada, where the Michelin Star restaurant Largo do Paco can be found. We did not get the chance to eat here because we were full from our fantastic lunch in the Douro Valley, but we have made a note to come back one day.

IMG_1103This small town has so much history that you can feel, just by looking around. Above is a picture of the floods they have had over the years. To give you perspective, the lowest waterline that was recorded was almost six inches over my head and I am 5’6”.

This little town has so much to offer. The people are kind, the sites are exquisite and the history dates back to the 4th century. My wish is to return here some day soon with Mr. Traveling Honeymooners and stay a night or two in Casa da Calcada.

Thank you for stopping by!

XOXO

Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner