Monday, 4 November 2013

Portugal In Love: Honeymoon in the Center and North

This TravelTailors' romantic program takes you to discover the most romantic secret places of Portugal, northbound: hotels, palaces, rivers and gardens in the Douro, Buçaco, Aveiro and Oporto. It proposes wonderful hotels and intimate fine dining options, suggesting ideal activities for two as well, such as boat trips, SPA and sweets' tastings; perfect for an incomparable honeymoon!


Arrival in Porto. 
Porto is a charming town, situated on the slopes of the Douro River and very near to its mouth. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its beautiful monuments and historic buildings such as the imposing Cathedral or the Tower of Clerics, Porto is the second largest city of Portugal and has superb views over the river and the world famous Port Wine Cellars on the opposite bank, in Vila Nova de Gaia. The city provides a harmonious synthesis of ancient and contemporary attractions. Perched on top of hills and clinging to cliffs, attractive buildings, bridges and lamps guard the Douro River for centuries. Fiercely proud of their heritage, the citizens of this merchant town have invested their blood and sweat on their commerce and wine. Porto is a city ready for work and ready for fun. Nightclubs and restaurants mingle with cathedrals, churches and museums in narrow alleys and broad avenues. There are many cafes around the city, where you can relax after climbing the many hills of Porto. On the rooftops there are red tiles and the facades are often tiled. The city of Porto is very compact, which is great to do some exploring on foot, as long as you don't mind making an effort going uphill.

Until 18h30: Visit to the cellars of Porto and wine tasting. 
Port Wine is a fortified wine of world fame, produced exclusively from grapes from the Douro Wine Region, about 100 km east of Porto. The wine took the name of Porto, but it's on the opposite bank of the Douro in Gaia, that are installed fifteen cellars, greater temples of this nectar. The visit includes tastings of different varieties .

Around 20h30: suggestion for dinner in a signature cuisine restaurant, in Porto. 
Conceived from the restoration of an early 20th century house, the sober and refined decoration of this TravelTailors' proposal has yet the boldness of contemporary interior architecture, which translates into a sophisticated and exclusive environment, combined with a modern, stylish and cosmopolitan gastronomic offer. An exceptional location with unique features in Porto. 

Porto by night : a suggestion for an evening out at Galerias de Paris and the Gare Club. 
There's something alive in the evenings at Porto. Accustomed to having polarized fun, the city has never seen so much connection between its offer. The inhabitants walk proudly - they have recovered the city's night. We descend to the axis of Clérigos, the biggest dynamo of the revived Porto night. On the Street of Galeria de Paris, the hottest, there are already several bars. Casa do Livro is one of them. On the parallel street, Cândido dos Reis, Plano B lives since 2006. There are also other bars and even stores like Mezzanine or Take Me.

Overnight at the hotel of the selected category.

9h20: suggestion of a train ride to Peso da Régua (approximate duration: 2h00). 
This train journey allows you to continue to enjoy a breathtaking landscape, largely thanks to the relentless hard work and care of local people. Delight yourself in the view, as the train winds along the Douro River!

Suggestion: sailing journey in the Douro River. 
The enjoyment is even greater, in a rabelo boat. Leave the port of Régua and go to Pinhão, with tasting of a typical snack on board.

Around 12h30: lunch in a signature cuisine restaurant, in Peso da Régua. 
This is a modern and sophisticated space, opposite the river Douro, which includes a restaurant and aWinebar , in a refined and young environment. The cuisine combines traditional flavors with national and international trends, without forgetting the strong ties to the wines of the oldest demarcated region in the world. The various suggestions can be accompanied by a glass of wine from the Douro Region. But what is really fascinating here is the fantastic view over the River! 

Journey to Vila Real. 
Vila Real is a beautiful and pleasant city, where one's gaze is lost in the mountains that surround it. Those who visit Vila Real will not cease to be amazed at the sight of numerous coats of arms, that bring glory to the facades of many buildings. The city seal, engraved with a sword and a bat, summarizes the history of its first count. The first town charter of Vila Real was granted by D. Dinis, in 1289.

Visit to Casa de Mateus and its gardens, in Vila Real. 
The Casa de Mateus, built in the first half of the 17th century, is a Baroque building composed of two lateral bodies connected by two perpendicular wings. According to some authors, Nicolau Nasoni may have had some intervention in the palace. The architectural ensemble is completed by the House's Chapel, the New Cellar (now converted to a temporary exhibition room), the Barrão (an old barn), and especially the magnificent French styled gardens of boxwood. The leafy garden that surrounds the manor, beyond its reflecting pool and areas of boxwood, also has an area of intense farming and orchards, whose products (wines, jams and jellies) can be purchased by visitors. 

Suggestion: wine tasting on an estate, Lamego. 
It has always been the family's dream of creating a unique space, where wine tourism would be privileged and wine would be divulged as a Douro bastion. It was in 2009 that the doors of this rustic and luxurious unit were opened. On the estate, the decor combines many pieces of classic furniture with contemporary, resulting in a beautiful and welcoming space. Here we can taste the fantastic wines.

Around 20h30: suggestion for lunch in a signature cuisine, in Peso da Régua.
Simultaneously a restaurant / Winebar and lounge , it's located in a railway warehouse, in the middle of the Douro region. The cuisine is modern and creative, based on the flavors of Douro. You can taste wines accompanied by gourmet products.

Overnight at the hotel of the selected category.


Hotel Palace Bussaco

Suggestion: SPA relaxation activity in Lamego. 
Among valleys and plains, where the River Douro meanders, there is an estate installed in a 19th century manor, now a modern space in a bucolic setting, which combines the best of the two sides. Here is a place where you can find tranquility, luxury and privacy of a thermal SPA with a steam room, sauna or herbal, or simply enjoy and relax on the water beds or in the magnificent indoor heated swimming pool with water jets of different intensities. It offers two complete lines of treatment.

We recommend:
Face Treatment: Total Mesosystem 1h25m. | Body Treatment: 2h10m ytsara saat purifying ritual. 

Journey to Buçaco, through Serra do Montemuro and Arouca. 
No matter how many mountains you see, you'll never forget the majesty of these 360º views!

Around 12h30: lunch at a regional cuisine restaurant, in Vale de Cambra. 
This is the only restaurant in the region that is decorated with the taste of the mountains and the smell of the sea. Located 11 km from the Serra de Freita, this restaurant boasts a magnificent view over Vale de Cambra. A meal here is a routine getaway due to most of its proposals, in terms of location, decor, service and cuisine. Each dish is carefully prepared and presented, basing itself on quality products.

Suggestion: Walk through the Arouca Geopark. 
The Arouca Geopark, corresponding to the administrative area of the municipality of Arouca, is recognized for its exceptional geological heritage of international importance, with particular emphasis on the giant Canelas' trilobites, for the Pedras Parideiras of Castanheira and the Vale of Paiva's ichnofossils.

Journey to Buçaco. 
A broad and majestic forest, the Serra do Buçaco is a true botanical garden where you can find about 700 native and exotic species, protected by a 17th century papal decree that threatened with excommunication whoever caused them harm.

Visit to the Hotel PALACE BUSSACO. 
The hotel PALACE BUSSACO is rated as one of the most beautiful historic hotels of the world, located in the Forest of Buçaco, it was designed in the late 19th century by the Italian architect Luigi Manini. Classified as a Property of Public Interest in 1996, it's integrated in an architectural and landscaping group that is considered unique. The architecture of the palace is characterized by a mix of elements gathered in monuments like the Tower of Belém, the Jerónimos Monastery or the Convent of Christ in Tomar, and its interior is decorated with tile panels, paintings and frescoes, depicting the Portuguese discoveries.
The hotel is lavishly furnished, the rooms are ample and have a breathtaking view. A romantic ex-libris 

Around 20h30: suggestion for dinner in a signature cuisine restaurant, in Buçaco. 
There are places that we have to visit at least once in our lifetime. The best of this restaurant is the environment, the refinement and rarity of the place. On the wine list we find great Portuguese wines, including Buçaco ones. For an evening that should be memorable!

Overnight at the hotel of the selected category.

Suggestion: guided tour of the Mata of Buçaco.
The Mata do Buçaco currently occupies approximately 105 hectares and has one of the finest European dendrologist collections, with about 250 species of trees and shrubs and many notable examples. It is one of the richest National Forests when it comes to natural, architectural and cultural heritage, and it can essentially be divided into three landscape units: Arboretum, Gardens and Valley of the Ferns and Relic Forest. In addition to the mysticism of the crystal clear waters and lush arboretum, MNB carries a wide diversity of animals that often, silently, go unnoticed. 

Journey to Aveiro. 
Ria's capital, a vast lagoon basin where the fresh waters of the river Vouga mingle with the sea waters, Aveiro, cut through by water streets where the colorful Moliceiro boats slide, is one of the most interesting cities of the Portuguese coast. From the Center channel, there are two routes: on the Left Bank, the graceful Art Nouveau buildings, the Fish Market, the Beira Mar neighborhood; on the Right Bank, are the Museum of Aveiro, in the Convent of Jesus, monuments and churches.

Around 12h30: lunch at a regional cuisine restaurant, in Aveiro. 
In a region where fresh fish is abundant, our suggestion goes towards a restaurant with well known and plentiful cooking, in which the highlights are national and regional dishes, cooked with excellency and fondness.

Moliceiro boat ride. 
Next to the Rossio, there are various types of anchored vessels, aboard which is possible to cruise the Ria, enjoying the saline formations, islands whose only inhabitants are ducks and other migratory birds, meandering channels and wide lagoons, where houses and trees are reflected in curious mirror play. Riding a Moliceiro boat is the most romantic option to discover the City of Water 

Visit to the factory of soft eggs. 
Famous Portuguese sweets, in barrels or wafers, the Aveiro soft eggs should be very sweet and very yellow in color. In the Sweet Shop, their history is revealed and you can taste the monastic delicacies. Visitors can participate in the filling and cutting of this specialty. 

Journey to Porto. 

Around 20h30: Suggestion for dinner at a fusion cuisine restaurant, in Porto.
The TravelTailors' recommendation is located literally over the sea, on the beautiful beach of Ourigo, in the cosmopolitan area of Foz. The cuisine, varied and creative, ranges from sushi to Italian specialties, although essentially, the Mediterranean nature is predominant. The space is cleverly sophisticated, integrating itself fully into the landscape, with large wide windows overlooking the sea. The terrace allows you to take even greater advantage of the superb location, as well as the bar that functions on the outside.

Overnight at the hotel of the selected category.

Journey to the city of destination.

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