Monday, 24 November 2014


One of the best secrets of the Porto city is the "Bom de Sal" restaurant. In this place, salt is the main ingredient. You and your cardiologist can be unworried because the salt used on dishes is controlled by the chef.
We suggest you to try the beef of maronesa veal, the bread and garlic sausage with cabbage shoot in filo pasta and the codfish of "Bom de Sal" - you will not regret.

Friday, 21 November 2014

The best of Portugal

Amy Fernandes tells you about the allure of this mighty little country and how to make the best of your stay at Lisbon, Porto and Sintra.

If there’s something like living languidly on the edge, then Portugal is the place where people live it. 
But give it time and slowly you’ll see the edge making itself felt, gently but surely, to ensure that this small, linear country stands out against the weight of the rest of mighty Europe. So what is it that sets Portugal apart from the others? Is it the old fashioned monasteries made new in luxury chic resorts? The stories it tells through its seas and oceans? Or its historic cities that are modern yet quaint? 
Palaces of Romance

Castles peeping out in Sintra
Sintra is a good place to start. Actually, the fabulous luxury resort Penha Longa Ritz Carlton is a great place to start. History begins on the plush grounds, where a 13th century monastery was built by the Hieronymite monks in 1355; today, it houses a beautiful chapel, and dining halls which, we hear, are super places to host weddings. Not to forget its vast golf links and rooms to lose yourselves in, if you have the time that is, because Sintra calls. This little town is an oasis of medieval grandeur. It stubbornly refuses to step into the modern world. No wonder then, that it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995. A host of palaces beckon. The Moorish Castle, the quizzical Penha Palace, which when you look at it, makes you wonder whether it’s Moorish, Arabic or Roman. It’s like walking into a fairy tale book and trying to figure out whether Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White lived here. Here’s where you’ll  hear of the romantic, King Ferdinand, who left a lasting legacy of fine taste and culture. A 20-minute drive from Sintra to Cascais reveals a panoramic view when you visit Cabo da Roca, described by Portugal’s pet poet Luis de Camões as, ‘the place where land ends and the sea begins’, which probably sounds more romantic in Portuguese. It’s the westernmost point of mainland Portugal and continental Europe, and offers an unending view of the ocean, which could induce motion sickness, suicidal thoughts or the realisation of how much of a dot you are in the universe.
Porto and the  golden river

The Douro River
Porto, the place where the world famous Port is made is a ‘must stop’. If you have just a day, go backpacking and lose yourself in the streets; don’t worry, people will help you find your way around. Or take a boat ride on the Douro river (meaning gold) where the city flanks you from both sides and you can glimpse its former glory.

Lovely Lisbon
But if it’s the rush of the city you’re looking for, Lisbon (or Lisboa as the Portuguese call it) is the place to be. We were lucky to be there right in the middle of the 2nd Fado Festival in Alfama, one of Lisbon’s oldest and most charming districts. A tip: wear flats and discover the up and down narrow and winding streets of the city. The evening of Fado (listed as World Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO) seemed to have the whole of Portugal and fado-singing countries descending on its streets. Pubs, bars and restaurants were brimming over with music and loudspeakers blared in competition with fadistas outdoing each other with their music. A festival of mournful music? You’ve got to be kidding! This was fun and fado, like we’d never seen. We chomped on beefana (sausage-laden sandwiches), chorizo-stuffed bread, cheese toasts, which seemed to go down well with soulful music and of course the local beers, Super Bock and Sagres. 
Short days, long nights

Lisbon's amazing night life
Like in neighbouring Spain, the nights here are long and loud and the residents who live cheek by jowl on these happy streets don’t seem to care. They egg people on to enjoy themselves, while a few bring their armchairs out on the streets at 10.30 am living vicariously through the party animals. Bars overflow into streets, cabs (easy to find even at 2.00 am) are happy to speed you to your next night spot. And the choices are plenty: from the cafes in Chiado to the bars in Bairro Alto, wherever you decide to go, people are warm and welcoming; you will feel at home.      

Lisbon's famous Jeronimos Monastery's Gothic acrhitecture
The days are different and offer you two choices: the chic downtown Lisbon with its European Union offices, corporate HQs, KFC and broad avenues with high-street shopping or the quaint Mario Miranda Lisbon that lives in the old city where you will also find the Belém Tower and the Castle of São Jorge with a breathtaking view of Lisbon. Sit at a cafe and listen to Portuguese music or visit the magnificent JeronimoS Monastery with its fascinating Manueline and Gothic architecture. Shop at the cobbled streets of Bairro Alto where the imposing statute of Camões will greet you at the top of a steep avenue.  Don’t forget to try Ginjinha, a delicious cherry liqueur in an edible chocolate cup.

Inside the Jeronimos Monastery
–No place in Lisbon is too far from another. We stayed at the very efficient and luxe Four Seasons Hotel Ritz, which is a five-minute walk downtown, which in turn is another 10-minute walk to the hotspot Chiado or the Bairro Alto. The service is super, the location is central and it allows you to enjoy the city unhampered
by distance. 
–Portugal does not have its own international airline although TAP serves Europe and domestic destinations. However, pick Turkish Airlines as we did. The flight is smooth, the food delicious and if you’re travelling Club, you cannot afford to miss the lounge in Turkey. Stay a day or book yourself a later flight to bask in the two-storey luxury here.

Monday, 17 November 2014


The Natural Park of Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain peak in Portugal with an altitude of almost 2000 meters at the tower (it's highest point), it is the largest protected area and it's the place with lowest temperatures in Portugal (minus 20 degrees celsius). In this visit it's possible to follow the course of some portuguese rivers like the Mondego, the Zêzere and  the Alva, they will take you to breathtaking places. Take advantage of those moments of communion with nature to observe it, discovering the diversity of plants and birds. With the snow it's possible to try ski, snowboard or snowmobile. There are several pistes with support infrastructure, as well as synthetic snow pistes for skiing at any time of the year.

Thursday, 13 November 2014


In the Penha Longa Hotel Spa & Golf Resort or The Oitavos Hotel Spa, both near to Cascais, it's possible to enjoy an massage with salt from Dead Sea in oil of seaweed called Fucus Serratus. The massage make you fell like you're in heaven. The beauty treatment is called Salt and Shine Exfoliation by Voa. This is a detoxifying and draining massage, with salt and seaweed that you will not want to miss.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Lonely Planet´s best value destinations for 2015

1. Tunisia

Brightly coloured tiles in blue, yellow and green cover the interior of an open-roofed mosque building in Tunisia. Don your sunglasses and prepare to be dazzled by the multicoloured Al-Zaytuna mosque, one of Tunisia’s architectural gems. When it comes to Tunisia, the conversation has moved on from safety to recovery for tourism, and a renewed appreciation of why the country is such a compelling destination. Most travel warnings have been dropped and travellers are once again tuning in to North Africa’s most compact package. This year prices will remain tempting to lure travellers back, and lower crowds will mean that those who do come will get a more rewarding experience whether they stay in cosmopolitan Tunis, head for Star Wars sets or explore the Roman remains that dot the north of the country. Seasonal charters from European airports to Djerba can be an excellent-value gateway into Tunisia.
2. South Africa
Currency fluctuations mean that for certain travellers South Africa is more affordable than it has been for many years. Instead of just rejoicing in the undercooked rand, consider what South Africa offers value-seeking travellers at any time. How about fantastically accessible wildlife watching for all budgets, bargain public (and traveller-friendly) transport and free entry to many of the country’s museums? Most visitors will find something to please their budget, whether it’s a cheap-and cheerful Cape Town seaside cafe or an affordable safari campsite. Come in South Africa’s shoulder seasons (March to May, September and October) for the best combination of low crowds and comfortable weather.
3. Shanghai
A market seller in Shanghai smiles broadly as stallholders around her serve raw meat and clothing to customers. Throw yourself into the throng of Shanghai’s markets for a taste of local life. For all the upscale new openings in China’s most famous coastal city, Shanghai remains reassuringly affordable for budget travellers. No-nonsense dorms start at less than US$10, and the pleasing pricing continues through budget and midrange hotels until you hit the less-than-friendly international big names and trendy boutique accommodation. It’s a similar story when eating out: characterful street-treats for a dollar, and big portions in popular restaurants for little more. Best of all, walking the city’s safe and buzzing streets is the best way to take the pulse of this fast-changing metropolis. SmartShanghai ( is a great place to keep pace with new happenings in this ever-changing city.
4. Samoa
Crystal-clear waters, empty beaches, what more could a traveller ask for? It feels like we’ve heard this one before: ‘Beautiful, undeveloped tropical paradise seeks underfunded travellers for discreet liaison. Applicants must enjoy no-nonsense budget buses and simple, idyllic beach hut accommodation (fales), owned by local families, who tend to throw in dinner.’ So as with so many places before it, we’d say get to Samoa soon. Best visited by jumping off from New Zealand or Australia, these islands are one of the best travel deals in the Pacific. The markets of Apia, Samoa’s capital and largest town, offer a great introduction to everyday life. Maketi Fou, the biggest, is the place to come for souvenir hunting and Samoan street food.
5. Bali
Vibrant green vegetation and palm trees form a silhouette against a mist-shrouded volcano illuminated by half-light in Bali. Palm trees, misty rice paddies and looming volcanoes – all part of Bali’s exotic (and budget-friendly) blend. While many budget-traveller favourites have grown up and got proper jobs running overpriced resorts, Bali never stopped delivering the goods. In fact, while backpacker-friendly beachside bungalows and other affordable digs still abound, with reasonable costs for food and transport thrown in. Bali is also pretty stonking value for mid-range adventurers who delight in air conditioning, distinctive Balinese style and a large range of quality places to stay. And of course, Balinese spa treatments are rightly famous, and cheaper than in many other places. Bali’s international popularity is evidenced by the large number of winter flights from Russian cities, offering the unlikely combination of a snowy Trans-Siberian journey and a week on a Balinese beach.
6. Uruguay
Algea-covered rocks emerge from the surface of glassy blue-green water, and a distant lighthouse juts out over the sea in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay. A beacon blinking out to budget travellers… or a lighthouse in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay.  While Brazil’s travel scene burgeoned as the World Cup rolled into town, Uruguay looks a better-value choice for a short excursion into South America. This proud buffer state has much to enjoy: sizzling steaks, laid-back Montevideo and a hip beach scene that tempts travellers further round the sandy coast each year. While you should watch out for peak-time costs on the coast, this remains an underrated, affordable corner of South America. The sleepy riverside town of Fray Bentos is home to a memorable museum: the former factory of the world-famous beef processor of the same name.
7. Portugal
A small yellow boat glides under the metallic Dom Luis I bridge over the Douro River in Porto, Portugal; the far bank has a cluster of white and yellow blocks of flats. That Portugal’s Algarve region trumps prices at other European resort areas isn’t a surprise to regular visitors. This surf and family-friendly region remains the destination of choice for a more-than-sun seaside holiday, and it’s not all that great-value Portugal has to offer. Lisbon, as happening as Barcelona with fewer crowds, and cheaper, is set to get a whole lot more accessible as low-cost airline Ryanair opens a base in the Portuguese capital. Head anywhere in the country off the tourist trail, and costs come down further. For a great-value tour of Lisbon hop on tram 28, which rattles around taking in many of the city’s highlights, including the Alfama district and the views from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia for €2.85.
8. Taiwan
Dragons coloured scarlet, green and blue adorn three pointed temple roofs in Jiufen, Taiwan. The roof of Fushan Temple in Jiufen, one of Taiwan’s colourful temples. Taiwan delivers great all-round value. Taipei is significantly cheaper than Hong Kong, Seoul or Tokyo, and while hotels are a bit expense, dorm beds and homestays abound in Taiwan and camping is common in a lot of the island’s national parks and forests. Rail passes are standardised and cheap on fast and modern lines. Admission to many attractions and temples is cheap, and even major museums are affordable. Eating, perhaps the main attraction in Taiwan, is accessible to all whether tucking into dumplings at a street stall or enjoying high-end fare at lower prices than comparable cities. A large bottle of Taiwanese beer will set you back around NT$120 (US$4), or much less if you get one from a grocery shop.
9. Romania
The gothic outline of Brasov’s Black Church and silver-domed buildings in Brasov, Romania, in front of the thickly forested Carpathian Mountains. The splendid skyline of Brasov in Transylvania – within grasp of lighter pockets. Eastern European nations frequently appear in best-value lists, but in Romania’s case the entry is entirely warranted. Now vigorously connected to the rest of Europe by budget airlines, accommodation compares well in all price brackets to bigger-name destinations in the region. Bucharest is a case in point, where hotel beds largely welcome business travellers, so holiday season is, unusually, low season. Away from here there are budget-friendly homestays in medieval villages, spectacular castles and the unique Danube Delta, best explored by inexpensive, if slow, ferries. Private vans known as ‘maxitaxis’, together with buses and minivans, form the cheapest way to get routes, times, fares and departure points.


There are many ways to eat Codfish, but best well known main course are codfish to Gomes de Sá, cod with cream and braised cod. The best appetizer is fried codfish. 
The best places to eat Codfish is Lisbon are the restaurant "Laurentina - O rei do bacalhau"; the restaurant "A Baiúca" and, the restaurant "O Poleiro". To eat Codfish in Oporto, the best places are the restaurant "Farol da Boa Nova", the restaurant "Abadia do Porto" and, the restaurant "O Paparico".

Saturday, 1 November 2014


The Douro Internacional Natural Park, was created in 1998 and is the most recent natural park in Portugal. It covers part of the municipalities of Miranda do Douro, Mogadouro, Freixo de Espada à Cita and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, along the natural frontier formed by the Douro river. The park reaches its maximum altitude (895 meters) and its steep banks, also known as "arribas", offer a rich wildlife. Birds are the main species, especially the ones that nidify in rocky formations, such as the black stork, the Egyptian vulturem the griffon, the golden eagle or Bonelli eagle. The microclimate in cliffs is good for Mediterranean agricultural plantations, like the olive tree and the wine, as a true landmark for Douro Wine Regions, located not very far from the Douro Natural Park.