VIATOR: Following three glorious days in Lisbon, I traveled 30 minutes west to the Estoril Coast — for the very first time. Surprising, considering its proximity to one of my favorite capital cities in Europe.
Despite its diminutive size, Portugal has always offered plenty to see and do; wine tasting in Alentejo and Douro, culture and gastronomy in Lisbon, port wine in Porto, beach culture and golf in the Algarve and dozens of tiny towns in between, each with their own distinct regional charm. Save for a brief day trip to neighboring Casçais and castle-strewn Sintra, I knew very little about this part of the country. Armed with a camera, smartphone, local contacts and a healthy amount of time, I was determined to change that.
On the way to my lodgings for the next three days, I observed the contradicting scenery; edifices and houses adorned with traditional, poetically- weathered, azulejo tiles shared the landscape with slick, modern condos, beachfront hotels and office buildings. The water, an inviting shade of sparkling blue, was the backdrop for leisure activities all along the Estoril promenade (extending all the way from Lisbon).
At first glance, Estoril looked unremarkable in comparison to other European coastal towns; lovely yes, but with no distinctive features to entice travelers into choosing it over its more glamorous counterparts in Italy, Spain and France. I soon discovered, however, that there is one true commodity that makes a destination stand out, the one ingredient that makes a holiday memorable years after your visit: its people.
Through the eyes of the locals, I learned about a place of great natural beauty, about past perilous, political intrigue to rival the most convoluted thriller novel and about the formidable Portuguese philosophy of peaceful –optimistic even—acceptance of economic and social strife.
I was mesmerized…(Full Article)
Touring the lovely Estoril Coast
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Published at Viator on Sep 17th 2014
Photo Source(s): MCPhotos.net (cover) Jessica Benavides Canepa