From the burgeoning gastronomic scene in Lisbon to the fairy-tale-like castles of Sintra to the vineyards of the Douro Valley and the rugged coastal walks of the south, there’s myriad of reasons our guests are falling in love with this cruise port.
Whether you’ll be spending a day in port during your Holland America Mediterranean cruise or perhaps spending a few days here before a Holland America transatlantic crossing, you’ll not be disappointed.
Tempting Taste Buds
Lisbon has long been known for its mild temperatures and historic buildings, but in recent years, Portugal’s capital has also become an important destination for foodies.
Michelin-starred Belcanto has recently been transformed by award-winning Chef José Avillez, a rising star in the Portuguese gastronomic scene. His latest restaurant, Mini Bar Teatro is located in the storied São Luiz Theater and resembles a cabaret. While you’re in the area, pay a visit to São Roque Church, the world’s most expensive chapel.
Just 30 minutes outside of Lisbon, you’ll find Sintra, a small hilltop city town known for its castles and palaces that evoke a fairy tale that’s sprung to life.
While it’s a great day trip from Lisbon, after admiring Sintra’s many palaces, you may want to stay in one yourself; the recently remodeled Tivoli Palácio de Seteais is a five-star hotel complete with ballrooms, tapestries and frescoes, harkens back to the 18th century.
Despite having been producing port wines for over 250 years, Portugal’s Douro Valley is one of Europe’s least explored wine havens. This is quickly changing, however, as more and more hotels spring up in the region.
Surrounded by steeply terraced vineyards, visitors can visit with winemakers on their small estates (called quintas), a great opportunity to learn how the famous dessert wine is made, and even participate in a harvest.
If you have a penchant for beaches and coastal hikes, get to know Portugal’s southwestern regions of Alentejo and Algarve by hiking the Rota Vicentina, more than 200 miles of trails meandering through cork forests, farms and fields of heather, hugging the most unspoiled stretch of coastline in Southern Europe. Plenty of hotels pepper the trail, so you can reward yourself at the end of a long day of hiking with a comfortable place to sleep.
Whether you choose the wine regions of the north, the restaurants and culture of Lisbon and Sintra, or the rugged coastal charm of the south, don’t miss Portugal, the destination of the moment!
Looking for a Mediterranean cruise?
We’ve got some of the best options like the Holland America Line Grand Mediterranean departing in March with our hosts Steve and Wendy!