[SINTRA, PORTUGAL] — Sintra is not just a single town, but an entire wooded (unusually so in these arid parts) nature preserve about an hour and a half outside of Lisbon. It’s the perfect daytrip from Lisbon or the perfect day trip from Cascais. Definitely well worth the drive and easy to find — all the roads and signs in Portugal are outstanding. It’s a big riot of color and architecture, surrounded by hundreds of acres of gardens and forests. Plan a half a day, at least, or preferably a whole day, to make the loop through the forest and the half dozen towns and castles and sites within the preserve. It is very busy. Very touristy. But very cool to see. Think of it
[LISBOA, PORTUGAL] — In planning for a trip to Portugal with a bunch of friends last month, I was in charge of looking for a cool boutique hotel. Some in the group I knew, others were going to be New Friends. Some I assumed were wanting somewhere special, others (cough cough) were a little more “I’ll just use my points.”-type. The pressure was on… Holy cow (✞🐄) it’s amazing how fast Lisbon changes. I remember the first time I went in 2013 and Baixa was mostly boarded up and there just wasn’t much to do down in that grid of slick stoned streets. Now you can’t swing a cat without hitting a spanking new hotel or IKEA-bedecked Airbnb. The question was which one. I stumbled
[LISBON, PORTUGAL] — Here’s a great boutique design hotel to stay in Lisbon. The Lisboans. When I got out of the taxi, I noticed the small, discrete sign out front, The Lisboans. I rang the doorbell and was buzzed in. A gregarious Mario welcomed me like a brother “You’re Dan?, we’ve been waiting for you, welcome to The Lisboans“. He brought me through a small door into a room full of six or so people at open desks, working on their computers. “Everyone, this is Dan.” “Hi Daaan.” they all replied, with smiles. “Welcome to our Nerve Center where everything happens’”. Everyone goes back to clacking away. Reservationists. Web people. Housekeeping. All right there. So refreshing. On the wall was a big grid on a whiteboard,
[LISBON] — There are lots of great restaurants in Portugal, but I’m just going to talk about two must-visit restaurants in Lisbon that I recently went to. Restaurante Prado and Horta dos Brunos. Two fantastic and completely different experiences. When I was in the beach town of Comporta, Yasmine, a very tasteful Belgian Instagram friend direct-messaged me this tip: And then, when I was in the far rolling hills of Alentejo, my friends Neil & Lisa texted me: “We went to that Horta dos Brunos your friend recommended. Wow. Fantastic. So full. Can’t walk.” When I finally arrived in Lisbon, I knew I had to go and made reservations. When I got in my Uber and the non-English speaking driver saw the destination on
[LISBON] — Portugal was never really high up on my list, but over the last couple of years, the more and more I read about it, the more it moved up. Conde Nast Traveler, Monocle, Travel & Leisure, AFAR, they all pointed to the rise of Portugal. Despite its government tenuous position, all pointed to the rise in living standards, infrastructure and standard of living…and that it was somewhat undiscovered compared to the rest of Europe. This article by Frank Bruni in the New York Times sold me…as he was sold on Lisbon. That moved Lisbon to the top. I used his article as a virtual tour guide. As well as these others. They obviously have been running press junkets due to the recent influx
[LISBON] — High overlooking Lisboa, is the Castelo de São Jorge, one of the coolest forts I’ve seen. Lots of excellent shooting points, areas of properly dispersing hot oil and other general harassment. It’s a great thing to do in the morning or sunset. You can take the trolly up, or walk the zigzag streets. Excellent views of the red roofs of Lisbon.
[LISBON] — Barrio Alto is it. The perfect neighborhood to stay, to shop, to eat, to walk. Shop along Principe Real with all the cool local shops. Look over the city at one of the best parks. At night, all the pedestrian streets turn over to outdoor cafes, bars and excellent tapas joints. You should go here.
[LISBON] — In a tucked away corner of Lisboa, in the no-man’s land between the core of Lisboa and Belem, is the bustling new design and arts district, the cornerstone of which is the LX Factory. Set on movie-set looking ground of an old manufacturing district, the LX Factory is a great place to get away from the more tourist parts and hang out amid the design firms, production studios, restaurants and shops — all having a design-centered focus. Very cool retail and restaurants, even a hotel, all tucked under the constant roar of the off/on ramps to the Big Bridge. It’s a destination place, so don’t do what I did and try to walk there from Barrio Alto on a 98 degree day! The
[LISBON] — Coming back through Lisbon on the flipflop back to the airport, got to spend a night at the Lapa Palace, a fancy Old School hotel in the Lapa District, the Embassy quarter high above Lisbon. Best part about the hotel is the expansive grounds and pool stepped below the rooms overlooking the city. It is movie-quality, like a CIA meet up place or where they’d film an Embassy party in a spy film. Very cool. And great to come back for a dip after traipsing all over the hills of Lisbon. They were very friendly, even though I had to jostle rooms so I could stay an extra night on the cool coast. But still, they upgraded me to a suite for some
[LISBON, PORTUGAL) — The Hotel Barrio Alto is one of the most perfect hotels I’ve stayed in. A small hotel right of the main Praca Luis de Carnões square near Chiado, it’s the ideal location to explore all the shops, restaurants and sites of winding streets of Barrio Alto. The decor is elegant and understated, with muted tones and colors, exquisitely detailed furniture and a color scheme that just makes you want to lay down and take a nap. The bathrooms are my new favorite, of any hotel I’ve staying in. Elegant simplicity at it’s finest. Every single person working there remembers your name instantly and goes out of their way to help you, even just getting out the door. Super nice people. Definitely