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Northern Portugal - Tips and thoughts from a really good car holiday!

Yesterday we came home from a really lovely road trip in northern Portugal. The kind of road trip that you wish would never end, but would have liked to have continued for a few more weeks. Because even though I laid out a good plan for what I thought I wanted to see and do, there were many changes along the way. Mainly because we passed by places we couldn't help but stop at, that we hadn't heard of before, but turned out to be some of the best stops of the trip!

Going on a road trip with children can be a bit of a challenge and our road trip focused a lot on sights in the form of history, culture and nature. If I'm honest, I'm personally quite happy with the bathing for this year. Not only because we bathed a lot in the heat in Vietnam, but also because I'm an incurable bath tub that requires bathtub-hot water to bathe. Swimming in the Atlantic without a wetsuit is, as you may have understood, not an option for me. Maybe I should add that I'm probably one of the few Swedes who have NOT gone swimming in Sweden this year, so maybe you understand the extent of my badassness. The compromise was to stay in a good hotel with a swimming pool, so that those who felt nervous about swimming could take a dip before dinner.

Our route began and ended in Lisbon, with 4 days of driving afterwards Atlantic coast up to Porto, then turn south again and travel 3 days back towards Porto through the interior, near the Spanish border. My plan now is to start filling rucksack with loads of info about the trip! Write down a really detailed travel plan with photo-filled info pages about the sights and places we liked the most, but also include the best restaurants along the way and of course also hotel tips. So, hope you are ready for one lots of Portugal the next few weeks! (However, it may happen that there will also sneak in some Vietnam posts along the way, as Hoi An and Hue are far from finished....)

Do you want a little sneak peak at favorites after the road? Here is a small summary!

Dreamiest stop

Stay in a well-designed vineyard in the Douro with miles-long views of vines. Can I come back here again, please?

Douro Valley - Portugal
Douro Valley

Biggest surprise (1)

I had no idea that there were such well-preserved Roman remains in Portugal! Portugal's tourist office should really highlight these more!

Biggest surprise (2)

The weather was SIGNIFICANTLY colder than we expected it to be! We should have brought jackets, but since we haven't used a jacket or sweater since May here at home in Sweden, we didn't have a thought to bring it. So we were tormented.

Cabo Da Roca - Portugal

Biggest worry - which was unfortunately not released

The food. I have a hard time with "rustic" food. If you want to sum up the food on this trip, it has offered some real stars, but also some real low-water marks... Rice with liver and "baby goat" was definitely not something I asked for the recipe for.

Best decision

Renting a small car and getting full insurance…. I'll tell you more later… :S

Douro Valley - Portugal

Best souvenir

In addition to finding two new mugs for my breakfast coffee collection, we brought home a really good old port wine. Thirty years old. Soft as a freshly washed fleece blanket. I would like to say that the port wine is as old as myself, but it would have been far too expensive to buy a wine from such a fine vintage 🙂

Have you driven in northern Portugal? Do you have more tips?

Want to read some of my posts from the trip?
About the blogger

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

6 Comments

  • World by tina
    17 August, 2018 at 7: 57

    It will be exciting to follow your journey! We also road tripped through Portugal that summer and became very fond of northern Portugal – a completely new Portugal for me which was very different from the Algarve coast where I had traveled before. The entire European journey from Sweden to Portugal along the Atlantic coast and back via the Mediterranean will come up in the near future. Until now, I've only gotten to the boat trip over to Germany:)

    Reply
    • Eve on rucksack.see
      17 August, 2018 at 8: 01

      I have followed you on Insta through Europe and Portugal, so it will be fun to read about what you came up with! 🙂 So, I have to say that I became more fond of the northern parts than I thought I would be! Everyone was so damn nice and the scenery and all the castles were just too nice!

  • Ann-Louise
    19 August, 2018 at 20: 47

    How exciting to read about northern Portugal. Been to Lisbon many years ago but am very keen to see more of Portugal. And you're not alone in not having swum in Sweden this summer... here's another one. 🙂

    Reply
    • Eve on rucksack.see
      19 August, 2018 at 21: 09

      God, so nice to hear that I wasn't the only one who didn't swim in Sweden this summer!!! 🙂 We fell in love with the area, so much exciting history and culture to discover - and everything is like an arm's length away!

  • Reiselinda
    20 August, 2018 at 19: 25

    Sounds like a great trip, looking forward to more details. Interested in Portugal for future trips!

    Reply
    • Eve on rucksack.see
      20 August, 2018 at 21: 57

      It was a super lovely trip – so much better than I thought! Will try to write while everything is as fresh as possible, hope I can give you some inspiration! 🙂

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