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Location - South west Europe; Capital - Lisbon; Population - 10.2 million; Currency - Euro MORE PORTUGAL

In a COVID world I gambled on getting to Portugal and back before lockdowns prevented me, and luckily it paid off, as it turned out to be one of my favourite western European destinations. I flew to Porto before gradually moving south to the Algarve - October 2020.


euro1A recent version of the 10 Euro note












portugal3Before I'd even checked into my hotel I went looking for this mural I'd seen on the internet, on a car park wall just outside Trindade metro station - Porto


portugal8Praca General Humberto Delgado is a long square in the north of the city centre - Porto




portugal9And this guy stands on the corner of the square - Porto


















portugal12There's so much street art in Portugal - Porto

















portugal13Azulejos - decorative blue and white tiles - are a familiar sight in Portugal, these ones adorning Igreja do Carmo, a church on Praca Parada Leitao - Porto


portugal171Opposite the square is Jardim do Cordoaria, a small city park - Porto




portugal105A rainbow over Torre dos Clerigos, a 76m tower you can walk up - Porto

















portugal173Must get a bit soggy! Half dressed mannequins near Livraria Lello - Porto

















portugal19The famous stairs of bookshop Livraria Lello are said to be inspiration for those in JK Rowling's Harry Potter (she lived in the city for a few years). A €5 redeemable voucher was required just to get in but the queues are still long - Porto


portugal38The Vitoria viewpoint takes in Porto Cathedral (left), Dom Luis I bridge and over the Douro River to Vila Nova de Gaia - Porto




portugal28On the left is Porto Cathedral while on the right is the Episcopal Palace - Porto

















portugal103Street art hidden away at Vitoria viewpoint (Miradouro da Vitoria) - Porto


















portugal34The lights come on at night, focusing on the cathedral (left) and Serra do Pilar Monastery in Vila Nova de Gaia (right) - Porto



portugal168Straight from the LP guide, the road leading to the panorama is Rua de Sao Bento da Vitoria, where several houses display protective Hamsa (aka Hand of Fatima) door knockers, evidence of the neighbourhood's Jewish past centuries ago - Porto



portugal43Street art and graffiti seem to take up all available wallspace in Porto


















portugal44The cathedral pops up again - Porto





















portugal49Ths historic Rua das Flores has plenty of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops - Porto


portugal50In need of some renovation - Porto




portugal51Street power boxes get a colourful makeover all over Porto

















portugal108'Hand me down dress' - Porto


















portugal52A Portuguese speciality are pasteis de nata, or custard tarts - Porto



portugal107Pepe le Pew's been arrested! The Looney Tunes character appears in Porto





portugal55 On the banks of the Douro River towards Dom Luis I bridge and Serra do Pilar Monastery - Porto

















portugal64The bridge and monastery light up at night - Porto



















portugal68Cais da Ribeira is the name given to the attractive riverside walkway - Porto



portugal69It's lined with cafes and restaurants, and is lively in the evening with street music and entertainment - Porto


portugal98A sidestreet just back from Cais da Ribeira - Porto




portugal102 I'm sure she gets a lot of attention - Porto

















portugal75The hillside leads steeply down from the Episcopal Palace to Cais da Ribeira and the Douro River - Porto


















portugal140A cheeky looking character on Escadas do Codecal, stairs linking the Douro to the plateau - Porto



















portugal143Looking through a dilapidated building to street art on the Escadas do Codecal - Porto


portugal146Part of the old city walls stand opposite the monastery in Vila Nova de Gaia - Porto




portugal158 The view from Porto Cathedral takes in another church and the Douro River - Porto

















portugal161There's some cute, quiet backstreets surrounding the cathedral - Porto


















portugal162Tagged Guatemao opposite the cathedral - Porto



portugal170Across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, where the attraction is port, port and more port (port wine that is) - Porto



portugal142Street art on the walk along Av Vimara Peres towards the upper level of Dom Luis I Bridge - Porto

















portugal40The hillside above the Douro River - Porto


















portugal149Walk along the upper Dom Luis I bridge, taking care not to get run over by a passing tram - Porto


portugal150I'd like to know who this guy is, maybe a well known local? - Porto




portugal93The 17th century Serra do Pilar Monastery in Vila Nova de Gaia - Porto


















portugal77'Half Rabbit' is a great three-dimensional sculpture made from rubbish - Porto

















portugal96There's no way I could go all the way to Porto and not drink port! Port wine is a blend of wine and brandy/neutral spirit produced along the Douro Valley, where Porto is the river's exit to the Atlantic Ocean



portugal97I developed a taste for red tawny port I'd never had before. When in Rome.. or Porto anyway. Tours and tastings are available at several of the lodges - Porto





portugal90A great view of the Douro River from the bridge - Porto


















portugal86The Cais da Ribeira riverside, topped by the Episcopal Palace - Porto


















portugal82A superb panorama of the city lies in front of you next to the teleferico station in Vila Nova de Gaia - Porto


portugal85Boats docked at the banks of Vila Nova de Gaia - Porto




portugal109On a walk to Foz do Douro I passed this important looking fella - Porto

















portugal111The 5-6km walk to the coast at Foz do Douro allows a great look back at the city and river - Porto

















portugal112I really like this cloud-enshrouded picture of the Douro River and a distant Porto



portugal115Eventuall I reached the mouth of the River Douro - Porto




portugal134There's a seafront park called Jardim do Passeio Alegre, which also has a cafe and mini-golf course - Porto


















portugal119The Atlantic Ocean was its usual lively self - Porto


















portugal125There's a few beaches along the front, this one being the rocky Praia da Luz - Porto



portugal130This fruity piece of street art appeared regularly on the beachfront - Porto




portugal127This restaurant was closed when I walked by, though I'm guessing that was COVID related or just far too early - Porto


















portugal132Opposite the beach is the 16th century Sao Joao Baptista Fort - Porto

















portugal135Heading back to the city centre I jumped on one of the cute looking, rattling trams - Porto



portugal166Before getting the train to Coimbra, I walked along the nearby Rua de Santa Catarina - Porto




portugal164A wedding was taking place at this church, I think it was called Igreja de Santo Ildefonso - Porto


















portugal167The fantastic blue and white tiles known as azulejos adorn the walls of Capela das Almas - Porto

















portugal179A pretty short train journey brought me to Coimbra


portugal180My favourite area of the city was Largo da Portagem, which has a few outdoor cafes and restaurants, ideal in social distancing times - Coimbra




portugal184The square leads to the main pedestrian shopping street, Rua Ferreira Borges - Coimbra


















portugal185Carry on, along Rua Visconde da Luz, and you'll end up at Praca 8 de Maio - Coimbra

















portugal191I'd never have guessed these colourful cans are tins of sardines, found all over Portugal - Coimbra


portugal194Jardim de Manga is home to a restaurant and also this funny looking structure - Coimbra




portugal252This was a very local bar serving hot food, something difficult to find before 7pm - Coimbra


















portugal196The Ministry of Silly Walks comes to town! A tip of the hat to Monty Python if you're confused - Coimbra
















portugal200Walk through the Arch of Almedina to the upper town - Coimbra


portugal201It's all uphill from here.. - Coimbra





portugal202What look like large knitted doilies decorate a residential street in the upper town - Coimbra


















portugal206The 12th century Old Cathedral (Se Velha) in the square of the same name - Coimbra

















portugal212At the top of the upper town is Coimbra University, one of the oldest universities in the world - Coimbra


portugal213Joao III, King of Portugal in the 16th century, admires the university from the Patio das Escolas - Coimbra




portugal216There's a little bit of a panorama from the upper town - Coimbra


















portugal220There's some impressive old buildings in the upper town, this one being the University Science Museum - Coimbra


















portugal223Santa Cruz Park lies opposite Praca da Republica, a square edged with bars and outdoor cafes - Coimbra



portugal229The picturesque Botanical Gardens lie below the old town on its south side - Coimbra




portugal230A bamboo walkway in the large grounds of the Botanical Gardens - Coimbra

















portugal234Crossing the Mondego River - Coimbra

















portugal235More Portuguese street art appears around the main road beyond the river - Coimbra


portugal236This looks like Mother Teresa - Coimbra




portugal238Crossing the river is worth it for these great views of Coimbra

















portugal243The Portuguese flag flies on Santa Clara Bridge, in front of the old town - Coimbra


















portugal248My hotel room had an outdoor terrace and this view of the upper town - Coimbra




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LINKS - Portuguese trains, buy tickets online - buy Sintra monument tickets

Rede Expressos is a nationwide bus company, though as I write their website's not working. Google it - Portugal tourism website


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