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

A halfway house from Coimbra is the beach at Nazare, after which I headed for Lisbon and surrounds - October 2020.


euro1A recent version of the 10 Euro note












portugal261I saw photos of the surfing at Nazare and thought I've gotta go there. Not for surfing - I can hardly even swim! - but for photo opportunities



portugal263A funicular climbs up the Promontorio do Sitio, though even in october the queue was over an hour, largely due to its reduction in capacity (yeah, COVID..)




portugal269But there's superb views of Nazare, the main beach and the Atlantic Ocean


















portugal284The Miradouro do Sitio, aka the viewpoint - Nazare

















portugal275If you don't fancy a long wait you can walk up - Nazare


portugal290The other side of the promontory is the surfing side - Nazare




portugal292Some surfing deer dude - Nazare


















portugal294North Beach (Praia do Norte) was the location of the highest surfed wave in the world, at 24.38m, in November 2017. Wow! - Nazare



















portugal296But no, these aren't anywhere close to 24m! Only tiddlers when I was there.. - Nazare


portugal306This gives you an idea of what the waves can be like; and there's amazing photos of the lighthouse dwarfed by the Atlantic - Nazare




portugal305A seat with a view? Don't think so.. - Nazare


















portugal692Next up was a coach bus to Lisbon, from where I mixed up Lisbon with the nearby coast, this being Cascais, a welcoming beach resort only 40min west of the capital



portugal693There were quite a few people on the beaches but the numbers in bars and restaurants were suffering the coronavirus effect - Cascais




portugal694bIn the courtyard of the citadel - Cascais

















portugal695Past the citadel walls to the marina - Cascais


















portugal698Walk through the marina and you'll arrive at the lighthouse - Cascais


portugal700Next to the lighthouse is a lighthouse museum housed in an early 20th century whitewashed villa- Cascais





portugal699The creek between the lighthouse and marina - Cascais


















portugal703Starting in the west, the first beach in Cascais is Praia da Ribeira


















portugal705Fishing boats in the bay - Cascais



portugal712Praia da Rainha is a sheltered beach in the centre, just off the Rua Frederico Arouca pedestrian-only shopping/tourist street - Cascais




portugal715The beach has a small rocky section, where kids can probably do a bit of rockpooling - Cascais



















portugal716Praia da Rainha is edged by rocks, a look so familiar to beaches on the Algarve in the south - Cascais


















portugal724The main sweep of sand is Praia da Conceicao - Cascais




portugal573Sintra is a very popular mountain resort only 45min inland from Cascais and Lisbon

















portugal596 A bus leaves the train station and visits the main tourist sights scattered around, starting with the castle - Sintra


















portugal622The walls of the 8th-9th century Castelo dos Mouros - Sintra


portugal617The castle is situated at over 400m altitude and is a great place to take in the countryside below - Sintra



portugal609.. Though that's subject to the cloud, which at one point formed a complete blanket over the valley below - Sintra


















portugal629You can also take in Pena Palace from the castle, pictured left - Sintra


















portugal602Pena Palace is higher still, but it's a short distance between castle and palace entrances, very walkable in less than 30min. However with a day that's likely full of climbing hills and steps, you may want to take the bus or go downhill from palace to castle - Sintra


portugal606The royal Pena Palace dates back to the 19th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - Sintra




portugal635The very bright and colourful palace looks very inviting, the stuff of childrens' books - Sintra


















portugal641It's extremely popular, even during COVID times - Sintra


















portugal642Loving the brightness of this place, exacerbated under a blue sky - Sintra


portugal650You can take the bus directly from the train station to here, and if you're early (or late) enough possibly avoid the crowds, then visit the castle after and return to Sintra, all on the same bus ticket - Sintra





portugal656The back courtyard of the palace is great for views - Sintra



















portugal657The panoramic views are fantastic - Sintra



















portugal662Pena Palace is surrounded by Pena Park, and it's possible to buy tickets for the gardens and to see the palace from the outside, as I did (plus a sneak in the last room) - Sintra


portugal666There's also great views of the castle perched high above the plains below - Sintra




portugal676A short walk outside the town centre is Quinta da Regaleira, so no real need to buy a second bus ticket - Sintra


















portugal677A cute dog stands lakeside with the early 20th century palace in the background - Sintra



















portugal680The estate is dotted with grottoes, ponds, fountains, statues and the palace - Sintra


portugal578The two distinctive towers of the National Palace of Sintra, in the heart of Sintra




portugal590Much of the present buidling dates to the 15th century, though parts existed as far back as the 13th century - Sintra


















portugal582There's a small courtyard area surrounding the palace - Sintra



















portugal583If only it was that easy.. - Sintra


portugal584Not sure of the significance of these raised paintings, maybe depicting life of the time - Sintra




portugal585Below the palace is Praca da Republica - Sintra


















portugal684The castle rises above the town centre - Sintra



















portugal588Even the cows are masking up! These were outside all Ale Hop shops, a gift shop chain found in Portugal and Spain - Sintra


portugal591Praca da Republica is a square with a couple of cafes and shops, a good resting place between attractions - Sintra




portugal592Close to the square is a small maze of alleyways with souvenir shops and restaurants - Sintra

















portugal594The conical towers of the National Palace of Sintra - Sintra


















portugal730Returning to Cascais I headed towards Lisbon via the coastal promenade to another beach resort, that of nearby Estoril


portugal733The main beach of Estoril, only 2-3km from Cascais




portugal736Between Cascais and Estoril is what the Brits call a lido, like an open air ocean swimming pool - Estoril

















portugal737The rocky and built up coastline, dotted with beaches, continues to Lisbon - Estoril


















portugal739Sailing on a shimmering Atlantic Ocean - Estoril


portugal740Estoril is famous for its casino, though it looks a little forlorn these days




portugal402At the very western edge of the capital is the district of Belem - Lisbon


















portugal406I took the lift up what I thought was Belem Tower, but it was actually Padrao dos Descobrimentos, a monument honouring Henry the Navigator (pictured through the boats in the previous photo). Belem Tower is pictured here, overlooking the Tagus River - Lisbon

















portugal409Looking the opposite way, over the marina towards Lisbon and the 25 April Bridge - Lisbon


portugal398The 25 April Bridge spans the Tagus River to the Sanctuary of Christ the King, a statue of Christ with open arms. I think you can get a lift to the top for panoramic views - Lisbon





portugal411Presumably this fort at the mouth of the Tagus River, Forte de Sao Lourenco da Cabeca Seca, was built for defence purposes but now acts as a lighthouse - Lisbon


















portugal408A bird's eye view of Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery) a 16th century Gothic monastery - Lisbon


















portugal417You can wander inside Torre de Belem, aka Belem Tower - Lisbon


portugal419In October 2020 the upper levels were off-limits due to COVID - Lisbon




portugal422The 25 April Bridge, Tagus River and Sanctuary of Christ the King - Lisbon

















portugal439Though not always used, the 16th century salmon-coloured Belem Palace is the Portuguese president's official residence - Lisbon


















portugal442One of the most famous pastel da nata (custard tart) cafes is Pasteis de Belem, close to the monastery. It's so annoying that I'm allergic to them! But I had a gluten-free cake instead.. - Lisbon



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LINKS - guide to Cascais - Portuguese trains, buy tickets online

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


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


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