Real Honeymoon: Portugal

My friends Shannon and Eric recently went on an incredible honeymoon in Portugal.  I’ve been hounding Shannon for details for weeks because I’m hoping to go to Portugal myself next summer.  Read her responses to my questions below, and if you want to see more, check out this blog post, too.

When and where did you honeymoon?

We traveled throughout Portugal in the month of August.

How long was your trip?

16 days.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We wanted to go somewhere (1) where we both had never been, (2) with good weather at the time of our travels, and (3) that could provide us with both adventure and relaxation.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

being together and not at work! And the food!

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

We traveled through Portugal by car which worked out well, but was slightly stressful because in the event of an emergency we did not have a phone.  We were surprised to learn that our smartphones would not work in Portugal.  Rather than chance it, I would have picked up a phone at the airport for peace of mind.

Also, our itinerary was fly into Lisbon (3 nights), drive to Porto (2 night), drive to Douro Valley (2 nights), drive to Montemor-o-Novo/Evora (2 nights), drive to Algarve/Portimao (4 nights), drive to Sintra/Cascais (1 night), fly out of Lisbon.  If we could do it all over again I would have stayed less nights in the Algarve since at this time of the year the beaches are crowded and accommodations are overpriced.  Or in the alternative, I would have stayed in a less high traffic town and spent the extra money on a boat trip or other daytime adventure as opposed to overpriced accommodations. We also learned the hard way that there is only one non-stop flight to Portugal from LAX a day so book your tickets early to avoid our mistake of multiple layovers.

How much planning did you do in advance?

We had help from a travel agent for booking our accommodations and some restaurant reservations which took away some of the stress of planning a trip, but when it comes to traveling I like to be in control so we definitely spent many hours pouring over our travel books.  We started making reservations around 2-3 months before, and spent some time as the trip got closer figuring out which towns to stop at along our drives, and what specific things we wanted to be sure not to miss.

What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

Generally, our hotels – we wanted to be comfortable and well taken care of!  More specifically, dinner at a 2-star Michelin restaurant in the Algarve called Vila Joya (which sadly was overrated).

Where do you want to go on your next big trip? 

Scandinavia, Africa, anywhere!

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