Discover the wacky, weird yet wonderful experiences that’ll make every aspect of your holiday to Portugal truly unique!
You’ll be amazed by the surreal yet stunning sights that await you in Portugal, with many pieces of paradise that are both delightfully puzzling and pretty to discover. Let me guide you through a thrilling journey of holiday possibilities for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are just extraordinary!
1. Will you be flabbergasted by the finest fast food phenomenon in the world?!
In Portugal’s Porto you’ll find what many claims as the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world, as it’s in an impressive building boasting art deco features, stained glass and chandeliers! Once known as the Imperial Café, the interior is incr-edible! Yes, you’ll find beauty and burgers belong in the same sentence here! (Rumour has it you can even buy a traditional Portuguese sweet custard tart, too!)
2. Can you finish the delicious doorstop of a dish: The Francesinha?!
Speaking of food, I’m hungry… Fancy this tasty traditional treat of Portugal called the Francesinha? This Portuguese mighty meaty sandwich, originally from Porto, is a melt in your mouth cheese festival of flavour! The secret spicy tomato and beer sauce that’s poured over the top is a tantalising taste you must try (amongst all that glorious gooey cheese!)
3. Cuppa violet volcanic tea in the Azores anyone?!
Admire the heavenly hydrangeas blooming their blue-purple petals beside the volcanic pools of the vast tea plantations at the island of São Miguel, one of the nine-island archipelago known as the Azores, off Portugal in the mid-Atlantic by Morocco. Cradle a cup of inspiring indigo coloured tea made by the volcanic hot springs here for a unique cuppa, also rich in minerals and antioxidants, that you won’t find anywhere else! It’s rather like a mesmerising magic trick as the green tea turns purple in a steamy chemical reaction… Extraordinary!
4. Forget the snow and why not try tobogganing the streets?!Take transport to a new level of fun and enjoy a thrilling toboggan ride in Monte down a 5km hill! Locals have been riding this way since 1890 and your wicker chariot comes with two men who use their rubber-soled boots as brakes! A once-in-a-lifetime way to travel.
5. Will the bizarre beauty of Benagil Cathedral take your breath away?!
This unique wonder in Portugal’s Carvoeiro Algarve is actually a giant sea cave like no other, reachable by boat trip. It’s a photographer’s dream to admire with your own eyes and capture through the lens for some unique holiday memories to show off… The hole in its roof is remarkable!
6. Will the shortest international bridge in the world make you hopping mad?!
With one hop you can cross from one country to the next across the smallest bridge in the world, barely at around 3 metres long, (or should I say short?!) “El Marco” bridge in Esperança will help you tick off another on your bucket list… Stepping foot in both Portugal and Spain in a matter of seconds is rather impressive!
7. Will your eyes deceive you looking at the unusual stone home in a rock face?!
Visit the small, surreal home called the ‘Stone House,’ or as the locals call it, Casa do Penedo, (or as it has been referred to by many as the Flintstone’s House!) Constructed between four gigantic boulder rocks, you will think your eyes are tricking you, but they really do provide structure for the walls and ceiling of the house (and create some peculiarly shaped rooms, no doubt!) Once inhabited as a home, it’s now a sweet museum and has even been in the Portuguese film, ‘Moon.’ Admire this bizarre but beautiful sight in the Fafe Mountains in the North Region of the Portuguese countryside, (but be sure to capture your picture with the fact the wacky windows, door and roof are NOT photoshopped!)
8. Dare to retrace footsteps at The Initiation Well in Sintra?!
Sintra’s mystical pair of wells spiral down 30 metres deep into what seems an underground obstacle course, but instead of collecting water, they once collected the brave men blindfolded but able to escape the challenging twists and turns, in order to join the Knights of Templar. Retrace the tentative footsteps of this traditional ritual in Portuguese history here at Quinta da Regaleira, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage landscape. You’ll see the beauty of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance architecture within what is described as an inverted tower. Just keep putting one step in front of the other to discover this mesmerising maze!
9. Are you curious enough to find the unusual rhinoceros gargoyle at the Tower of Belém?!
Another gem of rich Portuguese history is this iconic and fairytale-looking tower on the Tagus River in Lisbon which was once built to defend the city, then transformed into a lighthouse and is now a museum. Keep your eyes peeled on the western façade for a rhino… Now that’s not something you see every day, is it?!
10. Will this bizarre but beautiful sight make you blink twice?!
Take to the lake in the Serra da Estrela mountains to see a giant spillway hole that looks beautifully natural but I’ll let you into a secret… It’s amazingly a manmade funnel where water falls as part of a hydro-electric dam, the Covão dos Conchos. Another pretty fascinating beauty!
Now you have 10 wacky, weird yet wonderful reasons to visit Portugal for an extraordinary holiday of a lifetime, one that’s so spectacularly surreal you may believe on your flight home that you’re happily dreaming on cloud nine!
© Copyright Author Kathryn Glover Sunny Heart Travel Ltd. 2019 to present day. All rights reserved.
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