My Overall Experience in Europe!
Well, it's sad when a trip has to come to an end. It was an incredible month in Portugal with Justin's family. Travelling with your partner is an amazing experience, really.
If you haven't heard of Viana Do Castelo, it's about 45 minutes north of Porto, and is a culturally-rich city with so much to see! During our time in the area, we also visited Braga, Ancora, Peneda-Geres, Ponte De Lima, and more! The thing about Viana is that it's more "old-school" than the big cities. It is quiet, simple, and beautiful.
First stop: The Beach
The best part about where we were staying was that we were right along the coast. The house literally looked out into the ocean, and it took 10 minutes to walk straight down to the beach. Talk about perfect! There is a path that walks along the beach, from about Porto, Portugal to Spain currently. Every morning when we would go to the beach, you would see backpackers and hikers walking the trail, from all over the world. Such a spectacular way to see such a beautiful country. If I was that fit, I would do it too! Maybe next time, haha.
Along the trail, there's a beautiful look-off point. It leads out to a pile of large rocks at the top of a big hill right along the coast. It gives a beautiful view of the ocean, beach, and mountains in behind. Justin and I would often drive the electric bikes to the beach and stop here to enjoy the view.
Next Stop: Exploring Viana Do Costelo
Downtown Viana is a busy place! There are many cute shops, a shopping mall, cafe's, a train station, the coast, and a beautiful cathedral at the top of the mountain. That would be Santa Luzia. It's a gorgeous church with the most intricate designs. We actually visited it at night this time, (slightly creepy), but it looked so beautiful all lit up in the night.
Right by where we were staying, there was lighthouse. We actually took a tour to the top of the lighthouse and you could see the whole city from there. We also rode the electric bike to the top of the mountain to watch the sunset. It was the coolest experience because as we were driving down the road, we saw about 30 wild horses! Such a beautiful sight.
Last Stop: Braga & Ponte De Lima (The oldest village in Portugal)
Braga is another busy city, with lots to do and see. We were only there for a little bit, but had to stop at one of my favourite places - Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro. This church overlooks the city of Braga, and is so architecturally beautiful. I couldn't resist coming back to enjoy the view. While in Braga, we also ate at the cutest vegan place! It was delicious, and I'm so glad we found it. There aren't many vegan places in Portugal (yet, it's growing). To find this restaurant, I used the app "Happy Cow" which lists all the vegan/vegetarian places in your location when you travel! How cool!
Ponte De Lima is another place we spent an afternoon. I've visited before, but only at night, so it was nice to visit during the day. The best part is the canopy of trees. So romantic, and right along the water.
Justin and I had a wonderful vacation. It was so great to spend time together in such a beautiful place. Even though this is my second time in Portugal, everything was just as or more beautiful than the last time. I love this country and if you haven't visited yet, mark this down on your bucket list! You will absolutely love every minute of it.