Portugal ~ Lisbon and Sintra

May 22nd – Lisbon and Sintra, Spain

Belem in Lisbon

Belem Tower in Lisbon

Today’s tour of Lisbon highlighted the variety of heritage and styles that makes this one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Starting with a walk through the cobbled alleys of Alfama, the seaman’s quarter and  a stroll along Liberdade Avenue. 

The colorful Alfama area populated with working class people

The colorful Alfama area populated with working class people

Wide boulevards and black and white cobbled walkways

Wide boulevards and black and white cobbled walkways

Green belts punctuated by marble statues

Green belts punctuated by marble statues

Our walking tour included a visit to the Jeronimos Monastery, the city’s most prominent monument and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jeronimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery

Today, the monastery serves as a reminder of Portugal’s wealth and power during the Age of Discovery. This is the site where the Treaty of Lisbon was signed, which would lay down the basis for the reform of the European Union. It also houses the remains of the explorer, Vasco da Gama.

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The treasured 16th century Belem Tower, or the Tower of St Vincent, is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tim and Joanne in front of Belem Tower

Tim and Joanne in front of Belem Tower

Then, on to the dramatic Monument of Discoveries, built in honor of Henry the Navigator, instrumental in the success of Portuguese explorations during the 15th century. His monument, stands majestically at the marina in Belem, starting point for many of the country’s explorers.


Monument of Discoveries

Henry the Explorer has the place of honor on the front

Prince Henry the Navigator has the place of honor on the front

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In the afternoon we chose to join the optional tour to quaint Sintra, the “Glorious Eden” of Lord Byron, and ancient summer retreat of the royal court, which is highlighted by lavish romantic castles and stunning monuments.

The cultural landscape of Sintra is what gained it a UNESCO rating.

What a charming town Sintra is!

What a charming town Sintra is!


Tile work decorates the sides of buildings


Sidewalk shops line the streets

Our tour of the interior of the Sintra Royal Palace, a 15th-century royal residence, containing one of the largest tile collections in Portugal, was a highlight of the afternoon.

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Overnight: Lisbon

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we got to visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites all in the same day. How full our days are when we travel with tour groups. It can be a little over-whelming and exhausting, but we certainly do maximize our time this way. I’m struggling to find a balance, but I know that recovering from a cold is making some days more of a challenge than normal. Thankfully the worst symptom have departed!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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16 Responses to Portugal ~ Lisbon and Sintra

  1. paperpopups says:

    Glad to hear you are getting better. -mine lasted a month- yikes.

    Drink some Gatoraide as it replenishes electrolites.


  2. I have only briefly been in Lisbon and I found the Monastery of St Jeronimos quite overwhelming. And if you have time the Palace of Queluz, just outside the centre, is beautiful. And if you have more time there is the Palace at Mafra!


  3. Asif Taiyabi says:

    Hi Joanne and Tim,

    It was a pleasure meeting both of you during our previous Vietnam/Cambodia trip and I vicariously followed your adventures in Morocco and now in Portugal. I have not visited either of those places (unlike my family) and are on my list of places to visit – looking for other travel companions to do it with !

    You take great pictures and I am learning from your many light and shadow compositions, please keep posting more – no such thing as too many pictures..

    Hope you are feeling better now..


    • Hello Asif! It is wonderful hearing from you. We especially enjoyed Morocco. It has some of the magic and color of Africa with a hint of mystery thrown in. Highly recommend the Gate 1 trip there. I also enjoyed Portugal, but with taking cold meds felt I did not get as much out of that portion of the trip. Thank you for your kind words regarding our photos. Travel photography has become such a fun hobby. Please give my regards to your family 😀


  4. ALICE GRATIAS says:


    Enjoying your travel adventures. Your pictures are wonderful. Glad you are feeling better.




  5. I went to Spain and Portugal six years ago on tour with the youth symphony I was in. Your beautiful photos make me want to go back so much! I don’t think I appreciate Portugal enough when I was there – the hotel was lackluster and half of the amenities were out of order, and unfortunately, I let that spoil my time there.

    Safe travels to you!!


    • Hi Kati, I hope you do have a chance to return some day. That is too bad that your hotel was not up to your expectations. I know that is one of the things we have had to learn about along our travels. We have had some excellent accommodations along with quite a few that were fair at best. Often we choose our lodging based on location. We love to be located in the heart of the old city (especially in Europe). That often equates to older properties, some of which are behind on their maintenance. In most cases, the convenience of being within walking distance of many main sites compensates for the lack of other perks.


  6. colinanddawn says:

    Enjoyed your post as we hope to tour Portugal in the autumn. An interesting read, thanks


  7. Mary Job says:

    Wooow…very beautiful city


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