Portugal has a thriving design scene. The country breathes architecture. From teahouses on the rocks to world-renowned buildings, this experience trip is all about culture and creativity.
Your design trip starts at the Tagus River, in Lisbon. A city bursting with architectural projects. Like the Parque das Nações, the site of the World Expo that has become a truly futuristic city. The site is home to, for instance, Portugal's first Design Museum, and the new white ceramic tile-covered Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (MAAT).
Via Cascais and the beautiful south coast, you land in Sintra, with its fairy-tale palaces and extravagant villas in the middle of a fabulous setting. The whole area has since been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. On to Coimbra, the city of art and literature, with its famous cathedral, ancient university and brand-worthy underground corridor system from Roman times.
Still on your must-see list: the Vista Alegre showroom, one of the world's most prestigious porcelain factories, and Porto's impressive modern art and architecture. By the way, the city's many wine cellars and trendy restaurants are the perfect place to raise a toast to such beauty.
Day 1 : Departure to Lisbon
It's finally time to head off to your dream destination. You will travel by taxi or public transport to the centre of Lisbon. You will then stay two nights in one of our beautiful hotels.
Day 2 : Lisbon
Lisbon today is more contemporary than ever, thanks to numerous architectural projects led by world-renowned architects. Besides the old town, the Parque das Nações on the Tagus River is a must-see. The former site of the World Expo has become a futuristic city, with highlights such as the Oceanário, designed by American architect Peter Chermayeff, and the Pavilhão do Portugal, designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. The Centro Cultural de Belém, founded by architects Vittorio Gregotti and Manuel Salgado, houses, for instance, Portugal's first Design Museum. The collection is owed to Francisco Capelo, a collector who spent 30 years amassing a precious collection of more than a thousand objects from all over the world. A recent addition is the Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (MAAT), which opened in late 2016 and was designed by British architect Amanda Levete. The building invites visitors to walk under and through it and is covered in white ceramic tiles, a modern version of the typical Portuguese azulejos.
Day 3 : Lisbon - Costa de Lisboa
You continue your visit to Lisbon. Then you will pick up your rental car and leave for Cascais, where you will stay at Hotel Farol for 2 nights. You can already get a taste of Cascais.
Day 4 : Costa de Lisboa
A special landmark in Cascais is the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Designed by architect Eduardo Souto Moura, the building covers an area of 750 m² and houses exhibition rooms, an auditorium, a cafeteria, a terrace, a garden and a shop selling original objects. The collection includes a private collection of the artist Paula Rego, with paintings and drawings from different periods of her 50-year career. You can also explore Lisbon's southern coast, highlighting Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe. From here, at about 150 metres above sea level, you can enjoy stunning views of the Serra de Sintra mountain range and the coast, making a visit to this cape well worthwhile. Also don't forget to visit Sintra, with its fairytale palaces and extravagant villas, amidst enchanting nature with breathtaking views. The area was originally already used as a sanctuary by the Romans, and later the Moors built a castle on the mountain there. It later became the summer residence of Portuguese kings and wealthy aristocrats. Because of its location and extraordinary architectural gems, the whole area is now a World Heritage Site.
Day 5 : Fátima - Coïmbra
Via excellent roads, with a possible stop in Fátima, which is often visited by architecture lovers because of its modern Basilica da Santíssima Trindade, you reach Coïmbra.
Day 6 : Coïmbra
Coïmbra is known as the city of art and literature, with its famous cathedral and old university. Art lovers should definitely visit the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, located in the former episcopal palace, where mainly sculptures are on display. You can also admire ancient statues, tombstones and Visigothic art in the Criptoportico de Aeminium, a remarkable underground corridor system from Roman times. After so much art and culture, it might be refreshing to stroll in the beautiful 16th-century gardens surrounding the museum or along the banks of the Mondego River in the lower town.
Day 7 : Ílhavo - Porto
In Ílhavo, visit the museum and showroom of Vista Alegre, one of the world's most prestigious porcelain factories with contemporary designs as well. You will then continue via Valega, with its typical church whose façade is completely covered in colourful azulejos, towards Porto, where you will stay two nights in a hotel of your choice.
Day 8 : Porto
Art lovers should not miss the ambitious Serralves Museum, designed by famous Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. With its collection of modern art, clean lines and sprawling parks, the museum will appeal to any art and architecture lover. Another interesting contemporary architecture is the Casa da Música, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Don't forget to visit one of Porto's many wine cellars and trendy restaurants. You can choose from a wide range of wineries and storage cellars, including big names such as Taylors, Sandeman and Ramos Pinto. The imposing steel bridge, Ponte Dom Luis I, built by a Belgian pupil of Gustave Eiffel, connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia and is one of the city's symbols.
Day 9 : Going home
Unfortunately, your trip has come to an end. You'll hand in your rental car at Porto airport and fly back home full of wonderful memories. You can also choose to extend your stay in the Douro region. Feel free to contact us for this!
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