Following our Silver Whisper cruise from Southampton to Lisbon, we stayed two nights at Altis Belem Hotel & Spa, a luxury hotel situated on the waterfront where we watched Silver Whisper sail away from Lisbon. Check out Silver Whisper Video: Departing Lisbon, Plus Details On Its World Cruise
On Saturday, we toured Lisbon with Mary Goudie, which we wrote about here Post Silver Whisper Cruise: Touring Lisbon With Mary & Rui (also see our video, A Taste of Lisbon).
The next day, we visited Sintra with friends we had met on Silver Whisper. There were seven of us in a Mercedes van operated by driver and guide Jorge Bras, who partners with another driver Joao Cardoso when things get busy. The cost was extremely reasonable, €200 for the day for the transportation and an excellent guide with a pleasant personality and a lot of knowledge.
What follows is our day in photos.
All along our drive, Jorge informed us about the sights we were seeing. His English was as impeccable as his knowledge. One thing that stuck out to me was how much of the world’s history originated in Portugal. Of course, name almost any seafaring explorer from the 15th and 16th centuries and they were likely from Portugal. Vasco de Gama for sure, and arguably, Christopher Columbus. Historians put him in Italy, Spain or Portugal.
Thick with spies during World War II, Estoril, between Cascais and Lisbon, inspired Ian Fleming to concoct James Bond.
I concluded by the end of the tour that Portugal is a place of beginnings.
We left Sintra and headed toward Cascais, stopping for lunch on the way at Meste Zé, overlooking the beaches at Guincho, where we looked out at Europe’s westernmost point.
A huge lunch for seven with a couple of bottles of refreshing Vinho Verde, the popular Portuguese wine, a healthy serving of Seafood Cataplana and this goes in the “you have to try it” category, Gilt Head Bream in Salt. In addition, there were appetizers, including fresh shrimp and Octopus salad. All for €279 or about €40 each, worth it for the experience alone. I mean, come on? Think of how much it costs to see a movie these days.
After lunch, we continued to Cascais for dessert, where the must-visit ice creamery is Santinis. It was easy to find. A line snaked out the door and down the sidewalk. From entering the back of the line to holding a cone of ice cream in my hand: about 30 minutes. Worth the wait? Absolutely.
All in all a great day of touring just a short distance from Lisbon. We highly recommend seeing Sintra & Cascais, and of course, don’t miss Lisbon itself. Plan on at least two days before or after your cruise, and even then, I predict that you will still feel that your time there was too short.