Well it’s been a quick sec, sorry, it’s all because I’ve been traveling the European lands of Portugal, and quite obviously don’t know how to multitask. But I’m sure you forgive me.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of traveling to Portugal with a bunch of kick ass chicks and my fav Air Transat. To be honest I’d never even thought of going to Portugal, it wasn’t on my list! I am incredibly ashamed by this, because Portugal is now on the top of my fav places EVER… haha figures. So I would like to take a quick second, or 27 words to be exact, to obrigado Air Transat for giving me the opportunity to open my eyes and my mind to endless adventures.
Now I won’t bore you too much here, as I know you’ve heard it all before. But for my love of it and for your refreshment of information… here is all you need to know about Club Class.
- Express Check-In & Priority Boarding
VIP BABY! There is no better feeling than getting to the airport and walking straight up to the check in counter. Literally check-in lasts a total of 5 mins! Oh and priority boarding, goodbye commotion and long lines just to get on the plane. I get first dibs, which gives me more time to watch the Real
Did you just say carry on and TWO checked bags?!! Heck yeah I did. No need to fret about what to pack, bring your whole closet! Why not? I sure did haha.
There is an endless list of perks when flying Club Class, and if the above wasn’t enough here is a couple of extras to make your journey a heck of a lot more comfortable.
1. Welcome cocktail
2. Comfort Kit
3. Complimentary snacks and beverages
4. Gourmet meals by Daniel Vézina
5. Spacious reclinable seats
So now we are sat comfortably in our Air Transat Club Class seats let’s get to the meat of the story, PORTUGAL!
During our week long excursion we stayed in a variety of hotels scattered across Portugals South-Western coastal region.
Located in the quaint town of Estoril stands this five star beauty. Built in 1930s Palacio Estoril has hosted some of the most important people and can even be recognized the location for starring in the James Bond. I am a HUGE James Bond fan, so I kind of fan girled at this fact. But most importantly the rooms are comfy and relaxing, I even had a view of the Atlantic Ocean from my balcony. This was a beautiful spot to sit with my cup of green tea while I watched the sunset.
The Vidamar Resort in the Algarve was the perfect little treat in our jam packed schedule. Welcoming to couples and families alike. Close enough to the hustle and bustle of Albuferia but far enough to get some much needed R&R. The pool had my name all over it. Its rooms were light and airy and were equipped with everything I needed. The grounds were lush and spacious. I started my days here with a romantic solo sunrise walk along the beach before meeting the girls at the properties extensive breakfast buffet.
Not only is this place a must stay, but it’s also a must see. This National monument is located in an area of Lisbon known as Alto Santo Amaro. As a member of the ‘Leading Hotels In The World’ you know you are destined for a more than fabulous stay. This National Landmark has been home to the likes of David Beckham and Madonna (she actually lived there for 6 months!)… anything good enough for them is more than good enough for me, I also have to admit I totally touched the beds they slept in (no shame in my game). This late 19th Century beauty was formally the home of Marquis Of Valle Flôr… yep he was mad ballin. Fit with a pool, humongous grounds and even a chapel! It opened as a hotel in 2001 with two new wings and 193 beautifully decorated rooms.
Although we didn’t get the opportunity to stay in these next hotels, we did get to tour them and they were all just too gorgeous for me not to mention. So as a little bonus here they are…
There is so much to do and see in Portugal, from land to sea whatever your fancy Portugal’s got it.
- Town Of Sintra
The town of Sintra is a must. Full of colourful charm it is the home of numerous palaces and castles, such as Pena Palace (A colour hunting lover like me will find this heavenly), Castle Of Moors, and Monserrate Palace. It also happens to be incredibly Instagrammable! Trust me.
- Cabo da Roca
Technically still in Sintra, this is also is, you guessed it, a must. Head to the light house and check out the views of mainland Europes westernmost point. In fact until the 14th century it was believed to be the edge of the world. Hah I’m full of knowledge, forget the encyclopedia. But just a quick note it’s really windy up there so make sure you bring a sweater to stay warm.
You can’t come to Portugal and not go to a winery. I am so happy we were able to go to Casa de Santa Vitoria winery, not only are the Santa Vitoria wines delish, I am also obsessed with their winemaker Patricia Peixoto. She is an all female powerhouse working a job that until recently wasn’t available for women. The winery is located on the sprawling grounds of Hotel Vila Galé Clube De Campo, which are BEAUTIFUL. We even enjoyed ‘cata de vino’ which is a Portuguese wine tasting with lunch in the cellars amongst the barrels of aging wines.
- Boat Tour
When in the Algarve, a boat tour is a MUST! You really don’t have any idea how beautiful and sprawling the coast is until your on the water. Dream Wave Algarve did an incredible job of showcasing just that. We toured the coast, flying above the waves. Although, we weren’t the luckiest with weather that day, it was still unbelievable. We even saw dolphins!!! WILD FREAKING DOLPHINS. I may or may not have cried at this… hey don’t make fun, it was magical.
- Jeep Tour
From sea to land. Hoping in a jeep is another great way to explore. There is so much to see and do in the Algarves, that heading off road and into the rural areas allows you to see it all. We laughed, giggled and maybe even peed our pants as our tour guides from Extremo Ambiante bounced us around, up the hills to see the views below and back down again to a small town where we got to try locally made honey and jams as well Medronho, a very potent Portuguese liquor. If you haven’t seen my instastories of this tasting yet, stop here and go to my Portugal highlights (@filipajackson), the faces of us trying it are hilarious.
- Hop On – Hop Off bus
When you’re in Lisbon a hop on – hop off tour bus is a must. Gray Line tours shows you everything Lisbon has to offer, from Estádio da Luz stadium to the Belém quarter. All while storytelling the history of all you pass. Our fav spots to jump off and walk around during this tour was in Belém, it’s such a lovely place to walk around and take pics… especially at the Belém tower.
- Pastéis de Belém
This place better be at the top of your list. Known for their pastel de nata, this place has been open since 1837! They are the real deal. I was offered so many pastel de nata on this trip, however I held out for Pastéis de Belém. Oh boy was I glad I did… these thing were delish!!!
Alfama is a must do. Get lost on the higgledy piggledy cobbled stoned streets of the Alfama District of Lisbon. While you’re there take a tour of St. Jorge Castle, it boasts some pretty epic views. We even grabbed a vinho verde from the ‘Wine With A View’ cart (ummm take note Canada this is revolutionary), and watched the sunset over the city.
Going to Lisbon without seeing a Fado show is like going to Italy and not eating pizza… it’s just not right! We checked out an incredible show at Chiado, but there are so many nightly shows scattered across town… especially in the Alfama district.
- LX Factory
If you’re from the Toronto area you will understand what I mean when I mention the Distillery District, well the LX Factory is a little bit like this… BUT BETTER! Eat, shop, and play all in one historically beautiful area.
- Time Out Market
So many of you guys messaged me and told me I HAD to go to Time Out Market, and well thank you for telling me to do so. Although, this could also fit under the category of EAT, even if you’re not hungry I think you gotta check this place out. As soon as you walk into this bustling market you are greeted by the scent of delicious eats and treats. I’ve even heard that this place becomes a concert venue some nights too, oh man it would be awesome to see a show there.
Like I said there is so much to do in Portugal and I’ve just scraped the top, if you have time be sure to also check out…
The National Tile Museum, Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha, Mercado de Campo de Ourique, Loreto Underground Gallery.
Food for me really brings the whole trip together. In order to immerse myself into the culture I have to see, smell, and taste. Portugal was amazing for really great food. There was so much that if I go through them all then this would need to be a completely separate blog post. So for the purpose of saving time, and my poor fingers (from typing) here are a few of my favs.
For a great dinner and an incredible view of the city this is where you need to be. I can’t rave about it enough. Before demolishing a three course dinner of scrumptious delights, we checked out their rooftop bar for some pre dinner drinks… add this to your list!
If you know me, then you know I’m a sucker for brunch. Dear Breakfast was the cutest little place in Lisbon, nestled amongst gorgeous quaint buildings and cobbled stoned streets. Totally recommend the avocado toast at this one.
- Park Bar
Ok so to be honest with this one I can’t really chat about the food because I didn’t have any. For this stop it was all about drinks and views. It also has a crazy cool location. Placed on the rooftop of a parking lot… yep a parking lot, you can drink, dine and watch the sun go down over the city.
If you’re looking for a place for a cheap breakfast then this is it! With avocado toast for €5 you seriously can’t go wrong.
This quirky and quaint location was one of my favs. As soon as you walk in you know you’re going to have a great time. The candles are all lit, the smell of delicious eats envelop the room, and the decor is warm and welcoming. Haha it sounds like I am writing a romantic novel, but it’s true O Patio is such a beautiful restaurant and a great place for a date night.
Also check out:
Our seven night trip to Portugal with Air Transat was incredible. It was so incredible that Sameer actually flew over to meet me for a few days. I showed him all the beauty I had seen before, the second time around, still leaving me in awe. I was so sad to leave this beautiful country, but happy to know I had found a new place to love. A place to come back to. I promise that you will fall in love with Portugal as much as I did.
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This incredible Portugal trip was all thanks to Air Transat. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.