In Central and Eastern Europe, you’ll find some of the most spectacular landscapes, architecture—castles, churches and war memorials—as well as some of the most colorful, inviting cultures in the world. But what’s the best way to see it all? A river cruise down the Danube River, of course.
For tourists with a penchant for history, Portugal remains a very popular destination, with 17 UNESCO world heritage sites and thousands of years of history to discover. Whether you are spending time in the bustling metropolises or venturing further off the beaten track, there are plenty of prominent historic sites for you to discover right across the country. Here are 3 of the best places in Portugal for history lovers.
Since I’ve been to Lisbon more times than I can count (and lived there!), I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do that are a bit more off-the-beaten-path. I still recommend visiting all the popular sites like St George’s Castle, the Jeronimos Monastery, or wandering around the Alfama neighborhood, but here are my personal favorites if you have visited previously or like to get off the beaten path a little bit – or want suggestions for a rainy day!
Central Portugal is one of the most visited areas on day-trips from Lisbon, but it deserves much more than a cursory eight hour tour in just one day. History and church lovers will delight in visiting the monasteries, cathedrals, and castles that abound in this lush, beautiful area. If you’re interested in the history of the Knights Templar (and their Portuguese successors, the Order of Christ), this area is rife with locations built by/for the Templars – your imagination will sure to be inspired! I’ve visited this area more times than I can count, and there’s still something new to be discovered each time.
There is no better way than traveling by train, especially when there are so many options and routes and every route worth exploring. Some of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland are very easy to incorporate into your itinerary planning. Beyond their sharp punctuality, surplus scenic routes, friendly service, the Swiss rail system provides you with an amazing experience and panoramic views that you can’t get enough of.
Northern Portugal is a region that is perfect for travelers who are interested in adventure activities, winemaking, hot springs, and history. Here are my itinerary suggestions for this magical region of Portugal.
The Alentejo is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets, often referred to as “Tuscany before the tourists arrived.” You’ll fall in love with its rural scenery, farm to table cooking experiences, sweeping plains of olive groves and cork trees, horse riding on traditional ranches, and stays on gorgeous estates with wine-tasting, bird watching, hiking, and other activities included.
To help you figure out when to schedule your trip, I’d like to share a local perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of each season as well as some travel tips for that time of year. Here’s a summary of what each season offers, with more details and ideas for your itinerary below.
Summer is best for: beaches, watersports, festivals, and island hopping.
Fall is best for: land and water-based outdoor activities, national parks, sightseeing, and food tourism.
Winter is best for: holiday festivals, Carnival, winter sports, and spas.
Spring is best for: land-based outdoor activities, whitewater rafting, national parks, and sightseeing.
On an AmaWaterways river cruise, you’ll say goodbye to your standard routine and hello to outdoor activity, fine dining and relaxation. My goal is to match you to a luxurious but affordable vacation experience that is both comforting and adventurous.
Whenever I advise my travelers on choosing a river cruise, I pay special attention to their interests, such as art, culture, food, active or wellness programs, history, and destination wishlist. Do you want to spend more of your time in Switzerland, Germany or France? What about the Netherlands? Let’s take a closer look at some destinations on the Rhine River and you’ll see why my clients keep coming back for more.