PORTO: Sergio and I were lucky to meet a native in Porto who showed us around his hometown and pointed us to two gay bars which we enjoyed getting visiting. The first gay bar, Conceição, is located not far from where we had dinner at Flow on Rua da Conceição. I would describe the place as a dive bar but it has a friendly crowd, the bartenders pour great drinks and it gets busy a bit earlier than the larger gay club, Lusitano (shown above), that was mostly empty when we arrived at 11:30PM, but started to fill up after Midnight.
LISBON: Lisbon is a much larger city than Porto and has many more options with most located in Bairro Alto and neighboring Principe Real. A pamphlet called “Lisbon Gay Circuit” is available at many clubs and show fifty different destinations that include clubs, saunas, food, services and accommodations.
Lisbon also has a wonderful all male guest house called The Late Birds that we stayed at and which I would encourage gay travelers to consider.
Upon arriving, the staff encourage you to download their own app called “The Late Birds Lisbon” (shown above), which makes getting around the city very easy. I’m amazed that larger hotel chains have not done this already, but that forward thinking, concierge-like service really defined the experience we enjoyed while staying there. Below are a few photos of our room and the property.If you have any questions about gay life in Portugal or would like to know more about The Late Birds, feel free to reach out to me. I’m happy to provide more details about places to check out when you visit.
If you have the opportunity to visit Libson, it makes sense to take a few day trips if time permits and after a lot of discussion Sergio and I spent time visiting Cascais and Sintra. The two locations could not be more different but both were easily accessible by the Lisbon metro (30-40 minute rides) that cost about 5 €.
Praia da Rainha – Cascais, Portugal
Cascais is a coastal town about 20 miles west of Lisbon that became a favorite destination of Portugal’s royal family in the late 1800s but is now an affluent suburb of Lisbon that is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and tourists. We spent our time walking through the small town and along the running / bike paths that hug the coastline and extend out from the town.
Sintra is another beautiful day trip from Lisbon probably best known for its many 19th-century romantic architectural monuments. We spent a day here when the temperature in Lisbon was close to 100°. Fortunately Sintra’s microclimate meant that we enjoyed a breeze and temperatures in the low to mid 80s, which was important because visiting Sintra = a leg workout.
After clearing customs in Lisbon we immediately flew up to Porto, Portugal which is an easy 45-minute flight north. We were lucky enough to befriend a local who was returning home and waiting for the same flight. His warm hospitality was an unexpected welcome to Portugal and he proved to be a wonderful tour guide for his hometown of Porto.
I had initially hesitated at the thought of visiting Porto, thinking it would be smarter to stay based in Lisbon and use the extra time to explore the capital or take more day trips, but I’m really glad I was persuaded to make the trip.
Porto is Portugal’s second largest city but it is easy to navigate and see in just a couple days. In addition to being incredibly picturesque, the city had a great vibe with some delicious restaurants like Flow and perhaps our favorite place was the outdoor bar, Base, which is located in Praca dos Clérigos also referred to as the Jardim das Oliveiras – Garden of Olives (shown in photograph below).
Earlier this month Sergio and I visited Portugal for the first (but not our last) time. The combination of a strong US dollar and the relative affordability of Portugal meant that we were able to enjoy the vacation for much less than travel to other parts of Europe. However, it wasn’t the fact that the country was so affordable that made the both of us fall in love with the country.
We found the Portuguese to be extremely friendly, the food & wine delicious and the sites breathtakingly romantic. On our whirlwind trip we flew into Lisbon then connected on a flight to Porto in the north of Portugal. After spending a few days there we took the train to Lisbon where we explored Portugal’s capital and took day trips to Sintra and Cascais. Below are a few photos from our trip.
Sergio is relaxing in an over sized bathtub at an outdoor bar called Base which was where we spent a bit of time each day enjoying the wine and views of the city. In the background is the tower for La iglesia de los Clérigos a Baroque style church and tower from which point you can see all of Porto.
An easy day trip from Lisbon is Sintra, a town that is best known for its 19th century romantic architectural monuments like the Pena Palace which resides atop a very steep hill and is a leg work out but worth every step.
Also an easy day trip from Lisbon is the affluent beach town Cascais. The town is known for its beaches, shopping and restaurants but we liked the dramatic coastline that became apparent if you took a short walk outside of the downtown area like this photo of Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth).
The time we spent in Lisbon passed too quickly. The capital city is both gritty and graceful with monuments and squares that remind travelers of the country’s proud past. The seven hills Lisbon was built upon are filled with ancient streets, breathtaking vistas and a vibe that is uniquely Lisbon and proudly Portuguese.
Last week the New York Times wrote a nice article about Boston’s neighbor, Cambridge, MA. While I might make different suggestions on what to do and experience, I thought this was a great article showcasing one of America’s oldest and most unique places to visit. If you are planning a trip to Boston, make time to cross the river and enjoy all that Cambridge has to offer.
Sure there are some restrictions, but if you’ve never been to Buenos Aires this may be all the incentive you need to visit this beautiful city.
The Points Guy blog has published a post detailing this amazing deal, which includes flying Aeromexico between September 2016 – March 2017 to snag an economy fare round trip for the jaw-dropping price of $349. Visit The Points Guy: Deal Alert Boston to Argentina for $349 RT for more information.
Sergio and I visited B.A. back in November 2004 and this deal is making me seriously consider another visit because I fell in love with Buenos Aires on that trip and would love to return. Below are a few photos from that trip.
Much thanks to the guys over at Hotties on the T! for sharing this news with me.