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6 years ago

City BreaksDESTINATIONSEurope

Cascais and the Lisbon Coast

Lisbon

Despite visiting Portugal on many occasions, I had never visited Lisbon until recently. I wanted a beach holiday but with the opportunity to do some sightseeing too – the Lisbon Coast has both in abundance.

 

I was really impressed by the Lisbon Coast as a holiday destination, it had something for everyone. I stayed in the beautiful village of Cascais which offered the best of both worlds. We enjoyed staying in a holiday resort, but within easy access to Lisbon. Lisbon is a great city to visit. It is so colourful, has a great food scene and there is an endless supply of sights to see.

things to do on the lisbon coast

 

Things to do in Lisbon

If you are on a city break and staying in Lisbon you may get to see all of the top attractions, but if like us you are staying along the Lisbon Coast, and day-tripping to Lisbon, it is impossible to see everything! I would recommend taking one of the old fashioned trams and doing a hop on hop off city tour, this will enable you to see as much as possible. If you want to go it alone, Tram 28 offers the best route to all the sights.

 
things to do on the lisbon coast
 

The city is quite spread out, but using the trams will allow you see the cultural centre of Belem, the Castelo de Sao Jorge and even climb the Cristo Rei: a huge statue of Christ where you can see views of the whole city. If you are travelling with children, the Aquarium is a must-see. It’s one of the worlds largest aquariums, and one that you could easily find yourself spending the day in!

Wondering where to stay in Lisbon? Read my top picks of 3, 4 & 5-Star Lisbon hotels here.

 

 

 

Things to do on The Lisbon Coast 

A visit to Sintra is one of the top attractions on the Lisbon Coast. Wander through the narrow streets and marvel at the architecture that dates back to the fifteenth century. It has numerous designated UNESCO world heritage sites, the most famous being the National Palace. I loved the lesser known Quinta de Regaleira, a mystical place, great for families with children, who can explore the many nooks and crannies in its wonderful gardens. There are underground tunnels, waterfalls and a magical castle. My son Luke (6) thought we were in middle earth and needless to say he thoroughly enjoyed it!
 
things to do on the lisbon coast
 

 

 
If, like us, you want to stay in a beach resort, there many to choose from. We chose Cascais and loved it. It is such a charming town, filled with quaint cobbled stone streets, some great shops, and a huge variety of restaurants to cater for every palate. I found a little gem hidden away from the main centre called 5 Sentidos, Casa do Largo, with typical Portugeese food that catered really well for all of us. There is a nice cove beach with a marina close by and plenty of larger beaches a few minutes drive from the centre too.
 

 

 

 

 
The beaches at Guincho are particularly impressive,  with huge waves and wide stretches of sandy beach. The train station is right in the centre of the town, with trains going every 20 minutes to Lisbon and the surrounding area.

Overall it was a great trip. It was not your typical family beach holiday, but that was part of the charm. When I think of the thousands of Irish visitors that travel to the Algarve each year, I enjoyed taking the path less travelled on, it made all the difference!
 

 

 

Wondering where to stay in Lisbon? Read my top picks of 3, 4 & 5-Star Lisbon hotels here.

 

Like city breaks? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

Travel

Glamping – What’s all the fuss about?

Glamping Sarah Slattery The Travel Expert

Being a travel agent, I love nothing more than jetting off to a hot climate and a sandy beach.

Every now and then, a new trend in travel appears. Some are short-lived whereas others seem to capture the imagination of everybody and anybody who tries it.

 

What is Glamping? | Grove Lane Glamping | Exploring Killarney | Stories by the Fire

I do like small breaks away in Ireland too or ‘mini breaks’ as my kids call them. They let you have a few days away without breaking the bank and without too much effort packing and planning! We decided to try ‘glamping‘. I felt that I should at least experience what so many other families were talking about and see if it really was different to traditional camping that we did as kids.

Glamping Sarah Slattery The Travel Expert

What is Glamping?

When I started my research I noticed that the word ‘glamping’ or glamorous camping which is the literal translation can really mean anything from a fancy tent with a mattress to a log cabin in the woods with flat screen TVs.  There are also traditional style camp sites with lots of facilities for kids, boating, playgrounds, even swimming pools that are categorised as glamping sites because they have facilities that regular camp sites don’t have. My first piece of advice is to find out what exactly you want from your glamping experience. Do you want kids facilities? Or comfortable log cabins? Maybe you fancy a luxury tent in peaceful surroundings?  Do you want to cook on an open fire and feel at one with nature? All good questions! I choose the latter. To me a log cabin with a tv is not camping and I really didn’t fancy hundreds of people squashed together in one of those glamping sites with slides, zip lines and go karts.

O'Connells 17

Grove Lane Glamping

I chose Grove Lane in Killarney, a small glamping site with only five bell tents and where they limit the number of families to two, so that its never over run with kids. It’s actually quite romantic and attracts a lot of couples too. There are some friendly resident horses and cats and plenty of things to keep the kids amused. The tents come with a comfortable double bed, camp beds for the kids and a hot stove which seems to heat up instantly so you never feel the cold. They also supply lots of board games, cards and toys that we played with as kids! ! There is an individual kitchen behind each tent complete with BBQ and plenty of utensils. The toilet facilities are only 10 meters from your tent, there is plenty of hot water and showers with good pressure which was a pleasant surprise.

Glamping Sarah Slattery The Travel Expert
guide waited in the boat to bring us back.  There is also the world renowned Muckross House and gardens and Torc Waterfall, suffice to say their are numerous attractions in Killarney to keep everyone amused. And if you choose to eat out there you will be spoilt for choice with typical Irish pubs in abundance, all of which have great menus and plenty of ‘craic’. I couldn’t resist Las Ramblas though, a lovely tapas restaurant just off the Main Street. The food was excellent and very reasonably priced. The kids loved the pasta with meatballs and we chose a selection of tapas which were all delicious.

Glamping Sarah Slattery The Travel Expert

Stories by the Fire

Although I enjoyed dining out, one of the highlights of the weekend was the fire pit in the woods. We cooked delicious steak on the bbq and toasted marshmallows (also provided) over the fire pit.  I really felt I was experiencing camping and with creature comforts. Huddled around the fire, we even found ourselves doing a spot of star gazing and telling ghost stories to the kids, it’s something that you would never imagine doing on a typical summer holiday. I must point out though that although I buy into the slogan ‘there is no place like Ireland when you get the weather’, Im not so sure I would have had the same experience in the rain! I would suggest booking in the summer months where you have the best possible chance of good weather, or alternatively leave it late to book so you can gauge the weather forecast.

Glamping Sarah Slattery The Travel Expert

Linda and Mike the owners, couldn’t be more friendly, it’s a very personal experience for them and you get the feeling that they really care about your time there. They want to be sure that you really make the most of it and are always available if you have any queries.

There is no Xbox! There is no wifi! It’s board games and playing cards, its really back to nature albeit with a touch of glamour! We really felt that we were away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.  When I asked my seven year old son what he enjoyed the most from the weekend he said ‘everything’ and I couldnt sum it up any better myself, its an experience that I would recommend to all families.

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

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