Simply Sintra

What if we told you that there is a magical place with lavish green hills covered in flowers and dotted with countless old palaces and castles? This place really exist in Portugal and it is called Sintra. This is not a fairy tale and you should check it out yourself. So keep saving your vacation days and for now you can see beautiful Sintra here!

Sintra is a small touristy town near Lisbon. Going to Sintra from Lisbon by train only takes 50 min and it is an easy day trip.  There is a lot to see in Sintra, so you have to decide how packed  you want your day/days to be. The Tipsy Gypsies visited Sintra two days in a row and this is what we saw:


The Moorish Castle

This medieval castle constructed by the Moors dates back to the 8th and 9th Century. The castle is situated on top of a hill and it served as a defensive fort for the surrounding agricultural population. It is mostly ruins nowadays, but you can imagine what it was like during the days of old. The castle has amazing walls that look like tiny replicas of the "Great Wall of China".

Pena Palace

Pena Palace built in the Middle ages was originally a quiet monastery occupied by a few monks. The monastery was destroyed in the 18th century, first by lightning and then by an earthquake before crumbling into ruins. It was King Ferdinand II, who finally decided to purchase the monastery and turned it into what it is today, a magnificent palace. 

The interior of the Pena Palace is extremely well preserved and you should definitely see it. Each room has the beautifully intricate ceilings and arches. 

...and below are some details of the furnishings. 

Once you are done with Pena Palace you should walk around the nearby park. One of our favorites was the mini "castle" floating on a lake full of fish and ducks. 

Quinta de la Regaleira

This is a very romantic site with a majestic palace, impressive gardens where you can find hidden grottoes, wells and benches to rest. The whole estate is full of symbols related to alchemy, Masonry and Knights Templar. 

The chapel is another beautiful architectural statement worth visiting in the park. The interior is very well preserved with frescos and paintings that adorn the walls. The stained glass windows are best to see when the sun is setting and the colorful lights change the mood of the interior. Even though this is a Roman Catholic chapel this place is full of non religious symbols like pentagrams and "the all seeing eye". These symbols mean that people can be spiritual and enlightened at the same time.

The best part of the Quinta da Regaleira is you can spend hours walking around the huge property, learning about the symbols and finding hidden tunnels. You really feel like a happy child running around playing. 

One of the most popular and fascinating places to visit in the park is the Initiation Well. This well is 27 meters deep and it was build in the form of a spiral staircase with small landings. The number of steps is connected to Tarot mysticism.  Like everything else in the park this well for designed for ceremonies like Tarot and never served as a water well. 

There is another smaller well on the Quinta de la Regaleira estate which is worth visiting. This the "Unfinished Well". 

The Tipsy Gypsies loved Sintra and we hope we convinced to you visit this magical place. Let us know if you have any questions!


Lisbon is simply sensational. Whether you are a foodie, music and art lover, or someone who just likes to wander, this city has something for everybody.  Here are 10 things The Tipsy Gypsies loved most about Lisbon.

1. The Streets of Lisbon

Colorful alley ways with small stoops and painted doors. When you walk through the small windy streets you will be constantly amazed by what's around the corner.

2. The Tiles

Portugal is known for its production of the most amazing ceramics in the world. Many old exterior buildings are covered with these beautiful and colorful tiles. Tile making is still considered a very prestigious job and the artists spends decades perfecting their craft.

While walking through the city we stumbled into a small tile studio.  The artist/owner welcomed us in to watch her process.

Tile Shop and Studio: Cristina Pina



3. Transportation

When you visit Lisbon make sure you ride the famous graffiti covered tram Elevador da Glória (picture below) or the historic Tram 28.

4. Pastel De Nata

This egg tart pastry is the most popular dessert in Portugal. They are perfectly golden-yellow in color, with a crunchy outside and soft buttery center. If you can, try to get a fresh warm Pastel de Nate straight form the oven. Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee. 

5. Sidewalk cafes

Summers in Lisbon are beautiful. The trees are green and the flowers are blooming. The city is buzzing with tourists from all over the world. It seems like every street and ally is decorated with colorful garlands or some sort of artwork. Endless cafes and restaurants fill the city with menus and smells that you can't resist. Sitting in a charming side walk cafe while sipping on chilled sangria is a nice way to take a short break from exploring. 

6. Time Out Market

This is probably the best spot in Lisbon to meet friends for lunch and drinks. The Time Out market brings the best chefs from the city together to deliver gourmet food without the stiff attitude of high-end restaurants. This place has communal tables and a fun atmosphere. Even the most picky eaters can find something delicious to eat here.

7. Bifana Sandwich

One of the best and cheapest things to eat in Lisbon. Bifana is a simple pork sandwich served with mustard and chili oil. At a cost of about $1.50 you should have enough change left over to wash it down with an ice cold beer. And you know it's damn good if Anthony Bourdain says he can't get enough of them.

Where to eat it: O Trevo restuarant

Address: Praca Luis de Camoes 48, Lisbon

8. Fado Music

Fado is more than just music for the Portuguese people. It's been referred to as the Portuguese blues. It's tragic, it's emotional and even if you don't understand the words you will feel it. The best place to eat some hot, flaming sausage and listen to live fado singers is A Tasca de Chico. Make sure to make a reservation. This place gets crazy crowded. 

Where: A Tasca do Chico                                                                                                        Address: R. do Diario de Noticias 39, 1200-333 Lisbon, Portugal

9. Ginjinha

A cheery liquor served in a regular or chocolate shot glass. Need we say anymore? If so, click here

10. People

Portuguese people are the most friendly and open folks you will ever meet when traveling. The Tipsy Gypsies believe this country is beautiful not only because of the scenery but the people's hospitality. Btw, this man's real name was Casanova and he lived up to it too!!!



Portugal shares two things with Spain: one is a border, the second is wine. Other than that, these countries have more differences than you might think.


After spending a week in Barcelona, we flew into the small, charming, coastal city in Portugal, simply called Porto. Now you probably have heard the word "port" before. Port is also the name of a wine that comes from this region of Portugal, and like every good story, ours starts with wine.



We are not wine experts, but we sure do like to drink, and when it comes to wine, Portugal has some of the best wines in the world.

Porto is famous for port wine (red or white, sweet dessert wine) which is delicious , but you should also try Vinho verde (fresh white wine, low in alcohol, which is a bummer but it's still delicious!). Porto blends of Vinho verde: rosé or red, are also very good! 

Plus, wine is almost as cheap as water here. You can get a very good bottle of wine at a store for about 3 euros. So drink wine all day long!

Nothing like a bottle of vinho tinto while waiting for your train :)

Nothing like a bottle of vinho tinto while waiting for your train :)

CITY: Porto

What to do, see, and eat 

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Porto is full of old historical buildings and museums, which are very easy to find on Trip Advisor or similar websites. We have some great off the beaten path tips to share with you but before we get to that, here are some of the more obvious activities that we actually loved:

The "hop-on, hop-off" tour bus is a really good deal. You can get a 2 day pass for 15 euros. The bus will take you to the most iconic places, and if you are planning on spending a day at the beach the bus stops there too. We found it to be more cost effective than buying public bus tickets to all these places. 

  • Ingreja do Carmo - an incredible Rococo style church built in the XVIII century. The entrance is free. 
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  • Igreja dos Clerigos church - free entrance to visit the church. For about 3 euros you can climb the tower Torre dos Clerigos to see the view of the city 
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  • Serralves museum - the entry is kind of expensive, about 10 euros/per person, but it is really worth visiting. It's an impressive museum with modern art, some provocative art installations and beautiful gardens surrounding the premises. If you can, plan to spend the whole day at the museum and the park. The park is huge, with many gardens and shaded areas to sit down and have lunch. It's a great spot for wine drinking and a picnic!

Our favorite part of the museum was the art installation made by kids on the second floor. The subject was "Body Images, and what role it plays in our society". It is absolutely brilliant and moving to see what these kid-artists came up with and hopefully we all learn from them that body is only what carries your soul.

The Serralves gardens

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  • Bairro Herculano

This is the more "off the beaten path" guide to Porto.

Walk to the little district of Porto, called Bairro Herculano. This is a non-touristy area with cute, little houses, that were built between 1880 and 1886, originally for the working class. These two-story dwellings, were designed with communal restrooms, showers and an outdoor laundry facility, where women used to wash clothes. At that time these houses were considered very luxurious compared to the rest of the working suburbs.

This is a great neighborhood with amazing photo opportunities. If you visit Bairro Herculano, just be mindful and respectful. People who live in this quiet neighborhood, are not used to seeing many tourists wandering through the streets.


When you are done in Barrio Herculano cross the Ponto Do Infante bridge to see the spectacular view of the city and walk over to the other side of Porto. You will find yourself walking on a small road Cabo Simao, along the Duro river. There is a really cool abandoned church and Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, with more spectacular views of the city.

  • Afurada Village

Afurada is a small fishing village about 4 km (one way) from the D. Luís Bridge. It's a bit of a walk,  but this is where you can get the best fish in town and a big carafe of chilled vinho verde. The prices are much better than in the center of Porto. Along the way, you can see the locals literally fishing their dinner in the river. Afurada is very authentic and you won't find many tourists here. There is also another public laundry facility here, that is sill very much in use by the local gals.

If you don't feel like walking back to Porto, you can take bus #14 that will drop you off near the D. Luis Bridge.

TIP: You can also rent bikes near the Trindade Metro station if you'd like to cruise here by bike!


 Francesinha is a dish made with bread, loaded with meats, covered with melted cheese and topped with spicy tomato sauce and served with french fries. OMG!!

What you don't want to miss in Porto is the famous "Francesinha" dish. You will see that every restaurant in Porto serves it. Francesinha is EVERYWHERE!! We thought we could get it in other parts of Portugal too. Well, it turns out that Francesinha originally comes from Porto and it is hard to find an authentic one in other cities. Apparently, the secret is in the sauce and even Portuguese will tell you that the best Francesinha is in Porto. So make sure to try one before leaving!!




Food in Afurada Village

We had a lovely lunch at Casa do F.C Port. Fried fish and a vegan lunch: potatoes drenched with olive oil and garlic plus fresh tomato salad. We drank vinho verde and cold beers. It was a perfection!

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lunch at Casa do FCPorto

lunch at Casa do FCPorto

Casa do F.C Porto, address: R. Antonio dos Santos 90, Sao Pedro da Afurada, Portugal

An evening in Miramar near Porto

OK, so this is technically a bit outside of Porto, but we highly recommend that you take the local train to Miramar, where you can watch the sunset on a beach. There is also a beautiful old chapel on the beach over there. The sunset was breath taking. Just don't forget to bring a bottle of wine!

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The Tipsy Gypsies would like to thank our Airbnb host Dorta Woicka who shared some of these of the beaten path places.

Looking for more inspiring ideas for Porto? Check out this article from our friends at The Crazy Tourist!