Road trips are my passion. Preferably railroad trips. Buses are fine, too. But trains are classier. There is no legendary Trans Siberian Bus, no illustrious Orient Coach, after all. Nope, legends on wheels are always trains.
And getting to Porto by train undoubtedly keeps the legend alive.
Let me guide you to Figueira da Foz, a charmingly old fashioned seaside resort. It is the epitome of a South European vacation destination, indeed.
For about ten years, I hadn’t been to a European beach. I was thinking that Asia or Latin America were the places to be(ach). Arriving at Figueira da Foz, about two hours south of Porto and the second stop on my rail-trip along the Portuguese west coast, I stood so corrected.
By the time I got to Lisbon, I was an expert on trains and train stations in Portugal. I definitely knew the drill.
What, on the other hand, I still didn’t really get – being such a flatlander from Hamburg – was that Portuguese cities are very hilly. That makes them beautiful and grants their visitors with stunning views. But for the arriving passenger, it’s quite a challenge.
Although I had just arrived in Portugal’s capital, I decided to go on a day trip to Sintra right away: It’s one of the most popular tours from Lisbon, it’s extremely touristy, and I was afraid that on the weekend, it would be even more packed since all the Portuguese daytrippers will join the foreign tourists.
Another very popular day trip from Lisbon is a short train ride to the very popular beaches of Estoril and Cascais. Albeit not really dreamy, especially on hot summer days, a day in these sophisticated retreats on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean can be the perfect break from Lisbon’s big city life.
If you spend more time in Estoril, you should stay away from the beach and go on a day trip to Sintra. Even by public transportation, this town of palaces is less than an hour away.
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