Top 5 Pet-Friendly Hotels in Portugal

When you have a pet it can be complicated to decide on a whim to go for a long holiday or even for a little weekend break. That’s why I’ve decided to make a list of some of my favourite pet-friendly hotels in Portugal. Start planning your next trip with your little furry friend with some of these suggestions.

1. Novotel Porto Gaia

Pet Friendly Hotel
Pet-Friendly Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia

Enjoy all that Porto has to offer without leaving your pet behind. Novotel Porto Gaia is also great for an escape with your children, there’s a video game area, indoor and outdoor playgrounds and also two swimming pools. Oh and in case you’re still wondering if you should make a booking, in the summer the hotel hosts barbecue parties by the pool, how awesome is that?

If you book your stay at Novotel Porto Gaia¬†today, you can get a room for 5 nights for ‚ā¨344.

Book it now before the prices increase or save the link and make the decision later.

2. Topazio Mar Beach Hotel & Apartments

Pet-friendly hotel in Albufeira
Pet-Friendly Hotel in Albufeira

Summer has been very shy this year but there’s bound to be some sunny spells, so pack up your bags, pick up your treasured pooch and head to the Algarve. At Topazio Mar Beach Hotel & Apartments in Albufeira, you can enjoy some sunny days by the pool with your 4 legged friends by your side. Book today and pay only ‚ā¨166 for 5 days.

Book it now before the prices increase or save the link and make the decision later.

3. The Noble House in √Čvora

noble house.jpg
Pet-Friendly Hotel in √Čvora

I love going to √Čvora, it’s close to Lisbon, only an hour and a half away by car, it’s full of history, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site, it’s a lovely university town with many bars to explore and amazing Alentejo typical restaurants to try. And did I mention the wine tours? √Čvora is home to some of the biggest and best wineries and vineyards in Portugal. So, what are you waiting for? Book a stay at The Noble House and enjoy this city in the company of your “better half”. The price for 5 days in November is ‚ā¨308.

Book it now before the prices increase or save the link and make the decision later.

4. Clube Borda d’√Āgua

clube borda.jpg
Pet-Friendly Hotel in Albufeira

Clube Borda D’√Āgua in Albufeira is only 20 metres away from Oura Beach so you can either go to the beach or relax in one of the many swimming pools at the club. At Borda D’√Āgua you can stay in an apartment with a big terrace or balcony, perfect for your pet. Each apartment can accommodate 4 people which means not only you can take your pet with you but also travel with some friends. Book your hotel today and pay only ‚ā¨200 for 5 days.

Book it now before the prices increase or save the link and make the decision later.

5. Vale Paraiso Natur Park

vale par.jpg

Our next suggestion is Nazar√©, a city known for being one of Portugal’s most popular seaside resorts. Only a mere 1-hour drive from Lisbon and on the silver coast Vale Para√≠so Natur Park is a camping park in the middle of nature. But fear not, if camping is not for you, you can always stay in the wooden cabins or apartments spread around the park. If you book now, a wooden cabin with a double bed, bathroom, balcony, kitchen and dining area is only ‚ā¨201 for 5 days.

Book it now before the prices increase or save the link and make the decision later.

 

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Podence – A Carnival like you’ve never seen

A Carnival party you will either love or hate

Deep in the North of Portugal, traditions are still being kept and this is one of the oldest. From 10th to 13th February, some of the¬†bachelors of Podence, also known as the¬†Caretos of Podence, take over the village and distribute mischieve everywhere they go. If you want to discover one of Portugal’s oldest traditions this really is a party you should try to be part of.

10 facts you didn’t know about Caretos of Podence

1. This is a Celtic tradition which has been going for hundreds of years.

Carnival Podence

2. Caretos usually appear when you least expect.

Carnival in Portugal 2018

3. They walk in groups.

Carnival Podence

4. They’re totally unpredictable.

Head Caretos

5. They whistle and shake their bell rattles while they spread mayhem around the village.

chocalho podence

6. ‚ÄúRobbing‚ÄĚ people‚Äôs wineries, tricking the unsuspected, shaking single girls, are some of the things they love to do.

7. In the past, Caretos would throw ash and manure to people as well as whip people with pig bladders but don’t worry,¬†these days they are very tame.

Carnival Party

8. Their faces are a representation of the devil.

Mask Podence

9.¬†At the end of the three days, two giant effigies will go up in flames, not before the “marriages” between some of the single people in the village.

10. Back in the day, Caretos would break down doors in order to get to the single girls and shake them. Single girls would either have to hide or dress as matrafonas the only people exempt from the Caretos passion.

Where to stay:

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Casa do Av√ī C√©sar: A rustic and comfy accommodation a mere 10 km away from Podence.

 

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Casas de Campo da Quinta Entre os Rios: You can instead choose to stay in a traditional house in Mirandela, a city known for its cuisine (try the alheiras), and beautiful landscapes.

 

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Quinta Rota d’Oliveira: Stay in the countryside, in a 17-century house, completely renovated, and with the most idyllic¬†views around you.

More info:

Discover the whole party program here.

 

Comic Con 2017 Edition Is Back

Portugal’s biggest pop culture festival is back in Matosinhos¬†for its 4th and last edition. Next year this event will move to Lisbon. For those unfamiliar with the festival,¬†Comic Con¬†celebrates the world of cinema, tv, video games, comics, cosplay, anime, manga, music and Youtube. From 14th to 17th December join the festivities at¬†Exponor, the fair pavilion. From workshops to talks, to celebrity meet and greats, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the fabulous world of entertainment.

Ticket prices start at ‚ā¨18. You can buy your ticket at Comic Con’s page right¬†here.

‚ÄļHere’s a preview of what you can expect this year.

Top Luxury Hotels in Porto 2017

Porto, founded in the 12th century, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the most sought after by travellers. Its historic centre has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO making it the favourite city for those who enjoy learning about history while appreciating culture, food and of course the wine. This inspiring city, bathed by the Atlantic and river Douro, is home to Porto wine and it’s the best place to be if you want to learn about the process that goes into making it and even try different kinds of this special fortified wine.

Start planning your trip with the selection of luxury hotels I’ve carefully chosen for you. Bear in mind that at these hotels you will be so pampered and taken care of, it will be difficult to leave and actually go out and explore Porto. Read it at your own risk.

  1. The Yeatman

The award-winning hotel Yeatman is in Vila Nova de Gaia, a city that rests in the margins of the Douro River, connected to Porto by the S√£o Lu√≠s bridge and only 15 minutes away by taxi (there are also trams, trains, buses and the hotel also has a shuttle). It’s in Gaia, this is how most people call it, that you will find all the famous Porto wine cellars. Usually described as a luxury wine hotel, the decoration is classical and elegant, you can have your own terrace with breathtaking views of the city of Porto and the Douro River.

All rooms have a fabulous river view. This hotel is part of the Relais & Ch√Ęteaux collection of hotels and its restaurant The Restaurant has been distinguished with two Michelin Star. There’s a wine spa inside and an infinity pool.

Average rate for a standard room: $298 | ¬£238 | ‚ā¨279

Book it here

2. Pestana Pal√°cio do Freixo

Staying here is experiencing living like royalty if only for a few days. This 18th-century palace where the hotel now lays offers the tranquillity and comfort to guests who want to visit Porto in style. The hotel offers free shuttles to the area of Ribeira, three times a day. If you prefer to stay in the hotel, there’s a gym, a spa, Turkish baths and sauna. There’s also an infinity pool overlooking the river, for those hot summer days, and an indoor pool. If you would like to go golf, hire a boat for a trip along the Douro river, among many other activities the hotel can help you book them.

Price per night in the following dates: ¬£156 | $195 | ‚ā¨184

Book it here.

3. InterContinental Porto Pal√°cio das Cardosas

Located in the heart of the city, close to all the main Porto sights and next to the train station. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, this luxury 5-star hotel has been renewed, it used to be an 18th-century palace, but the comfort and the luxury is still all there.

The staff is impeccable, the food marvellous and the rooms so cozy you won’t want to leave.

Average price per night: ‚ā¨209 | $222 | 177

Book it here.

4. Flores Village Hotel & Spa

Great location, right in the historic centre of Porto, a few minute’s walk to the Douro river bank, outstanding service, comfortable beds. This hotel has family-friendly rooms and even provides a rent-a-car service, you just have to choose the car and the key will be delivered to your door.

Average price per night: ‚ā¨179 | ¬£150 | $192

Book it here.

5. Hotel NH Collection Porto Batalha

The NH Colection Porto Batalha hotel, in the heart of Porto, is another beautifully renovated palace, also from the 18th century. It used to be the home of a prominent wine makers family and later it even became the main post office quarters in Porto until it was finally reconverted into this beautiful hotel, overlooking the Batalha Square and in front of the National Theatre.

The staff at the hotel is absolutely incredible and the breakfast one of the best you will have in Porto. You’ll love it here.

Average price per night: ‚ā¨132 | ¬£111 | $142

Book it here.

One Day In Guimar√£es

Following my stay in Guimar√£es, I had a few days to discover the city and see why it’s so special. Here are my suggestions of places¬†to visit, eat and hang out.

One Day In Guimar√£es

The historic centre

In The Morning – Start your day with a visit to the historical center, classified by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets and you’ll feel like you’re back in medieval¬†times. While walking around the center I ended up at a leather tannery¬†from the XIX century. There were no tourists and no English explanation of what it was but it was great to make guesses of what it could be while walking around and taking pictures of the area.

Rua dos Couros

In the meantime, I made a little research and it was interesting to find out that all the tanks belonged to a factory called¬†Mirandas, Ferreira & Carvalho, Lda that stopped working in the XX century. It¬†started with a small conglomerate of small industries which got together and formed the company. They would also rent the space to individuals who wanted to treat their own animal skins and produce leather. If you want to know more about the process used to transform animal skin into leather you can go here but let’s just say it involved having the animals’ skin dipped in urine and then soaking it in animal feces, in particular dog and pigeon feces, also called dung.

In the afternoon – Right, after this lovely description and if you are still up for lunch head up to O Hist√≥rico, it’s one of the most known restaurants in the city. Here you’ll be able to sample some of the flavors of Minho.

Tradicional cuisine

After a big meal which I am sure they will serve you, it’s time for a sesta, portuguese for nap, at least that’s what I would do. But if you still have some strength¬†to keep going, I would suggest you head to the palace of the Dukes of Bragan√ßa. At the front desk, you will be able to buy a ticket for the three of the attractions in the area. For 8 euros you will get an entry to this palace, the Castle and the Alberto Sampaio Museum (they offer discounts for children). Starting at the Palace of the Dukes de Bragan√ßa,¬†here you will see Decorative Arts from the 17th and 18th centuries, armors and weapons, tapestry and porcelain¬†from the Portuguese East India Company. What struck me about this palace was the fact that it was built around 1420. The palace was also used as a military building during Napoleon Invasions and it was the official residence of the Portuguese dictator Salazar. And this is just a brief glimpse of what you can discover inside.

After the palace, head up to the Guimar√£es Castle. Built in the 10th century, it was intended to protect a monastery from the Moors and Norsemen (scandinavian vikings) and eventually was the birthplace of Portugal’s first king Afonso I.

Very close by, is the Alberto Sampaio Museum. This museum features classical religious art and inside you can find a beautiful garden.

If you’re anything like me, at this time you will be tired of so much history. If you want to take a break, and experience history in a different way, visit the Pastelaria Clarinha. Nothing beats the quintessential¬†Portuguese experience of stopping at a bakery and enjoying an expresso or a meia de leite (half a cup of coffee and milk) with a delicious cake. You can stop by at any bakery, most of the ones I tried were great, but this one was highly recommended by everyone.

Nighttime – I know I’ve just mentioned stopping to get some food but here we go again. I would start the night with dinner at the Real Plazza, which is a no-frills restaurant with endless choices of francesinhas.

Northern cuisine at it’s best

The francesinha, which in English means “the frenchie”, is a sandwich made with bread, cured ham, chorizo, roast meat, fresh sausage, melted cheese and covered in hot tomato and beer sauce, which is usually a secret, served with french fries. It’s a dish originally from Porto but if you try it here you won’t be disappointed.

Guimaraes by night

End the night at the Largo do Toural, trying some drinks in some of the bars in this area. I did kind of a pub crawl around here and I had a lot of fun.


What to Put on your phone GPS

The Tanneries

Rua de Couros or Largo da Cidade for the Leather Tannery (Zona dos Couros in Portuguese)

For Lunch

Restaurant O Histórico

R. de Valdonas 4, Guimar√£es

Palace of the Dukes of Braganza –¬†R. Conde Dom Henrique, 4810-245 Guimar√£es

Alberto Sampaio Museum –¬†Rua de Alfredo Guimar√£es, 4800-407 Guimar√£es

For a snack

Pastelaria Clarinha (The Bakery) –¬†Largo do Toural 86-88, Guimar√£es 4810-427, Portugal

For Dinner

Real Plazza  Rua Fernando Pessoa 101, Guimaraes 4800-176

Night out 

Tour the several bars in the square – Largo do Toural

 

 

The Best Hotels In Guimar√£es

I needed some rest, so nothing like a few days in¬†Minho, the¬†most northern region of Portugal, the land of green wine¬†and of great people to relax and de-stress. When looking in the map, Guimar√£es seemed to be the best spot where to stay since it has a lot of history and places to visit and it’s quite close to all the other cities I wanted to visit. So, here I am and since I have some free time, here’s a list of my carefully selected hotels in Guimar√£es. Enjoy!

  1. Santa Luzia ArtHotel 
Swimming Pool
Santa Luzia ArtHotel Swimming Pool

I’m writing this as I’m sitting down at the nice hotel living room, with a warming fireplace in front of me. I am going to be biased on this one since this is the hotel where I’m staying on this trip. The Santa Luzia ArtHotel is a 4-star hotel with a 5-star treatment. I got an upgrade,¬†luckely enough, which meant a bigger room in the first floor, with a robe and slippers waiting for me, a big bathroom and a large bed. If you like spending some time with a book by the swimming pool like me then you can’t fail with this hotel. The swimming pool is an amazing alternative for those days when you just want to take a break. There’s¬†also a Turkish bath, a sauna and a steam room to release all those toxins of city life.

Explore it here.

Average Price: £69 | $113

Address: Rua Francisco Agra, 100, 4500-157 Guimarães

 

2. Pousada Mosteiro de Guimar√£es

This is the only 5-star hotel in Guimar√£es and even if you don’t stay here this is a place that it’s really worth a visit. The Pousada Mosteiro de Guimar√£es is part of a group of historic landmarks around the country that were transformed into hotels. This hotel, in particular, is located inside a 12th-century convent and the rooms are set in what used to be the cloisters where the monks used to stay. The Pousada Mosteiro de Guimar√£es is not right in the center of the historic old town but at the top of a mountain overlooking the city. If you want peace and quiet while staying in a luxurious setting this is the place to be.

Average Price: $100 | £81

Address: Largo Domingos Leite de Castro, 4810-011 Guimar√£es

Explore it here.

3. Hotel da Oliveira

Hotel Oliveira
Located in the old town

This hotel is located in the historic center of Guimar√£es, a city considered UNESCO World Heritage. From the Hotel da Oliveira, you can visit all the hot spots in this city by foot or even with a bicycle which you can rent at the hotels’ front desk. For those lazy rainy days, when you just want to sit with a good book, this hotel has a library, so you can just pick a book and sit by the bar with the latest novel.

Average Price: $78 | £51

Address: Rua de Santa Maria, Largo da Oliveira, 4800-300 Guimarães

Explore it here.

4. Hotel Toural

Toural Hotel

Again, another little gem in the heart of Guimar√£es. Located in a square where the cattle fair used to take place in the 17th century, hotel Toural is surrounded by history. This hotel is a walk away from all the touristic spots in Guimar√£es and only 150 meters from the famous medieval castle built in the 10th century. As for the hotel, the rooms here are big but cozy and the breakfast absolutely delicious.

Average Price: $60 | £49

Address: Largo A L Carvalho, 4800-153 Guimar√£es

Explore it here.

5. Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club

Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club
Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Club

Two swimming pools, a luxurious spa and tennis courts, make up for the fact that this hotel is a bit further away from the city center. The Open Village Sports Hotel & Spa Hotel Club, has free parking as well, and at the restaurant, you can try the best of what Portuguese cuisine has to offer.

Average Price: $57 | £44

Address: Travessa da Ribeira 629, Mesão Frio, 4810-235 Guimarães, Portugal

Explore it here.