Things to See and Do in Monsanto, Portugal

Wednesday September 11, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 6 Comments

Monsanto, Portugal steps

Walk the narrow streets of Monsanto, Portugal

Are you visiting Monsanto for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Monsanto – the most Portuguese Village of Portugal.

When I have a visitor from out of town the first place they want to see is The Castle, but I also take them to walk in the narrow streets of the village– for a more local, authentic experience.

If this is a romantic trip to central Portugal, I recommend a walk to the castle for kissing with a view.

 

Regional food from Viseu, Portugal

Asparagus with eggs, Monsanto, Portugal

Asparagus with eggs, Monsanto, Portugal

If you are looking for typical Viseu cuisine, I recommend Octopus – Roasted Kid Goat – Lamb and Sheep Cheese.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Taberna Viriato.

Looking for cheap food in Monsanto? Go to Petiscos & Granitos Restaurant and order the asparagus with scrambled egg and ham.

Petiscos e Granitos Restaurant, Monsanto, Portugal

Petiscos e Granitos Restaurant, Monsanto, Portugal

The Petiscos & Granitos Restaurant is the spot for late night dining.

Seeing a lot of huge stones in this unique village? Monsanto is best known for its big and impressive stones. One of the most impressive examples is the huge boulder in Petiscos & Granitos Restaurant.

Monsanto offers great views of the local landscape and is the best place to watch or experience the Monsanto Traditional Festival in May (first weekend).

Outdoors in Monsanto, Portugal

In Monsanto outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike, bike, horseback ride and walk the cobble stone streets of the village.

Looking for a little exercise? Visitors to this village will want to walk, horseback ride or bike from Monsanto to the Historical Village of Idanha-a-Velha.

If you are a museum lover, the best museum in Monsanto area is Roman Epigrah’s Museum in Idanha-a-Velha.

Insider Tip: Check out  Monsabores Produtos da Terra for regional art, handicrafts and local food products from central Portugal.

Just outside Monsanto  you can visit Penha Garcia Village or Idanha-a-Velha Historical Village, have lunch at the Restaurant of Fonte Santa Hotel****

Monsanto rooftops, Portugal

Rooftops of Monsanto, central Portugal

What are your favorite things to do in Monsanto?

Photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of VisitCentro, Portugal Tourism and SATA Airlines.

Related Post:

Things to See and Do in Viseu, Portugal

 

 

Things to See and Do in Viseu, Portugal

Friday September 6, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 3 Comments

Viseu, Portugal

Viseu Historical District, Viseu, Portugal

Are you visiting Viseu for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Viseu – the Noble City in central Portugal.

When I have a visitor from out of town the first place they want to see is The Cathedral – Sé de Viseu, but I also take them to National Museu of Grão Vasco – for a more local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the tourists, my favorite place to visit is Almeida Moreira ‘s Home Museum.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend a tram ride to the Historical Center for kissing with a view.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Aquilino Ribeiro Park in the center of the city or Cycling and Walking Paths – Ecopista do Dão.

Duarte de Portugal, Viseu, Portugal

Viseu, Portugal

Regional Food of Viseu, Portugal

If you are looking for typical Viseu cuisine, I recommend Octopus – Rosted Kid – Lafões and Veal.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Pastelaria Horta.

Dão red wine is the regional wine of Viseu.

Looking for cheap food in Viseu? Go to Colmeia Restaurant or Pensão Rossio.

The Maria Xica Restaurant is the spot for late night dining.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Muralha de Sé Restaurant.

Seeing a lot of gourmet food? Viseu is best known for high-end gastronomy and the Relevant Historical Heritage.

Viseu Cathedral, Viseu, Portugal

Viseu Cathedral, Viseu, Portugal

When you come to Viseu, get your picture taken at the Cathedral Square.

Viseu offers great views and Viseu is the best place to watch or experience Ephemeral Gardens in July.

In Viseu outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike, bike, horseback ride, and walk the cobblestone streets of central Portugal.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk or Cycle along the Ecopista do Dão.(49km connected city center of Viseu to Santa Comba Dão ‘s City.)

If you are a museum lover, Viseu’s best museum is Grão Vasco National Museum.

Misericordia Church, Viseu, Portugal

Misericordia Church, Viseu, Portugal

Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at Factor C or NB Club for live music.

The Diário de Viseu will keep you posted on what’s happening in Viseu.

You can tell a lot about Viseu from visiting and watching the century old annual fair Feira de S. Mateus event from August 15th to 15th September.

Did you know that Viseu has a well established wine region? Plan a visit to this part of central Portugal to experience the grape harvest in the fall.

Come to Viseu for Christmas Market in Rossio Square in the winter.

Insider Tip:  Just outside of  Viseu you can visit Santar and go wine tasting, have lunch at the Paço dos Cunhas de Santar.

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of VisitCentro, Portugal Tourism and SATA Airlines.

Related Post:

Things to See and Do in Coimbra, Portugal

East Coast Summer—New York City + Provincetown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Wednesday September 4, 2013 at 8:08 AM | 6 Comments

View from the beach in Provincetown, Massacusetts

The Provincetown Harbor on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Epic Vacation, Part II

This summer, I left the San Francisco fog with kids in tow for an extended East Coast journey. We flew into New York first, straight into a massive heatwave. I sometimes forget that we live in a naturally air-conditioned city here in San Francisco—Manhattan was HOT! But of course it was July. It was a welcome change.

New York state of mind

It was really exciting to show my eight-year-old daughter around New York—”there are so many people,” “so many taxis!” We traveled across  the Hudson aboard the Staten Island Ferry to view that famous femme Francaise, Lady Liberty, found a water park to cool off at in Central Park, bought a funky piece of street art in the Village, cruised through Times Square at night, and watched a fascinating 18-minute film at the Historical Society about the rise of the remote outpost that evolved into the global mecca of New York City. The state-of-the-art theater there is something to behold.

A view of the Statue of Liberty in New York City;

Lady Liberty overlooking New York City.

Full disclosure: It wasn’t all culture and landmarks. We also spent hours at the American Girl Place. What a brilliant merchandising goldmine! I had no idea. They even have a hair salon for the dolls and photo studio. I’ve never seen more out-of-place dads in one place, all on smart phones. Parker loved it.

 

Hitting the beach on Cape Cod

After Manhattan, we hooked up with the boys (husband and son) and headed to the Cape Cod via ferry out of Boston. Ninety minutes later we were in Provincetown, the bohemian Castro of the east.  This quaint little town on the very tip of Cape Cod is known for its pristine beaches, artist culture, and as a gay destination. We arrived during “Bear Week,” a celebration of (mostly) burly men who “embrace, natural body hair,” according to the New York Times.

harbor hotel, provincetown, massachusetts

Chilling at the Harbor Hotel Cabana Bar in Provincetown.

We checked into the Harbor Hotel that looked out over the stunning National Seashore, a tract of more than 4,000 acres of protected shoreline. It was still oppressively hot, so headed straight for the pool and the adjacent Cabana Bar to cool off. During out stay in Provincetown (P’town as it’s affectionately known) we enjoyed several delicious meals at Harbor Hotel (lobster sliders, Caprese salad, and chicken quesadillas were some of our faves).

The Harbor Hotel is a stylish, kid, gay, and pet-friendly spot that has been newly refurbished. The spacious lobby doubles as a gallery, showcasing the work of local artists. Just beyond, the Whaler Lounge restaurant opens when the poolside Cabana Bar closes. The Lounge offers entertainment as well. We saw a cool rockabilly band when we were there,  and free movies are screened movies every Thursday. Our room was small but immaculate, located just steps from the pool. Rooms on the other side have lovely ocean views. Hiking from the dunes out to the sand bar  at low tide, we captured a panorama of the Cape’s beauty. One of the Harbor Hotel’s greatest features is the fire pit out front, across from the ocean. We spent lots of time out there under the stars and even met another guest there who lives on our street in San Francisco.

A great feature of the Harbor Hotel —The firepit .

The firepit at the Harbor Hotel in Provincetown.

On our forays into the town center, we stopped daily for ice cream at the popular Lewis Brothers Homemade Ice Cream shop, bought souvenirs at Puzzle Me This, a really cool game shop on Commercial Street, and hiked along the breakwater jetty toward the lighthouse at Long Point on the very tip of the country.

tomatoesInsider Tips

Fast Ferry

www.baystateruisecompany.com

Traffic on the Cape in summer can be miserable. If you’re going to Provincetown, do yourself a solid and avoid the whole mess on the Fast Ferry. It’s a delightful ride, one of the highlights of my son’s trip.

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
at (77th Street), New York City
(212) 873-3400

Great museum and gift shop and the film ‘New York Story’ is amazing. Admission is pay-as-you-wish from 6-8 pm on Fridays.

Harbor Hotel Provincetown
698 Commercial Street
Provincetown Cape Cod, Massachusetts
MA 02657
855-447-8696

Post was contributed by Lisa Dion of Friscomama.com. I was a guest of the Harbor Hotel.