I wanted to take a trip to Europe in the summer of 2023. However, life got busy and I never booked the trip, watching the days tick by. I envisioned my husband and I in Europe together, hand and hand, strolling the cobblestone streets, making love and getting lost. May came and we found out about my surprise pregnancy. After many tests and doctor appointments later, we found ourselves already in July! My two older kids were about to embark upon their sleep away camps, and I just cleared all my pregnancy tests, yet Europe was still not planned.

One week before my kids were off to camp, I took some necessary alone time to visualize this trip. I saw the love and happiness my husband and I both needed at this time. We were going through the surprise and miracle of baby #4, which also posed a lot of complexity for our family. I knew our marriage and relationship needed the time and head space that comes with travel, and Europe is a place we both hold dear.

Dreaming about the trip, waking up and seeing the visualization of it happening morning after morning, I woke up the very next morning and created a way. I found a hotel with some fantastic AAA discounts, I researched a few Portugal locals that helped me create the most incredible itinerary, and I stumbled upon 2 available first class flights at a reasonable price (and no I had never traveled 1st class before) — and booked it straight away. I called the grandparents and told them, ‘our baby is coming your way!’ I flew our nanny and baby Jake to Texas.

Then I called my husband and told him, ‘pack your bags, we’re going to Portugal!’ He couldn’t believe his ears. I explained that it was already booked and shared my overarching vision for the trip at hand, along with my desire not to wait yet another year to experience what I knew we needed at the time — and just do what time and price allowed.

This is the itinerary we built with the help of locals, as well as friends & families whom had previously experienced Portugal. It was probably our most beloved trip we’ve taken to date. From start to finish, in the matter of one week, from conception to execution, we made it happen.

Must do cliff-notes
Stay at the Ivens!
Sinatra & Caiscas
Hit the Time Out Market
7 hills e-bike tour Day 1 to get your bearings
Head to Algarves for the day and see the Lagos and Bengali Caves
Bread, olives and butter with all meals
Walk the city at night
Listen to the street players and dance
Go to an empanada-beer bar
Party at Barrio Alto
Go see some Fado

Arrive Tuesday morning
Go to hotel
Walk to the time out market for breakfast/brunch opens at 10am
Pastéis de Nata- Manteigaria (in the market) worth the hype
Sea Mea- Camaro el tempura and razor clams
Ebike tour 7 hills of Lisbon 3pm
Dinner at 7:15- A Nossa Cassa- address is R. da Atalaia 31, 1200-190 Lisboa, Portugal
Scott Fulton fave local spot. Tell the owner Ashley sent you!

Wednesday – Hotel Ivens hired panorama car for us. The driver happened to be a past history teacher and is known to be the best of the best. Ask for him. Sinatra (the absolute best town. Try a cajata in town) blown away by the old town!!! By car you will see Sintra, Azenhas do Mar, Cabo da Roca (continental europe’s westernmost point) and the so-called Portuguese Riviera, which includes Cascais and Estoril. See the Peña Palace and the Palace of Quinta da Regaleria (insane!! Not royalty – just a wealthy guy who hired set designers to build the most insane outdoor sets, architecture and gardens… the grounds are SO FUN to get lost in…tunnels, etc.
at Cascais beautiful bay
fave lunch- Entraguas
https://www.entraguas.com/ Get the lobster and shrimp platter!!! Ask for a table in front by the ocean. Walk or bike the boardwalk….or just watch.

Have dinner at Lisboa y Linda…best culinary experience of the trip! Pina colada,
fried fish, tomato rice, black pig (insane).
Meet the chef and owner

Go deeper into Lisbon. Check out the interesting spots you learned about in your e-bike tour.
Walk the city!
Castle self-guided tour
Stop at the little shops and explore
Three great spots in a row:
-Get a Watermelon slushi at Geletreria Portuguesa
-Get fried codfish with cheese and beer at Pastel de Bacalhua
-Pop into the The Cork Store
Cathedral self-guided tour
Walk back to the Time Out Market and try more new foods, follow your nose and lines:)
-Henrique Sá Pessoa
Suckling pig sandwich
-Marlene Vieira
Francesica classica
Walk Principa for cute boutiques
Hit the Embaixada which used to be the Lisbon home of the wealthy guy’s palace you previously saw in Sintra:)
Head to Belem on lime bike, scooter
Or tuk tuk to the Belem Tower. Grab a pineapple cocktail and head to the club de padel to join the locals for some paddle ball while enjoying the view of the Portugal GG bridge
Restaurant: Páteo – Bairro do Avillez
Address: Rua Nova da Trindade, 18- Lisboa
A Famous Michelin chef with a creative restaurant concept.
The concept of 3 restaurants in one. Eat on the patio. Get the clams and rice. Try the bread and smoked butter. Go to their mini bar after for music and a cool spot

Head with to a fantastic local (Lucas) to Algarve region +351 919 602 557
Lagos and Benagil Caves- That’s quite a beautiful area, with very nice beaches.
Take a slower/family friendly boat to see the Lagos Caves and beaches- locals prefer
Boat -Take a fast speed to Benagil Caves
Lagos grotto tours
O’Pescador Benagil caves
Ask for the front outdoor table with the water view
Try the piña colada sea bass, shrimp pad Thai, lemon risotto and clams
Take the kayaks and paddle boards from the restaurant to go into the Benagil Caves. One of you can climb to the top of the caves and look down to see your partner in the cave. I went over the railing for a better view of the top of the cave
Restaurant: Taberna Sal Grosso
Address: Calçada do Forte 22, 1100-256 Lisboa
Excellent Portuguese dishes. Cool history. Pork cheeks and migas, pineapple & ginger juices, wild boar brioche sandwich, eggplant, and shrimp and garlic.

Unique to Portugal:
Cork store
The Cork Store, Castelo de S. Jorge · Page · Local business · Rua do Espirito Santo, 5 , Lisbon, Portugal · +351 21 886 1620 · thecorkstore@gmail.com ·

Tile Dorey
Tiles- cool plates and art

Ceramics and Linha- Bought lots of pieces here!

A Vida Portuguesa – super cute store w home goods.