Unforgettable Week in Portugal (Santarem and Sesimbra)
The day was full of a wonderful list to follow, day 5 in my unforgettable week in Lisbon, where our hotel located as for now we have already made some fantastic experience but it’s not yet over. This day is loaded with lots of proposal tourist spots to visit. One of the ideal things to do is a Portugal Road trip from Porto to Faro!
To begin with our day we ate our breakfast and drove to the nearby place supposed to be the next city after the famous bridge Costa da Caparica situated near Almada but unfortunately, it was our bad day.
Lisbon Bridge, Portugal
An unexpected event happened all the roads leading to the bridge going to the other side of the city are close. It was a serious situation, traffic was terrible and the only option is to search another way going to the other side of the bridge.
There were police officers all over the places, which made us pretty worried. We took our maps and GPS, the cause of this motion is actually because of the bikers doing their marathon for that day.
I felt devastated, we lost 1-2 hours of driving back and forth since certain roads were closed or deviated.
The plan was a complete disaster the last choice was to take the road to Sacavem and cross the bridge of Ponte Vasco da Gama. which is about 20-30 minutes drive from Lisbon and I thought that’s the best option despite the situation.
I still managed to capture some photos of this beautiful bridge of Lisbon.
On the way to Sacavem, I felt good 20-30 minutes will be fast, but we met another problem. Arriving at the area the road to cross the bridge was also closed.
I felt like the world is on my shoulder, I was really sad causing us to lose time again. It was almost 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I don’t want to lose time again after this unexpected incident we stopped the car and think of another option to take.
This is really annoying when you are about to change your original plans, but on the other side, it’ll show our flexibility as travelers. there’s always something that might happen and you should always expect and put a Plan B aside.
I opened my travel book guide and there I saw this Garden called Porta do Sol in Santarem. From there we can cross the bridge which connects to go to the other island.
According to the book going to this place via car might take about an hour, so it’s finally it’s decided we’re going to this Garden and get some fresh air to relax a bit.
Old Castle of Santarem (Porta do Sol), Portugal
Finding this place wasn’t that pretty as I thought, we parked the car nearby and walked for 10-15 minutes and at last we are here in this spectacular landscape site, after an hour of driving this wonderful place welcomed us.
It has its own unique and incredible charm that you’ll feel relax and want to go to take a nap. the site is originally an old castle and now turned into a garden.
The walls, towers, and the scenery of a castle are still maintained and preserved, this place is actually calm not a lot of tourists to intrude your way. It situated on a high slope which includes an epic view of a bridge, sky view, the view of Tagus River (the river that continues until Lisbon) and the Railway.
The scenery of Porta do Sol has really captured my heart, blue sky, perfect forms of clouds, sunny, the weather (not hot nor cold), its refreshing wind.
The view and the peaceful place itself makes you wanna stay. I don’t even want to leave this place but I must continue the adventure and not waste time, now going to the other side of the bridge is my target.
Looking at the map of Portugal I wondered what if were gonna visit again the west coast but this time the southwest side. I suggested to go to the city called Sesimbra.
Which will take us 2 hours drive from our spot however among the popular tourist’s sites recommended in the book. I ended up choosing the captivating pictures of Cape Espichel (Cabo Espichel) which has a church nearby to visit and of course the lighthouse and the seaside.
On the road, we struggled a lot with the horrible weather waiting for us after leaving Santarem the weather changed as quick as a wind.
The sky turned into a black and grey like colors and some wild thunder and lighting afterward and then heavy rains, do you think I’m happy?
Yeah! still, I am but with a lot of deceptions but anyways forget about it I slept the whole time. from the moment I woke up, we’re almost at the site and it wasn’t raining anymore. I saw the sun and I was happy again, keep telling my self to cheer up cause there’s more worst than this
Church and Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Sesimbra)
Watching the site it was pretty especially with the sun’s presence my conclusion of the day might probably change, arriving at the hill-top you will see the Church and the sanctuary.
There were a lot of people as well a lot of cars parked side of the road and tourist busses all over. It didn’t actually surprise me to see these people cause Cape Espichel has made top 1 on TripAdvisor years earlier, this site is one of the most researched and hot topics.
On the contrary of another west coast area that I have visited this is so far the most popular site attracting a lot of tourists to come. On our way to the Church.
A mass was ongoing I haven’t had the time to take pictures inside. instead, we walked around and saw this ruined hermitage not too far from the Church.
Continuing the road you’ll see the view of the southwest coast.
Coastal Cliffs View
Honestly speaking I thought this site would be just the same as Cabo da Roca or Peniche so I expected that there would be not much of difference. surprisingly this one offers various scenery as you walk further there’s always a new view that awaits you.
I know now why people chose this place as top 1 in TripAdvisor, this cliff amazed me so much each time I walk further it’s another potential perfect picture to take.
The colors or the soils are as well different from each parts Espichel is famous for its dinosaur fossil trackways. it is also believed that the Virgin Mary appeared here riding a mule from the ocean and up the cliffs which now led to a lot of devotees to come to visit the sanctuary.
The road to the lighthouse somewhat far perhaps 5-7 kilometers more so we took the car and drove to the lighthouse site.
The Sunset View
Cape Espichel Lighthouse
Campo Pequeno, Lisbon
The next day is a lazy day, we decided to take a rest and enjoy the moment in this lovely city, including visiting at its famous City Malls.
Walking around, do shopping a bit or window shopping maybe. Campo Pequeno was our choice of that day enjoying the ambiance inside, roaming and browsing around the stores, walk a bit and eat.
Startled by the prices of food, you can eat a complete meal from 6 euros and above, I was feeling excited calculating the price into “pesos” Philippine currency I’d thought that this is the cheapest city among all European cities I’ve been.
Kababayan Restaurant, Lisbon
Late night reserved for my petite stomach, special treatment of Filipino foods that I’ve missed. Thanks to the Filipina woman I met in the City of Fatima. Who recommends me to come over in this majestic yet simple Filipino traditional restaurant in Lisbon. At Rua Marques Fronteira not that hard to find.
“Kababayan” means “Countryman” in English, but most of the time when Filipino people addresses to someone who they don’t know they would greet and say “kabayan” literally this means for us like a “hello how are you friend” or like “how are you, my friend”
The Restaurant’s place is really simple, a classic traditional Filipino style, not cozy and chic. I really love it, I like the “Bahay Kubo” style as their cashier. the bountiful ambiance and sensation of my country land are here I can extremely feel it.
Our Delicious Food
We ordered some special Filipino dishes since we have already eaten a lot from the previous place.
This night will be a bit light, starting with some Garlic Rice, Pork Sisig, Shrimp Ginata, and Biko for dessert.
With the Restaurant Owner
Lastly, before we go I gently ask the owner and chat with her. I do appreciate her kindness of serving us the food I mean as an owner of the restaurant normally they don’t serve clients themselves but here I’m impressed.
The style of her cooking is excellent I have enjoyed the tasty and delicate Filipino dishes, and for sure I will come back and make sure to eat the buffet next time. If you haven’t read my earlier posts yet you can check the rest of my Portugal Adventures here:
Overall I have visited 10 cities in Portugal, I know that there are more tourist spots that I must be visited but for me, I chose my destination. despite the fact that I haven’t visited a lot of popular places and other sites that recommended on social media.
I should say that there are more beautiful and wonderful places that Portugal offers to those like me who clearly loves seaside views, mountains, cliffs, and churches.
There are more to sites to visit in the other cities, not just Lisbon though I’m not a fan of cityscapes, buildings, and streets I can say that I enjoyed my stay. Lisbon is a friendly city with its adorable people and cheap food.
There were disadvantages parts as well as prices of gasoline are kinda high, most of the museums have entrance fees, locals don’t speak English often (in rural areas), Toll fees are expensive so don’t forget include toll fee payment package when rental car like what we did you’ll pay less like 25 euros for your rent.
I must say 8.5 / 10
Future plans will be Porto, Faro, Lagos, Leiria, Coimbra, Braga and the rest of the cities. I’ll surely come back and continue another journey, another chapter of the book recorded and engraved in my heart and memory.
Unforgettable Week in Portugal (Santarem and Sesimbra)