Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Chronicles from Porto | My 5 Must Go Places in the Unvanquished City

Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is getting more and more popular, winning awards and getting prettier by the day to receive all its visitors, both national and foreigner. Known as "Cidade Invicta" (Unvanquished City), the northern capital boasts the same vibrant personality as its inhabitants and is surely a  fantastic place to visit at any time of the year.

Returning to Porto was on my plans for 2017 and, just before the end of the year, I've made it possible to spend a weekend there with a dear friend from Brazil that was visiting Portugal. Although cold, the final December days were sunny and bright, and absolutely perfect to stroll around the city. Soon I'll bring you a more comprehensive guide to the city, but today I'll live you with my 5 Must Go Places in Porto.


The Ribeira area is one of the oldest, and more typical, parts of the city and is included in its historical center  (UNESCO World Heritage). After a period of growing degradation in the 19th century, when the commercial center of Porto moved out from the neighborhood, in more recent years, with the flourishing of tourism, Ribeira has been recovered and grow in popularity as a place to go. The gorgeous "Casario" (houses) with its striking and contrasting colors, the amazing view of Gaia and the great offer of restaurants, bars, and Douro tours makes it an unmissable place to visit.


The house and Foundation of Serralves are among my favorite places in Porto. Situated close to the elegant Foz district, the House of Serralves is an outstanding example of Modernist architecture in Portugal. The Art Deco building is surrounded by a perfectly landscaped park that currently also includes a Museum. All of the above can be visited and constitute an interesting program both for adults and children.


When visiting Porto the Clérigos area is one you don't want to miss. Not only the Clérigos Church and Tower, a true landmark of the city, but also some of the surrounding attractions and monuments. Just a couple of blocks from the church you can find Livraria Lello, a magnificent example of Art Nouveau architecture that is visited by thousands of tourists every year. From the doorstep of the bookshop, you can see the Carmo Church and, next door, the Carmelitas Church. Both Carmelitas, Carmo, and Clérigos churches are examples of the Portuguese Baroque style and really worth a visit. Climbing the many steps of the tower can be tiresome, but the outstanding view you can get of the city make it worthwhile.


This avenue is the center of Porto's downtown and was designed and built in the early years of the 20th century to homage the allies in the 1st World War. The weel kept modernist buildings on both sides of the avenue, the Town Hall building at the top of the street, and the spacious central walking lane makes it one of the favorite gathering places for locals. At Mid Summer's night and New Year's Eve, you can find thousands of people celebrating some of the more cherished nights by the city locals.


Across the river from Ribeira is Vila Nova de Gaia pier, with all the Port Wine Cellars and the typical Rabelo boats that used to carry the tonnes of Port from the Douro Valley wineries to the cellars where the wine would age and then be shipped across the world. Today, this area is renewed and prettier than ever. Hotels, restaurants, and bars, the numerous cellars where you can have a wine tasting experience and, of course, the spectacular views of Porto and particularly Ribeira. You can cross the river from Ribeira, walking the lower tray of D. Luis bridge and after you visit, catch the cable car up, and get back to Porto, crossing the Douro on the upper tray of the bridge. Plan to do it by sunset and get some of the most amazing views of the city and the river (top photo on this article).

Monday, 8 January 2018

Welcoming 2018

The beginning of every year always seems the perfect time to make a balance of the past days, and of assuming new goals for the time to come. Somehow, a new year gives us the illusion of having a new notebook, full of white pages waiting for great ideas, or a brand new path that we can walk with new hope and motivation. The good news is that we don't have to wait for a new year to start brand new and great things, to be bold and courageous, to start new paths or new notebooks, but if you've been waiting, this is the time to start!

You can start with baby steps but start. Move. Do something. Go somewhere. Challenge yourself and grow. It may be difficult for a while, but then... all the rewards of stepping out of your comfort zone will be so much valuable than any hardship you've endured, that you'll look back and say: It was worthwhile!

Welcome 2018 and seize every single day. Carpe Diem.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Farewell December...

December was a busy month with lots of things to do at work, but still, I manage to spend a couple of days in Porto (one with a dear friend from Brazil!) and to walk around Lisbon, to get in the Winter and Xmas mood and to visit Sintra once more. Now the year is ending and while looking back the time that went so quickly looks well spend and full of great memories and achievements. You have been kind to me 2017... Thank you!

January 2018 is here and, with it, the beginning of another year. Don't you love brand new years? It's the same feeling of white and new notebooks, still full of potential and great things to write on. Until the next monthly wrap-up, leave you with the nine photos that are the Top 9 for December on our Instagram account. You can follow us there for daily photos and tips.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Wanderer's Chronicles | 2017 Year Review


January started with a cold weather and came to an end under the rain, and although I quite enjoy those sunny but chilling winter days, walking around the city (photos from Bairro Alto neighborhood), rainy days invite me to stay home, close to the fireplace with a hot cocoa on my hands.

Bairro Alto - Lisbon

The January blog posts make me revisit some beloved places of Paris and Rome, and Lisbon was brought to you in a city guide with simple tips and useful information.


The winter days invited to in-house activities like visiting art exhibitions and museums. I've been for the first time at the Chiado Museum and really enjoyed the amazing exhibitions on the work of Amadeo de Souza Cardozo and Almada Negreiros, two of the most important Portuguese modernist artists.

I've started a new series of posts on Best Things to Do in Lisbon, like Art Exhibitions, Walking Tours, Concerts or anything that I usually like and expect that you will like to know about if you are visiting the city.

Palácio Foz - Lisbon

February was also Valentine's month and the post with my choice of Lisbon's hotels for a romantic retreat was a success. Of course, these hotels are amazing for staying all year round and more detailed posts on what you can experience in each one of them have been published or are planned to.

Corinthia Hotel Lisbon
Santiago de Alfama Boutique Hotel
Four Seasons Ritz Hotel Lisbon

As scheduled, the Paris City Guide went online this month and is already a success.


Spring arrived, the time became warmer and the days invited to nice walks around the city. It's unbelievable that after so many years I can still find something that I had not discovered before in Lisbon.

Started working on a series on the modernist Portuguese artist Almada Negreiros and presented some of the main sites of a Lisbon itinerary of his works. For those of you passionate about art and architecture is a must see and a must go if you're visiting Lisbon.

Almada Negreiros @  Gare da Rocha do onde de Óbidos - Lisbon
Almada Negreiros @ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian - Lisbon
Almada Negreiros @ Four Seasons Ritz Hotel Lisbon

Just before the month ended, the Barcelona City Guide went online and I hope it can become a success like the Paris and Lisbon Guides.


A sunny April was perfect to visit some places around Lisbon and check some nice day trips to present you. With the Wine Tourism series on my mind, visited some outstanding locations that I've shared with my readers.

Quinta da Bacalhôa - Portugal
Palmela Castle - Portugal

 I also walked along memory lane and recalled some sweet moments spend in Algarve (South Portugal) years ago, bringing it to you on an article about my Favorite Hotels to Stay with Kids. Your feedback warmed my heart and I made the promise to come back to Algarve in 2017.

In April, the blog started a new series called Tea for Two and (you guessed!) is on some great spots for having a delicious afternoon tea.

Articles on Instagram are always a success and April's post on the Top 10 Instagram Spots in Lisbon was no exception.


With Summer around the corner,  May took me to many interesting places, that I have shared with you.

Wineries @ Península de Setúbal - Portugal
Herdade dos Grous Winery - Alentejo, Portugal
Jardim da Estrela - Lisbon

Looking back on May it's easy to find out my foodie side. With several brunch suggestions, an afternoon tea (on Tea for Two series) and a new restaurant review on our Food Chronicles series, all in one month it's difficult to disguise. You can also argue that I'm partial on a good wine. Well, I am! Visits to some great wineries and a few more posts on the wine tourism series make that irrefutable.

But I also love the simple beauty of nature and the splendor of Spring. When you live in the city, the best place to find it is on the nearest garden, so I didn't forget to give you my suggestions on my favorite gardens in Lisbon.


I have been around Lisbon most of the time and brought you some suggestions on places to go, like Largo do Carmo, on places to eat, like Bairro do Avillez, and on things to do, like Festas de Lisboa. Although it's not usual, bring to you not one but two lists - a hot one on some of my suggestions for Summer, and on what to eat (and drink!) if you're visiting Lisbon.

Festas de Lisboa
Largo do Carmo


July was kind on me and although I've been feeling quite lazy these days,  I've managed to explore some places and experiences closer home that can be great ideas for those visiting Lisbon.

A sunset cruise on river Tagus and a wine tasting along the Arrábida coast were two amazing experiences that I've already shared with you. A visit to Cabo Espichel was also so enjoyable and a post with my best tips for a visit is long overdue (is a promise for 2018!). A couple of years ago, I've visited Rome (in July!) and this July I've brought you my favorite fountains on the Eternal City. Thinking of my foodie readers, I've created a new blog page featuring all the restaurant reviews and food-related articles. You can find my Food Chronicles there!

Sunset Cruise @ Tagus River - Lisbon
Cabo Espichel - Portugal
Sunset Wine Party @ Arrábida Coast


August was surely a busy month. Not here on the blog, but on the road! Revisited old places and get to know some new ones. The month started at the Alentejo (South of Portugal) for a "girls only" gathering with some of my dearest cousins. You can't imagine how much fun we had! The Portuguese Southwest coast and the Atlantic coast near Lisbon were also some of the places I visited. On the last couple of weeks of August, we went to Andalusia: Seville, Cordoba, and Granada are amazing cities with lots of places to visit and things to do.

Praia do Malhão - Southwest Portugal
Praia da Ursa - Lisbon Coast
Granada - Spain


September was time to reunite whit old friends (some more restaurant posts soon), to return to Alentejo and to have a go at the grapes harvest at a winery near Lisbon. Was such a great experience that included crushing the grapes with my bare feet in order to make wine. The end of September was also time to visit a fantastic Medieval Fair in Palmela (less than an hour from Lisbon) and although it wasn't our first time at such an event, we had the best of times.

Alentejo - Portugal
Harvest Time @ Península de Setúbal
Medieval Fair @ Palmela


Although the calendar tells us that Autumn was there, the weather insisted on its summery vibe and the sunny, hot days persisted until the end of the month. Great days to go to the beach and to walk around the city. Knowing how Lisbon is on everyone must go list, started a new monthly series to bring you my Curated Lisbon Hotels

No matter Fall didn't seem to be there yet, I indulged in some experiences with a clear autumnal mood - a late afternoon in a gorgeous Lisbon's wine bar and an Halloween afternoon tea - both great opportunities to share some good moments with dear friends.

Adega do Palácio Wine Bar - Lisbon
Halloween Afternoon Tea @ Tempus Bar - Lisbon


November was a month with lots of work and so much fun! Started the month with a wine tasting and music at Quinta de Alcube, tried a few new restaurants with my good friends and revisited some old favs with my family, went south to Olhão and stayed at the gorgeous Real Marina Hotel & SPA, and to close the month big way, attended a fantastic party at Corinthia Hotel Lisbon to the presentation of their Festive Season Program.

Wine Tasting @ Quinta de Alcube - Portugal
Olhão - Algarve, Portugal
Real Marina Hotel & SPA - Algarve, Portugal


December was a busy month with lots of things to do at work, but still, I manage to spend a couple of days in Porto (one with a dear friend from Brazil!) and to walk around Lisbon, to get in the Winter and Xmas mood and to visit Sintra once more. Now the year is ending and while looking back the time that went so quickly looks well spend and full of great memories and achievements. You have been kind to me 2017... Thank you!

Ribeira - Porto
Parque Eduardo VII - Lisbon
Jardim das Amoreiras - Lisbon

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Best Nine Instagram Posts of 2017

With the end of the year upon us, is time for balances and recently I find this site where you can get your best 9 Instagram posts for 2017. Of course, the 9 pics on the collage are the posts that received more likes over the year and remind me of lovely moments and experiences. Nevertheless, would like to invite you to check  9 more photographs that are some of my favorite Instagram posts for 2017. Can you tell me what is your favourite?

A post shared by Maria (@thewandererschronicles) on

A post shared by Maria (@thewandererschronicles) on

A post shared by Maria (@thewandererschronicles) on

With over 300 posts in 2017, I would like to thank all my followers on Instagram for their engagement and love. If you're not one of them yet, and you find my work interesting, I would be more than glad to have you following The Wanderer's Chronicles there.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Food Chronicles | Family Brunch at the Real Marina Hotel & SPA

On my recent visit to Olhão, in Algarve (South of Portugal), where we stayed at Real Marina Hotel & SPA, we had the opportunity to enjoy their delicious Family Brunch. If you happen to be close to Olhão on a Sunday or holiday, this is a great option for a relaxed meal with your family and friends, with a magnificent view over Ria Formosa and, not the least important for those with kids, entertaining activities for children.

Na minha recente visita a Olhão, no Algarve, onde ficamos no Real Marina Hotel & SPA, tivemos a oportunidade de desfrutar do seu delicioso Brunch em Família. Se estiver perto de Olhão num domingo ou feriado, esta é uma ótima opção para uma refeição descontraída com sua família e amigos, com uma vista magnífica sobre Ria Formosa e, não é o menos importante para aqueles com crianças, atividades divertidas para os miúdos.

You can choose a table indoors or on the terrace, overlooking Ria Formosa. The sunny November day was so welcoming that we opted for a table outside. Good company, great food, outstanding service and an amazing view, all contributed to a top experience that I surely recommend.

The menu is very comprehensive, including not only breakfast classics, but also real lunch options. If you're more in a  breakfast mood, mini pastries and regional bread, cereals, fruit, preserves, scrambled eggs, and pancakes are available. If like me, you're on the look for more serious food, you can be sure to find a  variety of hot dishes, a select of savories and salads, pasta and risottos with show cooking and an assortment of delicious desserts.

Pode escolher uma mesa no interior ou no terraço, com vista para a Ria Formosa. O dia ensolarado de Novembro estava tão acolhedor que optámos por uma mesa lá fora. Boa companhia, ótima comida, excelente serviço e uma vista incrível, tudo contribuíu para uma excelente experiência que eu certamente recomendo.

O menu é muito abrangente, incluindo não apenas clássicos de pequeno almoço, mas também opções para um almoço mais substancial. Se estiver mais com num clima de café da manhã, encontrará disponíveis, entre outras coisas, saborosas mini-pastelarias e pão regional, cereais, frutas, compotas, ovos mexidos e panquecas. Se, como eu, estiver à procura de uma refeição à séria, pode ter certeza de encontrar uma variedade de pratos quentes, uma selecção de entradas e saladas, massas e risoto preparados na hora e com show cooking, assim como uma variedade de deliciosas sobremesas.

We started with some soup and fresh salads and starters, all delicious. We had so much of those that we decided to skip the hot dishes (both fish and meat dishes looked great!) and give a try to the minute made risotto. You can choose your favorite ingredients and the chef will prepare you a creamy risotto in no time. My choice was asparagus and cherry tomatoes and it was really good.

Começamos com sopa, e algumas saladas e entradas frescas, todas deliciosas. Já bastante cheios com estes petiscos, decidimos ignorar os pratos quentes (mas deixem-me dizer que os pratos de carne e peixe pareciam ótimos!) e optar por um risoto feito na hora. Escolhi espargos e tomate cereja e ficou uma delícia, bem cremoso e cheio de sabor.

The dessert station was such a vision that I had to save some room for some of those sweet works of art. We took a sample of Passion Fruit Mousse, Fig Panacota, and Portuguese Rice Pudding. That should be more than enough, but I couldn't resist a nice slice of almond cake with my tea... and I'm really glad I didn't!

After this delicious brunch, I relaxed for a while before returning to Lisbon (about 2 and half hours away). Relaxation seemed to be the keyword, with lovely families and groups of friends enjoying the gorgeous Autumn afternoon sun.  My son is not a child anymore but I still can relate to parents with small children and know the value that a place like this brings to young families. Here you can enjoy your brunch while the younger ones (from 4 years old) have fun at Realito Kids Club, where a special activity takes place every week (all activities are free of charge and accompanied by a monitor).

A estação de sobremesas era uma verdadeira visão, e desde cedo percebi que tinha de guardar algum espaço para essas doces obras de arte. Seleccionámos a Mousse de Maracujá, a Panacota de Figo e o Arroz Doce, com pena de não conseguir experimentar todas as opções. Três sobremesas deveria ser mais do que suficiente, reconheço, mas não consegui resistir a uma boa fatia de torta de amêndoa com meu chá ... e estou muito feliz pela minha fraqueza!

Depois deste delicioso brunch, relaxei um pouco antes de retornar a Lisboa (cerca de 2 horas e meia). Descontracção parecia ser a palavra-chave, com encantadoras famílias e grupos de amigos curtindo o lindo sol da tarde de outono. O meu filho não é mais uma criança, mas ainda consigo identificar-me com pais com crianças pequenas e saber o valor que um lugar como este traz para famílias jovens. Aqui podem desfrutar do seu brunch enquanto os mais jovens (a partir dos 4 anos de idade) se divertem no Realito Kids Club, onde uma atividade especial acontece todas as semanas. Deviam ver como a garotada estava animada! (todas as atividades são gratuitas e acompanhadas por um monitor).

Family Brunch at Real Marina Hotel & SPA
Avenida 5 de Outubro, 2
8700 Olhão - Portugal
Phone: (+351) 289 091 300

Every Sunday and Holidays, from 12:30 to 16:00
Adults: 19 €  | Children under 6: Free | Children (6 - 12 years old): 9,50 €
(includes water and soft drinks, and all the kids club activities accompanied by a monitor)

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