lisbon to porto
august 29 to september 9, 2016

a rick steves tour: heart of portugal in 12 days


"A dazzling mix of Roman, Moorish, and Baroque architecture with the small towns, seacoast, food, wine, and music of this tradition-rich country."  — Rick Steves







Metropolitan cities. Charming villages. Ancient Roman ruins. Rivers, valleys, oceans.  We saw the heart of Portugal.



I found many things to admire in Portugal, including the ubiquitous tile, the jaw-dropping churches and monasteries, and cool street art.


When you visit Portugal, get ready to consume lots of tasty pork products and delicious local wines—and, of course, the namesake port.


Usually an independent traveler, I decided to give a tour a try. I was not disappointed.


Fado performances, a "cork safari," and a winery tour complete with home-cooked lunch: just a few of the trip's "wow" moments


Our hotels included a city-center classic with a fabulous rooftop lounge and a modern marvel near an ancient aqueduct. Wow!



about me

What motivates you to travel, to temporarily forsake the comforts of home and put yourself in unfamiliar situations? For me, it's the beauty of the world, the chance to get a tiny taste of life in a place I've never been, the opportunity to see how different yet similar places and people are around the globe. 

I'm Carolyn. I've visited all 50 U.S. states, picked olives in Tuscany, snorkeled along the Great Barrier Reef, studied German in Bavaria, scooted around a French Polynesia island on two wheels, cheered the Tour de France peloton along alpine highways. Each experience makes me want more.

For me, travel is also about engaging my creative side, about exploring a destination through my camera lens. It's about getting up early to see a place bathed in golden morning light; seeking out a quiet spot to hear birdsong I may never have heard before; noticing colors, shapes, and smells of native plants; and learning about a locale through its food and drink. It's a sensory experience.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
—Ray Bradbury


go time

On departure day, I love to schedule in a little extra time at the airport for celebrating the beginning of a trip. When I've made it through security and found my gate, I breathe a sigh of relief and do a little happy dance (in my mind) that I am, at that moment, officially on vacation.

On Saturday, August 27, 2016, I found an appealing place to settle in near my gate and delve deeper into my Portugal guidebook with a glass of wine—very appropriately, a Portuguese vinho verde. And then in no time at all, I was jetting away to Portugal.

Come along with me on these pages and explore this amazing country!