Couple's Adventure in Portugal
Portugal | Nov 6 - Nov 22, 2022

Lorne
Lorne B.
Canada | Reviewed on Nov 23, 2022

We were first time visitors to Portugal traveling to Porto, Lisbon and Madeira. The guides we had were all educated, knowledgeable and fun to spend the day with. In Porto we had the best day with Renata hiking the national park and visiting a small village that has remained mostly unchanged for hundreds of years. A day we will remember for a long time. In Lisbon we had a magical day with Nuno in Sintra. He surprised us with sweets from his favorite local bakery and also treated us to lunch... read more

We were first time visitors to Portugal traveling to Porto, Lisbon and Madeira. The guides we had were all educated, knowledgeable and fun to spend the day with. In Porto we had the best day with Renata hiking the national park and visiting a small village that has remained mostly unchanged for hundreds of years. A day we will remember for a long time. In Lisbon we had a magical day with Nuno in Sintra. He surprised us with sweets from his favorite local bakery and also treated us to lunch at a roadside diner that only the locals eat at. In Madeira, George guided us on our hike from Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. It can best be described as walking on clouds for seven hours. All were awesome experiences.

Hotel Reviews
Exe Almada Porto
Porto

Hands down the friendliest staff of any hotel I have ever stayed in. The breakfast buffet was delicious and had plenty of choice to satisfy most travelers. The hotel also took cleanliness seriously as it was spotless. Well situated close to many amenities and tourist attractions. I would not hesitate to stay here again.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Proximity to restaurants, subway and attractions.
Staff
Friendly, helpful and efficient.
Cleanliness & Comfort
The rooms and common areas were spotless.
Vincci Baixa
Lisbon

Centrally located one block outside the main tourist area down town. Most attractions, subways, streetcars are within walking distance. Rooms were comfortable, clean and spacious. I found the staff to be friendly and helpful when asking for directions or recommendations on restaurants, etc.. An awesome breakfast buffet with a broad range of choices to satisfy anyone. This is also the only place in Portugal that we were able to have a cup of filtered coffee ala North American style. This added a nice little taste of home to our trip.

Authenticity & Character
Spacious rooms with awesome showers.
Location
Good proximity to most tourist attractions including old town. Most things you can walk to.
Staff
Friendly and helpful.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Very clean with comfortable beds.
Pestana Promenade Ocean Resort Hotel
Funchal

This hotel was a disappointment for us. The common areas of the hotel looked to be upgraded recently. The rooms were tired and in desperate need of upgrading. The sofa looked to be old, it was stained and it had lost its shape. The hotel decor was probably in style back in the 90's but it looked like nothing had been done to keep it fresh. The beds were two single beds pulled together and they were not comfortable. Each bed was made up as its' own bed and pushed together. We stayed four nights. On our second night I phoned down to the front desk as our wifi was terrible for both nights. I asked that I be moved to a new room and was told that the hotel's wifi was knocked and nobody in the hotel had wifi so changing rooms would make no difference. On our third night, I went down to the front desk to again ask abut the wifi. I was told that it should work in the living room but probably not in the bedroom. I told them this was unacceptable. This was the third day in a row that we were required o use our own data packages rather than the hotel wifi. I asked if the hotel was able to resolve its wifi outage...the clerk had no idea what I was talking about. We managed to get our room changed and lo and behold the wifi was wonderful. This was a terrible customer service experience. The breakfasts were well done with plenty of choice. The outdoor grounds of this hotel are very nice with infinity pools, walking trails, etc..

Authenticity & Character
This hotel is tired and in serious need of upgrades to their rooms
Location
The hotel would be a 50 minute walk to the old town and most tourist attractions.
Staff
Please see comment above on how wifi inquiry was handled.
Cleanliness & Comfort
The room was clean. Comfort was lacking.
Activity Reviews
Hiking & Cultural Excursion in Peneda-GerĂªs National Park
Porto

This excursion for us was our most favorite excursion we have ever done. Our guide Renata was exceptional. She was educated, knowledgeable on this park specifically and she was a pleasure to spend the day with. We hiked to two water falls. Had lunch in a local village where every serving was sourced from the local village (grown or raised in the village) and prepared in a traditional Portugese style. My wife and I were presented with 15 different dishes to eat. We later walked through he village and saw first hand their gardens/crops, the animals they raised, etc.. We thought this was a wonderful day.

Quality of Experience
See comment above.
Food
See comment above.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
See comment above.
Transport
See comment above.
Private Day Excursion to Sintra, Cascais & Estoril
Lisbon

A wonderful experience with our guide Nuno. The weather did not cooperate and we were unable to got to the Pena Palace due to the heavy fog. We adjusted our plans and visited Quinta da Regaleira. This was a spectacular estate complete with water falls, tunnels and many things you will not be expecting. Our guide surprised us when we exited with sweets from his favorite local bakery. He took us to a small road side diner where the locals eat. We visited several small towns on the coast line, saw awesome scenery along the way. All in all a great day.

Quality of Experience
See comment above.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
See comment above.
Transport
See comment above.
Evening of Fado
Lisbon

This was first hand experience in appreciating this music style native to Portugal. The meal served at the Clube de Fado restaurant was exceptional. When the music started, all waiters exited the restaurant putting the focus solely on the Fado performers. The songs are sung in Portugese and my wife and I were wondering if anyone in the restaurant was able to understand the lyrics. At this point the singer said "everybody" and the entire restaurant (with the exception of 3/4 tables) sang the rest of the song for her in Portugese. We were not expecting that. This was a nice cultural experience, with great food and entertainment. Well done.

Quality of Experience
See comment above.
Food
Amazing.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
The wait staff was very efficient and professional.
Transport
We walked to this venue.
Local specialist: Karenina Steinbach
Karenina
Karenina Steinbach
Local specialist in Madrid, Spain | Reviewed on Nov 30, 2022

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review!
I'm so glad to hear you had a great time overall. I will pass on your kind words to all the guides and hotels you mentioned. I was really surprised to read your comments about the Pestana Hotel in Madeira, this hotel always has quite good reviews and we have never received any negative comments thus far. I have forwarded your comments to the hotel.
Personally, for me, it was a pleasure planning this trip for you and Ellie and I hope we can work together again in the future!