North Portugal and Galicia tips?: 2005
I am planning to include the Douro Valley and Porto and Santiago de Compostela in the next edition of my Spain and Portugal guidebooks. Are these the highlights of the northwest corner of Iberia? Do you have any favorites in this region which others may enjoy that I can check out on my upcoming research trip? Thanks for any help - Rick
Not sure if you still need anything or if this trip was taken long ago. If so, would be happy to offer comments from a two week stint in Galicia, both seaside and mountains.
Charlestown, MD USA Tue 12/27/2005
We just got back from Spain and Portugal, and Porto was my favorite. We stayed in a fabulous castle there, Castelo de Santa Catarina, in the city, but surrounded by lovely gardens, etc. Very reasonably priced, also. People are gracious, often speak English, and went out of their way to be helpful. Walking the inner city streets is a must, albeit strenous as there are lots of hills. Scour the shops to find the unusual and lovely black pottery.
Estes Park, CO USA Sat 11/19/2005
New Places are Great
Gosh Rick, how come your have never been to the Azores? It is a big part of Europe, nine islands. There is an inter-island ferry between the central group, and cheap flights to all islands. Everything is cheap, and old fashioned. Why not!
San Diego, CA USA Thu 11/17/2005
Castro de Barona
Castro de Barona- that awe-inspiring Celtic ruin overlooking the sea. We also loved the being at the "End of the Earth "- Finestra at sunset - WOW! Jan Spohn
Butler, PA USA Tue 08/23/2005
Web site recommendation
For great information on galicia try out the official tourist informational website:
A Coruņa, Espaņa Wed 08/10/2005
Northern Portugal - Sortelha
Northern Portugal is seldom included in travel guidebooks, and I think this must be the reason that it is so unspoiled and tourist-free. I worked as a full-time volunteer in northern Portugal for six months. If you want a look at the REAL old-world Europe, I think that northern Portugal is one of the few places left that you can find that.
One of the most interesting and fascinating places I visited during my stay was Sortelha, a walled city in the Serra de Estrela area. The city is as it must have been in medieval times, because large cars and vans cannot pass through the stone archway entrance (we saw a delivery truck that just had to stop outside the city walls). Truly fabulous, however, is the little restaurant just across from the castle ruins. We ate delicious wild boar and goat, in the most charming atmosphere and at an excellent price.
Provo, UT USA Sun 08/07/2005
North Portugal and Galicia tips
There is one jewel of a town in the Douro region - Lamego. It had it all - a cathedral at the top of 700 steps, Chapel, narrow streets, a small Museum with some excellent tapestries.
London, Ontario Canada Sat 08/06/2005
In regards to flying to Santiago from Michelle, I highly recommend that especially if your in a crunch for time. I flew from San Sebastian (through Madrid) for around 100E then to madrid for around 20 E. Saves time and energy, beats the 12 hr train ride. Check on Iberia's website for fares.
USA Wed 07/27/2005
Flying to Santiago
Although not mentioned in Rick's book, there is an airport at Santiago which is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the center of town. We booked a flight on Iberia from Barcelona for 19 Euro, and returned to London via Ryan Air.
Genoa, NV USA Sun 07/24/2005
Braga - you must include!
We recently returned from a trip through Portugal. One of our favorite stops was Braga. You say in your book that you can't imagine a more enjoyable city than Coimbra, well, Braga was it for us. It's wonderful, and the people were so friendly. It's a small town, with not a lot of sites, but perfect for relaxing and enjoying the great people, food, and wine.
Also, we stayed at the Vintage House, and didn't think the price tag was worth it. Loved the Douro Valley though!
There's a new restaurant before the bridge in Pinhao. I forget the name, but the food was wonderful and the server speaks several languages.
NYC, NY USA Mon 07/11/2005
Tour excursion tip
A tip I can give you about excursion tours tours in Lisbon is that I've noticed huge bus tours of people on small winding streets and hills. "Tours for You" offers more intimate tours in a van with panoramic view glass top view. The price was the same as the big tour buses but much better. Less time waiting for people to re-board and Joanne our driver was great. The van seats six but we had only four on our trip to Sintra-Cascais. I'm glad my insistence paid off. I lost the first brochure, and then the hotel ran out but I insisted and they found more under the counter.
Verona, NJ USA Mon 06/13/2005
general facts about vino tinto of this region of Galicia, perhaps in Monforte de Limon and of the dialect that they use here.
USA Sat 06/04/2005
St. Jeronemous Monestary
In Lisbon the highlight of our sightseeing was the Saint Jeronemous Monestary. The coastal area was also worth the short trip. I found the city center of Lisbon in need of restoration and cleanup.
Verona, NJ USA Wed 06/01/2005
No one here has said anything about the city of Lugo or the area known as the Ribeira Sacra.Lugo:
Lugo, Espa?a Sun 04/17/2005
If you are traveling to Galicia, you should visit the city of A Coruna (La Coruna). It is short drive (about 35 minutes) from Santiago de Compostela. The Torre de Hercules, which was built by the Romans and the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world, offers beautiful views of the city. You should also see La Cuidad Vieja, Plaza de Maria Pita, Calle Real, and the sea port at night.
New York, NY USA Sat 04/16/2005
Pontevedra, Pontevedra, Pontevedra! When my husband and I spent a few days in Galicia on our honeymoon, we thought this town fit all your requirements for a "back door" experience. It's unknown to tourists, (besides the occasional pilgram on a day trip from Santiago)it's inexpensive (even the parador was under $80 a night!) and beautiful. We had three great nights there mingling with the locals, participating in tapas crawls, drinking great whites and enjoying octopus. We also liked Santiago, but frankly, after Pontevedra, it was a disappointment.
Gaithersburg, MD USA Mon 03/14/2005
Portugal @ Galicia
Hello RickI am sorry I gave you an incorrect e-mail address
Steve O' Connor
Cornwall, UK Thu 02/24/2005
Nort Portugal @ Galacia
Hello RickI tereked with my horse through Spain Portugal and France in 2002, at the moment I am writing a book abvout my adventures, I was doing a little research on Moncao in northern Portugal and came across your web site, we spent five days in Moncao having a much needed rest, the hospitality we were shown by local people was astounding. It is a very intresting area around Moncao, they discovered a Roman burial site there, in reasent years, it is also famous for it Spa, wines and food in particular whole lamb cooked in traditional ovens. It might be worth taking a look, I could give you the name of a local man and contact details if you wereintrested.You could look out our web site to check my credentals www.pilgrimhorse.info Kind regardsSteve O' Connor
Steve O' Connor
Penzance Cornwall, UK Thu 02/24/2005
Stayed at Costa Vella in Santiago from insight from Ricks Spain book. Great place, superior double for $72E, has an amazing view from the bathroom. Staff is wonderful and have a charming cafe downstairs. Worth every penny.
seattle, wa USA Mon 02/14/2005
The pension da estrela, Plazuela de San Martin Pinario, 5, had clean, good-sized rooms for a very reasonable 36 euros/night in January. The affable host gave us a split of (not very good) champagne & party bags for New Year's Eve.
Alexandria, VA USA Fri 01/14/2005