This is our whistlestop guide to all of the history you should experience whilst visiting for the weekend.
Stay at the Pestana Palace
It wouldn’t be a truly historic trip if you weren’t staying somewhere with a bit of antiquity to it. That’s why, for your hotel, we’ve chosen the Pestana Palace. Not only is this stunning building a 5-star hotel, it’s also a national monument and recognized tourist attraction. Commissioned in the mid-19th century by José Luis Constantino, the building’s architect Nicola Bigaglia worked tirelessly on the mammoth ediface for two years.
José Luis Constantino adored the finished building, but when he passed in 1932, it quickly fell into disrepair. It took more than a century for the palace to be renovated, but now it is possible to stay in one of the plush rooms here and enjoy a taste of royal life. The enormous suites feature staggeringly high ceilings, regency-style decor and even some antique furnishings.
Not only this, but you can also enjoy room service at any time of the day and guests benefit from access to both of the pools, the restaurant situated in the grounds of the palace, and a glamorous spa. It’s definitely not a budget option, but when it comes to historical architecture, there’s no other hotel that can beat it.
Visit the Casino Estoril
Your first tourist site is the Casino Estoril, which is situated in Cascais just outside Lisbon. It’s famous for inspiring Ian Fleming’s Casino Royal thanks to the glamour of the stunning building it is housed in. It was built in 1916 in a modernist style and has been faithfully restored and renovated ever since.
The Casino Estoril is certainly one of the most beautiful casinos in the world. With a lavish interior and an equally stunning turn-of-the-century exterior, this casino will be a dream come true for architecture lovers. The casino has all you’d expect in terms of games, including a good variety of slots, but the real focus is on table games like blackjack.
If you’ve never played before then it can be worthwhile getting in a little practice before you go, so that you feel confident when you arrive. The online version of the title has several variations that make the player experience even more enriching. There’s obviously classic blackjack, a favourite of many casino-goers, but high-roller blackjack is the perfect variety for those wanting to place a larger wager. The standard blackjack also allows you to play in a multiplayer format, bringing you even closer to the traditional casino experience.
Eat at Martinho Da Arcada
After your first sightseeing stop, it’s time to grab something to eat and, if you’re looking for an historic spot, then where better than Lisbon’s oldest restaurant? Located on Lisbon’s main square, the Praça Do Comércio, Martinho Da Arcada has been in the very same building since 1782.
The fact that it sits on the square means that not only can you grab a bite to eat, but you can also enjoy some people watching too – that’s if you can take your eyes off the decor. Stunning Portuguese tiles adorn all of the interior walls and the furniture is all antique. The vaulted ceilings are beautiful, too, and it’s not bad from the outside either!
As for food, you can enjoy traditional Portuguese fare at very reasonable prices. As you would expect in a seaside location, the fish section of the menu is extensive and you can’t really go wrong with whatever you order from this part. All of the fish is wonderfully fresh, expertly cooked, and simply served. Perfect with a glass of crisp, dry house wine.
More Things to Do in Portugal
About the Photo
The photo in the header above is of Belém Tower in Lisbon, Portugal. The 16th century fortification was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Image by Mario Pena from Pixabay
About the Author
Charles Kirk is a freelance writer who loves neon lights, tinkering with vintage timepieces, and reading steampunk.
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