Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
All the team here at J5 acknowledge and are grateful to work in the greatest industry in the world, where we can sometimes literally make peoples dreams come true. Thank you all for your support as we continue to enjoy a resurgence in the need for our services. The age of the travel advisor is back for sure.
The team continues to travel during this Fall Season as this is the time of year when it makes the most sense for us from a business point of view. We also highly encourage clients to follow this lead if possible and explore popular detsinations in the shoulder or even off-season times, which of course vary by destination greatly.
After our team trip to Italy, Shanna headed to one of her specialist destinations, Portugal, for the first week in November. Below, in her own words is Shanna's Top 5. From seaside villages to rolling countryside to cobblestoned cities, Portugal has been a hot destination for the past 2 years. Its diverse landscape, Mediterranean climate, and overall affordability make it a great pick as it’s begun to take center stage over Spain.
Top 5 - Portugal Off Season
1. InterContinental Porto - Palacio Das Cardosas (above and below)
While the property was extremely upfront of the ongoing construction of a new Metro line in Porto’s city center, I did not experience any inconveniences during my stay. In fact, our suite was extremely spacious offering a separate living room, comfortable bed, and marble shower overlooking the outdoor terrace. Additionally, the staff and concierge were superb, recommending some of the best restaurants I enjoyed in all of Portugal.
2. Porto Vintage Food Tour (above and below)
As we always say here at J5, one of the best ways to experience a new culture is through a food tour! After the first sip of vinho verde or "green wine" which originated in northern Portugal, I was hooked! Next, a visit to the oldest grocery store in Porto was followed by a canned fish tasting at Bolhão Market, a lively food market that has upheld the essence of the city since 1914. Next up - fresh Portuguese pastries, a visit to a traditional tavern, and a port tasting to end!
3. Six Senses Douro Valley (above and below)
I headed just over an hour east of Porto to one of the best luxury wellness retreats in Portugal - Six Senses Douro Valley. Overlooking vine-covered terraces and the Douro River, the Six Senses is a romantic and peaceful escape set in a 19th-century manor. From an Alchemy Bar, to biohacking, to a spa menu featuring wellness elixirs, this was a spa experience like no other. Once rejuvenated, check out Six Senses’ key concept called ‘destination dining’ as they showcase the bounty of the region through flourishing kitchen gardens.
4. Bairro Alto Hotel, Lisbon (above and below)
I made the 3.5 hour high-speed train journey from Porto to Lisbon. Between two of the most emblematic city districts in Lisbon, Bairro Alto and Chiado, sits the luxury and boutique Bairro Alto Hotel. Whether you fancy a typical Portuguese sweet from The Patisserie or a nightcap at the rooftop bar, Bairro Alto Hotel’s intimate spaces have a wide range of gastronomic offers. My most memorable takeaway were the wellness-focused surprises at turndown service including magnesium shots instead of the usual chocolate treat on your pillow.
5. Sintra and Cascais (above and below)
If your itinerary includes Lisbon, we most likely will always recommend a day trip out to Sintra and Cascais. Sintra's Cultural Landscape is an exceptional mixture of natural and cultural sites which is why UNESCO declared it ‘world heritage’ back in 1995. In addition to the iconic Pena Palace, you’ll find magnificent royal residences with botanical richness throughout the city. On the way to Cascais, two unforgettable stops included: Rocca Cape (that's me below!), the western most point of Continental Europe, and the "Mouth of Hell", a small cliff creating enormous waves. A must do in Cascais - eat all the seafood!
If you're ready to plan an off season vacation we'd love to help you plan some of the most unique experiences to create an unforgettable trip. Click the button below to get started.
I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to have built a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.