Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

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I went to Sintra, Portugal, the most romantic place! The true romance was really how great this blazer matched the Pena Palace.  I bought it just before leaving Toronto knowing full well that it would match perfectly. Ha! Aeroplan was open to me picking the places I wanted to visit for this trip and Sintra was top of my list. It’s a small resort town in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, about a 20min Uber from Lisbon. It’s amazing how close this is to Lisbon and yet so different than the city. There are a couple beaches nearby, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it there.

Casa do Valle

I stayed at a beautiful place in Sintra about a 10 min walk from the centre of the tourist area. I booked it almost 2 months ahead and paid $149.42 CAD the garden suite near the pool. When I check to extend my stay there, it was almost double the price. Book early! Get $40 if you use this booking.com link

Casa do Valle is owned by a family from Finland, they built it to have family stay with them but they didn’t come so they turned it into a bed and breakfast. We met them they were so incredibly nice. Breakfast was served in our room and we had a few different options to pick from + coffee and tea. Wifi was included and from the pool area, you can see Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Pena Palace

This is the red/yellow castle. I mapped this place out and added it to my itinerary as soon right away. I was told to get there early in the day to avoid crowds but we went around 4:30pm and it was busy, but not ridiculous. I was still able to get great photos without too many people in the background. I was actually quite surprised how patient people were for everyone taking photos. Thanks, Instagram! 

I purchased ‘Park & Pena Palace: Skip the Line’ mobile tickets from tiqets.com a couple hours before visiting or 14 Euros. I really didn’t need the ‘Skip the Line’, there was no line.

The hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace is known for its design and bright colours. You can get a great view from the mountain top and explore the beautiful park before the castle. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you have to walk from the park up the hill to the castle and you’ll really feel it in your booty.

When leaving Pena Palace you pass the Castle of The Moors, a medieval castle where you can tour the grounds to a lookout over Sintra. (You’ll need to buy a ticket!)

Sintra

Sintra’s downtown is a cute little area beside The Palace of Sintra is in the heart of the old town. There are cabs, Uber, and tuk-tuks to take you around the tourist areas. I didn’t have any great meals but there’s a pastry you must have a Piriquita, the most famous pastry in Sintra.


I highly recommend going to Sintra. It’s magical!


This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo
 

Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon

casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel

Portugal is amazing! My trip with Aeroplan this month was great and if you were following on social you’ll know because I posted heaps of photos!  The air was hot, the food was good, and I found inspiration in the bright colours and kind people. I took over 2,000 photos and kept notes during the trip. I did a bunch of research before I left and have been asked heaps about recommendations, so, I’ve broken down my trip into 5 posts based on things I did, which is only a fraction of what there is to do. Next trip I’ll rent a car and drive around to see the Algarve, Braga, Cascais, Coimbra, Aveiro (the Venice of Portugal), and the historic town of Óbidos.

I’d like to take a second to thank Telus for keeping me connected. I have an Easy Roam package on my plan where for the cost of a coffee & snack each day I could use the data of my Canadian plan without having to worry about roaming. It’s great to disconnect but for me, being able to still share my experience as it happens is part of the fun!

Links to other Portugal Posts are at the bottom and I’ll update as each is published! Obrigada!


What to Do In Lisbon

I arrived in Lisbon with a loose plan of what to do for the next 10 days. It was my first visiting and I’d been building a Pinterest board of the things to see and do for weeks. The city is so beautiful, bright coloured buildings fill the streets and the hills make it so picturesque. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a lot.

When you arrive from the airport it can be a bit confusing, if you don’t want to Uber or taxi, there’s a green bus that will take you downtown to a variety of spots for a couple Euros (the ticket is good for 24 or 48 hours).


The main streets will present heaps of opportunities to dine on a patio, have wine, visit a museum, or go shopping. We found a great little store for clothes at a good price at the bottom of  Santa Justa Lift. I ended up getting a 2nd suitcase to bring home all the things I bought on this trip! You can go up the lift for a 360 view but there was a line so I didn’t bother (this is included in your Yellow Bus ticket, see below).

Yellow Bus Tours

For 20 Euros I got a 48-hour ticket for Yellow Bus Tours which allowed me to take 2 bus lines and the trolley unlimited for 2 days. This worked out really great because they have an audio guide on the bus that tells you all about the history and landmarks, it also saved me paying for Ubers to get to all the places I wanted to go.

Parque Eduardo VII

One of the great views from the bus tour is Parque Eduardo VII, the largest park in Lisbon. I would have loved to walk around the park. There’s some greenery that looks like a maze! The park is 26 hectares and in between Avenida da Liberdade and the Marquis of Pombal Square, right in the centre of the city.

casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel

Belem

One route on the bus tour took me to Belem and Torre de Belém (Tower of Belem). It was built on the northern bank of the Tagus between 1514 and 1520 and in 1983 was classified by UNESCO as “Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

There’s also a place in Belem called Pastéis de Belém, the original spot for Pastel da Nata (Portuguese egg tart), since 1837.  Be prepared to wait but sooo good! 

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LX Factory

This is a really cool area with bars, restaurants and shopping. It’s great for photos and has heaps of street art. This was where I saw the most hipstery people in Lisbon. There was live music and really cool shipping container/bus things to check out.

Barrio Alto District

Grab a beer at a little store and walk around, it’s really busy here! (Also, you can drink in the streets!) There are heaps of little bars and restaurants. We had dinner in an alley at an Italian restaurant. I was also surprised by how many police and families were walking around late at night. Hold onto your stuff though, if you were going to get pickpocketed, this would be the place.

Park Bar, Lisbon

If you’re looking for a great view, Park Bar it’s a busy hot spot on top of a parking garage with wooden seats and drinks. The entrance is on a small side street but they will likely be people hanging out or checking Google Maps on their phones to get there. You’ll have to walk up a few flights of stairs but the view is amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there before sunset, the view in daylight is amazing.

Praça do Comércio (Yellow Square)

The Royal Palace used to be here before the Great Earthquake in 1755. The square is beside the Tagus River, it has a beautiful archway (Rua Augusta Arch) and a bronze statue of Joseph I of Portugal (1750 – 1777)  (King of Portugal during the earthquake).

Time Out Market

This is a HUGE market with all kinds of different food. It’s really busy at night with people eating and drinking. It’s right across from the train station if you want to get to Sintra, Cascais, or Praia De Carcavelos (beach).  I stayed at a great Airbnb just behind the market with a great host who showed me how to navigate the train station. If you haven’t used Airbnb yet, visit this link to get $45 CAD off your first stay.

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Hope you enjoyed my photos and recommendations.

Check out my other posts about Portugal below! 

Casie Stewart: Guide to Portugal

  1. Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon
  2. Portugal Pt. 2: Sintra & Pena Palace
  3. Portugal Pt 3: Porto (Coming Soon!)
  4. Portugal Pt. 4: Douro Valley (Coming Soon!)
  5. Portugal Pt 5: Highly Instagrammable Places to Photograph (Coming Soon!)

 


This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo
 

The Praries: Ford EcoSport Cross-Canada Tour

casie stewart, ford canada, blogger, travel, regina, saskatchewan, calgary, alberta, ford eco sport,

This year for Canada Day weekend I was part of the Ford EcoSport cross Canada road trip with Ford Canada. My friend April and I were Leg 14 of the adventure and driving from Regina to Medicine Hat, SK and finishing in Calgary Alerta. It was both our first time in Regina and we had heaps of fun along the adventure. Thank you Ford Canada for this experience! Scroll down to see what we got up to along the way.


The Ford Eco Sport Tour involves 14 different content creators each driving the exact same Ford Eco Sport for a relay across the country. When I first received the email I was so excited and even more so that I got to bring a friend! I’d been wanting to go on a trip with April since that great weekend we spent glamping up north a few years back.

We started in Regina, SK and it was the first time there for the both of us. We arrived late afternoon and checked into Hotel Saskatchewan, an extremely elegant hotel. Ford hooked us up with a 2 room suite and it was perfect! The hotel offered great views of the city, was walking distance to restaurants and bars, it had a nice gym and a hot tub too. We drove around and made use of the SYNC® 3 with Apple CarPlay™ and FordPass Wifi HotSpot.

Instead of doing typical tourist stuff on our road trip, April and I made a point to stop at different vintage and second-hand stores across the two provinces. We love to shop! I’ve always found that shops in small towns are where you really find the gems. Our first stop was T&A Vinyl & Fashion and the owner was so cool. We shopped the vintage finds/records and he gave us pins, stickers, and a whole bunch of tips for things to do along our journey.

After a busy day of travelling and some shopping, we were ready for relaxation. Instead of going out we ordered room service from the incredible kitchen at Hotel Saskatchewan and pigged out in our rooms wearing our robes.

In the morning, we woke up pretty early (with the time difference) which it earned us time to hit the gym, have a coffee, and be on the road by 9am. Our goal was to do as much driving in the early part of the day as e could so we had some time at our next destination, The Resort at Cypress Hills. The car was great to drive and features like SYNC and wifi kept us on track and connected the whole time.

We had no shortage of great places to stop along the way. A lot of the drive looked the same with wide open Canola fields of yellow, green grass, and blue skies. We sang along to 90s on 9 on Sirius XM and stopped for photos and shopping along the way. It was really fun. As we turned off the Trans-Canada highway we came across a cute stop with a goat farm. So cute. Always stop for baby goats!

It was just about dinner when we arrived to our room at Cypress Hill Resort, a nice resort in the middle of a provincial park. We had a great dinner and turned in early to watch TV in our beds. We’re a real wild bunch! haha.

It was Canada Day when we woke up on Sunday so we both wore red and hit the road for the final leg of the trip to Calgary. It’s amazing how wide and flat the Prairies are. Really makes you appreciate how big and beautiful Canda is. Especially on Canada day! ??

We made a few stops along the way including a Sunday market. We talked to shopkeepers whoever we stopped and people asked about the Ford Eco Sport wherever we went.


Sunday night we stayed at my fav spot in Calgary, Hotel Arts. I filmed this video there with Tourism Calgary a couple years back. We had a great dinner at Yellow Door Bistro inside the hotel and watched the Canada Day day festivities from the balcony.

Althouth we were on a self-guided adventure,  we had Denis who worked with Ford to drive across Canada to make sure each participant was a-ok along the journey. He also put gas in the car overnight so we were ready to roll in the morning. Thanks Denis! 

Overall the Ford Eco Sport was a great car to drive. It’s comfortable, good on gas, nice sound system, and my fav feature was the automatic windshield wipers. It didn’t rain much but when it did, they started up themselves!

Check out @FordCanada on Instagram for some of the other people who were part of the relay. It was such a  cool experience to be part of and to explore a new part of Canada.

Thank you Ford Canada! 

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Two Sisters Vineyard, Niagra on the Lake: Local Flights, Wine, & Baby Goats

two sisters winery, fly GTA, muskoka, niagara on the lake, NOTL, casie stewart, wine country, ontario

Monday was just a casual day y’know? I flew to Niagara on the Lake (NOTL) with a small group for lunch & wine tasting at Two Sisters Winery w/ the two sisters. It was such a great experience!

Small groups or private adventures are a great way to get people  (media, content creators, friends) familiar with your brand. Thank you, Two Sisters (the actual sisters!) for hosting and Fly GTA for the great flight.

Can’t wait to try their Muskoka route soon! 

Scroll through the IG post below and read the captions below. I shared 10 great things about the day. This is an expansion of the original IG post. I’m not sure if I’ve done before? It usually goes the other way (WP->IG vs IG->WP). ?

1. Arrived at the airport I was a last minute invite so I went right to the office like HELLOOOOO. Thank you Stilez for hooking me up! ?

2. The flight is 10-25mim depending on route and $99. Very beautiful!✈️

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3. Hot pilot alert ??‍✈️

two sisters winery, fly GTA, muskoka, niagara on the lake, NOTL, casie stewart, wine country, ontario

4. Two sisters took over a peach ? farm 4 years ago.

5. They have a great team who takes care of the vineyard by hand.

6. I love Italian food and lunch was INCREDIBLE. Love the Burrata & polenta. Also HOT SAUCE.

7. What a voice, don’t miss this video or check out my NOTL Story on IG. Impromptu acapella performance from a band visiting from Portugal. ??

8. Step inside the wine cellar, theres a table for private dining. ? (See IG video)

9. Private tour of the family farm with BABY GOATS ? ? ?

10. They also have a hidden pond on the vineyard with a family of ducks and ducklings + heaps of fish.


two sisters winery, fly GTA, muskoka, niagara on the lake, NOTL, casie stewart, wine country, ontario

THE CREW! Maurie from 92.5, Joanna Sable, Solmaz, @meetandeats.

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This adventure was hosted by Two Sisters Winery and I was SO MUCH FUN.  I love documenting adventures with words and photos so I can always remember them.

Portugal: Europe’s Hottest Destination for 2018

Portugal: Europe’s  Hottest Destination for 2018

I’ve always dreamed of summer in Europe and although I’ve travelled to heaps of countries, I’ve never done a Euro trip. I KNOW! Well, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. As part of my ongoing partnership with Aeroplan, tomorrow I’m heading to PORTUGAL. We leave mid-month and we’re back on the 30th.  Have I said I’m excited, yet?

I was originally heading to Paris with Sean but that trip is a little delayed and I’m so glad this worked out. It’s a great feeling to text your friend and say ‘hey want to come to Europe this summer?’. Ahhhhh pinch me, it’s times like this I’m like omg, this is my life!

I am so excited. Portugal is the hottest spot to go this summer, just check your Facebook feed or of your fav online celebs and they’re all checking in to Lisboa, Porto, Sintra, and beautiful coastal beaches.

Yesterday I was reading this article on W Magazine and it’s one of many about how Portugal is THE SPOT to be. We’ve planned out most of the adventure but I’ve left a few days up in the air to figure out as we go. I love not having a plan and the freedom to make things up as we learn more about secret beaches, hidden hideaways, and locals only spots.


If you have any food & drink recommendations, family, friends, hotels, Airbnb, vacation properties, restaurant owner friends, anything, PLEASE COMMENT.

We have a Google doc and Slack set up to manage everything (yes, we are nerds) so I will add all of your suggestions.



So far we’re arriving in Lisbon, going to Sintra, then to Porto, we’ve got a few days with no plan, then back to Lisbon before coming home. We’re gone for almost 2 weeks. It is going to be so hot and I can’t wait.

Sintra, Portugal – we’re staying in this great city for a night!


If you haven’t checked out the new Aeroplan, I suggest popping over to aeroplan.com. They’ve got deals on getaways, vacation packages, and more. You can also earn Miles at Amazon, Costco, and heaps of other online shopping spots. I’ve had an Aeroplan credit card for years and love racking up those rewards.

Thank you Aeroplan for making this dream come true! Follow along all our posts tagged #withAeroplan. I’m so excited!

 


Over the holidays this year took mum back to New Zealand for a month with Aeroplan and it was such a  great adventure. Watch this video we made w/ 1188 before our vacation.

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Vancouver: Hello from the other side!

casie stewart, toronto, blogger, celine, bathing belle, travel blogger, travel tuesday

Hi! I was up early and out the door about 5:30am, arriving in Vancouver just after 9:30am PST. Driving to the hotel it was clear today was going to be beautiful! It’s MUCH different from my last visit in March when it was cold & snowy! When I’m travelling for work I try to get there with a few hours to spare so I can relax, nap, eat, get some computing done, or check out the area.

Fellow #TeamTelus friend, Christine (lifeonmanitoulin.com) was on my flight. so her and I decided to check out the area. We walked along the sea wall past parks and people until we got to Cactus Club Cafe. We’d been in Van for less than an hour before we found a great patio and refreshing cocktail.  I have a real knack for this haha.


Our waitress said we had to check out the award-winning Bella Gelateria for gelato and MY GOD IT WAS FREAKING AMAZING. I almost always get chocolate and this was truly one of the BEST I’ve had in my life. There were chunks of brownies. I can taste this photo.

The view from the Westin Bayshore is beautiful. My room overlooks the pool with mountains in the background. I popped down to the pool to sit in the shade, catch up on emails, and read my book in the pool.


Tomorrow is a full day of activities with Telus and I’m excited to see what we get up to. I’m heading out tonight to meet the team for dinner. It’s so nice out, planning to leave early and walk.

@casiestewart