Notes, articles and travelling tips initiated for a tourism project Ken was working in

Azenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar Beach (Portuguese: Praia das Azenhas do Mar) is a picture postcard come to life. Situated in a beautiful valley, with old houses, restaurants, and swimming pools carved out of rocks, perched on the side of a cliff all the way down to the sea below. The Beach is one of the most admired beaches in Portugal, although its sandy area is no bigger than 30 meters. On the top of the north facing high cliff is situated a wonderful viewpoint, usually quite frequented all year round due to its breathtaking landscape views. Praia das Azenhas do Mar, has become a source of inspiration for many painters like Júlio Pomar, Emílio da Paula Campos and Milly Possoz.

Quinta da Ribafria

If you like hidden places that only a few ever heard of, Quinta da Ribafria, in Sintra is the place to go. Construction began on Quinta da Ribafria, in 1541 during the reign of D. Manuel I of Portugal. The Palace was designed in the Portuguese “Manueline” architecture style with straight sober lines and it’s considered one of the finest examples of this style. From the base of the palace structure, rises a 30 meter (100 ft) quadrangular tower that stands out from the building. Facing the Palace it’s possible to see, in the right upper side, the coat of arms carved in stone. Its shape is very peculiar because it looks like it’s going to fall from the corner. Lordship of Ribafria used the tower to get magnificent views of the sea and watch over the surrounding lands that belonged to him. In front of the Palace, there is a great water mirror that creates a reflection of its splendid front facade. Surrounding the palace are tall trees that will provide the shade for a perfect walk or picnic. Another curiosity is the 16th century swimming pool and the small chapel.

Museu Nacional dos Coches

The National Coach Museum (Portuguese: Museu Nacional dos Coches) was created at the initiative of Queen Amélia of Orleans and Braganza, the wife of King Carlos I, in 1905. Queen Amélia, proposed bringing together the Royal Household’s ceremonial coaches and carriages in one place, preserving them and showing them to the public. The site chosen for the museum was the former Royal Riding School at Belém Palace. When the museum first opened it housed a collection of 29 vehicles, dress uniforms, harnesses and riding accessories used by the royal family. The museum has since grown to have one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world. In 2015 on its 110th anniversary The National Coach Museum, added a new building across the street designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The new site made it possible to show more accessories and carriages that weren’t previously shown. Today the Museum houses a large one-of-a-kind collection due to the artistic diversity and splendor of the ceremonial vehicles from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Among its most outstanding items is a travelling coach used by King Philip II of Portugal to travel from Spain to Portugal in 1619. There are also many pompous Baroque 18th century carriages decorated with paintings and luxurious gilt woodwork, the most magnificent of these being a ceremonial coach given by Pope Clement XI to King John V in 1715, and the three coaches of the Portuguese embassador to Pope Clement XI, built in Rome in 1716. Rounding off the Museum’s collection are team harnesses, riding tackle, saddles, dress uniforms, ceremonial armoury and 18th century processional accessories, as well as oil paintings of the monarchs of Braganza dynasty.

The National Tile Museum

The National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo) is housed in the beautiful 16th century Convent of Madre de Deus, and despite its out-of-the-way location, this museum is well worth a visit. The collection consists mostly of decorative azulejo tiles, azulejo are a form of Portuguese painted ceramic tilework, the majority depicting religious scenes. The museum contains a grand array of tiles from as early as the 15th century along with displays on how they’re produced.

The Lisbon Zoo

The Jardim Zoológico (Lisbon Zoo) opened to the public 133 years ago and was the first park of its kind on the Iberian Peninsula. The zoo hosts 2,000 animals from over 300 different species, from all corners of the planet. Dolphins, Sea Lions, Reptiles, and Birds in Free Flight shows are daily, but varying by season. Lisbon Zoo also features The Animax, which is on the zoo premises but outside the animal area. It’s an amusement area with a carousel, restaurants, and shops.