Take a ride down the Portuguese coast
CGTN

As the old Chinese saying goes, "It is better to see something once, than to hear about it a hundred times." Located at the western tip of Europe, Portugal is on the list of "Best Countries in the World to Visit" published by Conde Nast magazine. One of the best ways to explore Portugal is by car, because when you drive, even a wrong turn can lead to fascinating experiences that weren't on your must-see list.

With China hosting a Portuguese Cultural Festival this year, let's cruise from north to south to see what this country has to offer.

Porto

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and is about a three-hour drive north of the capital, Lisbon. Besides the architecture here, don't miss out on its port wine lodges in the famous Vila Nova de Gaia, where the Graham's Port Lodge is located.

The top deck of the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto is for pedestrian use and a metro line, while the bottom deck is also for pedestrians and cars. /VCG Photo

The top deck of the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto is for pedestrian use and a metro line, while the bottom deck is also for pedestrians and cars. /VCG Photo

The Gothic-looking Saint Francis Church displays baroque finery on the inside. /VCG Photo

The Gothic-looking Saint Francis Church displays baroque finery on the inside. /VCG Photo

About a 10-minute walk from the Saint Francis Church is this one, the Porto Cathedral. The picture shows the inside the cathedral. /VCG Photo

About a 10-minute walk from the Saint Francis Church is this one, the Porto Cathedral. The picture shows the inside the cathedral. /VCG Photo

Do the stairs of Livraria Lello look familiar? J.K. Rowling found some inspiration here, which made it into the Harry Potter stories. /VCG Photo

Do the stairs of Livraria Lello look familiar? J.K. Rowling found some inspiration here, which made it into the Harry Potter stories. /VCG Photo

Graham's Lodge is a big name and popular choice for tours in Porto, because wine is one of the things this city is famous for.  /VCG Photo

Graham's Lodge is a big name and popular choice for tours in Porto, because wine is one of the things this city is famous for.  /VCG Photo

Peniche

From the city of Porto, drive about two and a half hours down the coastline to Peniche, which has many surf schools. So if you're a beginner, it's fine. Enjoy the waves. 

The Peniche coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. /VCG Photo

The Peniche coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. /VCG Photo

An aerial view of the island of Baleal, near Peniche. /VCG Photo

An aerial view of the island of Baleal, near Peniche. /VCG Photo

Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city in Portugal, and it's just an hour's drive away from Peniche. As one of the oldest cities in the world, it has unique charm. Don't walk too fast, though downtown Lisbon is walkable. The four items below should be on your bucket list: the Alfama District, the Tower of Belem, Tram 28 – a convenient and stylish mode of transportation, and the Pasteis tarts that you've been dreaming about since exiting the plane. 

Alfama

The Alfama District and Rio Tejo in Lisbon. /VCG Photo

The Alfama District and Rio Tejo in Lisbon. /VCG Photo

A sketch of an Alfama street. /VCG Photo

A sketch of an Alfama street. /VCG Photo

Escolas Gerais in Alfama, Lisbon. /VCG Photo

Escolas Gerais in Alfama, Lisbon. /VCG Photo

Belem

The Tower of Belem in Lisbon. /VCG Photo

The Tower of Belem in Lisbon. /VCG Photo

Tram 28

Taking Tram 28 is a great way to do sightseeing in the city. /VCG Photo

Taking Tram 28 is a great way to do sightseeing in the city. /VCG Photo

Tram 28 /VCG Photo

Tram 28 /VCG Photo

Pasteis de Belem

The Pasteis de Belem shop in Lisbon. /VCG Photo

The Pasteis de Belem shop in Lisbon. /VCG Photo

Two employees of the Confeitaria dos Pasteis de Belem pastry shop with the famous Pasteis cream tarts. /VGC Photo

Two employees of the Confeitaria dos Pasteis de Belem pastry shop with the famous Pasteis cream tarts. /VGC Photo

Faro

Faro is located on the southern coastline of Portugal. It's a perfect way to finish this tour relaxing on the beach again. Return the car to the airport, and I swear, in your window seat on the flight back home, you'll be looking down, vividly awake in your daydream.

Ilha do Farol, Faro. /VCG Photo

Ilha do Farol, Faro. /VCG Photo