Tesla Model 3 2024 review

In a world full of lengthy video reviews here goes my information packed, honest review of the refreshed Tesla Model 3 “Highland” after 5000 kilometers. It does have some flaws like the rest of us, but overall it’s an awesome product.

Dynamic performance

The car acceleration is fucking great for a cheap base non sport model, it pulls really good from stopped all the way to the maximum top speed with no hesitations what so ever. Is quite stable at high speed and turns really good in the twisties (the low center of gravity makes wonders), the ABS and TC are effective and actually let some wheel spin for fun factor. It can sustain top speed for extended periods of time, I never saw the dreaded “battery hot, reduced power available” warning that I always get when pushing in the “autobahn” previous electric models.

It’s a bummer that the car electronically cuts power at 200 kph when you feel enough to reach 220/230 kph no problem. The brakes are effective for every day usage, but rubbish for intense driving as they get too hot very easy (removing the aero wheel covers helps). So, don’t even think about track fun without changing brakes. Also, you can’t turn off ABS and TC… another fail in my book. The engine braking is omnipresent (kind of remembers a motorcycle) and non configurable, but when you change to a combustion car you really miss the control and security it grants to driving, and when you change back to EV you really don’t miss coasting. Suspension is awesome, it hides the car weight really well, but the weight is there and it’s felt in wet conditions and corner transitions, so be careful and take your time to know the handling in these conditions and avoid any scary situation.

Pro tip: when high speed driving turn off the lane assist feature, because the little wheel vibration it sends when crossing lines on the road can sometimes unsettle the precision of the car.

Just a note for European tight city centers road users, the car is a bit too big. When Tesla launches the compact/city car it will be just perfect for tight city driving.

Range, efficiency, charging and battery

The declared WLPT range is 513 kilometes, but whoever conjured this laboratory test should be sodomized by a gang of Senegal males in their prime because it’s utter unrealistic. So, full blast emergency mode with a knife on the teeth doing the best to trash the battery, hard accelerations and braking, long top speed segments expect a range around 150km, a more relaxed but yet sporty (going faster than most of traffic) expect about 250km range, city stop and go driving or/and single carriage in the 90/100kmh speed expect around 400km range. It can probably reach 500km autonomy hypermiling driving, personally I didn’t test it because I’m so not it the mood to waste life time driving for 6.5 hours at 70kmh.

Yes, this car wants and makes you feel good about going fast, because at home charging overnight you get 0.07 cents a Kwh, so lets say you charge from 0-100% it costs you 3.85 euros. In daily driving , no worries about the right pedal, expect a range of 250km or the mind blowing cost of 1.5 euros per 100km. So, if you are used to a diesel for daily driving like I was, each month lets say you spend 100 euros in fuel with this you spend 12.5 euros. So, really in my mind it makes no sense to go slow for saving energy/money.

If you are road traveling, and fast charging then expect the rip-off, around 60 cents Kwh in public networks that puts it a little above the average cost of a 2.0 diesel car, or around 30 cents Kwh in the fantastic Super Charger Tesla network which puts it a bit below the average cost of a diesel car.

Many friends ask me how much time it takes to charge, so in everyday use it takes zero time, you don’t have to go to the pump, you don’t have to wait in line for the person in front to get his coffee and snacks, when it’s under 70% of state of charge I simply plug a cord at night and go to sleep. in road tripping expect a stop of 15 to 20 minutes fast charging for every 2.5h driving (the car computer calculates and navigates the needed charging pit stops auto magically)

Other point, this version has a LFP battery, so no cobalt in it, but more important for me you can charge it everyday to 100% no problem with battery degradation. Also the expected degradation over the years of usage is expected to be minimal (maybe a report on this in some years).

The main point is, if you can daily charge it at home or work with normal energy rates is a great option. If you do lots of road trips then please do your research and the math because probably it’s not the best choice. It’s ridiculous all this government taxes and fees, probably Portugal is the worst example in the whole world, that in the end makes the user pay almost 10x more for the same energy in fast charging than home charging… what a rip-off.


First things first, the highly controversial stalk less wheel design that was bashed all over main stream media. So, if you read news articles about this “issue” you have been click baited, as this is really a non-issue because after some weeks driving stalk less not only you get used to it, but when you go back to an old car with stalks it seems clumsy and stupid to take the hand out of the wheel to push a stick up or down.

Now the stalks remind me of a big old classic Pong style controller, and the wheel buttons feel like a modern Playstation controller. Ask yourself which one would you rather use?

I have two complaints about the Tesla big touch screen that controls basically all the car functions, and no I don’t miss the knobs and buttons cluttering the console at all.

First a minor complaint, it bugs me that there is no way to shut down the screen and keep the music and climate. I’m not the kind of person to be parked sitting in the car, but this car is so fucking comfortable with great seats, awesome sound system and climate control (and no worries about battery depletion) that I find myself resting a bit in beautiful places, and Youtube is fine, Netflix is fine, Disney+ is fine, the games are fine, but sometimes I just want the darkness to stargaze at night, and the only way is to throw a black shirt over the screen (so boomer…).

Second is a major complaint, probably the thing that bugs more in the whole car. You are connected, you have GPS, you have a big processor to serve you, you have a beautiful big screen in front of you, yet you have to use the phone to run Waze to protect yourself against the speed traps, accidents, traffic jams, construction, and other obstacles. It feels so stupid to ditch Tesla navigation and look down at tiny phone screen…. and for sure a company that is working in AI, Full Self Driving, humanoid robots could for sure develop in a couple of days a social navigation tool.

Speaking of AI, in Europe we still don’t have access to Full Self Driving but the Auto Pilot on highways work just fine, a little bit too cautious sometimes it tends to get a scared and brake a little too much, also the nag its quite boring and should be deleted in my opinion (will order a Alliexpress weighted hand to defeat this regulatory shit), also the inside camera watching you can be easily defeated with a bit of black tape. Damn how I hate these paternalists bureaucrats running the European Union.

Final toughts

The Tesla phone app is awesome, sentry mode is awesome (I always park my motorcycle in front of car for security), love the phone key, love the ability to use the phone to open/close the car and grant via a shareable link access to it makes keys feel so outdated (I hope one day all vehicles will work like this), it’s so easy and simple to go fast and efficient from point A to point B, the solid overall build and feel, the spacious interior and luggage storage, the lack of oil changes and maintenance, the great price point make this a five star product.

It’s no wonder the Model Y was the best selling car of the world (of any type). Congrats and thank you Tesla.


Disclaimer, i’m not a doctor nor an health professional so the content posted can be inaccurate, incomplete or misleading and comes with no warranty whatsoever.

I’m a 40 plus years patient of glaucoma, and specially for you that were diagnosed with the disease and reached this little corner of the inter webs, this is a message of hope. The most likely outcome is that you CAN preserve your eyesight and avoid blindness IF you are diligent and follow this simple set of rules :

1 – Find a good ophthalmologist specialized in glaucoma. This is vital.
2 – Fully, strictly and methodically commit to the treatment and follow-up plan. Like the Nike slogan, just DO it.
3 – Don’t be afraid to step it up. If medication is not doing it anymore there are lasers, if lasers are not enough there are surgeries. Don’t procrastinate.
4 – Never, ever think glaucoma is “controlled”. It’s a dynamic disease, it evolves. So, never, ever back down.
5 – Take good care of your general health and keep a positive mindset.

Return back to rule #1, rinse and repeat.

1 – What is glaucoma?

Unfortunately glaucoma is the second cause of irreversible vision impairment and blindness in the modern health care available world (first is AMD if you are wandering). If all glaucoma patients followed the above rules is my strong conviction that we would drop several positions in the dreadful ranking. So if you are a glaucoma patient please enforce yourself to comply with these rules, if you are a friend or familiar of someone with glaucoma please make sure (and help) him or her to comply.

It’s very important to explain WHY this happens? Why does a manageable (in most cases) disease causes so much havoc? Because in it’s most common form it’s a sneaky bitch.

The hallmark of glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve, the death of the very delicate RGC neurons in the back of the eye . Yet, (in the most common form of glaucoma) it happens slowly, painless, and the eye/brain has compensating mechanisms that can hide it to late stages before having visual clues. So, it’s very easy to relax about it, even after being diagnosed with, you feel good, have no pain, as long as you can tell you see the same as the day before. But nerve cells are dying and this loss of nerve tissue is irreversible. Then the day you feel something is not quite right with your vision, or feel discomfort or slight pain in the eye(s), or halos around lights at night and seek for help, you already put yourself in a bad situation and squandered a lot of nerve cell capital.

Please take this advice from a 4 decade plus glaucoma patient, don’t wait for symptoms, don’t be passive, don’t “listen” to your body on this one. There are only 2 known risks factors for glaucoma progression, age and ocular pressure. Nowadays is impossible to de-age you, but with medical help you can, should, and must, maintain the ocular pressure at your own safe target.

Now trust me, don’t expect to control your IOP by feeling, looking outside the window, flipping a coin, or any other method except for tonometer reading. Again, if you eventually feel something is wrong most probably things are quite wrong and irreversible damage has been made. So between your doctor appointments, take regular readings at an optician. But beware, if your IOP readings are stable don’t even think about skipping doctor follow-ups as glaucoma is dynamic and to halt the disease progression your personal target ocular pressure can change over time.

My advice is to act methodically and as effortlessly as possible, because this is not an 100 meter sprint, it’s an ultra marathon.

2 – What lifestyle changes should we do?

Glaucoma is not a lifestyle disease, but changes in your routines can help. First and most important, whatever you do, DON’T stop or change your treatment and follow-up plan. Write this in stone in your head.

Always have a critical mind. Don’t trust a random person just because is on a Youtube video or on a random blog post. Try to have some grasp, of the beneficial (or detrimental) mechanism of the proposed action. Dig for references about the person, dig for published studies and consensus, do your due diligence.

Don’t be fooled or paranoid, we live in a age that information flows freely and fast, if someone had a simple secret silver bullet to control ocular pressure and treat glaucoma, that information would spread like wild fire on dry straw… so, if someone starts with the likes of “do this simple thing every morning to get rid of glaucoma” raise a big big big red flag.

Keep always in your mind rule #5, what is good for your health is also good for glaucoma. Good nutrition, good repair sleep and regular exercise is always a safe bet. Don’t limit yourself or you life to unfounded beliefs (like I heard someone say to somebody that you shouldn’t eat this, or drink that, or do this or do that…), in doubt about something consult with your biggest ally (the person in rule #1). Live a full positive life.

Some practical personal insights about every day life.

Computer screens – do make the hourly pause and look outside the window, as far as you can. For extra comfort use inverted color schemes, black backgrounds on white letters.

Yoga – the routine should be altered and exclude all downward facing positions. A great rule of thumb is that your head should be always above your heart.

Weight lifting – Again, head always above the heart. Switch flat benches for the inclined variations. Don’t hold your breath, inhale and exhale normally. When the goal is muscle failure, rather than very heavy loads and low reps achieve it with a bit more reps (personally because of glaucoma I never go under than 8 reps, but probably an higher number is even better).

These and many other glaucoma lifestyle choices insights, please take time and watch this webinar (it’s the best that I’ve found online):

3 – The mental part of it.

What the MD doctors don’t speak is the mental part of it. And let me tell you this friends, it’s a struggle. You must find motivation within each and every day to correctly apply the medication, do the doctor appointments, take pressure readings between appointments, submit yourself to surgeries if needed.

And I warn you, it gets much tougher and depressing when your vision gets impaired (so please do the best you can to preserve it). It’s really tough to properly navigate with bad eyesight in this world made for people with good vision.

It’s mentally tough when other people (with lack of knowledge) judge you like the lazy or cheap person that just doesn’t want to go get a new pair of glasses. It’s mentally tough when most of the non spoken information is lost when you loose the ability to clearly see the back of the eyes of your interlocutor. It’s mentally tough when you don’t recognize or mistake people on street or at coffee shops. It’s mentally tough when you can’t read stuff on menus. It’s mentally tough when you can’t see your team score in the TV. It’s mentally tough when you can’t drive. Etc, etc, etc….

You should/must train and work your mind to find strategies to carry you on and over the daily challenges and difficulties. Be resilient.

Some personal tips that can help the mental part: explain clearly your status to you family and close friends, specially what you feel uncomfortable to do because of your vision status, they will help you. Don’t be shy to ask for help to strangers when needed (don’t say sorry, say please). When somebody makes the dumb “why don’t you get a new pair of glasses” comment, relax, deep breath, look back and choose one of these options a) take a bit of time and explain that glasses simply bend and correct the light to the correct refraction point in the retina but don’t fix the sensitivity nor magnify (that’s a telescope…) or else my personal favorite b) unfortunately there are many eye conditions that can’t be corrected with eye glasses, don’t act like an ignorant jerk… and move along.

Very very important insight, be generous and grateful, and do feel good about yourself.

4 – A look into the future.

I think it’s safe to assume a progression rate in advance of medicine, science and engineering over the years, then the only logic conclusion is that one day in the future there will be a cure. So, the question to ask is how long are we from the cure? And can we help accelerate the progression rate to a cure?

I’m not a futurologist nor a researcher nor a doctor, but I’m an optimist back from a time that the arsenal to fight glaucoma was much smaller than it is today. Sure there are very hard problems to solve this puzzle, particularly to discover a way to regenerate or replace the dead RGC neurons and their proper long axons connections, hopefully restoring visual function.

RGC neurons are part of the central nervous system (like neurons on the brain, or motor neurons on the spinal cord) these cells do not regenerate after injury in adult mammals.

Still, research and science is being made on this and related topics, knowledge capital is compounding, novel tools being developed, genetics is starting to pick up, all this factors are converging and when time arrives for clinical tests what better nerve fiber to test than the optic nerve? It’s the only one (to my knowledge at least) that you can simply take a look at it trough a natural window (the cornea).

Ok, all that is fine but when a solution? 100 years? 50 years? 20 years? 10 years? Nobody knows.

First step is to believe it’s possible. The more brains believe in an outcome, higher the possibility of the outcome, because we tend to shape reality to suit our expectations. This mindset will transform you from a passive observer to a person that wants to shape the future reality.

Second step is to take action, how can I help? How can you help? If you are a medical researcher, engineer, or other directly involved in the daily grind of building the knowledge of the science building, thank you, congratulations on your career choice, and the best of luck on your endeavors. Now, for the rest of us there are only two choices. Donate to non profit entities that are promoting glaucoma research, or invest in medical research companies working in glaucoma or related problems. Money is a database for resource allocation across time and space, either way (donating or investing) you are simply allocating resources to solving this problem.

In the non profit sector, there are three foundations committed to glaucoma research, San Francisco based Glaucoma Research Foundation, New York based Glaucoma Foundation, and the smaller Dallas based Cure Glaucoma Foundation. In the latest IRS fillings (here, here, and here) we can find out that Glaucoma Research Foundation total revenue was 5,777,174 USD and spent in grants 1,863,969 representing 32% of money channeled to research. The Glaucoma Foundation revenue was 4,297,114 USD and channeled 784,037 USD in research grants representing 18% of allocation to research. The Cure Glaucoma numbers are, 219,177 USD / 57,042 USD at 26%.

Also a negative note for the compensation amounts payed to direction / amount to research. The president for Glaucoma Research Foundation, Mr Thomas M Brunner received 251,243 USD, representing 13% of the research money and 4% of total revenue, meaning for each 1 dollar donated 0.04 cents go pay Mr Brunner and for each dollar spent in research there is a correspondent expenditure of 0.13 cents in Mr Brunner compensation. Ms Elena Sturman the president of TGF received a total compensation of 375,279 USD representing 48% of the research money and 9% of total revenue. Mr Mike Kettles from the CGF earned 66,523 USD representing 115% of research and 30% of total revenue.

These numbers are pretty much self explanatory, and also the flagship program Catalyst for a Cure, and overall online presence and frequent updates and intiatives in my mind the only rational recipient for a donation is the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

In the business front, we have the usual big pharma suspects, like Alcon, Santen, Roche, etc… doing their suspect everyday work, developing and testing new drugs, filtration devices, implants (all of this very important and life quality enhancing). But in my mind breakthrough innovation will come from smaller company centered in the booming genomic space. The problem for investing (basically seeding money at this point in time) is that there is literally hundreds of small listed research / bio sciences / therapeutics, so it becomes very difficult to know in who to place your chips. Also, there is strong possibility of connectivity, who knows if a breakthrough in spinal cord injury, Alzheimer, or other novel treatment can’t be applicable in Glaucoma or vice-versa.

Thus the choice is rather obvious a genomics & biotechnology ETF, allocating your investment to a basket of several companies picked by professionals. There are (at least) 3 funds meeting the criteria ARKG, GNOM, HELX, I believe that all of them will be a long term great investment (nfa), and better yet is the feeling of actively contributing to solving many nasty diseases.

I’m long on ARKG, but nowadays from the three ETFs I would rather choose GNOM over, lower expense fees, but more important the stocks portfolio is rather more centered on pure genetic research and engineering while ARKG has some dubious choices for a genetics research and medical care advance fund theme, Teladoc (telemedicine), Uipath (software automation), Nvidia (chips manufacturer) relevant mentions according to the latest fund holdings fillings.

Besides the ETFs I would like to make an honorable mention to Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc (AMEX: LCTX) formerly known as Biotime Inc, a small (but curiously old for the regenerative medicine space with 1990 as the incorporation year), that is pioneering the transplantation of specific cell types produced in the lab. Their OpRegen program that is attacking dry AMD by replacing the RPE cells. And also the OPC1 oligodendrocyte progenitor cell therapy program for severe spinal cord injuries. Both are at clinical research state, updates here and here, and both actually already have promising results, OpRegen has actually demonstrated retinal tissue restoration and vision improvement that was considered impossible in the medical literature. Even if none of both programs specifically target glaucoma lost RGC neurons they are a step forward in the right direction. I think this is worth to be funded, so I’m long in this company.

5 – Fund raising

If you have read this long post and reached this point, you are indeed an hero. I ask for your help. I’m raising 200 USD to be donated to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. I have setup a crypto address for this, and put in the first 100 USD. When eventually reaches 200 USD will withdraw the money, wire it to the Glaucoma Research Foundation and post a proof of it.

Please contribute to help fighting this disease. Send USDC via Polygon network to the 0x464F6556C2BCA84b78c6374988f25ee1793250De address.

I choose crypto, because it’s border less and the cheapest way to move money in the world (a typical Polygon transaction cost is just a couple of cents), it’s fast, accessible to everyone with an internet connection, and it’s fully verifiable.

You can check at this link all the transaction history for this address:


Big thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every person who helped me in this fight, specially Dr. Fernando Vaz at Hospital Fernando Fonseca, Dr Nuno Alves at Hospital Descobertas, and the late Dr. Pedro Abrantes at Hospital Egas Moniz. Thank you so much.

Letter to Lawrence III

Hi kid,

you are now at that stage in life that you are not a small baby anymore, but a beautiful happy young kid!

Learning (more absorbing like a sponge) the environment. You are quite an observer, sometimes you just stop and keep watching, figuring stuff out, and when that eureka moment arrives it’s just magic and pure joy.

Like most kids in the world of ours today, you have quite an exposure to technology with always connected phones and tablets. With this comes the dopamine rush hits associated with the instant gratification of searching, installing and playing a new game in less than one minute, playing Youtube videos on demand and so on…

So… and I have to tell you this, sometimes it’s a battle to keep you offline and away the omnipresent screens… the good news is that you enjoy a lot the outside. You love to ride your bicycle, and you ride it pretty good for your age. We explore the lovely neighborhood (and some times beyond),  go to the playground, the gardens, the riverside, the supermarkets, well practically everywhere with our pedal space ships.

You like stargazing and can easily identify Mars and Jupiter (yes they are planets 🙂 ), and to learn about the solar system and the magnitude of our magical universe. You find meditation quite intriguing, you also are developing taste for non commercial music, like classic Indian music, and more ecstatic  rhythms to jump and dance to.

Not everything has been perfect an joyful, but guess what? That is the way of life, there is no light without the dark, no day without night, no yin without yang.

Unfortunately you experienced episode of violence at school, it shouldn’t have happened much less at this young age, much less at school, but unfortunately it did. Beyond the normal parents / school meetings you receive a pair of boxing gloves and bag, and once in while we do some basic drills. You like it, but in reality I’m tricking you, it’s really not about training to throw punches, it’s about training self confidence and paradoxically the right mindset to avoid violence. But beware, I don’t want you to be the weak victim, but oh boy, I sure also don’t want you to be the aggressor bully.

Also the last year and half was clouded by the  Covid-19 pandemic. So sorry, for the endless time at home, the playgrounds, and parks closed.  The good news is that it seems the vaccines are working, life nowadays (besides the omnipresent mask) is 90% normal. The best news is nobody that we love was lost to Covid-19.

As Covid-19 is clearing up, another health storm arrived this summer to make life difficult for us. My long term “relationship” with glaucoma took a significant dip. I’m sorry for so little quality time this summer compared to the previous ones, but this problem hit really hard kid and it took quite a lot of medical care, effort and interventions (we must give a special big thank you in this process to Dr. Feranado Vaz @HFF) to be now in a situation of hope. The most important thing is that everything possible to manage and tackle this problem is being done.

With a bit of luck will not be an impediment to this beautiful walk of life.

Love you infinty^2,
Marco Gonçalves

One week tour in Portugal

Welcome to Portugal, the western little old rectangle of Europe. Full of history, beautiful monuments and castles, good food (better wine), awesome beaches and much more. The good news is that the country itself is small, so the main cities and points of interest are near each other.

Street of Alfama
Alfama neighborhood

First in the tour, the capital Lisbon of course. I suggest to start with a walk, a walk 1000 years back in time, when the Arabs ruled the city. Explore the very old and very narrow and steep streets and stairs of Alfama the oldest neighborhood of town.

Castelo S. Jorge
St Jorge Castle viewpoint

Take your time (and take many photos) to go all the way up to St. Jorge castle. On the way up or down, route yourself to Miradouro de Santa Luzia for breathtaking sights, and to Sé Catedral the oldest church in town, and just 50 meters ahead? Another church! St. Anthony church marks the birthplace of the famous matchmaker saint, and he is always there (well his spirit anyway) just to help with every love problem of yours.

Lisbon downtown - Augusta Street
Augusta street

Leaving the old town follow the natural city expansion to downtown, this is the part of the city that was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake, with straight and square streets, open spaces with lots of light, and beautiful architecture.

A Ginginha
A Ginginha

To give you a power boost, start in Rossio square just like a local drinking a shot of cherry liqueur called ginginha in the very small, yet historic, open-fronted bar A Ginginha. Just in front there is a small monument with the star of David, a tribute (and reminder) to the hundreds of people killed by the inquisition bonfire in the Lisbon massacre.

Cais do Sodré - Pink Street
Pink Street

Take Rua Augusta and enjoy the walk to Praça do Comércio square, one of the big beautiful squares of Europe framed by the Tagus river, the bridge, and the boats. Proceed with the river on your left to Cais do Sodré, a place full of bars and restaurants ready to satisfy your famine and thirst. You should check out Pensao Amor an old brothel converterted into a fancy bar that actually kept some charm.

Beware, Cais do Sodré is just one of those places lost to gentrification. Pink street has too many tourists, few locals. Lots of bars and restaurants with little to no soul. High prices alert!

Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa

Time to move up to Chiado the posh neighborhood and the adjacent Bairro Alto the classic nightlife quarter. In Chiado please do take a coffee at A Brasileira with Fernando Pessoa (a famous dead poet) or if it’s the end of the day a drink (and a haircut) at O Purista. Do some shopping, the finest shops in town are in Chiado (and also in Avenida da Liberdade), checkout Livraria Bertrand, the oldest book store in the world, selling knowledge stamped on dead trees since 1732!

S. Pedro Alcantara viewpoint
S. Pedro Alcantara viewpoint

Bairro Alto comes alive at night, packed with restaurants, bars and people happily roaming the streets. Close to S. Pedro de Alcantara viewpoint I strongly suggest a drink in Pavilhão Chinês, one of the most beautiful bars in Lisbon. Also in Bairro Alto you will find Tasca do Chico, one of the last strongholds of bummer fado music. You can come in sit down have a glass of red wine and enjoy. Also a very good option to seat down, have a drink, and listen to fado, is Mesa de Frades in Alfama.

Tasca do Chico

Fado nowadays is mostly served in an expensive tourist package sold by the hotels that includes the transportation, fado museum, fine dinner (this and that), and fado presentations. I’m pretty sure that you will eat good and enjoy your time if you choose this option but the bummer fado is way cheaper and perhaps more authentic.

Torre de Belém
Torre de Belém

Back to daytime you should visit Belém, still Lisbon just a bit off the city center, this is the district that best symbolizes the portuguese age of exploration and discovery. Easily reachable by train from Cais do Sodré heading to Cascais (just a couple of stops between), there you will find the iconic Belém Tower, a fortification dating back to the fifteen hundreds, the Jerónimos monastery dating back to the sixteen hundreds, also Padrão dos Descobrimentos a beautiful monument dating back to 1960 dedicated to prince Henry the navigator and the portuguese that discovered the roads of the sea.

Pastéis de Belém
Pastéis de Belém

And of course, for me the main highlight of Belém, and the reason of all the work and hassle of sending boats filled with men across the globe, the Pastéis de Belém factory. So remember and praise all the history behind the moment you dust with cinnamon the delicious egg tart pastry.

And you are done with Lisbon city highlights. But please reserve one more day in town and do the day trip do Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais. You can get to Sintra from Rossio train station (about 1h), from Sintra do Cabo da Roca by bus (about 30m), Cabo da Roca to Cascais by bus (about 20m) and Cascais train back to Cais do Sodré station (about 1h). And I really suggest to do Sintra in daytime, Cabo da Roca end of the day, Cascais at sunset/night.

Pena Palace
Pena Palace

Sintra is all about palaces, beautiful nature, castles, legends, knights Templar, moors, elves, fairies, and BAD WEATHER, so try to choose a perfect sunshiny day.

Monserrate Palace
Monserrate Palace

Right in the center of the village you will find the Town Palace (the one with two distinctive chimneys) even though is the most visited would strongly advise a skip to this one… because climbing up up up the hill (there are buses available) you will find the much more beautiful Pena Palace, just like a fairy tale construction, sitting proudly on the top of he ridge with breathtaking views and mind blowing gardens. Also would strongly advise a visit to Quinta da Regaleira, and also to the “small” but exquisitely beautiful red domed Monserrate Palace with exotic gardens and strong Moorish influences.

Cascais Bay Night
Cascais Bay

If you have time go to Cabo da Roca, the western point of continental Europe for some cool photos. If you love motorbikes, you definitely should go because there are always lots of cool bikes there so it’s a plus. If you spent to much time in Sintra then proceed straight to Cascais. Once a small fisherman’s village, now the Portuguese riviera, the perfect place to eat, drink and have some fun before returning back to Lisbon (or maybe to stay a couple of days to enjoy the easy going life, party at night, and the sun, surf, and sandy beaches at day) . For more detailed information please refer to this post about the area.

28 tram
28 tram

One more thing, when you move around in Lisbon please take a bit of time and do the classic 28 tram line thru the 7 hills. Usually is very crowded, so try to go really soon or late at dinner time. Buy the tickets before in the subway (much cheaper), and pay attention to your wallet (some pickpockets work daily in the trams).

Lisbon Oceanarium
Lisbon Oceanarium

If you are travelling with kids, and / or never went to a massive aquarium, please consider going to Lisbon Oceanarium. Located in the posh neighborhood of Parque das Nações it’s the flagship from 1998 World Fair, is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe, and truth to be told, if you have some kind of affinity with the ocean, it’s just an awesome sight to contemplate the main tank.

Praia da Marinha

Decisions time… if you fell in love with Lisbon, just hang around for the rest of your stay, enjoy time slowing down, the city light and the city night, drink lots of coffee and wine, make friends, explore the less touristic spots. If it’s Summer, and it’s hot, and you are dreaming of a city break, go ahead and take the 3 hour bus to Algarve, beautiful sandy beaches with warm water wait you there, after all the city bustle it’s a well deserved rest.

But if you really want to know the true soul of Portugal you must head North, not just because of monuments and landmarks but mainly because of people, honest, straight forward, with strong values and traditions, are probably the best hosts in the world. Also the food up North… delicious.

Praia do Norte - Nazaré
Praia do Norte – Nazaré

Heading North, the best way to do it is with a rented car but you can also do it by bus. Start early in the day, first stop Óbidos a well preserved fortified medieval village with a castle. Several times during the year the village celebrates the middle Ages with parades, markets, and more, so definitively check it out. Next stop, Nazaré – Praia do Norte, home of giant waves and the spot with the world record of biggest wave ever surfed. When conditions are good and surfers are in the water the view from the lighthouse is amazing.

Batalha monastery
Batalha monastery

Next stop Batalha monastery, an heritage monument celebrating the 1385 battle of Aljubarrota victory over the Spanish. I invite you to continue in the religious trail and visit the nearby Sanctuary of Fátima, place of many miracles, apparitions, celebrations, and many pilgrims.

V. N. Gaia wine cellars
V. N. Gaia wine cellars

Eventually you will arrive at Oporto the second city of Portugal and the capital of the north. It’s not my hometown like Lisbon, so do some research about it. I can strongly suggest is a visit to Vila Nova de Gaia port wine cellars. There are many of them, and it’s a really fun afternoon to visit some of them and tasting the nectar of the gods. For the definitive port wine experience there are several tours up the river Douro into the vineyards with visits, fine dining, and overnight stays in the producers farms.

That’s it folks, my personal suggestions for a week in Portugal.


One more thing, the food… everywhere you can eat really good with reasonable to exceptionally good prices. So, don’t waste your time, money, and body in MacDs or BKs that taste the same shit everywhere.

Some places that you should try:
Verde Minho – Honest old fashion portuguese food. In the center of Lisbon and great prices.
Cervejaria Trindade – in Chiado, old monastery (different and beautiful architecture for a restaurant). Good steaks and “pregos”. Not cheap nor very expensive.
Novo Edmundo – Grilled meat and typical food. Outside the city center, good price quality quantity relation.
Tasca da Esquina – Portuguese fine dining. Gourmet experience. Expensive (for Portuguese standards). Put yourself in the hands of the chef.
Cervejaria Ramiro – if you are into seafood this is the place to go in Lisbon. Lots of tourists and queuing since the late Anthony Bourdain filmed No Reservations here . A bit expensive to very expensive (varies a lot with the seafood you order).
Viveiros do Atlântico – 30 minutes north of Lisbon, in the picturesque surf village of Ericeira the seafood is also great and not so expensive as Ramiro. If it’s full or closed, in 1 kilometer radius around it, there are many other good seafood places.
Nova Casa dos Leitões – Perhaps the best roasted suckling pig in your life… up north in Anadia.