Travel Tuesday Goes to France and Portugal on VM1 Elaine

We have something for everyone on this weeks Travel Tuesday starting with a fabulous camping break to France. If you’re in a couple and want to be whisked off to an island not too far away then we will be taking a trip to Madeira and finishing off with a lovely weekend break to Lisbon

If you are going to France his summer check out the French Tourist Office website for all that you need to know about the region you are visiting

If you are visiting Aquitaine region for first time, there are huge number of things to do and see, don’t miss out on exploring the Perigord Region.

Two routes that I’m looking at are Vézere Valley route and Dordogne Valley route..both visually stunning and family friendly.

Firstly to see the Vézere Valley, we recommend basing yourself in La Nouvelle Croze 4 star campsite in Rouffignac.

This stunning Family run campsite was set up by the Great grandparents of the current owners, father still works there now the son Quentin runs it.
Lots of French families holiday here, and you can see why people return here again and again.

This is the smallest 4 star campsite, not only in Perigord, but in in the entire Aquitaine province which brings advantages and makes it unique for families.  A campsite holiday is a great chance to enjoy family time – back to board games, playgrounds and nature trails. Each mobile site has lots of space allowing for ball games, BBQs and traditional fun. The family that went reported back lots of do for all ages..never short of fun in this campsite!

The mobile homes are of an exceptionally high standard, more like a hotel. The doors open out fully onto the deck. Although it is small there is a recent addition of indoor pool with hydro massage jets, spa and sauna room just open this season .
A large outdoor pool and kids pool are also on site. Spa treatments are also on offer, great for mums who want an hour break away.

La Nouvelle Croze in Rouffignac

Prices are starting from 185€ the week in a Standard Cottage until 588€ in very high season.
And for the Premium Cottage (3 bedroom 2 bathrooms) from 440€ until 1290€. Finally, for pitches for tent, caravan or motor home the rate starts at 15 euro.

For more info:

Top things to see:

1.  The area is stunning, it’s situated in a gorgeous little French town of Rouffignac, which is so pretty and has amazing history, the town was levelled by Nazis in 1944, and rebuilt. Lots of choice when it comes to food, one gem was Auberge Du Coq, tiny restaurant in Fleurac , 2 min drive from campsite, with incredible French cuisine, all locally sourced at v reasonable price. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area .

2.   Chateaus/Castles : The campsite is central , and seems within a half hour drive away from most of the main attractions in the Vezere and Dordogne valley. This region is called the place of 1001 Castles…every corner you turn there are more stunning chateaus. There are actually 1600 chateaus in total. One stunning town is St Leon De Vezere with cobbled streets, homemade ice-cream shops and flower filled windows.

3.  Two caves within short driving distance of the campsite Lascaux and Rouffignac, offer incredible history. Seen as some of the worlds oldest caves with prehistoric drawings dating back 16 million years. We felt that despite heavy history lesson, the 7 year old was fascinated by drawings and had an huge appreciation. A little train takes you through one of the caves so even the 3 year old loved that.

4.  Twenty mins away there is a park called Le Conquil..fantastic for families for a full day. It’s based in a beautiful forest. There’s tree climbing for kids and adults, then there’s a 1.6km trek through the forest with realistic dinosaurs dotted throughout. You can learn about them as you go. There is stunning caves hand carved into a cliff face 2500 years ago, with secret caves that you can explore. Really worthwhile and educational in a fun way. All ages would love this..7 year old, 3 year old loved climbing, dinosaurs and caves, even 1 year old loved the adventure! 

Another great option in the Dordogne Valley is to base yourself at Le Montant 4 star site in Sarlat.  It’s a stunning site run by 3 sisters, with all sorts of accommodation ranging from huge gites style 3 bedroom log cabins to mobile homes, to even a stunning cottage that houses 12.

Le Montant Video

There is lots to do onsite ranging from 3 beautiful pools, including one infinity outdoor pool, water slides, playgrounds, trampling jumping towers, soccer /basketball pitch. Based in forested valley, every accommodation has an amazing and private view. Peak season it has kids club and shows and is very popular with French tourists. It has a really authentic feel and highly recommend it.
The 7 year and 3 year old loved this site so much and would never have left it if they had anything to do with it.
From here there are lots of great things to do- the must sees are:

1.  La Roque Gageac…only 10 min drive from campsite . This amazing town set into the side of a stunning over hanging cliff that dates back to prehistoric times. The best way to see this masterpiece is by boat. The Gabard Norbert do trips several times a day. Lots of people choose to canoe down the Dordogne river, but if you choose the boat you can sit back and savor the view and the history lesson.

2.  For something different to do with the kids, there’s a beautiful donkey sanctuary called La Combe aux Anes. Husband and wife Florence and Philippe Bens run a little farm about 20 mins from Sarlat. They do everything from Personalised family treks through the forest, group activities, and even nighttime adventures where kids get to wear torches in their head while they do treasure hunts with donkeys in tow. They also do plays for kids, always with donkey key to the story. Really memorable experience. Prices start at €12.

3.  Medieval town of Sarlat , 2 min drive from campsite. Visually stunning French town with beautiful big square and stunning architecture, chateaus, churches and colourful houses offers beautiful shops and restaurants.

Prices start from: For 5 people prices start in Low Season at 340 per week and go up to 970 in high season.
For luxury chalet that sleeps 6, In low season prices start at 575 per week and go up to 1350 in very high season.
However there’s lots of different accommodation to suit families needs.


To get there:
You can fly direct to Bordeaux with Aer Lingus or Ryanair, and it is a 2.30 hour drive, or you can fly via Stansted or Southhampton to Bergerac airport in Dordogne? Which means less than half hour drive to campsites

If you don’t want to hire a car you can get the ferry and bring your own 

Stena offer three ferry sailings per week from Rosslare to Cherbourg.

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Portugal is one of my favourite countries and to learn all that you need to know about it see

Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It’s one of the most vibrant cities in Europe and popular for a city break as there is so much to see and do with culture, history, sandy beaches close by and fun nightlife. Two huge suspension bridges straddle the Tagus River – Ponte 25th April (2.2km) and Ponte Vasco de Gama(12km long) (you’ll hear a lot about this guy as you travel around the city – famous as one of the great navigators of the seas finding the first route from Europe to India in the 15th century)

Lisbon has hot dry summers, pleasant springs and autumns, and mild, but possibly wet winters. The best time of year to visit Lisbon is in the late spring (May-June) when the days are bright and sunny, but the temperatures are not so high.

The city is built on hills, some steep, so I recommend good walking shoes to take you through your time there. Plan your sight-seeing one neighbourhood at a time to make the most of your time and three days should be enough to see much of the city.

TAP are the Portuguese national airline and they now have direct flights to Lisbon that have great connections to Madeira, The Azores and all of South America.

If this is your first visit to Lisbon choose a base close to the historic centre; this covers the districts of Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, Alfama and the Avenida da Liberdade. These areas are popular with tourists and are within walking distance of the main sights and attractions. Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodre are the nightlife districts and are ideal if you wish to party.



I usually recommend a hop on hop off bus tour to get your bearings in a new city but in Lisbon just hop on Tram 28

Ride on Tram 28

The delightful Remodelado trams date from the 1930s, and in any other city they would be housed in a museum, but in Lisbon, they are an integral part of the public transport network. These historic trams are still in use, as the 28 route is completely unsuitable for modern trams, due to its numerous tight turns and steep gradients.

A ride along the entire 28 tram route provides one of the best tours of the capital and is often a highlight of any holiday to Lisbon. This article will provide an introduction to the number 28 tram, and includes fares, tourist advice and popular tourist attractions along the route.


Quick Tips to get the most from the number 28 tram

  • Ride the tram early (or late) in the day, to avoid the crowds.
    • Board at Martim Moniz (or Campo Ourique) as there is a better chance of getting a seat.
    • Always be wary of pickpockets
    • Get the 24-hour public transport ticket from any metro station.
    • Ride the entire route as there is so much to see.
    • If standing, hang on very tight as the brakes are very sharp!
  • Alfama District

    Alfama is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon, and is a delightful maze of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses, which lead up the steep hill from the Tejo Estuary to the castle. Contained within this diverse and charismatic district are many historic buildings including the Se Cathedral, the Castle, the National Pantheon and Saint Anthony’s Church.

    Top things to See and Do
    • Explore the ancient castle of Lisbon
    • Admire the views over the haphazard roofs from the Portas do Sol viewpoint
    • Ride the quaint number 28 tram as it screeches and rattles through the streets

     The Castelo de Sao Jorge

    Lisbon castle, the Castelo de Sao Jorge, stands majestically above central Lisbon and was the ancient seat of power for Portugal for over 400 years. Much of the present castle dates from the 1920s when a significant restoration project was undertaken but this does not detract from the allure of the castle.

    Lisbon castle

    The view from Lisbon castle over the Baixa district

    The battlements of Castelo de Sao Jorge provides fantastic views of the Baixa district and the Rio Tejo (River Tagus) while the fortified citadel is steeped in history. The walk to the castle can be draining during the summer but Lisbon castle is one of the best tourist attractions of the capital.

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The Baixa district is the heart of Lisbon and comprises of magnificent plazas, grand avenues and boutique shopping boulevards. The district is popular with tourists, as contained within Baixa are many of Lisbon’s major tourist attractions, along with a huge variety of restaurants and many excellent hotels. Baixa has a lively and vibrant atmosphere, and is where most tourists should start their tour of Lisbon.

Baixa has not always been so magnificent, on the 11th November 1755, one of the world’s strongest recorded earthquakes devastated the district and, along with the massive Tsunami, killed thousands. The rebuilding of the ruined district was assigned to the Marquis of Pombal, who disregarded the original city layout of narrow streets, and created the first city plan that followed a grid pattern. The buildings of Baixa were constructed in a magnificent neoclassical style but more importantly incorporated the earliest examples of Earthquake resistant architecture.

Top things to see and do in Baixa
• A ride on Elevador Santa Justa lift, a wrought-iron industrial marvel.
• Admire the view from the top of the Arco da Rua Augusta
• A relaxed stroll down the Rua da Augusta Lisbon’s grandest avenue.
• Appreciate the magnificence of Praça do Comércio, the ceremonial entrance to Lisbon and Portugal
• Lunch or drink in Rossio Square, the traditional heart of Lisbon
• A designer shopping trip in the boutique shops of the Avenida da Liberdade, a pretty tree lined boulevard.


Visit the Pilar7 – Bridge Experience.

A new cultural attraction in Lisbon! April 25th bridge

Located in Alcântara (Avenida da Índia), this interactive centre allows all visitors to have an unique experience of the bridge – considered one of the prettiest in the world – via a tour that takes in the exterior areas of this key pillar and the sensory experience of visiting its interior.

It is a trip through the history of its construction and ends with an elevator ride up to a panoramic viewing point that provides an unrivalled view of the city and the river.

Making use of modern multimedia devices, your visit ends with an immersive virtualreality experience of parts of the bridge that are inaccessible and a call at the PhotoBooth so you can record this unforgettable moment.

Belem District


Panoramic tour passing by:

  • Jerónimos Monastery (related to the Portuguese Discoveries, it was built during the 16th century, it belongs to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list).
  • Belem’s Tower (built in 1515, this former fortress belongs as well to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list).
  • Discoveries Monument (built in 1960 to in honour to the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death). Here you will get a great view of the two bridges that straddle the Tagus River
  • Stop off or a pasteis de Belem in the famous bakery that gave these little cakes their name Pasteis de Nata


Sintra is a Unesco Heritage Site 

Sintra is a picturesque town that lies 25km to the west of Lisbon. Sintra is nestled within the hills of the Serra de Sintra, and contained within the town are grand palaces, ruinous castles and opulent 19th-century mansions. The Serra de Sintra provides great hiking or cycling routes, while the rugged coastline (10km to the west of Sintra town) comprises of vast beaches and powerful seas.

There are so many outstanding tourist attractions in Sintra, that it requires at least two days to be fully explored. The first day to visit the National Palace, the Moors castle and the beautiful Pena Palace, and the second day for the Quinta da Regaleira, the Seteais Palace, the Monserrate Palace and the Pena Park. The Serra de Sintra, the Sintra coastline and the Cabo da Roca requires a third day and a rental car. Sintra is a fantastic day trip, and is connected to Lisbon by a direct and inexpensive train. Entry to the Pena Palace is €14  per adult and €49 for a family of 4 open from 9.30 to 6.30 daily


Cascais is an historic fishing port and one of the most popular resort towns of the Lisbon coastline. Historically, Cascais was the summer retreat for the Portuguese nobility, and today the town is an elegant blend of grand mansions, historic buildings and modern hotel complexes.

Cascais has an interesting shoreline which includes a fishing harbour, two glorious beaches and a restored fort, while the town offers carefully maintained parks and series of impressive museums. From Cascais, there are two enjoyable short walks: one to the Boca do Inferno cliff and another along the beachfront promenade to the trendy resort of Estoril. During the summer, Cascais has a vibrant holiday atmosphere, with an extensive selection of bars and restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. Cascais is a popular holiday destination but is equally suited for a day trip, as it’s connected to Lisbon by a regular train.

Click and go

Best value Lisbon weekend with Click and Go


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Madeira package with Click and Go

  • Accommodation

  • Paraiso Aparthotel
  • Paraiso Aparthotel
  • Funchal, Madeira

  • Room:
     1 x Studio standard


     Room Only


From: Thu, 17 Oct 2019

To: Thu, 24 Oct 2019

7 nights

  • Flights*

    Outbound TAP Portugal – TP1327 Dublin – Funchal

    1 Stop(s) via Lisbon 17:30 – 23:45

    Inbound TAP Portugal – TP1698 Funchal – Dublin

    1 Stop(s) via Lisbon 08:40 – 16:45


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