As the Iceland travel high wore off and the humdrum of work settled back in, the irrepressible urge to hop on a plane headed southbound lurked hard. Fortunately, we had planned a family get together trip to Portugal, and Ericeira proved to be the perfect bolthole for our weary shells. A short 45 minute drive from Lisbon, our airbnb was ideally located close to the beach, and whilst it was too cold to swim, we enjoyed golden hour walks along the coast and the dramatic cliffside views.

Besides the wonderful vistas, the star attraction was the town’s tranquility. Though I can imagine it packed with surfers and sunseekers alike in the summer, in late autumn, it is gloriously quiet - in that ‘I have the place to myself kind of way’. This feeling quickly faded on our day trip to nearby Sintra, where tourism was still at an all time high. Whilst the castles proved worth the trouble, what with their incredible colours and eccentric design, it is the less well know Palacio National de Mafra, that way the true standout. Featuring exquisite carvings, intricate details and every shade of marble one could lust for, the palace was a haven of beautiful coolness.

The trip would not have been complete without a day in Lisbon, lazily getting loss in the city’s colourful streets. It felt like summer, still. And it is this, this time out from autumn’s relentless fade to winter, that is the true highlight of our trip.