Oh Portugal. Lately, my home country has stepped directly into the bucket lists of millions of travelers. Why? Here are dozens of reasons to visit Portugal as soon as possible!.
Forgotten for decades in the shadows of Southern European giants like France, Italy or Spain, Portugal has been the trendy place to go in the past years. But… why?
I have compiled dozens of reasons to make you travel to Portugal this year. My secret goal is to make you book a flight before you even finish the list!
Note: this post was fully updated for 2022.
1The sun sets in the sea.
A small detail that makes all the difference. Luckily Portugal has the majority of its awe-inspiring coastline and beaches facing west, which happens to be the orientation the sun sets every day.
Visit the coastline and sunsets will be amongst the most fantastic memories you’ll have from your stay.
2Trams make everyone happy.
Life in Portugal’s major cities has been beautified by historical trams running all over the downtown in the past century. Particularly in Lisbon, it’s impossible not to smile when seeing the yellow lovely vehicles going up and down the hills.
While trams are a definite eye-candy, there are some lines who are known to be uncomfortable and a pickpocketing paradise.
3The coffee is damn good.
This association might not be immediate, but if I say that back in its glorious days, Portugal colonized Brazil, Angola, and East Timor – producers of some of the finest coffee – things make more sense.
You’ll never find a better value-for-money relation for coffee in Europe. A good quality espresso will cost you no more than 1 EUR.
4You can live a fairytale in Sintra.
Only a 40-minute train ride from Lisbon, this little hilltop town is an impressive display of elegant palaces, castles, and fortresses all in the spectacular setting of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
The romantic architecture of Palácio da Pena is not to be missed and is the closest real-life example of a Disney castle (well, apart from Disneyland).
5The fish is uber fresh.
Vegetarians can skip this one. More than 800km of coast, the biggest fishing zone in Europe and laughable prices make of Portugal one of the most fish-friendly places you’ve ever been.
Fish species to try in Portugal 🐟
- Bacalhau (codfish) – they say there are 1001 ways of cooking bacalhau in Portugal and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true. Try bacalhau à brás (with eggs, potatoes, and onions), bacalhau com natas (with whipped cream) or simply pastéis de bacalhau (in a deep-fried dough).
- Dourada (sea bream) – normally served grilled or baked in the oven with mashed potatoes and/or vegetables.
- Sardinha (sardine) – a Portuguese classic, these are normally done in the grill and served with a salad or potatoes.
- Robalo (sea bass) – normally served grilled or baked in the oven with mashed potatoes and/or vegetables.
6Cobblestone streets are everywhere.
Calçada Portuguesa is the type of mosaic floors that part of urban planning in the major cities of Portugal (and also in Portuguese-influenced places like Rio de Janeiro). Personally, I think they’re crazy expensive, and I can see myself easily twisting an ankle when of the stones gets loose. And I don’t wear high heels.
That said, I’ll admit the patterns and designs in some of them are quite stunning and make a square or street really come alive. Walking in Portugal is literally walking on art!
7Santos Festivities will rock your world.
Portugal has all kinds of music festivals, art events, and parties but this is the real authentic thing. In June, residents from both Lisboa – Santo António festivities – and Porto – São João festivities – flock to the most traditional neighborhoods for the festivities in honor of the local saints.
You don’t need to be religious to join the party though. Expect lots of popular Portuguese music (pimba), lots of grilled sardines and a party that lasts until dawn.
Santos festivities in Portugal 🎉
- Santo António (Lisbon) – held on the night of 12th to 13th of June. There are events and street parties during the entire month of June though – check Festas de Lisboa website.
- São João (Porto) – also happening throughout June, but the big night is the 23rd. Bring a plastic hammer to the party! (I’m serious)
8It’s possibly Europe’s best climate.
Mild winters with temperatures rarely drop below 5ºC along the coast, hot summers refreshed by the Atlantic breeze and the highest number of hours of sunshine in Europe. Hard to beat this.
9Azulejos are your next design obsession.
I reckon there’s no other place in the world where #tileart is so popular. Prepare to find elaborate-painted tiles on the historical buildings, modern design installments and even souvenirs shops.
There’s even a tile museum which is one of the hidden gems of Lisbon!
Careful where you buy the tiles from though. In recent years, a parallel business consisting of ripping tiles off from walls and sell it in places like street fairs and markets – e.g. Feira da Ladra, in Lisbon – has arisen.
10We are serious about wine.
Despite the famous Port Wine, Portugal seems to be in the second-tier in the wine world, right after France, Italy, and Spain. And yet, Portuguese wines win the most prestigious awards every year.
Chances are there is a great quality wine at a very reasonable price waiting for you. My favorites are any kind of vinho verde, the white wines from Alentejo and the red wines from the Douro region.
11You’ll fall in love with Porto.
Speaking of wine, the second-largest city in Portugal has renewed itself in recent years and is becoming a serious European city break destination. People are amongst the friendliest in the country, food is great, prices are even better and the city is settled in a serious romantic setting. What’s there not to like?
Check out my Porto travel guide for dummies and my detailed weekend itinerary I use to show the city to friends and family visiting.
⭐ My top value-for-money suggestions to stay in Porto ⭐
Superbly located next to Bolhão market and to the main shopping street, this is a clean and modern place to stay in the heart of Porto.
Decorated with a cinema theme, this hotel is located on a 1930’s art-deco building very close to the main square of Porto: Aliados. Amazing value for money!
Or search on your own
To make your life easier, start searching with my pre-selection of best value-for-money hotels in Porto. This list only includes rooms in the best areas of downtown Porto, with WiFi and good-to-excellent reviews.
12Pastéis de Nata are a feast to your taste buds.
A lot is said about pastéis de nata (custard tarts). I’ll just say if you leave the country without trying this wonder of the world of pastry, something is profoundly wrong with you. For foodies, it may be one of the strongest reasons to visit Portugal. My favorites are in Manteigaria, in both Lisbon and Porto.
13It’s the ideal place to learn or master the art of surfing.
If you are into surf, the wild uncrowded Atlantic waves, mild climate and the huge community of surfers and surf camps should easily seduce you. Nazaré, Peniche, Ericeira and all the coast of Alentejo are amongst the hot spots of surfing in Portugal.
Recently, the Azores also have been discovered as a surfing hotspot and São Miguel is now the location of a stage of the World Surf Championship.
14We actually can communicate with you.
Portugal has more fluent English speakers than any other southern European country. Due to subtitled (and not dubbed) movies and TV series, younger generations, in general, are all able to speak good English and with quite a spot-on accent. Older people tend to have English and French as their second language. Anyway, the point is: we get what you’re saying.
15Fado music will make you emotional.
Fado is probably the most melancholic and deeply emotional music you’ll ever hear and still somehow makes the ideal soundtrack for every trip to Portugal. Even if you don’t understand a word, it has the power to make you introspective. The new generation of singers like Ana Moura and Mariza is making fado sexy and modern.
16We are professionals on the activity of going to the beach.
You’ll probably know Portugal’s beaches are among the country’s highlights, it’s in every postcard and travel brochure. What I particularly enjoy is their diversity. Whether you go for the wild beaches of Costa Vicentina – for a roadtrip in the beautiful Portugal’s coastline -, the volcanic dark sands of the Azores or the balmy beaches surrounded by towering cliffs in the Algarve, you can be sure to be laying your towel in a top-notch beach.
17Days are brighter.
Apart from being one of the places with more hours of sunshine per year, Portugal is also where the light comes from anywhere. The buildings normally have light-colored walls, there is bodies of water close by, and even a large area of the streets has light marble. With that amount of light available naturally, no wonder why the movie industry loves shooting in Lisbon. Just make sure you bring your sunglasses!
18You can back in touch with nature in the Azores Islands.
Hard to remain unbiased, because São Miguel island is the place where I was born. Located 1500km off the coast of Portugal, exploring the stunning lakes, mountains and cliffs in these volcanic islands is a truly unique experience.
I’ve put together a guide to help decide which islands to go and a compilation of all the things you need to know before going to Azores. Go while they are still a hidden gem.
19Music festivals pop out like mushrooms.
Music festivals have become a huge part in the summer event calendar. And there are festivals for all kinds of musical tastes all across the country. MEO Sudoeste in Alentejo targets a younger crowds seeking electronic and pop music. NOS Alive and Super Bock Super Rocknear Lisbon with more rock and indie vibes are amongst the most popular.
20People will welcome you like true friends.
As a general rule, Portuguese are very nice and easy-going people. They will try hard to make you feel at home and this is more evident the further North you go in the country. You’ll learn that all we really care about is the sun, good food, a drink, and a good chat with friends.
21Lisboa will keep you busy… and happy!
🇵🇹 PORTUGAL | 🙌 Archigasm. The new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology opened a few months ago in Belém, just a few steps away from the river Tejo. It’s awesome to see Lisbon evolve into a modern and cool city with spaceship-like buildings! 👽 #Portugal #wintersun #architecture #museum #lisboalive #lisboa #Lisbon #lisbonlovers #portugaldenorteasul #visitportugal #portugal_em_fotos #instaportugal #portugal_lovers #portugal_de_sonho #super_lisboa #portugalalive #topportugalphoto #beautifulworld #wanderout #wonderfulworld #the_daily_traveller #aplacetoremember #places_wow #toplisbonphoto #worldtourists
The second oldest city in Europe (after Athens!) is a trendy, cool and alternative hotspot right now.
With inspiring architecture, a bustling nightlife and stunning beach day-trips around, Lisbon is the new european obsession. If you’re planning to go, check out the 7 things to do there and my 3-day itinerary of Lisbon.
My top hotel recommendations in Lisbon ⭐
Charmingly music-themed hotel, super close to the center. Oh it comes with this stunning rooftop swimming pool.
We Love F Tourists
Located in busy Rossio – the heart of Lisbon – it’s just one of those amazing value places that will make you feel at home. Perfect to make friends. Book now
Or… find your own!
Use this list of quality hotels and guesthouses I’ve put together to get you started. ALL of these are located in the best central areas of Lisbon, with WiFi and with a rating of 8 or higher. Just pick your favorite!
22The shellfish is to die for.
While you are in Portugal, prepare to taste the sea like never before. Like seafood itself, portuguese cuisine is fresh and comes in all sorts of delicious and original combinations. Clams, shrimp, lobster, crab and other kinds of shellfish and seafood is widely available. Salada de polvo (octopus salad) and Carne de Porco à Alentejana (pork with clams) are a must-try.
23It’s a golf-friendly destination.
Okay, so my knowledge of golf is close to what I know about artichokes plantations in Egypt: zero. I don’t even particularly like it. All I know is there are close to 70 golf courses in the country – half of them classified as high standard -, especially in the Algarve area. If golfing is your thing, all the conditions are met for you to have a great time in Portugal.
24You’ll learn to crave Francesinha.
Does the idea of a steak, ham, cheese sandwich with an egg on top and a gravy-based sauce seduce you? I guarantee this Porto’s specialty is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. Tip: save it for lunch and have something light for dinner. For the sake of your arteries.
25You can still find authenticity.
There’s someting eerily soothing about clothes left outside to dry.
Despite recent years have broken all records in tourism, you can still expect many calm and peaceful places. Many authentic restaurants, shops, and experiences undiscovered my tourists remain authentic, particularly if you venture out to the interior of the country.
26We don’t kill the bull.
I personally hate bullfights and it amazes me how it’s still a thing in the 21st century. That said, a good thing is that we at least we don’t kill the bull…in public.
Also, we have forcados: a group of men who challenge the bull directly, without weapon or protection of any kind. Because if you are going to mess with an animal, that’s the way it should be, right?
Don’t let the prices rise more. Book your accommodation in Portugal now!
27Óbidos is a journey in time.
This little town is encircled by a ring of medieval walls and shows off a rebuilt Moorish castle, now a rural hotel (Pousada). Wandering around the streets of Óbidos is quite an experience and if you pair with the International Chocolate Festival, it’s a double win. Don’t forget to try the local ginjinha, a cherry-infused liquor!
28The world’s best aquarium is there.
Seriously, I’m not bragging. Recently, travellers from Trip Advisor elected Oceanário as the best aquarium in the world. If you don’t go for the couple of otters, the penguins or the huge main tank, the architecture of the building is a reason to visit by itself.
Lisbon is very trendy right now and hotels can sell out often. Book your hotel as soon as possible!
I’ve made your life easier and you can start your search with my pre-selection of hotels in Lisbon. This list only includes the top-rated reviewed hotels in the heart of the city, with WiFi included.
29The nightlife is unique.
Like many other things, alcohol is also cheap in Portugal which makes it the ideal place to go both to celebrate something going on in your life or to forget your ex. In the big cities, the default is to go have a drink, chat and even dance on the street. The nightlight districts in Lisbon and Porto are Bairro Alto and Galerias, respectively.
30There is a bakery in every corner.
There’s life beyond custard tarts in the bakery department too. Portugal produces incredible pastries and loaves of bread which I deeply miss here in Barcelona. I challenge you to enter one of the many bakeries and try to choose only ONE thing to eat. ONLY ONE.
31We have big waves. I mean REALLY big waves.
Nazaré is a name you may have heard on the news. Garret MacNamara and others have surfed some of the absolute largest waves in the world there (30+ meters). Apart from an attraction for surfers and photographers, Nazaré is also the most traditional fishing village in Portugal, showing colorful traditions and of course, great fresh fish!
32It has got almost one millennium of history.
Technically a country since 1143, Portugal has kept its borders untouched since then. It once was one of the most powerful countries in the world. During the Discoveries era, its empire spread out over South America, Africa, India and even Asia. This heritage alone is a reason to visit!
33Neighborhood markets are fun.
Markets are the essence and beating heart of any town or city and Portugal is not an exception. Whether you go to the renewed Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon, to the more classic Mercado do Bolhão in Porto or any other, you’ll have a great time in the middle of fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious restaurants and the yells of the vendors trying to catch your attention.
34There are 1001 ways to cook codfish and they’re all amazing.
I know I’ve mentioned earlier, but the importance of bacalhau can’t pass unoticed. Even if you’re not a fan of fish, you’ll start loving it anyway. Codfish is Portugal’s national protein and we prepare it in the most diverse ways.
Try Bacalhau com Natas (with cream), Bacalhau à Brás (with scrambled egg and olives) and Bacalhau à Lagareiro (with olive oil and mashed potatoes) to start rediscovering this versatile fish in a delicious way.
35Overall, food is cheap.
Once I start writing about food I can’t stop, but I seriously can’t stress how big this is in Portugal. I mean, the Portuguese may be the only people in the world that discuss over lunch what are they having for dinner. A traditional meal like one of the codfish dishes in the previous point or Arroz de pato (Duck baked with rice) in a decent average-priced restaurant will never cost you more than
9 euros13 euros (adjusted for 2022 prices).
In the northern part of the country, this drops to 7 or 8 euros (!). And I’m talking about the main Portuguese cities here. Check out my post about food in Azores too.
36Alentejo’s coastline is a delight to the soul.
Man, I don’t know if it’s the Atlantic breeze or the easy-going lifestyle, but there’s something about the coast of Alentejo.
While the interior can get too hot in summer time, the coastline has a refreshing set of wild beaches and impressive cliffs that make a hell of a road trip. One of the best-kept secrets in Europe, if you ask me. Check out my selection of the best guest and rural houses in Alentejo.
37The outdoor activities are just endless.
Mix a good climate with a diverse landscape and you’ll never want to be inside four walls in Portugal. Hiking the Paiva Walkways, levadas in Madeira island, paragliding in Serra da Arrábida or zip-lining in Gerês natural park are just some of the things you can do in Portugal.
If you’re up for a challenge, try climbing Mount Pico, the highest in the country. Don’t even get me started on water sports!
38We are in the verge of three worlds.
Due to its strategic location as the western most country of mainland Europe in the confluence of the European, American and African continents, Portugal is directly connected by air to half of the world.
Portuguese culture has also been influenced by its old territories of Goa (India), Macao (China), Angola, Brazil or Cape Verde.
This means flights are usually cheap from half of the world, either from the Portuguese airline company TAP or from low-cost airlines that fly from Lisbon and Porto to most european cities for less than 100 euros.
You’ll learn to appreciate the little details in Portugal. Clothes hanging on the windows of colorful buildings, intricate elements on Manueline style buildings, gorgeous sunsets in the sea, neighborhoods with narrow streets, you name it! For photography lovers, it’s hard to stop pushing the shutter button.
40We are way more liberal than you think.
In the authoritarian and extremist world of today, an open-minded place can automatically be a reason to visit a country. Despite holding off to our deepest traditions, we are very forward-thinking in some other aspects. Same-sex marriages have been legal for years. Transgenders can easily change their gender. And while selling huge amounts of drugs is still illegal, drug use is admitted and – guess what – this has actually led to an decrease on the overall number of drug users in the country.
41Algarve is perfect for sun-seekers.
Probably this is the Portugal you know better. This is where millions of tourists – including 95% of all Portuguese families – flock every year seeking the three Ss: sun, sea, and sand. Despite the summer crowds, the weather is fantastic and the beaches are renowned worldwide, specially around Lagos, Tavira and Portimão.
To get you started, check out my selection of the hotels with WiFi, breakfast and the best reviews in the region.
42Portuguese know how to keep themselves going.
I’ve already mentioned wine, but the full Portuguese alcohol experience requires for you to try the alluring diversity of spirits and liquors. The most popular is probably ginjinha (cherry liquor) from Óbidos, but there many other flavours up to taste like moscatel (made from a special kind of wine) and my favorite, licor de amêndoa amarga (liquor made from bitter almonds).
Back to medieval times.
While sun seekers and beach bums may feel more attracted to the south and islands, for me Guimarães stands out more and more like one of the most underrated cities to visit in the whole country.
Nicknamed Portugal’s birthplace, due to the fact it was there D. Afonso Henriques – the first King of Portugal – fought his own mother (!) for the independence of the country. Drenched in rich history, with a well-preserved medieval town center, and with a fabulous-looking castle, Guimarães is a nice 1-day stop to your trip or easily doable on a day trip from Porto.
44Venture out to the off the beaten track.
One might argue Lisbon and Porto have now fallen into every possible gentrification traps, just like Venice, Barcelona or Amsterdam. Whether you agree or not, there is a lot more to uncover in Portugal so consider adding some more unusual stops to your Portugal itinerary!
Venture out to the interior packed with villages in peace with the surrounding nature. Explore a whole different country without souvenir shops, Airbnbs every other door, or hipster brunch spots. But with still the same beautiful Portugal at heart.
Some off the beaten track places in Portugal
- Gerês National Park
- Serra da Estrela National Park
- Aldeias de Xisto
45The oldest University in Europe is here.
Overshadowed by Porto up north and Lisbon on the south, Coimbra is absent from many first-timers’ itineraries. But there’s plenty to keep you busy for at least a full day. A medieval city center, churches and cathedrals, the gorgeous Mondego river, and the oldest university in Europe (and one of the oldest in the world). No wonder this was Portugal’s capital for roughly a century.
46Madeira is a all-year round destination
Known as the Pearl of the Alantic, the island of Madeira truly looks like a whimsical garden. Madeira is tropical, wild and has some of the most dramatic landscapes I’ve seen, but it’s all packaged with a mild weather throughout the entire year.
In Madeira, spring makes all the flowers in full bloom, summer is a great time for a swim in the ocean, Fall is perfect time to hit the levada trails and Winter is the time to escape the cold and enjoy the fantastic New Year Firework show in Funchal.
47You’ll learn what saudade is.
After you’ve been to Portugal, something will grow on you. You’ll start missing the country and its people, weather and culture. Suddenly, a wave of nostalgia wins you over. Congrats, now you know what every Portuguese person feels when they’re away from home: saudade!
PORTUGAL MINI TRAVEL GUIDE
How to get to Portugal
The best way is by air. Lisbon and Porto are very well served by airline connections from all over Europe and also from the U.S., South America and Africa.
If you’re coming from the United States, take a look at Azores Getaways. They have great flight + hotel + transfers deals for Lisbon, Azores, Madeira and Porto. :
If you’re not into travel packages or you’re not coming from the US, I recommend Skyscanner or the Google Flights to find the cheapest flight prices and my pre-selection of hotels below.
Where to stay in Portugal
To make your life easier, start your search with my pre-selection of the best hostels/hotels/guesthouses/villas for each of these amazing spots:
These include only accommodations with great-to-excellent rating and a good free WiFi . You can’t go wrong with these!
Best time to go to Portugal
While summers are long in Portugal and you can expect good weather anywhere between May and October, make sure you avoid August. Unless you have a thing for packed beaches!
Top places to visit
Personally, I always recommend Porto, Lisbon and Alentejo‘s coast. If you are able to go to these three places, you’ll get a pretty great idea of what Portugal really is. They’re all memorable in different ways. Ideally, with a bit more time and money, hop on a flight to Azores for a few days for a true nature therapy.
What you MUST do
Eat a pastel de nata. Drink wine. Get some vitamin D in your skin. It does not sound like a hard life, does it? Relax, you’re in Portugal!
So, did I convince you visiting Portugal is a reeeaaaally good idea?
If not, here’s this Portuguese water dog to make up your mind.
239 comments 💬
Bruno, What do you think about a trip to Portugal in January ?
Well – depends on what you want to do and go, but sure, why not?!
Nice post! I postponed most of my travel plans to next year. But the 47 reasons to visit Portugal that you shared in your blog have nudged me to think otherwise. I might just be applying for a Portugal Visa for Portugal next month so that I can experience the best of Portugal during Christmas
Nice report, overall. But, come on… You repeat two times de Ginginha and didn’t refer to Port or Madeira Wine? And the tons of types of wine Portugal have, like the “Vinho Verde” (green wine), the only one in the World?
And Portuguese UNESCO heritage?
Thanks for the suggestions Telmo!
Thank you for the great post- review! I’m sold, but since we’re in the middle of a pandemic I will start a planner for this trip so your info is awesome! Helps me determine the amount of time I want and how many areas I could visit with the time. Looks like an amazing place to live!
Can’t complain. Wise of you until things get a bit calmer. This is the time to stay put and safe. Hopefully it will be over soon!
What historic interesting small pretty coastal towns are there ?
Uh, many of them, from North to South. Nazaré, Figueira da Foz, Aveiro, Cascais, Tavira, you name it.
Planning a month in Portugal (March 2020)…
Hope this is useful!
Just booked our flights to Portugal and the Azores for our first visit this September. Your blog is very useful, and I am looking forward to visiting the sites that you highlighted. Looks like a truly amazing country, guess that’s why everyone is coming to see it firsthand. I particularly like your “hidden gems” ….I am looking for the authentic experience and not the canned tours that some people prefer so your suggestions are much appreciated. We have been to both Hawaii and Iceland and especially looking forward to the treasures that Sao Miguel has to offer.
Sounds exciting Luisa.
Even though Portugal is very hyped at the moment and there are many tourists in some places, I’m sure you will uncover a bit of the authentic side too.
One of the better blogs that I have gone through on Portugal. Well done, Bruno. Am planning to visit Portugal for the first time. Could you suggest if we should day trips to Coimbra, Nazare and other places in the north and Central, or should we make a base, say at Porto. We have about 4-5 nights for the north/central, apart from 6 for Lisboa and Algavre.
Well, that’s a bit up to you, depending on what you want to visit.
I suggest putting all the places you want to visit on a map and decide from there. Given your suggestions and distances involved, I’d definitely consider choosing 1-2 places only.
I loved reading all your articles and recommended places. We are returning to Lisbon in two weeks( because we truly fell in love with Portugal) and I was wondering if you know of a local real estate office that we can contact, while we are there. We are interested in buying an apt.
Thank you so much in advance!
All my best,
You won’t find a shortage of real estate agencies in Portugal, that’s for sure.
I do not own a house, so never used one for that purpose.
This list is amazing, it really kick started my plan to visit Portugal. Could you help me plan an itinerary for my husband and I. We are planning a ten day holiday end of August our first week of September. Any help would be appreciated
I can’t help without knowing your travel style, what do you expect from this trip, if you’re a mountain vs beach person?
I suggest doing some research first and then come with more specific answers that I can provide some value!
We’re planning to visit Portugal for 3 weeks in early October and wonder why you haven’t mentioned the Douro Valley as worth visiting in your very informative list?
Because I only have a list of 45 reasons and something’s gotta give. Go though, it’s beautiful.
This is fantastic information Bruno! Thank you!
I am coming from the US and taking my 16 year old daughter on a humanitarian trip with Habitat for Humanity in July where we will be building a home for a family in need near Braga (Domas). We will be there for 6 days and in Porto for 2.5 days. We then have 5-6 days to enjoy other parts of Portugal.
What would be your recommendations to make the most of our time there with a 16 year old girl. She is not interested in museums or learning a lot of history. She just wants to see your wonderful country and be part of the culture and action. She loved the pictures of Camilo beach and the rock formations as well as Bengali Cave but have read that other beaches are comparable. I know there is a lot of ground to cover between Porto and the Algarves so I have struggled with what would be our best options.
Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
With only 6 days stick to a region of the country. If you’re into beach, go south to Alentejo or Algarve. If you want to see mountains, rivers, etc stick to the northern region like Gerês, Aldeias de Xisto or Serra da Estrela.
Great article, but I was quite disappointed that Madeira Island wasn’t included when it is actually one of the main reasons that Portugal was named best travel destination in 2018?
Besides being the birthplace of the best soccer player in the world it boasts many, many other spectacular features.
I think your readers are missing out.
Thanks for the tip, there are definitely many more reasons to visit Portugal, I just happen to compile 45 of them.
Although being the birthplace of a soccer player is definitely NOT one of them 🙂
What a great article. Thank you. We moved to Portugal just over a month ago having fallen in love with the country when we were walking the Via Algarviana back in 2015. We are still exploring and discovering new places but there is nowhere quite like Portugal – and you’re right, the people are extremely friendly and welcoming. Even when we go off the beaten track and they don’t speak English they will spend ages trying to communicate with us. Two places which we have visited on the spur of the moment and absolutely loved are Coimbra and Elvas (near the Spanish border). Both well worth a visit in our view.
Never been to Elvas, added to my list! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.
Hi – thanks for the great post! My husband and I want to visit Portugal but the only time we can go is August. Any recommendation for beaches that are slightly less crowded during that time? Something off the beaten path perhaps?
Hi Nicole, August is a really tough time and I’m afraid there aren’t any “hidden gems” at that time.
The most touristy beaches will be filled with tourists and the other ones will be where locals go to, so it will be hard to find less crowds. I would stick to Aljezur area and do some explorations around.
More in the middle is very ‘calme’, between Aveiro and Figuiera da Fox. Beaches like Mira, Tocha, Murtinheira. Day visits to Coimbra, the former capital. Or the green heart where we live (Serra da Estrela).
Try Troia, near Setúbal. Go to Google maps… ☺️
Hi Bruno! Wonderful post! I am thinking about going to Portugal in June for about a week, and am hoping to see a combination of city sights and nature. How is train system in Portugal? Is there a way to get to some of the places you mention by train?
Not sure where you coming from, but I’m sorry to say train system in Portugal is poor compared to other places in Europe. You can definitely visit some of them by a combination of buses + train though. Check CP and Rede Expressos websites.
Live in Colorado..my man has never crossed the pond..me,several times.. I’ve always wanted to explore Portugal. Now, my mouth is watering ..I’m going to fall to sleep, with a smile on my face..cuz,
I’m taking my husband to Portugal!
I’m singing in your general direction…
La la lala la I’m going to Portugal. Deet de da Dee Dee daa
Oboy oboy oboy!
Sounds like this article got you excited, good to know 😀
I am very interested in visiting Portugal. Can you tell me if the weather in Portugal will be too cold for outdoor exploring? ( I am from Canada). Any hints on best places to go in February?
Well, I can’t predict how the weather will be and also depends on where you’re going and your tolerance to cold weather.
For best weather chances, I recommend Madeira or Algarve (even though it won’t be beach weather).
Such a good post! Makes me want to go back to Portugal immediately!
Thank you Molly. Portugal will always be there for you 🙂
Just returned from my second visit to the Azores. I can’t say enough about this beautiful place though I really want to keep it to myself! Obrigada Bruno, for your suggestions that helped us plan our itinerary on Sao Miguel and Pico. I have to say you did miss a few gems on Pico, such as Cachorro and we really enjoyed our trek through the vineyards and along the west coast on the Criacao Velha trail. The food was outstanding and we particularly enjoyed delicious mid morning coffees at various bars around the island as well as afternoon snacks of savory olives, fresh bread and amazing cheeses from Pico and Sao Jorge. And the wine… I have to say the Duoro wine was sublime. Already planning a visit to the Triangle islands for my third visit, this time with Hubby so I don’t mind visiting Pico for a second time.
Thank you for sharing Suzan, you made ME want to go back to Pico now !
Wow! We just today got accepted to an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses the last week of June! We want to come 3 weeks earlier to explore. Do you have a recommendation for a base from which to travel? We live old, we live rooftops and LOVE the train. And wine? Of course! It was Jesus’ FIRST miracle!
You’ve got me hooked!
Actually, I have adopted family that are Portuguese, so have been hearing wonderful things for years, but this gives me that little extra nudge that I needed.
Sounds like it’s time to book a flight Erica!
I plan on visiting portugal in September of 2019 ,for about about 2 weeks with wife and adult daughter.Please send info on cheap flights and accommodation s.We prefer smaller cities and rural settings
I’m afraid I’m not a travel agency.
I suggest you check my travel smart page.
Hello, you have convinced me to visit Portugal! What can you tell me about Lagos?
I will be traveling alone so are there places that I can go to meet people?
Lagos has changed a bit in recent years. It has some of the best beaches in Portugal, but it can get quite busy in Summer. Still, it’s not as crowded as other places like Portimão and Albufeira. I’m sure you’d have no problems meeting people, lots of tourists in summer and you have friendly in winter 😉
Thorough research and impressive writing style is what struck my mind after reading your blog post. Marvelous!
Thank you Leni, glad you’ve passed by!
This is adorable and I’m following your lead.
Nice to hear Jenn!
I am really impressed with Portugal. Can u send me more info.
Sorry, this is the most generic request ever.
I can’t help you without knowing more about your interests and plus, there’s plenty of info in this article already.
I totally agree with this post- I recently visited Portugal (albeit a few years earlier it wasn’t even on my radar) and now it is in my top 3 summer destinations. I felt it overshadowed Spain (for me personally) in terms of cost, culture and atmosphere! And of course, the wine was phenomenal!
Hoping to write a post about Portugal soon!
Thanks for sharing your experience Stephanie!
Excellent details you have shared. Me and my friend are planning for a week trip to Portugal in November. Between Porto and Algarve which would you suggest? We are ok to go to Algarve without getting to the waters as long as the rain doesnt spoil the days much. Please advice.
Porto and Algarve are completely different places of the country, yielding polar opposite experiences. In November, there probably won’t be beach weather, which is Algarve’s strongest point. So I’d choose Porto.
But this is me personally – I suggest you research both destinations and see what resonates more with you.
how is the weather in January? We are looking to end a trip in Portugal before heading back to states and want to end it somewhere warmer than say…snow filled Switzerland Alps….and it is between this and Spain, but I just think lthis will have more to offer for the money..
I can’t predict the weather, but usually is in the range of 8-13 degrees. Expect rain in at least 50% of the days.
What a lovely article! My husband and I are planning a 12 day long holiday this June with our 10 year old. Besides Porto and Lisbon (4 days each) which other place is worth visiting? We will be relying on trains to take us everywhere. We like to take it slow and easy, and not run around ticking off “things to see”… could really do with some tips. Thank you.
I’d look into Nazaré, Coimbra, Évora, Guimarães…in all you can have very different experiences but giving you a very good grasp of the country.
Thanks for your work!
1. What do I need to know to be polite in Portugal?For example, are there any special customs regarding tipping, or other restaurant related things?
2. Do you have any advise for an American who would like to learn to make the nasal sound in certain words that sounds like an “n” to us? My Brazilian friends tried, but I failed.
1. Tipping is entirely optional, no matter what they try to tell you :-). It’s only done in case you think the service was exceptional.
2. Portugal’s portuguese is very tricky to learn because there are just a few languages in the world which use a variety of different nasal sounds as much as we do. No one expects for you to nail it in your first trip! However you can practice by closing your nasal airways with your fingers and hearing yourself pronouncing certain words (e.g. ending in “-ão”). That helps set your “baseline”, then it’s a matter of replicating locals saying the same word by trying to make the air come out of your nose.
I have a chance to visit Portugal in June. I have trouble walking long distances and climbing a lot of stairs, is it pointless to make the trip?
Well, it obviously depends on where you’re going? Portugal is big and it’s not all about stairs 🙂
I am happy to say I just booked 3 weeks in Portugal in August. I am hoping to take in as much of the beaches as possible. I am looking at potential areas to move to. This is a scouting trip to catch an overview of the areas. My hopes are to find that cozy beach front property near a big enough town or small city. You article is great. Any personal suggestions for me not to miss? Peter
Sounds great, I think you’ll love Odeceixe!
Bruno …. Bom dia .. como vai ? just came across your website as I start my research for an exploratory trip to Portugal with the possibility of relocating there in a couple of years. The information I’ve read so far is great … Obrigado. I’m sure this info is somewhere on your site but, if I want to travel around the country for several weeks, should I rent a car or can I get by fairly easily with buses and trains.
haha loved the brazilian introduction :p
It depends on where you want to travel; if you stick to the main cities you don’t need a car, but if you plan to go a bit out of the main circuit Porto-Coimbra-Lisbon-Faro, then a car is recommended.
Hi, loving your website and all the article you’ve written (I’ve read a few now!) We’re driving from Sintra to Seville (NOT via coast as we’re returning that way) in May. Where would you suggest we stop for the night? I’ve already got Evora on my list to stop at. Unsure if we just spend the day driving to Seville stopping where we like OR if there’s a specific awesome place we should aim for? Thanks x
Évora is definitely a good stop. Might be worth to check a winery 😉
Tantalizing post! I am thinking of traveling to Portugal for one week in April with my two kids (10 and 12). Based on past experience, we enjoy staying in one place for more days (instead of changing venues every couple of days) so as to have a more intimate experience….it’s often the little things that are most memorable vs. major tourist attractions, if you know what I mean. Can you recommend a “base camp” (or a couple of base camps)? Maybe one big city and one smaller city?
I get you.
I suggest Lisbon + Comporta. Or Porto + Guimarães.
This post is absolutely wonderful. So much information. We have booked our visit from Canada for the first 10 days of April next year. Staying a couple days in Lisbon and then on to Evora for a night. Then we head to Albufeira area to stay for 6 nights. We felt this was a very central location along the coast with everything being an hour (give or take) east or west from there. Hope we made a good choice. Will probably visit Portimao, Lagos and Sagres for sure. Anything you would suggest as a hidden gem not to miss along there?
I definitely suggest NOT staying in Albufeira, it’s a plastic place made for drunk tourists with arguably the worst beaches in Algarve. As for your question, there are hardly any “hidden gems” in Algarve anymore, but I’d say the islands near Olhão and the interior village of Silves are worth a visit.
Thx…great…but Sintra is arguably the worst tourist trap, expensive plastic place i’ve seen…over-run with tourists…what a shame!!!! on my MUST MISS list!
At the time I wrote this post Sintra village was still a gem but I have to agree it’s becoming a bit overrun with tourists lately. Nevertheless, Palácio da Pena is worth a visit no matter what!
Thanks for your inspiring article! After having lived in the country 35 years ago, I can’t wait to show my family around!
That must be exciting, hope you guys have a great time!
Nice! But you forgot to tell about the centre of Portugal, places like Coimbra, Aveiro, Buçaco, Bairrada just to name a few!
Thanks for the suggestion, these places will be on the back of my mind when I expand this post 🙂
I simply love this article very impressive i want to visit now here after looking your beautiful photos of this city thanks again.
It’s not a city, it’s a country 🙂
Amazing list. Stunning photos! Especially the beach one with the colorful umbrellas. And now I want to go to Portugal more than ever!
Thank you! Portugal is awaiting you 🙂
I was planning on starting a cruise vacation in Lisbon and you’ve made rethink the cruise and stay in Portugal!
I’m not a fan of cruises at all. Take your time to explore the country at your own pace, it’s a much more pleasant experience.
I am Portuguese and I am very proud in my country.
That makes two of us!
I and my friends will plan to go on holiday to Portugal and this is our first trip, and we really need information about Portugal, after reading your article I da my friends very helpful, thank you! In addition to Portugal you can also travel to Bali that is not less beautiful with the city and other countries, but other than that do not forget to stay at VillaKubu.com which has many choices of bedrooms that will meet your holiday needs
Thanks for the (quite) random suggestion! Hope you have a great time in PT!
Hi! love your recommendations. Is Portugal warm enough in mid October if we want to hit the beaches?
You might be lucky and get summer weather; you might wake up with rainy misty days… hard to tell!
Yes, I am convinced!! Going there in october with my husband for surf, wine, good food, beaches and views. Thinking about road trip from Peniche until Tavora, we have two weeks,Thanks for your tips 🙂
Very glad to know! You won’t be disappointed 🙂
Actually planning to go to Portugal in Oct
Want to relax in a village or small town and talk to Portuguese, knowing that they live a quality life and are truly friendly.
Like to be able to hike near where i stay, you and others suggested Madeira, can i easily to it without cars?
I ll be going around by public transport only.
Can i paddle somewhere too, l like calm lakes?
Hike and “without cars” usually don’t go together. I think you should first define where you want to go, you can go to a lot of places in Portugal 😉
Great web site ….off we go
Thank you, hope you have a great time!
I have an opportunity to go to Porto and Lisbon in April. Weather wise is that a mistake?
Absolutely not! Portugal is one of the best places to be in April around Europe 🙂
Fell in love with Portugal from your article. Going to book for September god willing. Will that still be beach weather? I want to see it all!!!
My soul belongs to Portugal. I feel connected with all these places everytime I go. Great blog, I got here while looking for 3 days itineray in Stockholm, and carried on reading. Happy and sunny future travels, keep safe!
Thank you, appreciate your words Monika. Happy travels for you too!
Waouhhh I’m quite impressed now, you just sayed EVERYTHING, you just resumed it all, from our great weather to our wonderfull bakeries. I’m just soooo proud of my country, unfortunatly I’m not living in Portugal for instance but I’ll be back to my country that makes me soo happy.
Portugal is in our hearts!
My dad has been to Portugal with my mom before I was born.But I have one question,can you take a boat from Canada to Portugal across the Atlantic Ocean?
Technically you can, but you wouldn’t want to do that. Only if you’re up for real adventure and days/weeks in the sea!
i really love to travel to portugal because i always dream of it i will be so glad if i can hav visa to portugal.
Best of luck!
I am Portuguese and I couldn’t describe Portugal better than that its an awesome country and I love being Portuguese and the best thing about Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese football team and the beaches and the food everything is brilliant in Portugal in fact.
Portuguese are definitely trendy right now! 🙂
Great article. Planning to be n Portugal June 15 from Los Angeles, California. i am a travel agent and staying with a friend who rented a house in Sintra Mourisca Galamares Portugal, Rua Mira Serra 22. Can you recommend itinerary what to do in a week and then after checking out of the house we plan to travel out of Lisbon, where should we go? Love your article and will pass along to our group.
I can’t really help without knowing your interests, what are your goals and how long you have? Will you have a car? You’ll have to be more specific. In any case, this article and my Portugal road trip have plenty of suggestions!
I liked your post very much and, above all, the very positive way you transmitted the intended message.
I’m portuguese and lived all my life in Lisbon, except for two years in Leiria and six years in Brussels.
If I may give 1 or 2 ideas I would like to point out Madeira’s island of Porto Santo, with its long beach and direct access from the coastal charming hotels; Sagres (in the west of Algarve) with its historical point of interest Cabo de São Vicente and the famous rock Gigante as well as Ponta de Sagres on the west side of the village; at the other end of Algarve Vila Real de Santo António with its “Pombalino” centre (as in Baixa de Lisboa); Évora (my favorite in Alto Alentejo, so I’m partial) and its cathedral and university full of azulejos from the 16th onwards and the villages and panoramas sorrounding this wonderful city (from Monsaraz you can see Spain); Lisbon and Jardim da Estrela and the Basílica together with Campo de Ourique (CdO) with a large selection of restaurants, pastelarias and commerce (tram 28 passes Estrela and stops at CdO near the Cemetary of Prazeres with its above ground crypts; Almeida, small village in Beira Alta inside an 18th century fort in the shape of a star, the last remaining from the Napoleonic wars; Viseu and so may others. Such a small country, so much to see!.
Sorry, I said 1 or 2… I suppose I love my country very much, with all its contradictions 😀
Thank you very much for your suggestions Teresa, these are great! I can understand when we start talking about our country it’s hard to stop, so many beautiful places to go and things to do. I personally had to stop this article at number 43, could easily do more 🙂
I would like to visit Portugal, but have a wheelchair, is there any point in me coming?
Got to be honest: Portugal is not the easiest of places to get around in a wheelchair. The cobblestone streets can be a challenge. It all depends on where you want to go 😉
Hi me and my friend are planning to go to Portugal in July. We want to go hiking in the Madeira as well. How many days in Madeira do you suggest? Also, i know it will be a touristic time of the year any suggestions of beautiful sceneries to go to in order to avoid a bit of the crowd? Also any good hiking sites you recommand? As for the nightlife, in which city is the nightlife the liveliest? Plus I heard about this little historic village which used to be a slavery site and that now turned into a church and name one of the leaders of the freedom a saint, Would you happen to know where that is?
Wow so many questions! I’m afraid I’ve never actually been to Madeira, so I can’t really help with that.
Madeira you can do it in 4 days but you can easily spend a whole week there drinking poncha, walking by the levadas and eating bolo do caco… it is a fairly small place (albeit with a lot to see) and the tunnels make your life sooooooooooooooo much easy (20 years ago, before the tunnels you would need a whole day just to go one way from certain points of the island to other)
So glad i found your blog and i am planning for Portugal at the moment. In order to get a somewhat thorough feel of Lisbon, Comporta and Porto (where else?) , how many days in total you would recommend? I am flying in from the U.S. in mid May. Thanks!
I’d say at the very least a week for those 3 places. 10 days better.
I am writing to recommend several sites North of Porto, far from the sun-worshiping golf life of southern Portugal. Porto, Braga, Vila de Conde, Ponte de Lima, Barcelos….all are wonderful, far from the tourist crowds, and are relatively close to each other.
Thanks Jimmy, definitely great suggestions there!
A group of us are planning to visit Portugal next year. We’ve done bus tours and river cruises but would like to try renting a couple of places and going on day trips. Any advice? There could be as many as 7 couples so we’d need a few houses/apartments. Is this even possible to do? I loved your article and took notes. My son-in-law has already introduced us to the addictive custard tarts!!
That’s a lot of people, so I’d probably start by looking at large apartments in Airbnb. Where are you heading? Maybe I can give you more specific advice.
And don’t forget Central Portugal. You’ll have to do another feature! Regards Ann
I really do, I need to explore that area!
We leave for Portugal in 2 weeks! We will be in Porto for 4 days, Lisbon 5 days…I already feel it won’t be enough time. I have searched and searched for great articles on Portugal, this beats them all!! Thank you:) I will be taking many notes from this.
It’s 9 days, it’s not too bad, better than the majority of people have. I’m sure you will have a great time!
I also have some tips in my comparison between the 2 cities.
Oi Bruno, Td bem? Adorei os textos sobre Portugal e compramos nossas passagens. Sou brasileira e irei com meu filho de 3 anos e marido em
novembro. Temos 15 dias e 16 noites em
Portugal. Já conhecemos Lisboa, Sintra e Cascais. Pensei em fazer um roteiro de 7 noites pela costa sudoeste , de Lisboa a Faro (usarei as sugestões que vc passou no outro texto) e pensei em incluir 4 dias em Porto (c visitas de um dia a Douro e um dia em Guimarães). Que outras cidades do interior vc recomenda? Muito, muito obrigada, Carolina.
Parece-me um roteiro muito bom! 🙂
A única coisa que posso acrescentar é se tiverem tempo, recomendo incluir Nazaré, Óbidos e Braga.
Uma excelente viagem em família! 🙂
hi, me and my husband are planning to travel to Portugal now at the end of august. We are definitely going to travel to Lisbon and Porto but we are going back and forth if we should stay for a couple of nights in the cascais beach area. We know its pretty close to Lisbon so we were wondering if its just easier to rent a car and travel back and forth or just stay over night. If you have any ideas I would love to hear it thanks.
Just for reference, there are better beaches near Lisbon. Arrabida, Costa da Caparica, Meco, etc are all wider beaches with clearer waters.
Having that said, you can take a 40-min train to Cascais from the Cais do Sodre station, so you can do a couple of day trips if you want!
Bruno, you’ve convinced me. I’ll be visiting in May and can’t wait. Thanks for all the great information!
Mission accomplished! 🙂
Enjoy your stay!
Pico island, Azores
You’re right, Pico is a reason by itself!
This makes it imperative I visit there. My great grandparents migrated to Hawaii for the Azores and Madeira. I am having a hard time deciding whichI want to visit. Don’t have the finances to do all of it. I would like to find cruise ship that visits both and Lisbon but what I find is either the Azores or Madeira and maybe Lisbon. I really want to go soon.
Azores are more suited if you like true nature, hiking and the outdoors. It’s much less crowded than Madeira and you rarely find busy spots to eat or take a photo.
Apart from some great hiking trails and scenic views, infrastructure in Madeira is more developed, there are more hotels and tourists.
Up to you!
Obrigada! De uma Portuguesa em Inglaterra, ja faz mais que 10 anos que não vou a Portugal.
Realmente ha muitas tradições que ninguém nunca ira entender, como as padeiras, a culinária, a historia, muitas pessoas não entendem.
Tenho muitas SAUDADES. <3
Está na altura de uma visita à terra natal Diana, nada como o nosso país!
Thanks – I have 9 days in Portugal. Is it best to split my time between Lisbon & Porto and take day trips from each? Travel by car or train? I would imagine parking could be difficult…
Well depends on what you want to see, you’re the best person to decide that! I’m afraid you can’t visit all the places in this article by doing day trips from Lisbon, some are just too far away.
Having that said, yes I recommend getting your own wheels for more flexibility.
Great article. I am an Aussie in Valencia visiting friends and will have 4 days to visit Portugal. Where should I go to maximise the experience (single middle aged female on a budget – love sun, water, food, history, walking, meeting people). Fly from Valencia to?
4 days is not a lot. I’d probably go for Lisbon and do a day trips in Sintra/Cascais maybe.
Great article! Leaving for Porto and Lisboa tomorrow. Even more excited.
Great! Don’t forget to eat a pastel de nata…everyday 🙂
Thanks. I don’t accept links to commercial sites though.
Love your notes and advice! I’m coming Portugal!!! 🙂
wonderful piece. well done and God bless. I am packing my bags now.
Thanks Joe, I’m sure you won’t regret!
Hello I have just read your blog which was very interesting, we are going to cascais in June and staying at the grand villa real hotel while there we plan to eat well and hope to find some good restaurants ,what do you recommend for all price ranges high end dining to local cuisine.
Indulge in seafood whenever you can, Lisboa and Cascais are great places for that.
For good steak, try Dom Prego (very local).
I am thinking of traveling to Portugal this fall,and maybe buying a small home. Is it safe for a widow to travel or live by herself?
Yes! We have great weather and the people are nice and really friendly. Im not saying this for being Portuguese, but we’re a safe country overall. I’ve lived in Spain and France for 2 years and Portugal is better for living a peaceful and happy life!
Hi Bruno, that was an excellent read. I am planning 20 days trip over Protugal, so you’ve helped me a lot.
Could you recommend me some places on the eastern and central part of Portugal that are worth visit?
If you haven’t visited it yet, I suggest Castelo Branco ( beautiful town with amazing view from the Castle, with low population, ideal to relieve the stress and chill ) , Evora ( historical buildings, culture ) and Coimbra ( my favourite town to visit on Central part, beautiful streets, buildings, college, and great parks near the river).
These are on the central part of Portugal, you can always visit Lisbon,Porto and Algarve(Faro) for the beaches and amazing views aswell.
This was a very interesting article. I’m planning a trip in October, and your article got me even more excited to go!
I was wondering if you could help me with the itinerary…
My boyfriend and I (both in our 30s) are planning a trip to Portugal beginning of October (Oct. 1 early morning to Oct. 9 or 10) and we desperately need help with the planning! We will fly into Ponte Delgada where I know a tour guide, so we don’t need suggestions for there, and stay a few days, then fly to Lisbon. We want to stay in Lisbon for a few days then take the train to Porto for a few days too, and then come back to Lisbon to fly out. We’re not sure how many days to spend at each of those places. We are interested in wineries, food, culture, beaches, river cruises, city tours, half/day or day trips, etc… What other cities should we visit and how to get to those places. I’ve been recommended to see Matosinhos, so I’m thinking surf class. Any suggestions are welcome.
Thank you so much for any advice you could give us.
Looks like you have everything well planned out.
I recommend maybe going to Sintra. Check out my other article about experiences Lisbon in this same blog!
If you are into wineries, don’t miss the wine lodges of Gaia (opposite margin of the river of Porto). A river cruise through Douro might be a good idea for a daytrip!
What a fabulous article! At first I was hesitant about going but now I am 100% convinced! I like the originality , sincerity and sense of humour about this article!
I’m sure you are going to have a GREAT time!
We visited Portugal this summer – and loved it. One of my favorite towns was Evora. The span of history was fascinating…19th century buildings, gothic cathedral and bone chapel, Roman temple, and megalithic standing stones. All with a wonderful square with restaraunts and good wine.
Thanks for your feedback Laura. Évora is indeed such a charming city with its medieval walls in the middle of those huge fields around. I found the bone chapel a bit too creepy – maybe because I was there all by myself!
I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and let
me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.
The issue is something not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
I am very happy that I came across this in my hunt for something concerning this.
Wow, thanks for your feedback Delbert.
I went to Lisbon for my Honeymoon. We wanted a European country that had great history, wasn’t one of the typical locations for people to go honeymooning, had amazing food, and was relatively inexpensive. Portugal fit the bill and it could not have been better. The food was ridiculously good (I really love food, lucky I got a good metabolism) and the fish was amazingly fresh. I had fish for every meal and I never got bored because they can cook it in so many different ways. And you really can’t beat $9 Salmon fillets bigger then my face.
The sunsets were gorgeous, the people were friendly and they did all speak English. I learned some Portuguese but wasn’t very confident with it and everyone speaking English didn’t force me to flex those muscles (so I guess that’s a down side)
The history is great and everything there is old and beautiful. We went in May and had an amazing time. The Lisbon Zoo is the best I have ever visited. We originally weren’t going to go but had such a great time at the Aquarium that we decided to check it out. It was huge and amazing. Like everything else there.
All together, including our plane tickets from the US, I think the whole trip cost us $4500, maybe, it was more likely less. But it was worth twice that for the experience we got.
Thank you for sharing your story! Portugal is not often chosen as a honeymoon destination, but it’s such a diverse country it really has something for everyone.
I’m still to find a better place to eat fish than Portugal. It’s cheap and it’s delicious. Just reading you talk about it made me hungry!!
Did you do any daytrips? Let me know if one day you are willing to come back, can help you with some tips and planning for other places in the country!
thanks so much for your article , is was wonderful to read, you make us want to learn more
Glad it put a little curiosity bug inside your minds, now it’s time to go and experience them yourselves!
Great review and now I have great ideas of where to go on our trip in June with my inlaws(60ish,brother and wife) and my teenage kids..Looking forward to the Azores and southern Portugal for the beaches..I have always wanted to go whale watching so that is now on my list of things to do in Portugal. Can you suggest a great beach with waves in Sao Miguel? Also how many days would you suggest for the Azores and the mainland? We are coming from the U.S. And staying 12 days trying to see as much as possible with some relaxation too..
Well, almost all beaches in the Azores have waves. If you’re looking for particularly big waves, the best are in the Northern coast of Sao Miguel – Santa Barbara for instance.
As for the overall timings of the trip, it depends on how many islands you want to visit. For only Sao Miguel, I recommend at least 4-5 days to fully take it in. Check my article on the 4-day itinerary of Sao Miguel to have a better understanding.
DON”T POST this… it’s just a note to you.
1) Great post… I’m sold. Coming in April.
2) Just because they caught my eye… Editing: #18 You can (get) back in touch… add ‘get’
3) Editing: #41 flock every yea (add the ‘r’ to year)
Thanks for flagging the typos. Have a great time in Portugal!
Sounds wonderful. I am hoping to visit next September. Last 2 weeks
Great choice, September is the ideal time to go to Portugal!
I like what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.
Amazing post. LOVE it and really miss Portugal!! I can’t wait to go back and re-visit the sites and places… Portugal was my first solo trip <3 It will always hold a special place in my heart.
Solo travels always have a special place in our heart, don’t they? Where have you been in Portugal?
I love Portugal and I have another one for you- did you know it’s about the only place in Europe (I believe) where you can snorkel with seahorses! I went in the Ria Formosa in the Algarve and saw lots- they are such amazing little creatures!
I didn’t know this and I’m now super curious about it!
Thanks for sharing, definitely a good 44th reason!
I just came home from 2 months in Portugal! We stayed up north about 2 hours away from Porto. I felt a pang of nostalgia reading this (especially the bacalau). The Sporting & Benfica stadiums in Lisboa are pretty cool for all the soccer-lovers (which is almost everyone in Portugal haha).
Soccer is pretty much the favorite topic of conversation of every portuguese (except me). Where did you stay? 2 months is a long time, you must have wandered a lot!
A childhood dream to visit and experience my birth father’s Portuguese bloodline (Santos) of where they originated from. I have yet to do the genealogy to know exactly where my grandparents (Andrade and Santos) and great grandparents originated from by ship to Hawaii. That in itself would be so meaningful to me. It is a goal to make my dream a reality! I am thankful and love all that is shared of my heritage.
It’s really impressive to see how much you appreciate your own heritage. I’m sure a visit to Portugal would be a trip to discover more about yourself, you should definitely put it on your plans.
Portugal especially the Azore Islands have been calling to me for a while. This nearly killed me! I am hopeful for 2016. Up next Africa! Roar!
Wow, have a great time there! Where are you going?
And let me know once you’ve decided to go to Azores 🙂
I got back 10 days ago:) I went to Tanzania. Kilimanjaro was amazing and the safari great! Dreaming of my next trip I looked up the Azores and saw the weather in December isn’t great. I’ll have to find another vacation time to make it work!
that sounds amazing. Big 5? 😀
Yes, December is not that great. You can have a look into the
best time to go to Azores.
Loved this article! I’m moving to PortugalPortugal from the US in January for work and any info on day to day living as well as things to do is always appreciated. I’m so excited to experience this country!
Thanks Sarah, glad you enjoyed the read!
Where will you be based? Let me know if you need some additional tips 🙂
Love your write up for Portugal. I run a holiday business renting out villas and apts in the Algarve and have been doing this for over 20 years. There are many beautiful areas – I did a driving tour once through the Douro valley down to Porto which was beautiful and then continued down through the Alentejo (great wine as you say!) down alone the wild and stunning west coast to the Algarve. I do love the Algarve but there are many other areas worth a visit as you say. People are very friendly and yes do speak great English. I will tag your blog on my fb page. Kind rgds Nichola
Thanks for your words Nichola. Looks like you’ve been everywhere, you just need to go to Azores now!
I wish all the success to your business, although I’m sure you won’t have much problem finding clients 😀
wonderful write up and pictures! and yes Portugal is amazing! we visited last may and are coming out again in October as we have decided to retire there from the uk. I have working line german shepherds and so we have in common the dogs and a love of Portugal lol…..It would be nice if you would drop me an email – I would love to talk with you
“There are 1001 ways to cook codfish” Really??? I had the impressing that there are only 365 ways one for every day! lol
I can’t stay for sure it’s true, but that’s a common saying in Portugal and actually my mom had a “1001 ways to cook codfish” at home :p
I just got back from my first time in Portugal last night and I cannot stop laughing at the accuracy of this list!!!! Very well written
Thanks Ang. 🙂
Hope you had a great time!
Portugal is my favorite country. www
My husband is from Portugal and my mother in law lives there now. I visited a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with the country. I long to back! We fully plan on living there one day.
It’s definitely a good place to live, specially if you seek a very relaxed lifestyle near the beach!
I am going to
Portugal Sept. 12Th. Can’t wait after reading all of this information
Great!! Where are you going exactly Linda?
4 motivos para visitar Portugal:
a) Populacão amigável, b) bastante coisas para ver e fazer, c) comidas e bebidas da primeira, e d) a idioma näo é super-complicada! Atenciosamente K.K.
Está completamente certa Kristian! 🙂
We love Portugal so much we moved our business here, we are in the middle of the Alentejo near the beautiful city of Portalegre. Our business is based around the touristic motorcyclist a group who love to explore.
We found you on a facebook link so we will spread your blog there and hopefully you can spread ours.
We are definitely high up on any touristic motorcyclists agenda…
You can even book us direct through Booking.com and airbnb so get on it.
Thank you for a very interesting re evaluation of Portugal.
I will definitely take a look and congrats for your business, definitely hit a nice niche there!
And thanks for choosing Portugal!
I ve been in Portugal twice – my first time was in 2008 and the second one this year. I trully love this country, especially Lisboa (I am sure I will move there someday) and Algarve coast (around Portimao…). I dont want to wait another 7 years for next visit 😉 Btw, its not true that food in restaurants is “deadly” cheap – 6-7 euro is rather an average price of francesinha , not – bacalhau a braz, but I agree with you in all other points. Great article!
From my experience when I lived in Lisboa I could eat Bacalhau a Bras (and similar) for 6-7 euros as a “dish of the day” in many restaurants out of the most touristy areas. In Porto, next to the place I worked, there was a restaurant with codfish dishes for 4 euros (!). I’m assuming prices at dinner are a bit higher, but it’s possible to eat for 6-7 euros.
Anyway, you shouldn’t definitely wait 7 years for the next visit Tom!
Great article with beautiful pictures. I am living in the Algarve since 2007 and started a website with info and rentals. I just wanted to add that even in the middle of August there are lots of places to visit or to stay, where you are away from the crowds and find peace and quiet.
Thanks for your insight Marianne.
I was mostly referring to the most touristic places and major cities, I’m sure there are beautiful places where you find some peace, even in August!
All great points! Now I’m craving Portuguese food and wine. Do you know where I can find good Portuguese recipes?
I may be the only person who didn’t fall in love with Porto. I liked it and I won’t deny it’s a very lovely city, but I didn’t -love- it. Maybe because I’m faithful to Lisbon? 😉
I’d love to go to NOS Alive again, been there four years ago when it was still called Optimus Alive and had a great time 😀
All the recipes I know are in my head 😀
But I’m sure there’s a Pinterest board about it!
Maybe I loved Porto so much because I lived there and got to know the true essence of the people, the city became even more beautiful on my eyes.
Great article! If this article AND the Portuguese water dog didn’t convinced you… nothing will.
I’m predicting that dog will be hired by Portugal’s tourism board.