Portugal is a country with so much to offer from scenery, historical sites & monuments, wonderful accommodation options and fine food & wine for you to enjoy! I have travelled to Portugal twice over the last couple of years, having loved both experiences and wanting to go back again too!
Lisbon, the countries capital is a bustling international city combining the old with the new. Portuguese architecture to admire, steep streets to explore, delicious Portuguese tarts like you have never had before! Lisbon is a sprawling city which I suggest you need to have a minimum of 3 nights visiting. There are some wonderful roof top bars to sit back over a cocktail and admire the different skyline. Great restaurants to experience the local cuisine or listen to some Fado – the traditional folksong of Lisbon. I loved Lisbon as a city, you will not be disappointed. On the outskirts of Lisbon you have the areas of Cascais & Estoril which are both beautiful coastal resort towns and a fantastic place to try the local seafood. You also cannot miss Sintra which is a stunning regional town known for its beautiful gardens and amazing palace which overlooks the town showing off the Moorish architecture and styles.
Out of Lisbon, Portugal has much more to offer, some stunning historical towns such as Obidos, which is surrounded by an old wall and has gorgeous cobblestone streets with whitewashed houses surrounded by bright colored flowers or Coimbra which is the medieval capital of Portugal and home the country’s greatest university for over the last 5 centuries, it is drenched in history and beautiful architecture. Evora is of Roman origins and a World Heritage UNESCO site, with its big surrounding walls you have a medieval treasure trove of architecture to explore! Porto is another beautiful city that offers stunning views from the River Douro – cruise along and take in the beautiful bridges, houses, monuments and banks filed with bright colored houses with amazing tiles and colourful flowers. This was a highlight of my trip to Portugal, a hidden gem I did not expect. Of course you would have to visit some of the cellars producing some of the best port in the world. The entire Duoro river valley offers spectacular scenery as it winds from Porto through to the north. Fatima is an important town to visit for many, being one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.
A visit to Portugal would be a miss without a visit to the Algarve coast with its beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. The Algarve has a climate, culture and very different scenery to the rest of Portugal. It’s actually one of the most popular holiday destinations in southern Europe and over summer becomes busy with locals on their summer holidays. I loved Lagos, it exceeded all my expectations. Lagos is known for its vibrant nightlife and is a common destination for backpackers, it is also a great town to explore by foot and I had some of the most amazing meals here. It is full of cafes, restaurants and bars and has an ambiance I loved that pulls you in. There are many other towns to explore during your time here such as Sagres, Albufeira, Alvor and Faro.
Portugal is a country full of medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities and golden beaches, you will get to experience many things such as its history, great food and idyllic scenery which are just the beginning. If you have thought about adding this to your list of places to visit then I say you must!