We are traveling to Portugal with Claire Johnson.
Portugal travel remains under the radar for many but after visiting 90 countries, it’s now near the top of my list. The country is beautiful, safe, walkable, friendly with great weather and they’re known for delicious wines and pastries. What’s not to love?
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Lisbon (2-3 days) –
Start out your time with a walking free tour to get a good intro of the city and it’s history. They are offered by several companies in most large cities. I do this first on most trips.
During your time in Lisbon, be sure to take a day trip to Sintra and Cascais to see the spectacular coastline and two of the most beautiful and colorful castles you’ve ever seen. The Arabic history and influence in Portugal makes it stand out from the rest of Europe.
Make time to also enjoy some Fado music in the evening to feel the vibe and pulse of the nation. It’s found all over the city but the best place is in the enchanted neighborhood of Alfama.
Porto (2 days) –
Even if you’re not a fan of port wine, you’ll love this river town. The old town is charming with river day cruises and lots of sample sips of wine wherever you go. If you see people walking around in long, black robes, they are not wizards. They are university students. It’s where JK Rowling had the inspiration to write the drafts for the Harry Potter series.
While you’re there, try the pasteis at Fabrica de Nata. It was the best one I tried in the country after covering over three weeks and eight cities.
Lagos/Sagres (Algarve Region) (3 days) –
Please do yourself a favor and don’t miss the southern coast of Portugal. There’s a reason why it has been rated one of the top beaches in the world. The rocky coastline is breathtaking. And you can enjoy it along one of their many walking/hiking trails or by boat, kayak or paddleboard. Once I arrived in Lagos, I didn’t want to leave.
Dedicate one of your evenings to viewing one of the most amazing sunsets of your life in Sagres, the southernmost point of Europe. Every night, people gather in blankets (it’s cooler and windy but worth it) around the lighthouse and watch the view in awe.
All three cities can be reached easily by train or bus. To find the most updated travel options between any cities in the world, download the app Rome2Rio. It has saved me so many headaches with travel over many continents.
Things to know before you go
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Make sure you try
When you leave Portugal, what will remain in you forever is what they call saudade (English: /ˌsaʊˈdɑːdə/). It is a unique word to the Portuguese language that is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. This is the feeling that will forever remain in my soul after leaving.