Move over Spain. There’s another sun-drenched European destination drawing hordes of visitors to its shores. Portugal is medieval history, delicious food and jaw-dropping scenery. Once you experience Portugal, we can assure you that you won’t want to leave.
Lisbon is the most western European capital city and receives over 300 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal spot to explore all year round. Hip specialty coffee cafes are beginning to arrive into the city, sharing gentrified warehouse space with innovative, modern designers. As the young and bold move the country into the future, Portugal retains remnants of crusaders past. Spend a day frolicking through cliff top castles amongst the impressively preserved medieval town of Sintra or head to the town of Belém to admire architectural magnificence.
After a few days hanging with the cool Portuguese kids in neighbourhoods such as Alfama and Bairro Alto, you’ll be tumbling down the rolling hills after sinking your teeth into dozens of delectable pasteis de nata and knocking back a few bottles of crisp vinho verde (young wine). Be sure to grab a bottle of red wine as you watch the golden sun sink over the horizon from a miradouro, to the mournful melodies of fado music echoing across the terracotta roofs.
Up north, Porto sits on the winding Douro River. Former merchants’ houses are stacked like tetris blocks in the medieval Ribeira district, some covered in romantic azulejo tiles. Amongst the buildings, the famous Livraria Lello continues to attract Harry Potter fans from all over the world. Cross Ponte Luís I over to Vila Nove de Gaia and hop from cellar door to cellar door sipping sweet port wine that has brought fame and fortune to the region.
Brits have started to spend some of their cherished summer break down in the Algarve, which is probably the best area for you to find a rich European kingpin lounging on his yacht. If you luck out on the yacht front, a kayak is your best option for exploring the craggy coastline near Faro where your upper body strength will reward you with hidden coves not accessible by foot.
A wonderful mix of historic UNESCO monuments, idyllic landscapes (on our bucket list is a trip to the Azores) and scrumptious cuisine, Portugal will delight you in more ways than one.
Top Experiences in Portugal
1. Learn how to make Pasteis de Nata
You’ll devour several of the delectable egg-based custard tarts so why not learn how to make them? Patience is an extra ingredient required.
2. Visit Madeira Island
For those who love to immerse themselves in nature, this is the island for you. Read this post for the best things to do in Madeira.
3. Go cellar hopping in Porto
The birthplace of the sweet fortified wine, nobody will need to be designated driver as you hop from cellar door to cellar door. Maybe an Uber to get you home.
4. Be royally flushed at Sintra
Put aside at least one day and let your imagination run wild to play King and Queen of the castles and moors. Bring your own crown.
5. Escape to the Azores archipelago
The mystical Portuguese archipelago features dramatic landscapes, green pastures and quiet fishing villages amongst undulating calderas.
Before You Go To Portugal...
You’re guaranteed sunshine everywhere in Portugal so make sure to pack sunglasses and sunscreen. You’ll also need to bring your appetite because my goodness, you will eat and you’ll eat well! And perhaps even a larger suitcase for all the suave apparel and azulejo tiles you’ll want to cart back home.
Planning Your Trip To Portugal
What is the official language of Portugal? What is the currency in Portugal? What is the best way to travel around Portugal? Here’s a quick snapshot to help plan your trip to Portugal.
Regional trains, trams, buses, taxis
Portugal operates on 230V and frequency 50Hz. Plug types C and F.
(Summer GMT +01:00)
Best Time To Go To Portugal
With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s no wonder that the Portuguese are perennially tanned. This amount of guaranteed good weather means it’s always a good time to book a trip to Portugal too.
July – August. Locals and other Europeans flock to the beaches and coastal retreats. Sun, surf & sand galore.
March – June (Spring) & September – October (Autumn). Crowds disperse but climate still suitable for beach days.
November – February. The sea air is brisk this time of year and some places close up so do call ahead to check.
Sound Like A Local
Some basic Portuguese phrases that will be useful to you when you travel Portugal.
YES / NO
sim / não
ONE, TWO, THREE
um, dois, três