If winter’s setting in where you are and you’re dreaming of some sunshine, you should consider heading to Portugal. You’ll at least have a pretty good chance of finding sunshine even in winter, especially in the South of Portugal. Aside from the fantastic weather, there are so many great things to do and see in Portugal that no matter the time of year you will be spoiled for options. Lisbon is one of the most charming cities in all of Europe and the shopping is to die for. Throughout the country, you will find numerous natural wonders as well as a good scattering of beautiful beaches. Regardless of whether you’re traveling with a family, in a couple, or as a group of friends, I’m sure you will love your trip to Portugal.
If you’re in the planning stages of arranging your trip to Portugal, one of the most important things you will have to consider is how you will choose to travel Portugal. You can visit much of the country independently, but you may be tempted to consider a Portugal tours in order to avoid all the trip planning, booking, and costs associated with traveling independently. There are plenty of benefits to booking a tour, but I personally love that most of the costs of the tour are included, so you only have to worry about the gifts you plan to buy along the way and certain meal times. It’s so easy! But no matter how you choose to travel Portugal I’m sure you will fall in love – be warned, you may not want to leave.
Top 5 Things to do in Portugal
No trip to Portugal would be complete without visiting the beautiful, bite-sized city. Compared to many cities across Europe, Lisbon is quite modestly sized, but what it doesn’t have in size it makes up for with charming streets and incredible stores. Portuguese people love to shop and enjoy high-quality items, so if you’re a shopping fan you may find yourself in heaven in Lisbon. Another great thing about Lisbon is that it’s so close to the beach – you can spend every day there if you want! Some of the streets in Lisbon are quite steep, so I recommend jumping on a tram (tram number 28 is the most popular option) and enjoying seeing the streets like a local. It’s a very inexpensive way to enjoy the city. On the top of the hill, Lisbon’s Castle, Sao Jorge Castle, overlooks the city. From here you’ll enjoy some of the best views of the city, while exploring a castle – does it get any better than this? Be sure to try a Pastéis de Belém – the most famous desserts from Portugal. These little egg tarts are delicious, I suggest getting at least two to save waiting in the line again.
If you’re like me and will do anything to escape winter, then your best bet is a trip to Algarve. Famous for it’s pristine beaches and cute little towns, the Algarve is one of those places where you’ll keep extending your time. The capital of the Algarve is Faro, which has remained almost unchanged since it’s conception in the 18th century, so when you’re walking around this town you feel as if you’re walking back in time. If you’re hunting for a good beach, you’ll be spoiled for choice in the Algarve!
Located around 30 minutes outside of Lisbon, Sintra has a magical feeling. I don’t know whether it’s the beautiful forest surrounding this cute town, but it is a very special place to visit and easily done on a morning or day trip. The town of Sintra is very small but very photogenic, so be sure to take a camera and have your phone fully charged. Sintra’s Palacio (palace) is a unique place, with little tunnels and a stunning chapel. Nowadays there’s even a restaurant in one of the wings, with a beautiful view.
This is the second largest city of Portugal and the historic center has been awards UNESCO World Hertigate status because it’s absolutely stunning. If you’re wanting a scenic view, head straight to the waterfront, Cais da Ribeira, where you’ll find narrow streets and photo opportunities around every corner. While it’s definitely worth visiting during the day, you have to revisit the Cais da Ribeira at night because everything comes alive. The bars, cafes, and restaurants come alive at night with music and a vibe that’s irresistible. You’ll see couples walking hand in hand along the riverside.
No matter where you choose to visit in Portugal, I’m sure you’re going to love it. It’s a beautiful country, with some of the best weather in Europe. Compared to Western Europe, Portugal remains an excellent budget destination for travellers to visit, providing you with incredible bang for buck.