Portugal trip was the best experience of my life and the best holiday: beautiful Lisbon with the perfect nightlife and live music et every corner, exotic Algarve with the amazing seaside, the windiest place Cabo Da Roca which is the westernmost point of mainland Europe and not to mention Porto, the most romantic city in the night by far. Portugal it’s for sure an incredible experience for everybody. But, the best part was that I drive through the country with my best and very crazy friend that you will see in the pictures.
Personal facts & tips:
- Avoid July & August, if you can – is the hottest and the most expensive months of the year. Best months to travel to Portugal are May, June, and September.
- Check before you travel the Lisbon and Porto Card – it offers some beautiful discounts that you can use.
- They have introduced a tourist tax of 1-2 EUR/pers./night to cover the increased pressure on the local infrastructure. You will have to pay this at your accommodation and usually it’s not included in the price/night rate.
- You don’t need any vaccinations for visiting Portugal. 🙂
- ATMs are all over the place but you can have some cash with you. Try to avoid Euronet machines as they have an extra charge.
- Portugees generally speaks English so you will find support everywhere you go without for you to learn the local language.
- Electricity: the standard voltage is 230V.
- Museums are free for the first Sunday of the month.
- Currency: The official currency is the Euro (since 2002). The best exchange rate is at banks.
Traveling via Portugal
- You can travel by train or bus as it’s very easy, cheap and on-time.
- Or you can rent a car and be as independent as we did. For renting a car you will need your driving license but if you are from outside the EU, you will most probably need an International Drivers’ Permit. Check with car rental company before traveling what papers you will need. As a not, we use Google Maps offline without an Internet connection, it’s good if you’re worried about the app using up all your data.
There is never enough time to visit the beautiful Lisbon but with careful planning, you can manage to see the main attractions in 4 days. The must thing to do in the city is to listen to the Fado live, originally this music started in Lisbon in 1920s and for that, you will have to go to Alfama neighborhood. The oldest part of the city with small and cute restaurants.
- Tower of Belém
- Queluz National Palace
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo
- Jerónimos Monastery
- Eduardo VII Park
There are so many museums, art galleries, historic buildings and monuments, and not to mention churches with incredible mosaics and frescoes. And that’s why I consider you need more days to spend here.
National Sanctuary of Christ the King
Cristo Rei dates from the 1950s and its a symbol for Portugal avoiding the horrors of World War 2. The place is a huge pilgrim destination and today is a major religious center for the diocese of Setubal. The original inspiration was the Brazilian statue Christ the Redeemer in Rio so there are a lot of similarities between the two statues.
- Open daily: 09:30 – 18:30
- Official site here.
Only 3 hours away from Lisbon you can find the beautiful and exotic seaside of Portugal – Algarve. The most beautiful beach in my view is Praia dos Estudantes. You can get on the beach via a rock tunnel as it’s hidden after the rocks. The second best beach is Pinhao Beach – it is also hidden in a cove, but it is a bit bigger. The beach is famous and for sure you saw a wallpaper on someone’s PC with this place.
- Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos (Wax Museum)
- Church of St. Sebastian
- Castelo de Lagos
- Castle of Governors
- Antigo Mercado de Escravos (Slave Trade Museum)
- Replica Caravela Boa Esperanca
- Pro Putting Garden
- Praia dos Estudantes
- Praia Dona Ana
- Pinhao Beach
Cascais is also very close to Lisbon, only 20-30 minutes driving to this charming seaside town from Lisbon. There is a lot to see there as the city is a pretty large coastal town. But this is a resort town, so expect sandy beaches with beautiful views.
- Boca do Inferno
- Santa Marta Lighthouse
- Parque Marechal Carmona
- Praia da Conceição
- Grutas do Poço Velho
- Ribeira Beach Cascais
If you have enough time to spend, you can check the Boca do Inferno. My advice is to go there at sunset for a beautiful view.
Cabo Da Roca
Visit the westernmost point of continental Europe. And I think it’s understandable that where the dry meets the ocean, the wind blows at a crazy level. It is also the reason why it is very difficult to take still/unmoved pictures. And a tip for when you go there. A coat will not hurt at all. Although in Lisbon or Cascais can be 25 degrees, due to the wind it may even feel like 8-10 degrees.
On the plateau of Cabo da Roca, it’s enough to stay 15-20 minutes. You can sit down, take a few breaths of fresh and cold air, you can buy a diploma from the souvenir shop as you have reached the westernmost point of Europe and go further to Sintra (or as per your itinerary).
Just 25 km outside the Lisbon, there is this beautiful small city of Sintra. The city is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site from the 19th century. If you are a mountain lover, that’s the place for you. There are several popular hikes next to the city of Sintra.
- St. Martin Church
- Romaria de Baco
- Sintra National Palace
- Park and National Palace of Pena
- Vale dos Lagos
Another very close city to Lisbon, with only 2 hours of driving, Porto is the most romantic place I have ever traveled. Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal and it was awarded as European Leading Destination 2018. With the cute colorful buildings and the Latin atmosphere, you will totally fall in love with this place immediately. We stayed in Porto for 3 days and my advice to you is to manage the itinerary with at least full 2 days in Porto.
Porto is famous for wine tours. There are several cellars with the wine tasting that totally deserved your attention. We reserved a whole day to go from one cellar to another and my friend got a bit drunk from all the wine tasting. But it was lovely, we totally enjoyed to hear the stories from each cellar and try the local wine.
- Luís I Bridge
- Casa do Infante
- Porto Cathedral
- Monument Church Of St Francis
- Muralha Fernandina
- World of Discoveries
Don’t skip the Ribeira with all the beautiful restaurants that serve fresh food, cafes with such good coffee and cute bars with live music in the evening.
I think it’s nice if you will begin your exploration of Porto on the Luís I Bridge. The bridge is the symbol of the city and it has the best view of the city. The top-level of the bridge on the other side is a bit more spacious and has the advantage of amazing views.
Braga is a city known as a rich religious heritage. Gothic architecture, a castle, medieval churches, and stunning gardens are all you need. You can start the walk in the city center as everything is very close to each other.
- Garden of Santa Barbara
- Roman Fountain
- Raio Palace
- Archbishop’s Court
- Arco da Porta Nova
- Castelo de Braga
Portugal is an amazing country and another option is to travel by car/train from Spain, there are beautiful highways and you will get really fast. People are very friendly and you can easily find a lot of friends everywhere you go. Another thing that I totally loved was the food <3 incredible fresh seafood, fish and a lot of amazing local cuisine.