After spending 2 weeks in Spain and getting pretty good at Spanish (and committing to a $8.99 app to learn it) I was disappointed that I liked Portugal even more and that their languages were completely different. Portugal was just beautiful. Everything about it. The people. The food. The beautiful coastline and small cities/towns. The first time I went we visited Porto and Lisbon and most recently last year we got a camper van and drove the entire coast line from Faro to Porto and beyond.
So here is my best pics and bits of what this beautiful city has to offer.
By far my favourite place in Portugal. I don’t know what it is about the city but I just love it. The huge bridge, gorgeous Douro river with cute boats and beautiful colourful buildings on a steep hill. Sunshine, wine (port) and local seafood.
The first time we went to Lisbon we had a sweet air bnb with Netflix (my first ever exposure to it) and it was pouring with rain, plus we had been traveling out of a backpack and hostels for almost 6 months…sooooooo we spent a solid 2 days watching multiple seasons of Suits. Guilty!
Ride the yellow 28 Tram. Get on and any point and ride it the whole length. It winds up and down the steep streets really close to the buildings and covers most of the main tourist spots. It is like a unguided tour of the whole city. Worth it ! Careful when you hang your head out like me and I came very close to bumping things.
Cascais; beautiful LA boulevard style with palm trees and a lovely esplanade right on the beach. Only 30kms west of Lisbon it is located on the coast and is one of the richest places in Portugal. Its trio of golden bays attracts sun-worshipping holidaymakers, who come to splash in the ice-cold Atlantic. Don’t expect to get much sand to yourself at the weekend, though.
Pastel De Nata; Portuguese Tart. These tasty custard pastry gems are originally from Lison and now famous all over the world. They were my Dad’s favourite but anyone with a little sweet tooth will love them. Especially when you see the local old men sitting around having their morning coffee and tart… it’s tradition. Jamie Oliver makes a good recipe if you aren’t planning a Lisbon trip anytime soon.
Time Out Food Market! I hear food market and I am there. But this place was no exception. They had a little bit of everything from Japanese to ice cream – but we stayed with the local food and had the salted cod bacalhau. Located on the wharf, grab some food and then stroll up to the main city admiring the beautiful red ‘golden gate’ like bridge. Many people sat at little pop up bars with deck chairs and sunned themselves.
We went to an insane brunch place on a sunday which did a set price buffet. It had smoked salmon on buffet… like I mean come ON!! They had quiche, meatballs, quinoa salad, eggs, self serve toasts and peanut butter … just heaven. We went in September 2015 and I cannot for the life of me find it on the map. Maybe is isn’t there anymore :(
Fabulas; stylish chilled restaurant with coffee, local food and casual dining.
A Cultura Do Hambúrguer; funky burger place with a charcoal bun too. Great spot for street drinks and party vibes after dark in the Bario Alto.
Liquid Smoothie Bar; same as Porto
SINTRA; just a stone throw North of Libson (you can drive or get a bus) lies this resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains. The hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace is known for a whimsical design and sweeping views.
FARO / ALGARVE COAST / LAGOS;
We flew into Faro from London and hired our ‘Indie Campers’ camper van. Little tight considering it was mum, dad, myself and Rob in the one van, but we made it work. We had no plan but we had 4 days to get to Lisbon and a whole coastline in front of us.
In Lagos; hire the kayaks and go for the kayak tour up the coast. There are a few companies that all follow the same route. Just make sure you have super coordinated hands before you whip your phone out for some snaps and wear your bathers because you WILL get wet. This is the best way to see the coastline and burn some pastel de nata calories.
Places to stop along the south west between Lagos and Lisbon; Sagres, Aljezur, Odeceixe, Sines, and Setubal. All of these tiny little towns have wonderful views and cliffs over looking the ocean.
Visit Nazarre. Where the world’s largest Big Wave surf competition is held. Photo of me on cliff above.
Chaves; North of Porto 10kms from the Spanish boarder we stopped here for a night. Parked the van in a random car park and soon found out it was a famous little town for its Roman thermal spas. All of a sudden after dark the car park filled with people coming to pray and perform ceremonies.
As far as food and places to eat for this coastline – just go local. We were in a camper van so purchased and cooked up a lot of local food and made platters to snack on. Just know that if you are on the ocean – then seafood is the way to go.
Sorry for the information overload. It doesn’t matter where you go in Portugal. The whole place is gorgeous and the people are beautiful.
Let me know your favourite stops!
Until next time