Portugal has much more to offer than only the sun, although the fantastic climate with 300 days of the sunshine per year speaks for itself. So what else is making this country such an unforgettable holiday destination?
Portugal is a country of the rich cuisine that is delicious and full of the original combinations. Each region has a special type of the food including sweets. The national most famous pastry, a definite must-try is Pastel de Nata. Pair it with a cup of coffee and find that it is the best way to start the day. Not a sweet tooth? Prepare to taste the sea like never before. The variety of the fresh fish and the seafood will make you dizzy. Try our favorites: Bacalhau (codfish) prepared in any out of 1001 ways, Salada de polvo (octopus salad) and Carne de Porco à Alentejana (pork with clams). Bom apetite!
When spending time at the Portuguese coast we felt like being brought back to Australia while driving the Great Ocean Road. It really looks and feels like! It doesn’t really matter which side of the coast you choose: the wild, untouched and crowd-free beaches with the big waves of Atlantic Ocean crowned by the dramatic cliffs at the central and the Alentejo coast or the sandy and cosy (but packed) coves with the crystal clear water interspersed by the unusual grottoes and rock formations in Algarve. In both cases we are sure that you will be amazed.
If you are into surf, this is the right place to be as Portugal has some of the best waves in Europe if not in the world. With the spots like Nazaré – a beautiful fishing village with the largest waves ever surfed, Peniche – probably the most visited surf destination in Portugal, Ericeira – recognized as one of the world’s best surf areas as well as many others at the coast of Alentejo, you will not get bored.
4. Wine and liquors
With a strong and long wine tradition and the internationally awarded wine regions, Portugal is a paradise for the wine lovers. Our favorite Vinho Verde is a type of the white wine made from the very young grapes, often slightly fizzy and extremely enjoyable on a hot summer day. Portugal makes also very good liquors. The famous Port wine – a mixture of wine and the stronger alcohols usually brandy, having its roots in the colonial voyages and Ginja – a thick, sweet liqueur made from the cherries, served either in a normal glass or in a chocolate shot glass aka a really large Mon Chéri are the must-try drinks.
With the influences from its historical invasions, Portugal has grown into a country highly recognized for its architecture. Many of its palaces and castles are listed internationally as some of the most beautiful places in the world. Additionally there are numerous medieval festivals and fairs around the whole country throughout the summer, so keep your eye out for them.
6. The countryside
Take a break in the Alentejo countryside and discover its unspoiled rural landscape like nowhere else in Portugal. Just imagine vast rolling grass plains and corn fields interspersed with cork forests and dotted with medieval towns. The life here is slow, so the best is to linger in the picturesque little villages enjoying local wines and traditional sweets.
The Azulejo tile was introduced to Portugal by the Moors and its name originates from the Arabic word az-zulayj, which means ‘polished stone’. In keeping with the Islamic law the first tiles were not allowed to portray the human subjects, hence the geometric and the floral designs. Prepare to find the elaborately-painted tiles not only on the facades of the churches or the old buildings, but also on many train and metro stations and the modern art installations. There are everywhere and we simply love them!
You will be surprised by quite small prices when travelling in Portugal. Even though the country lately has become popular, the prices are not yet as inflated. Therefore you can eat, drink and sleep fairly cheap. A daily menu Prato do Dia with a soup or salad, a hearty main course (grilled meat or fresh fish accompanied by rice or fries) plus a home-made dessert and a coffee usually costs 6–8 EUR, a good quality espresso no more than 0,70 EUR while a draft beer locally called Imperial or a glass of wine around 1 EUR. There is a wide range of the camping places throughout the country with the prices around 7-20 EUR per night varying by the location but also a possibility of free camping. In conclusion you don’t have to spend fortune to travel in Portugal.
People in Portugal are very friendly and easy-going. Additionally the English language is well known so it is easy to get around. The locals will offer their help when you get lost in the city and the supermarket cashier will chat with you despite the long queue behind you. And once you make friends with Portuguese people, you can be sure they will make you feel like at home.
Ready to pack the bags?