All travel addicts have a list of places we fell in love with and would love to explore more. On my personal list, you’ll find Portugal towards the top. I visited Portugal for a week last summer, and it has left me in awe even months after my departure. Here are all the reasons I’m dying to book a one-way ticket back to Lisbon:
Lisbon and Porto
Lisbon and Porto, Portugal’s largest cities, are gorgeous, fun and full of things to do. In Lisbon, there’s no shortage of museums and historical landmarks to remind you of the former Portuguese Empire. Lisbon is a hilly city packed with panoramic views, cobble stone streets, and old-fashioned street cars. My favorite area to explore was the old Alfama district.
Porto is a three hour train ride away from Lisbon, and has its own unique appeal. While I didn’t love Porto quite the same way I loved Lisbon, it’s a beautiful city that I would visit again in a heartbeat.
Portugal Is Home to The World’s Best Hostels
If you’ve seen my hotel reviews, it’s no secret that I love boutique hotels! Unfortunately, boutique hotels are usually out of my 20-something budget. However, in Portugal the hostels were so chic that I never found myself lamenting over the fact that I was staying in budget accommodation.
My hostel (Sunset Destination Hostel) even had a pool with a sweeping view of Lisbon’s waterfront plus a rooftop bar. Hostels in Portugal routinely rank among the best in the world, and it isn’t hard to see why.
From rural green countrysides to coastal archways and everything in between, Portugal is a nature lover’s dream. Portugal is best known for its beautiful coast, including the Algarve and the remote Madeira Islands.
I have yet to visit the Azores or Madeira Islands, which are actually closer to Morocco than Portugal. Nevertheless, they’re high on my bucket list thanks to their world-class hiking trails and beautiful mountain regions, which includes several inactive volcanos.
The country is also full of medieval, fairytale-like towns and castles. My personal favorites were Sintra and Obidos. To the north lies the beautiful Douro Valley, Portugal’s wine country and a UNESCO World Heritage region. Due to Portugal’s rich history, it’s no surprise Portugal boasts 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
My favorite food in Portugal was Pastel de Nata, which is a delicious egg custard. I couldn’t resist pairing one or two
or seven tarts with my morning cappuccino.
If you love seafood, you will love Portugal! Thanks to the country’s coastal location, there’s no shortage of fresh shrimp, lobster, oysters, crab, and fish. Try Arroz de Marico, a spicy rice seafood dish similar to paella, to make sure you sample everything!
Portugal is Budget Friendly
Portugal is incredibly affordable, especially compared to neighboring Western European countries. For example, I enjoyed a delicious three-course meal with wine for roughly 8 Euros (it was the daily special – but still!) My bed in a very comfortable four-bed female dorm was only €6.50.
I think I even spent less in Portugal than in Budapest or Ljubljana. Now that the US dollar has grown stronger against the Euro it’s more affordable than ever. On average, a 5-star hotel in Lisbon is anywhere from 25-35% less expensive than a comparable 5-star hotel in Paris, so treat yourself!