Portugal | The Travel Guide
Small country but great story. Portugal has become an extremely touristic destination in recent years especially for the cost of living, inexpensive, friendly people and the diversity of activities offered there. Welcome to the land of Fado, immerse yourself in Portuguese culture through its sounds and sweet atmosphere and prepare to feel this positive nostalgia that is called "Saudade". "Let's Go Caralho! "
Budget : $50/€ per day
Currency : 1€ = 1$
Visa : Shengen Area Countries, 90 days for non-EU passport.
Sleeping : 20-60 $/€ bed in dormitory / correct double room
Transportation : 15 € for a Lisbon / Porto train.
Food : Various recipes with bacalhau (cod), pasteis de nata
Weather : Hot from June to August, cold from November to February.
Religion : Christianity for the vast majority.
The people : Homogeneous Portuguese people all over the country.
Music : Fado, Musica Popular Portuguesa
Language : Portuguese
Hello ? Bomdia
How is it going ? Tudo bom?
Good and you ? Tudo bem e você?
Please Por favor
Thank you Obrigado (M) / Obrigada (F)
Porto and the Douro Valley (1 week) : Porto (3d) - Braga - Guimaraes - Douro Valley.
Porto, the second largest city in the country, is completely different of Lisbon and yet it is equally surprising. Its neighborhood "Ribeira" is fully classified Unesco Heritage and walking through its streets, we seem to be in medieval times, with its churches and high walls. Walk up and down the streets to get to different points of the city such as the Aliados district and its huge Town Hall that was as imposing as a cathedral, as well as the Clerigos church and its tower (3 € / 1.50 € with the PortoCard) which offers a 360 view of the city. It is in this district that the exceptional Livraria Lello is located, which inspired JK Rowling for his famous Harry Potter books. The entrance is on the corner for 5 € (deductible if you buy a book) but go there around noon / 1PM or before closing to avoid the tourist mass. Going up a little bit, you will come across the Igrejas do Carmo e das Carmelitas, two churches side by side that deserve their picture for their azulejos facade, then continue in the gardens of Palacio de Cristal and enjoy another view of the river. In the center, go through the São Bento station, also a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Igréja São Ildefonso, two monuments whose walls have been covered with azulejos by the artist Jorge Colço. The church overlooks the commercial street, rua Catarina, in which stands the Majestic Café which has kept its atmosphere of the past century. From here you can also visit the Cathedral da Sé, imposing above the city and overlooking the rooftops of Porto. You can walk on the banks of the Douro to Don Luis I Bridge, in a relaxed atmosphere between restaurants / bars, street music and the sound of waves resonating on the banks, then cross the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighboring town where it is just as good to chill in others various bars or just chill on the docks and to see Porto from the front. It is also in Vila Nova that we find the porto wine caves that can be visited by booking a tour in your hotel or in the tourist information points of the city. Once this moment appreciated, you can go up Vila Nova on foot or by cable car to reach the summit and cross the bridge in the other direction, but this time, above it, closing the loop of your visit. During your journey, also go through O Mercado do Bolhao, an authentic market in which you will be in direct contact with local and fresh produce, in a rustic period. Extend the discovery of Porto with the Douro Valley and a small cruise that will guide you along the river and where you can enjoy the surrounding vineyards in a beautiful landscape.
Braga, third national city, is also the oldest in the country, founded 2000 years ago by the Romans and is nicknamed the Portuguese Rome for its many churches (Basílica dos Congregados, Igreja dos Terceiros, Capela da Nossa Senhora Da Torre Hors, Sé de Braga, Igreja De São Marcos, Igreja dos Terceiros ...) and its monuments that make it an open-air museum such as Largo do Paço, Palacio do Raio, Arco de Porta Nova, Jardim de Santa Bárbara, Arcada da Lapa... Outside the city center, do not miss the imposing Santuario do Bom Jesus do Monte and the Miradouro do Picoto for a breathtaking view. BAM !
Guimaraes is the cradle of the nation, its historic center is considered World Heritage by UNESCO. It is here that events took place marking the independence of Portugal and the creation of this new nation by the first king of Portugal D. Afonso Henriques who led a war against his own mother D. Teresa de Leão who was then in charge of this region as being province of the Kingdom of Leon. Here we discover the Castelo de Guimarães, the Paço dos Duques de Bragança, Rua Santa Maria, Praça São Tiago, Largo Da Oliveira and Largo do Toural, a square in which there is a wall where it is inscribed "Aqui Nasceu Portugal" (Here was born Portugal). EPIC.
Aveiro (2d) - Coimbra (2d) - Batalha, Tomar & Fatima (1d).
One hour from Porto, there is Aveiro, nicknamed "the Portuguese Venice" (again !) for its resemblance to the Italian city, atypical therefore, with its canals, rivers, small bridges and its moliceiros which remind us the Venetian gondolas (10€ the trip). The historic center, reserved for pedestrians, and colorful houses or covered with azulejos, form a pleasant setting but do not hesitate to move away from the center because the city got a lot of beautiful churches and places such as the fish market, the Infante D Pedro Park, the Museum of Aveiro, the Art Nouveau Museum, the Via Ecológica Ciclável which allows you to discover the Ria de Aveiro, river in remote areas of the city or to go to Praia da Costa Nova located 11km from the city with its famous fishermen's houses, very popular as well for its waves by many surfers or other water sports enthusiasts.
Coimbra, well known for its university which is one of the oldest in Europe, as well as Oxford or La Sorbonne, it culminates at the top of the city in the ancient walls of the Palace of Alcaçova. Monument in top list to visit so, with its incredible library Joanina. Leaving Porta Férrea, join Praça Dom Dinis then the aqueduct to arrive at Jardim Botânico terraced on the slopes of the Mondego Valley. Other monuments to see are the Mosteiro de Santa Cruz, Portugal dos Pequenitos which is a miniature village with reproductions of Portuguese monuments across the country and the world, O Mosteiro de Santa Clara, O Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, a Cathedral Velha and the ancient city of Conimbriga located 16km south of the city.
The small town of Batalha further south is known for the Mosteiro de Batalha, one of Europe's greatest Gothic masterpieces, built by King João I in honor of a battle won over independence of the country against the Castilians. The building has seven unfinished chapels but remains a great influence for the Portuguese architects who followed this time, representing a transition between Gothic architecture and the Manueline style.
In Tomar, there is the Templar Castle and its monumental work, one of the most important of the Renaissance in Portugal, the convent of Christ. King D. Afonso Henriques offered the city to the Order of Templars in the 12th century for their help in maintaining and expanding the Christian faith following the conquest of these lands to the Moors. A jewel through which to pass if you are in the center of the country.
Fátima is the fourth Catholic pilgrimage site in the world due to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917. You can visit Capelinhas das Apariçoes (Chapel of apparitions), the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Holy Trinity, where you will see many believers walking on their knees reciting prayers. In the surroundings are the houses of the little shepherds with period furniture, Gruta da Moeda and Grutas de Mira de Aire, caves at 45m and 110m deep to visit. Fátima, a MYSTIC destination.
Note that organized tours are offered for Batalha, Tomar and Fátima from Lisbon. Certainly quick excursions but that still allow you to see these places if you are not conveyed.
Lisbon and its surroundings (1 week) : Lisbon (4d) - Sintra and Castelo de Pena - Praia da Caparica (3d)
For more information about Lisbon and its surroundings, see our article just HERE or by clicking on the picture !
Evora is this kind of city museum that has all kinds of monuments to please. A historic city center, the Aqueduto de Água de Prata which crosses the city, the Roman temple of Évora and finally Sé de Évora, the largest cathedral of Portugal built between 1186 and 1250. DO NOT MISS the impressive CAPELA DOS OSSOS (ones chapel). It’s… deeply impressive. Small town but great history whose Romans, Visigoths and Moors left their traces before the Portuguese. Stop there if you go down (or up) in the south of the country !
Algarve : Faro - Albufeira - Lagos - Sagres. (1 week) :
Party, chill, beach and sunbath. The Algarve region is one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists and Portuguese alike. In the choices, Faro, Albufeira, Portimão/Alvor, Lagos or Sagres with so many beaches and small villages all along the coast. Cape Sagres and Cape São Vicente are the most southwestern points of the European continent and it is here that Henry O Navegador (also called Infant Dom Henrique, prince of Portugal) owned his famous sailing school, giving birth to the quarry from some of the most famous explorers in history. Chil in Cape São Vicente for the sunset if you are around !
Madeira (4d) and the Azores Archipelago (10d).
Madeira is an island and autonomous region of Portugal located in the west of Africa. Mountainous and volcanic, it offers breathtaking landscapes and views such as Pico Ruivo, Pico do Arieiro, Miradouro do Christo Rei, A Ponta De São Lourenço and O Curral da Freiras. Funchal, the capital of the island is very modern but still has an authentic historic center and A Câmara dos Lobos is a small town 8km away, very photogenic and one of the largest cliffs in Europe is nearby, Cape Girão. A perfect island for trekking and see the Levada das 25 fontes and the breathtaking waterfall of Garganta Funda.
The Azores archipelago is also a group of islands located in the North Atlantic at 1450km west of Lisbon, and an autonomous region of Portugal. A dream destination to get off the beaten track while remaining close to the European continent. Many landscapes, beaches and a varied wild life.
On the main island of São Miguel, discover Lagoa do Fogo, a volcano crater filled with rain over time. Hike on Ponta do Pico, Portugal's highest mountain at 2351m above sea level, and watch the islands of Faial, Graciosa, Terceira and São Jorge in the distance. Take time to roam the city of Ponta Delgada and not far from there, to climb to the Miradouro Vista do Rei for an unforgettable view of A Caldeira das Sete Cidades, a panorama of natural mountains and lakes in paradise colors. Other places not to be missed : Parque dos Caldeirões, Miradouro da Lagoa Canário, Miradouro Ponta do Sossego and so much more...
The other islands of the archipelago (mentioned above) are also worth seeing if you have more time. This is an opportunity to take very little known paths and to discover for yourself small villages and the inhabitants of its regions.
And much more : Parque Serra Da Estrela - Historic Villages - Nazaré - Óbidos.
There is so much more to see in Portugal that it is difficult to make choices. In the disorder, or if you wish to add them to your trip, here is what deserves to be seen :
Parque Serra da Estrela is a mountain range with Portugal's second peak, snow-covered in winter, the only area in the country where you can ski. Otherwise, hiking, mountain biking and other sports activities are offered.
Around this park, several historic and atypical villages are to be visited such as Monsanto whose houses are built between gigantic rocks, The village of Piodão whose houses are arranged in amphitheater or Foz de Égua built on a watercourse at the medieval pace.
On the coast, make a stop in Nazaré, well known by surf fans but which attracts everyone for its long beach and Óbidos, a fortified historic city conquered to the Moors by King Henriques, where you can stroll as in a labyrinth.
The facility would like us to go along the coast while being transported but Portugal has so much to offer you that we must not hesitate to make detours to have a global vision. Whether in the center of the country or on the islands that surround it; from its capital, Lisbon, to its festive beaches, be surprised and sublimated by the national wonders, by the latin heat of "o povo", by its generous food, its history, its monuments as well as the sweet atmosphere that reigns there. I certify that here, as nowhere else, you will feel when you leave, what is the true S.A.U.D.A.D.E.
Exit To Portugal - The mix
Saudade is also accompanied by music ! For an auditive immersion, discover this incredible mix of Portuguese music, both classical and contemporary. Download free HERE and listen right here !