9 Reasons Why Portugal Should be Your Next European Destination

Looking for a new place to discover ? Dig out a map, zoom onto Europe, head to the very south west right before the Atlantic Ocean, yes stop right there; Portugal. This is not the usual European destination that comes to mind or one you’ll come across in those flashy travel agency ads that pop up on your screen. But if you ever decide to steer away from mainstream and go for it, Portugal is a place that will linger with you for a very long time, here are 9 reasons why:

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A destination that won’t drain out your pockets

Compared to other European destinations such as neighbouring Spain,  you can spend much less money on a vacation in Portugal with cheaper accommodation, shopping and daily expenses. Something that we all look for. (Photo courtesy: Lynne Hand)


It has thrilling history and amazing architecture as a witness

Portugal will take you back to the “Age of Discovery”,  the time when grand navy voyages were made to discover the rest of the world.  Famous explorers such as Vasco Gama have set sail from the shoreline of Belem in the capital Lisbon, exploring the world and coming back with legendary stories.  When you visit Belem today you will find the striking white washed Belem Tower (Torre De Belem) and the incredibly designed Jeraminous Monastery telling details of this era.  One of the most memorable spots I found is the outdoor garden of the monastery with intricate archways reflecting sun rays everywhere. Simply beautiful. (Photo courtesy: Biblioteca de Arte)


You can take day trips to a range of places

If your main stay is Lisbon (recommended for first timers) you can take day trips to a variety of spots outside the city each with a different theme and flavor (and all accessible under two hours from Lisbon). There is fairytale Sintra with an incredible collection of palaces, mansions and castles sitting on top of its green hills.  For ancient history lovers, there is the town of Ebora featuring a well preserved Roman temple and prehistoric caves and monuments and medieval village of Obidos. In the mood for a visit to the countryside? Head to the region of Alentejo with its lush olive farms, vineyards and forests. And if you are there in the summer go for a dash in the sea in nearby coastal town of Cascais.  Its sandy beaches are great for swimming and sunbathing and its seaside restaurants serve delicious seafood (there is more on beaches below, keep on reading!) – (Photo courtesy: Alessandro Grussu)


You’ll get the chance to visit one of a kind spots

Head down to Porto -Portugal’s second largest city- for a day or two, which is under 3 hours by train from Lisbon, and you will come across some exceptional sights. Its medieval center boasts impressive architecture with golden interiors and amazing baroque styling. You will also come across the Dona Maria Pia Bridge across the Douro river which was built by Gustav Eiffel before he built the Eiffel tower (and which indeed looks very similar). A final “not to be missed” tour is the World Heritage Douro valley tour, the oldest wine producing region in the world. Here grape vines have been grown around the steep slopes of the valley for centuries (which is a very difficult thing to do), creating a one of kind landscape. (Photo courtesy: 57Andrew)


If you are planning a vacation during July, then make sure you stop by the city of Agueda where hundreds of colorful umbrellas are hung over its streets to celebrate the Ágitagueda Art Festival. An enjoyable and unique walk for sure. (Photo courtesy: Laura)


Another non forgettable visit is to the Cabo De Roca,  the westernmost point in Europe (and also believed to be the point where Europe and America split to form separate continents prehistorically). The rocky cliffs standing out against the Atlantic Ocean are a picturesque background for photographs in this unique spot.

Ever heard of surfing in Europe? Ericeria is a world class surfing spot offering you an exclusive opportunity to hit the waves of the Atlantic ocean from this part of the world. The protected surf reserve stands at par with famous spots in the Americas, Australia and Asia. (Photo courtesy: L0bit0)


A haven for shopping lovers

Portugal offers a combination of local and international brands at relatively affordable prices which makes it a great place for shopping. In Lisbon, there is a range of shopping districts and streets such as Chiado (here you’ll find known international stores), Principe Real (independent boutiques and designer shops are found here) and Avenida Da Liberdade(the Portuguese equivalent of the Champs Elyses). Local specialties to look for include hand crafted ceramics, and handmade soap. (Photo courtesy: Mitch Altman)


Nightlife gurus will like it here

Starting with dinner in a traditional Fado house (Fado is traditional Portuguese music), moving on to bar hopping throughout the night and watching the sunrise over the city at one of the clubs with a terrace setting. Lisbon has a lot to offer throughout the night. (Photo courtesy: David Shroeder)


There is heavenly Algrave or hip Funchal for an extended vacation

After spending a few days exploring Lisbon and its surrounding spots, a beach themed stay in the  region of Algraveor in Funchal on the island of Madeira is the perfect choice to complete your Portuguese vacation. Algrave offers an endless line of beaches, mountains with a variety of hiking trails, and historic centers such as Silves and Faro with exceptional Moorish/Arabian architecture; a mix that is hard to miss. In Funchal enjoy marine activities such as diving, whale watching, swimming with dolphins, boat trips, or relaxed walks along the coast or in the many garden venues during the day day. And during the night, enjoy the city’s well known vibrant nightlife scene. (Photo courtesy: Damien du Toit)


You’ll come across great Mediterranean weather

The more south you go, the more Mediterranean the weather will get: more sunshine, longer summers, and mild winters. Nothing tops that! (Photo courtesy Don Amaro)       


Nostalgic similarities with Egypt

It is in Portugal that you will find a “monady or sayes” parking cars, school kids dangling from the metro and people in the streets talking as loudly as ever. Funny,and  interesting resemblances that will remind you of our beloved Egypt :) – (Photo courtesy: Paolo Margari)


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Our Readers Comments

  1. Can you arrange me a holiday for two adults . Seven days in Portugal and seven days in Paris .In three star hotel and and a train tticket between the two cities . From the first of July
    .Can you tell me what I need for the visa and how much it costs thank you

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