Why more people should discover this hidden gem ❤️
Swim with playful dolphins in the wild Atlantic or lose yourself in medieval castles. Drink sweet wine from ancient valleys or discover shimmering seaside villages. Engage in a game of feisty football with street kids or immerse your soul in the region’s folk music. This country is a euphoric mix of lively locals, scenic wonders and historic beauty. Once you arrive in Portugal, it’s hard to leave the place. These top 10 reasons to visit Portugal can be injurious to your boss’s agenda 😉
# 1. Great Value & Amazing Affordability
Rediscover this forgotten corner of Europe. Lesser crowds mean better value for your money and more authentic experiences. Portugal is often overshadowed by super touristy neighbors.
We adore this country for the amazing affordability it offers. Compared to the rest of European heavy weights, Portugal has relatively lower costs of accommodation and food, without compromising on quality. It has all the quintessential ‘European holiday’ nuances – at a fraction of the cost. This allows travelers like us to bask in the lap of luxury, much longer than we normally would.
#2. Delicious food
Tiny taverns tucked in atmospheric alleys of Portugal serve amazing food and drinks. Folk songs often spill out of these cozy pubs and entice you. We have a weakness for all things fine and easily succumb to the charms of good food, music and wine. Portugal’s iconic dish is ‘Bacalhau’, made from salted & dried cod fish. What started originally as a means for sailors to preserve food on long voyages , ultimately became their national food.
We relished sandwiches made from it but what truly knocked our socks out were the mouthwatering fire roasted chicken with Peri-Peri sauce. Portugal’s historic connections with India and Africa introduced bold spices and chillies into their cuisine. We asked our server to pair wines for this fiery chicken delicacy and had a memorable meal at a chic restaurant.
#3. Walls of Beauty – Azulejos
Tradition comes alive here with the famous hand painted tiles called Azulejos. Mostly seen in blue and white, this 14th century art form is also found in vivid colors like ochre yellow and green.
Portugal paints her heart out in this specially unique art form. You see it everywhere in this country, each prettier than the previous. From decorated facades of homes and shops to the delicate porcelain you eat in, everything is painted by hand. It reflects how deeply medieval and modern life in Portugal is intertwined with art.
#4. Golden Slice of local culture:
Historic neighborhoods, cozy cafe’s and charming shops compete for your attention in Portugal. We wandered iconic districts of Lisbon, world’s second oldest city (after Athens). One of the reasons to visit Portugal was to soak up the local culture. Its our favorite thing to do. We explored the quaint hills of Alfama and perused local stores selling traditional clothes and jewelry.
After some enjoyable retail therapy, we strolled the magnificent plazas of Baixa. Here majestic squares are decorated with intricate mosaic patterns that create an illusion of walking on waves. The Portuguese do take their maritime history seriously! Watching locals spend their evenings and walking on these cobblestoned squares is a fun and relaxed way to experience authentic Portugal.
We concluded our delightful evening over a glass of cherry liquor called ‘Ginja’ with locals, at one of Lisbon’s lovely open air cafe’s. If you are looking for a more trendy nightlife then head over to Bairro Alto district in Lisbon.
#5. Relive the Magic of Medieval Marvels:
Portugal’s resplendent Manueline style of architecture is the testimony to its heritage. Sumptuous designs adorn these structures. Motifs of nature and symbols like the cross of Knights Templar intrigued me.
Its a delight to anyone who enjoys antiquity. If you watch closely, you will also notice how the Portuguese pour their love for all things aquatic in their designs. Maritime elements like shells , pearls and sea flora lavish the pillars. Nautical symbols like anchors, crosses and navigational instruments are used profusely too.
#6. Melt in your mouth speciality
Lisbon is famous for a luscious confectionary made from ancient secret recipe called pasteis de nata. A wobbly custard that nestles inside a flaky pastry shell. We ate arguably the best ones at Pasteis de Belem. When you sink your teeth into these soft cloud-like things, you hear a crackle as the crisp puff pastry shatters, letting a delicate sweetness vanish in your mouth.
You want to hold on to that deliciousness but it’s gone. These tiny sweets melt in your mouth even before you know it. We ate a shameful amount of these pastries and we are not even sorry ! This alone is reason enough to visit Portugal!
#7. Fascinating Fado :
This traditional and uniquely portuguese style of music stirs your soul in ways never experienced. The melancholic melody that tugs at your heart is Fado’s signature style. Through their songs, the singer yearns for something priceless, lost forever. In some strange way it strikes a chord with you.
The guitars strum beautifully in the background while good food and endless glasses of delicious Porto arrive at your table. These atmospheric cafe’s and restaurants are a great way to sample Portugal’s musical & culinary heritage.
#8. Silver Sand Beaches
Of all the stunning shores of Portugal, those of Algarve are the most sublime.The blend of soft sandy coves, rugged cliffs, teal waters and tiny fishing villages make for a perfect holiday spot. Add to it the nation’s chilled attitude plus the brew of history and voila! You have a heady combination!
Tucked here are some of the most exciting beaches and waterfronts of Europe. With more than 800 km of coastline and 300 days of sunshine per year, this glistening country dances with the waves of Atlantic.
#9. Pride of Portugal – Port Wine:
Whether you like your wines smooth and velvety or packed with a juicy bolt of acidity, over a hundred varieties of grapes cater to your palate in Portugal .
The deep ruby color, fresh floral fragrance and complex aromas of wild berries and spice, describe some of the stellar wines we had in Portugal. The vineyards snuggle in the Douro valley protected from the ocean and the mountains.
At every meal we savored these sweet, full bodied wines made from grapes grown in these picturesque hills.
Renting a Villa in the vineyards and relishing wines from Portugal’s steep green valleys is a great way to give a long warm finish to your vacation – just like the wines.
#10. Sail in the Nation of Navigators:
In this land of explorers, walk precariously along the the rocky cliffs and converse with your thoughts. Sublime coastlines like that of Alentejo boast of impressive cliffs and wild ocean breeze.To me, these shores embody the spirit of discovery.
While the setting sun paints the sky lavender, you can enjoy sweeping panoramic vistas of the ocean plummeting into oblivion. This last frontier of continental Europe was once believed to be the edge of the world. Until navigators undertook epic voyages from these shores, in search of India, the richly fabled land of spices and gold.
Geographically , this country is located in the corner of Europe but thrill seekers know that Portugal is the epicenter of fun, frolic and sun !! Go discover it’s charms and happily succumb to it!