It is safe to say that Portugal is an emerging travel destination and having visited myself, I understand why. This small country packs a big punch, offering gorgeous beaches, vibrant cities, and a world-renowned wine region, all at an affordable price point. Not to mention, the people are some of the most friendly I have encountered in Europe and the food is phenomenal.
I traveled to Portugal from France and I was able to find a flight on easyJet for less than €100. My first stop was the Algarve, which if you’ve done any research about Portugal on your own, you already know The Algarve is stunning. In truth, the pictures don’t do it justice. A seemingly endless strip of amazing beaches, which I spent most of the days visiting, made for a relaxing introduction to Portugal. Two favorites were Praia da Marinha and Praia da Falésia.
I stayed at a delightful boutique hotel (see my review here!) and enjoyed one of the best meals I have ever had at Vila Joya, a two Michelin Star restaurant that you must visit if you are in the region (review coming soon!) Overall, I enjoyed every minute in The Algarve and wished I could stay longer.
Porto was a true highlight of the trip. The city is manageable in size and has so much culture. It’s location right on the water made for dinners with fantastic views that lingered into the evening. The city is home to many small shops, which I explored for hours, highlighting the creative culture. While in Porto, I also took a day trip to the Douro Valley that was absolutely perfect (you can read more about the Douro in my Perfect Day Trip post here!). Porto is a great city that I think is often overlooked for Lisbon, but definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you’re considering a visit to Portugal.
The week continued on flawlessly in Lisbon. I arrived by train and the train station is worth a visit for a look at the architecture. I found more local artisan shops in the Alfama, ate pastel de nata from the famous Pastéis del Belém, enjoyed gin & tonics (a local favorite) at a rooftop bar, dined at the innovative Time Out Market, and listened to Fado music during the evening. A short train ride from Lisbon is Sintra, a magical medieval town full of yellow gothic buildings where I spent a foggy afternoon exploring. Lisbon was a welcome surprise, rarely touristy with a distinctly laid-back and creative, Portugese vibe.
Portugal is an amazing country with so much to see. I wish I could have stayed longer, but my week long itinerary was perfect! I visited the beach, two amazing cities and enjoyed two day trips. By the end of the week I was exhausted yet satisfied! If you’re looking to plan a trip to Europe, I highly recommend Portugal. It may not be as well known as Spain, Italy, or France but I promise, it has everything you’re looking for in the perfect european getaway.
Look out for The Perfect Day Porto and Lisbon coming soon!
Itinerary | One Week in Portugal
Day 1-3 | The Algarve
Day 4-5 | Porto
Day 6-7 | Lisbon
Day 8 | Depart Portugal, Arrive USA