This southern European country certainly doesn't lack natural or architectural beauty. It's no wonder that in 2019, Portugal had over 27 million visitors! There is a never-ending number of things to do and see. So, where should you even begin? Here are some of my top recommendations for visiting this magnificent nation for the first time.
The Best Places to Visit
As I mentioned, there are many breathtaking sites - both natural and architectural - to visit during your trip. However, visiting them all in just a few days may feel overwhelming. Here are a few “not to miss” spots:
- Lisbon - As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is full of vibrant culture, historical sights, and friendly natives. Also, Lisbon is the perfect place to enjoy some to authentic Portuguese cuisine and live entertainment. Lisbon is known for its traditional Fado performances. Don't miss out on an opportunity to listen to some of the best Portuguese folk music!
- Batalha - One of the most phenomenal Gothic churches in all of Europe. The church preserve is protected as a World Heritage Monument due to its significance. As you enter the grand doors of the church, you'll immediately be awed by the intricacy of it’s design - from all of its tiny architectural details to the picturesque 16th Century stained glass windows.
- Alcobaça Monestery - As Europe's most significant building of the Cistercian order, you could easily find yourself wandering through this historical site for hours. There certainly is a lot to see, including a monastery, seven dormitories, the library, the kitchen, and of course, the church.
- The Beaches - The coastline of Portugal provides some of the most stunning beaches you'll ever see. Don't shy away, take a break from your explorations to relax on the shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream. Some of the most popular beaches are in the Algarve region, Sagres, Aveiro, and the Praia da Adraga.
Vamos Comer, Let’s Eat!
The food in Portugal is hearty and fresh! Because of its location, the country has some of the best selections of seafood, the world’s tastiest ham, and endless olive groves for some of the freshest olive oil. While there are so many mouthwatering dishes for you to try, here are the ones at the top of our list:
- Arroz de Cabidela - It might seem daunting once you know what this dish derives from, but this chicken blood rice is a native favorite in Portugal. You can also get this dish made with rabbit and rabbit blood.
- Alheira - This delightful lunch includes sausage, typically prepared with french fries and fried eggs.
- Bacalhau A Bras - Cod is shredded and sauteed to perfection and served with onion, straw fried potatoes, eggs, parsley, and garlic.
- Arroz Doce - As an authentic Portuguese dessert, this dish is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. This creamy rice pudding is topped with cinnamon and caramel custard to add to the burst of flavor.
- Caldo Verde - On a chilly night, treat yourself to this fantastic soup. It's merely potato, onions, and shredded kale, cooked in garlic and olive oil, and yet it certainly doesn't lack in flavor!
- Pastel de nata - Originating in Lisbon, this custard tart is an indigenous staple, and you certainly can't leave the country without giving it a try.
Now that you have some of our top tips for your trip to Portugal, let's start planning your stay! Click here to schedule your call and let us help you “Seymour” of the World with us. We know you'll be amazed by Portugal's delicious culinary delights and breathtaking sights!