In the summer of 2016 a few friends and I went on a Euro-cation! We went to Portugal, Spain and Ireland. Portugal and Spain were a girls only trip, then my husband joined us in Ireland. I have split each country into its own post: Welcome to Portugal!
While in Portugal I visited Lisbon, Lagos, and Porto. Each city offers different experiences and hold a special place in my heart. I wish I could have spent more time exploring.
Portugal is a beautiful, welcoming little country, which lies to the west of Spain. My short time there made me fall in love. The people, food and culture were amazing. And unlike most of the rest of Europe, it is pretty cheap. I can’t honestly tell you which city I loved the most, because each one was special in it’s own way. If you want sun, beaches and beautiful landscape Algraves/Lagos is the place for you. In my option Porto had the best food and port, while Lisbon was brimming with history. Really you can’t go wrong by going to Portugal!
Below you will find my type a tips, and itinerary to help you plan your perfect trip!
|9-Day Portugal Itinerary|
|Day 1:||5pm Arrival to Lisbon|
|Evening: Explore around hostel/ sunset|
|Day 2:||Morning: Walk thru Alfama, and explore Castelo De Sao Jorge|
|Evening: Walk thru Baixa and Barrio Alto: Rossio Station, Rua Augusta Arch, etc|
|Day 3:||Day Trip: to Sintra: Pena Palace & Moorish Castle|
|Day 4:||Morning: Bus to Lagos (about 4 hours)|
|Evening: Walk around the city|
|Day 5:||Morning: Explore/Hike the cliffs, and beaches|
|Evening: Beach time!|
|Day 6:||Morning: Kayak tour|
|Day 7:||Morning: Bus from Lagos to Porto (about 8 hours)|
|Evening: Dinner and watch a soccer game outside|
|Day 8:||Morning: Walk around the city: Avenue of the Allies, Clerigos Church & Tower|
|Evening: Taste of Porto, food tour|
|Day 9:||Morning: Stock Exchange Palace, Sao Bento Train Station, Livraria Lello (bookstore)|
|Evening: 8:45pm-11:20pm Flight to Barcelona|
Check out my post: Spain: My 14 Day Itinerary to see what the second leg of my trip looked like, and to see what type a tips I have for planing your next trip to Spain.
- My biggest recommendation is that you go to Portugal! I really fell in love with the country! There is just something about the people, food, environment that is warm and inviting. You can easily see yourself living there.
- Get Rick Steves travel guides! I get no kickback for recommending him, so don’t worry about a bias. I just honestly love his travel books. He does a good job giving you an intro to the city and country and outlining what are must sees. He also has some great food recommendations!
Type A Tips: In Country Travels
- Nearly everyone in the service industry that we ran into spoke English. This made purchasing train and bus tickets very easy (this was not true for our travels in Spain)
- We purchased our train tickets to Sintra the day of, just get to the station a little early.
- Once in Sintra there are hop-on, hop-off buses that pick you up right at the train station. Get a ticket for one of these buses! The hike up the hill to the castles is long and tiring, you don’t want to do it!
- Buses are the cheapest option to get to and from Lisbon and Lagos. Tickets cost about 20 euro/person. Buses to Lagos are caught at the Sete Rios bus station (by the blue line and next to the zoo). We were able to buy our tickets that day at the station
- Buses do run from Lagos to Porto, with a quick stop at Lisbon. Again this was the cheapest option. The ride is usually about 7-8 hours and cost about 35 euro/person.
- The bus station in Lagos is an easy walk into the city, and the city is very small. Don’t both getting a taxi (it’s a waste of money)
- Lagos is also about a 5 hour bus ride from Seville, Spain. There are buses that can take you there directly from Lagos.
- Here is a great website with timetables and bus/train information
Type A Tips: Lisbon
- Lisbon is made up of multiple neighborhoods, and is very walkable, though hilly. Each neighborhood has its own charm, though Alfama was my favorite with it’s narrow, wandering streets, and old city charm (and it’s where I stayed).
- Rick Steves didn’t recommend the Rua Augusta Arch, but I absolutely do!. It was just three euro to go to the top of the arch and it was more than worth the cost. It gives you a great view of the city and the water.
- Two of the three sunsets I spent in Lisbon I went to the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara. It’s a little balcony/park/open area by a church. There are little outdoor bars where you can get a drink and watch the sunset. It’s the best way to end your day!
- Sintra is a simple forty minute train ride away and can easily be seen as a day trip. The Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace were my favorite sights there. Though I could have easily spent a day wandering each of these gorgeous sights each.
- My Lisbon favorites: simply wandering the Alfama, Barrio Alta and Baxia, Rua Augusta Arch, and the Castelo De Sao Jorge
Type A Tips: Sintra (a day trip from Lisbon)
- That the train from Rossio Station to Sintra. It’s about a forty minute ride. The train is littered with tourist so you won’t miss the stop.
- The road up to the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace is narrow and very steep. There are buses at the train station in Sintra that will take you up. I highly recommend taking the bus. While I was there a bus got a flat tire and caused a massive traffic jam (no one could get up the hill to the sights). Luckily there is a path so we were able to walk down. If this happens to you, you can walk up the hill…
- Get there as early as possible to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Type A Tips: Lagos/Algraves
- So beautiful! I could have spent the entire time just hiking the cliffs and exploring the beautiful little city. The kayak tour was booked the day before through our hostel (most hostels offer this). I really liked doing the kayak tour after hiking the cliffs because it gave me a different perspective the beautiful area.
- My favorite restaurant in Lagos was Mar Resturante & Bar. It is a beautiful little restaurant with a gorgeous view of the ocean. Plus they serve some mean sangria’s!
- If you are looking for some good gelato, I strongly recommend Crema di Gelato.
- Lagos is a small city, great for wandering. It is also a “party” city, but if that isn’t your cup of tea, it is easy to avoid.
Type A Tips: Porto
- Most museums are closed on Mondays.
- You absolutely HAVE to do the Taste Porto food tour! (https://www.tasteporto.com/). The tours shows you tiny little local shops that have incredible tasting food! I also highly recommend doing this first thing when you get to Porto, so you can go back the amazing restaurants and eat the yummy food!
- Stock Exchange Palace can only been seen by guided tour. The tickets are limited and do run out. This, along with the food tour were the only tours I booked in advance. I was able to book both of these just a few days before doing them (you don’t need to book months in advance).
- You MUST eat a Francesinha. It’s a local sandwich made up of a bunch of meat, cheese, and egg. It sounds weird and definitely doesn’t look as good as it tastes, but BOY is it good! We went to Cafe Santiago, but a lot of restaurants boast this yummy sandwich
- My Porto favorites: Taste Porto food tour (really I can’t stop raving about this tour!), Clerigos Church & Tower, Stock Exchange Palace, Livraria Lello (bookstore that supposedly inspired J.K. Rowling), and the Taste Porto food tour- did I mention that one yet? 😛
I hope this has helped you to plan your perfect trip to Portugal. If you have any questions or comments let me know! I would love to hear from you!