Like a lot of folks, I have a bucket list of places around the world I want to visit before I die. Spain, Cuba, Thailand, Italy, France, and England have been very high up in my list. But for some reason, Portugal was never one of those countries I dreamed of traveling to. That was until I finally decided to make a trip there this summer with a group of girlfriends and let me tell you – Portugal is so underrated. Everything about this place is amazing from the breathtaking landscapes, the architecture, the food and wine culture (that’s insanely affordable), the people, and the music – oh Fado, how I love you so! Here are 12 reasons why you should book a flight to Portugal ASAP!
The beaches are amazing.
Because Portugal is on the coast of Europe, it legit has some of the best beaches in the continent. I stayed with a group of girlfriends in a southern region of Portugal called Torres Vedras. The town was gorgeous and the beaches were breathtaking. If you’re into surfing definitely check it out. Lisbon is known for it’s surfer paradise beaches.
The food is outstanding.
One of the things I loved most about Portugal was the cuisine. The food is as delicious as its neighboring country, Spain and I’m surprised we don’t talk about it more here in the states. It’s very easy to find home-style traditional foods in the south of Portugal, especially in Lisbon. I enjoyed a ton of seafood, grilled sardines, and everything codfish. That’s right Portuguese cuisine has at least 20 dishes that contain codfish, my favorite dish was definitely bacalhau com natas, an oven-baked dish made with layers of bacalhau, onion, diced fried potatoes and cream.
The people are great.
My roomie and bestie and I stayed at the summer home of a couple we’re friends with. We got to hang out with their Portuguese family and also met a lot of new people while we were out there. Portuguese people are the kindest, friendliest, and warmest people you’ll meet. True story!
There is so much to do in Lisbon.
It’s the capital of Portugal and it’s beautiful, vibrant, and full of so much history. There’s everything from cute little storefronts, authentic Portuguese restaurants, old and amazing architecture, museums – and ancient castles.
The pastries are heaven.
If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to visit Pastéis de Belém, it’s one of the oldest bakeries in Lisbon and it’s been around since 1837. The lines to get in are long but trust me – their delicious Pástel de Belém is beyond worth it!
The wines are amazing.
Not only are the wines delicious but you’ll also get introduced to Portugal’s famous and traditional vinho verde, aka, “green wine.” It taste a lot like a light, and refreshing white wine. The country is also known for their red wines and the prices are so cheap you’ll want to stock up and bring some home – I’m just saying.
The sweeping views are everything.
Especially the vibrant rooftop views in Lisbon.
The price is right.
Airfare to Portugal is significantly cheaper than to other parts of Europe, especially due to the inexpensive routes on the country’s flag airline TAP. Hotel can go for less than $100 per night and Airbnb even in Lison can go for less than $75 per night, depending on what time of year you go. Restaurant and beer prices are relatively affordable as well. I rarely if ever spent more than $25 for dinner and that always included a few glasses of wine.
The villages are amazing.
I highly suggest exploring Obidos. It’s an old and adorable village located in southern Portugal, known for it’s 14th century castle walls, narrow streets, colorful buildings, traditional shops, and medieval history. It’s literally like a time-travel to the middle ages.
There is history everywhere.
If you want a good history lesson on Portugal, definitely spend some time in the country’s capital, Lisbon. Their historic district Belém is loaded with monasteries, monuments, live music, castles, and phenomenal architecture.
Fado music is life.
Flamenco is to Spain as Fado is to Portugal. It’s a musical genre that dates back to the early 1800s that’s known for it’s melancholic lyrics. You can find a number of authentic restaurants in Lisbon that feature live Fado music performances no problem.
Even the public transportation is adorable.
In Lisbon they have charming street cars known as Tuk Tuks, that serve as both transportation and a sightseeing tour. They are also super cheap – BTW!