5 Reasons You Need to Visit Portugal ASAP
Portugal is Europe’s hidden gem and has been largely overlooked by your typical traveler. It’s hard to believe this tiny little country once ruled most of the world and that’s the beauty of it! It has remained unchanged, unhurried, affordable, charming, and welcoming.
I was astounded when my non-stop flight from Boston on TAP Portugal (the national airline of Portugal) landed in just under 6 hours. This was one of the easiest flights to Europe I have ever taken. You have direct flights from Boston, New York, New Jersey, DC and Miami so Portugal is easily accessible from the East Coast. I felt like I had already arrived while on board the flight drinking port wine and eating Portuguese inspired food. Lisbon is a great connecting point to travel to other major countries in Europe. Combining Portugal with another country in the same vacation would be super simple. I would recommend at least 10 to 12 days to fully experience all the wonderful offerings in Portugal. Getting around is easy while there with an excellent train system, a handful of major airports, wonderful roadways, and economical car rentals for those that wish to drive themselves while there. Google maps never let me down and traffic was non existent.
#2. Expect amazing value for the dollar
I was shocked and giddy about how affordable everything in Portugal was. I am used to the pricing in Venice, Paris, London, etc so when I got to Lisbon I was pleasantly surprised about not worrying about costs and enjoying myself without regards to finances. Hotels were super reasonable, museum admissions less than 10 euros, a glass of wine 5 to 8, a dinner entree 21 to 28 (for a fine dining experience) and 3 euros was my average uber ride to get around Lisbon. I truly was able to focus on enjoying myself on the trip while not being bogged down constantly worrying about finances. Portugal was a breath of fresh air compared to say France or England where the day to day costs can get out of hand quickly. Hotel stay, rental car, food, drink, was all cheaper than any other European country I have visited and just as good if not better. I am sure that will change, so NOW is the time to visit.
#3. So much history, most of it intact
Walking around Lisbon reminded me of how Europe should be. Not new and modern, but embracing the old and trying to protect it and showcase it for future generations. Just walking around Lisbon made me feel like I had stepped back in time and I appreciated that Portugal still continues its traditions like placing ornamental tiles on the outside of the buildings or stomping the grapes with feet. They honor their traditions and stick to them. I admire that and as a visitor that made everything I did feel more authentically Portuguese. The Portuguese were super approachable and a wealth of information when it came to the history of their country and were very welcoming of me as a visitor. I actually learned quite a bit about Portugal’s past and came away with a well rounded appreciation for the culture, the history, the food, and most importantly the port wine.
#4. Mediterranean climate
I don’t mind traveling in the “off season” because I like to avoid the crowds. Portugal’s location is unique in that it never gets cold, has a Mediterranean mild climate, and could be a year round destination. I was there in March and it was 72 and sunny the entire time except for one morning of rain. Coming from the snow and ice of a North American winter was a wonderful respite and anyone that is looking for an uncrowded getaway, Portugal is a perfect spot. If you prefer beach and swimming weather you are better off targeting May through October. Avoid August as that is the typical vacation month in Europe and most of the Algarve beach resort areas will be crowded to the max.
#5. Diversity in experiences you have in one country
Historic colorful cities located on riverbanks, fairy tale castles perched on hilltops overlooking majestic forrests, dramatic coastline with cozy seaside surf towns, wine regions with some of the worlds oldest vines, historic walled cities, and white sand beaches with azure water. Portugal really has something for everyone. The ideal vacation to Portugal could consist of beach time, city time, wine country time, and exploring small little coastal towns in between each experience. The public transportation was great, the infrastructure felt better than the states, and communication was a breeze. The local food consisted heavily of fresh seafood and pork. You won’t go hungry in Portugal and while not quite on par with the food of France or Italy (no one in Europe really compares to either) I was super impressed. I enjoyed the traditional Portuguese food as well as the new younger chefs willing to deviate from tradition and trying something new. For a country so old and steeped in tradition, they aren’t afraid to shake things up food wise and I can see it becoming quite the destination for foodies.
for more information, questions, comments, please email jim@Perfecthoneymoons.com, or call (619) 962-6041