I went to Portugal not long after my Amsterdam trip and I thought I’d share some things that I discovered, in a similar manner to the Amsterdam post.
- Geography: I discovered that there are multiple places in the Algarve (which is in the south of Portugal). A lot of you might already know this but my geography is pretty bad so I was unaware. I have actually been to Portugal before, with family and we stayed in Albufeira in the Algarve, so I just assumed it all one beach town (silly I know but i was much younger on that trip *covers face*). Anyway, this time around, we stayed in a part of the Algarve called Portimao which is really calm and although its close to the beach as well, it’s not too touristy. However, if you want more of a party holiday, you’re better off going to Lagos, which is where all the nightclubs are. In the case of the foodie traveller, I would recommend Alvor which was also recommended to me as it has lots of delicious food and all at affordable prices as well. Then, for the luxury resort kinda holiday, you will want to go to Albufeira as this the Vegas strip of the Algarve. It is the area of luxury resorts galore. I hope to go back to Portugal another time but next time, it’ll be to Lisbon which is in the central region so I can experience the differences in cuisine and things like that.
- Prices: Everything is pretty affordable: Amsterdam was pretty expensive so I went to Portugal prepared for the worst but I was pleasantly surprised by the prices of everything. You can comfortably have a nice meal and some wine for way under £20 and I definitely ate a lot of food whilst on this holiday. Even the clothes were not badly priced at all. I discovered a shop called Parfois and it is like a hybrid of Mango and Zara but at much lower prices. It is one of my new favourite shops tbh, I just wish they had a store here, in England.
- Sightseeing: Always book your excursions before you get there or in dedicated booths around the area .We learnt the hard way that the hotels increase the prices for any sightseeing activities or excursions you want to do. I had checked on Trip Advisor before we went for the boat rides into the caves which I really wanted to do but I thought i’d wait until we got to Portugal to book it (#mistake). I should definitely have booked it online or even at one of the tourist excursion spots in Portugal but don’t book it with your hotel because you’ll end up paying double the price. Also, if you’re not sure whether you get seasick, look into getting some travel sickness tablets as it’s not fun discovering that you have sea sickness 30 minutes into a 2 hour boat ride, Trust me! . Anyway, there are a couple of waterparks in The Algarve and I would recommend going to Zoo Marine water park as it is a combination of seeing animals who live in water and going on rides. They also offer jeep safaris if you don’t like water and would prefer to do your sightseeing by land.
- Food: They have dinner pretty late in Portugal. I always found it odd that we’d be done with our dinner when people would just begin to turn up. I later discovered that they typically had dinner at about 9 onwards so don’t feel in a rush to get down to the restaurants if you want to have a nap or something first. Also, they do the nicest grilled chicken (remember Nandos is Portuguese) so that would be a winner for me. I would also highly recommend the Alagrvian Fish soup. It was one of those things that my friend ordered on a whim but it was absolutely delicious and I ordered it the next day as well . It totally makes sense as seafood is pretty much their main food source in the Algarve. In many restaurants, you can point at fresh live seafood and they’ll take it away and prepare it into a meal for you (if you’re into that sort of thing). This is much more prevalent in Albufeira and I found that they had more meaty options in Portimao , just in case you’re not a fan of seafood everyday.
People: I found the people so friendly and ready to have a laugh with you. In fact, one of my fondest memories of the trip was sitting in the sea and having this lady sit right beside me and giggling uncontrollably whenever the waves would crash into us. She tried to communicate with words but she didn’t speak English and I don’t understand anything past comida (food) and obrigada (thank you) in Portuguese. In spite of this , we had the best time just looking at each other , sharing a smile and laughing at the waves and in those moments, we had a brief but joy filled friendship that no one else understood. Other than that, the people were just really warm and friendly overall. From the nail lady who tried to teach me some Portuguese and gave me tips on the best and cheapest restaurants to the bar owner who restarted his wifi in order to help my friend upload her Youtube video.
Therefore, I would highly recommend Portugal as a holiday destination and I hope you’ve learnt something from this post to help you if you do decide to go there.
Until next time,