Travel Tuesday: PORTUGAL

Today we travel to Pareng Ferdinand Magellan’s home, PORTUGAL. I visited Portugal about 5 years ago with my family. We spent a few days in Lisbon then enjoyed the rest of our stay in the sleepy fishing town of Peniche which is slowly becoming a surf spot. This trip was a super blessing, we got our airfares for free (it pays to be patient with your miles!) and we got free accommodations as well! We were fortunate enough to crash at my tita’s summer house in Peniche which was beautifully set just by the sea. 🙂 So for this post, I’m sorry if I can’t give you tips on budget because we practically had no big budget..we survived on home cooked meals and we rented a small car and managed discovering Portugal on our own. 

While it’s true that Portugal is no longer the Iberian Peninsula’s best-kept secret, it’s fairly easy to escape the crowds. Even at the busiest resorts in the Algarve, it only takes a short bus ride or a walk across countryside to reveal rarely visited places that still offer the feeling of discovery – a sentiment close to the Portuguese soul. Portugal has an old-fashioned charm, with medieval castles and picture-perfect villages scattered over meandering coastlines and flower-covered hillsides. From the ancient university town of Coimbra to Lord Byron’s favourite Portuguese haunt, Sintra, the country’s proud history can be felt everywhere.

Sun-kissed beaches like Cascais and Sagres offer enticements of a more hedonistic sort. Indeed, the dramatic, end-of-the-world cliffs, wild dune-covered beaches, protected coves and long, sandy islands of Portugal’s coastline have long enchanted visitors and locals alike. Meanwhile, the country’s capital, Lisbon, and its northern rival,Porto, are magical places for the wanderer, with riverside views, cobblestone streets and rattling trams framed by looming cathedrals.

Trip duration:  If you plan on visiting Lisbon alone, a 4 day trip will do. However, if you wish to explore the outskirts, you can allot about a week or two to really soak in the Portugese culture. Renting a car is very simple and with all the cars equipped with GPS, it’s fairly easy to navigate through the highways and go on a road trip!

When to go: Just like the rest of Europe, Portugal enjoys 4 seasons. Ideally, it’s best to visit during the summer if you’d like to hit the beaches and bathe in the glorious Portugese sun. But this is also the time when the hoards of British senior citizens come in as Portugal is their favorite vacation spot. We were there in November, it was very cool and calm with very few tourists..also a nice time to visit! 

How to get there: There are many commercial flights to Lisbon. You can always opt to fly to Amsterdam first via KLM or take a Middle Eastern carrier and connect to Lisbon from Abu Dhabi or Dubai. There are many budget flights from neighboring cities like Paris, Madrid, and Milan that fly into Lisbon for less than 30 euros!

Visa required: YES. You will need to apply for a Schengen visa from the Embassy. As long as you get the proper documents in place, you should be able to get your tourist visa in 3 weeks.  
17th floor, Trafalgar Plaza, Dela Costa Street
Salcedo Village – Makati City
(02) 848.3789
                                                                                                                                                       Top Ten Places to Visit: 
Ed Alcock for The New York Times

  1. The seductive capital       
  2. SINTRA – 
    Enchanting fairytale town
  3. EVORA – 
    A museum-town
  4. OBIDOS – 
    A medieval storybook
  5. PORTO – 
    A majestic port city
    World Heritage architecture
  7. TOMAR – 
    Home of the knights
  8. LAGOS to SAGRES – 
    The waters at end of the world
  9. MARVÃO – 
    A spectacular site, a spectacular sight
  10. BRAGA – 
    The Baroque City

What to Eat: Portugese food is similar to Spanish cuisine (of course, my Spanish friends will strongly oppose this! Hahaha!). They have lots of olive oil and garlic-based dishes. Very succulent, bathing in rich sauces. Pinoys will find comfort in Portugese food because it’s very similar to our regular home cooked dishes! Of course, it’s best to pair your meal with a bottle of Port. Real port wine (locally known as Vino di Porto) comes from Porto, Portugal…just like Authentic champagne comes from Champagne, France.

What to wear: For the summer months, you can wear the clothes you usually wear back home. But for autumn, you can choose to layer up a bit more. I like going for a more polished look when I travel in the cooler months, adding a hint of color to your fall wardrobe is always a good idea too!
Images from J Crew

5 Responses to Travel Tuesday: PORTUGAL

  1. Thank you, Patty! I’ve been planning to go to Portugal with my friends and this post just gave me an idea on where to start! Hehe. Anyway, I hope that in the future, you can blog about Russia! *reader request* Haha! 🙂

  2. Obidos is indeed a must-see, as is of course Lisbon and Porto. But Sintra is the highlight of the country, and don’t overlook Evora, with its Roman temple and historic monuments. In fact, all of the Alentejo region is a destination in itself!

  3. Hi Patty! I would like to update your post 🙂
    There is no more embassy/consulate of Portugal in the Philippines. All inquiries are processed in Jakarta 🙁