Let’s be honest…there is something about booking a trip last minute that just makes the experience that much greater!
My best friend was booked and ready for her trip to Portugal, and invited me to join her 3 weeks before departure. It didn’t take much to convince me. A few days later, everything was booked and I was ready for my new adventure!
We went with a tour company called Free & Easy Traveler, which is based in Canada (I plan on making a separate post about my honest experience with the company, so you can read more on that in the future).
Because we went with the tour company, our transport between destinations and accommodation was planned for us, so it just depends on what kind of traveler you are if that is something you would like or dislike.
Lagos is an old beach town in Portugal, and it is known for its amazing cliffs and beaches. It is packed with amazing cuisine, old town vibes, and a lot to explore. I would go back to Lagos in a heartbeat.
We went on a hunt to find a secret beach, and when we found it we discovered it was a nudist beach!
Fun Fact: In Portugal, if a beach has no access by land, you are legally allowed to get nude on that beach. Otherwise, there are dedicated nude beaches that do have land access.
Photo Cred: Jimi Doohan
We went kayaking in Lagos, which allowed us to explore in and out of the caves hidden underneath the cliffs. The guide was informative, but also made the experience fun.
I would recommend doing at least one water-based activity that interests you while in Lagos. Whether that is surfing, kayaking, or even dolphin watching, the area is too beautiful not to take advantage of what the water has to offer.
If you like to check out the night life while traveling, Lagos does not disappoint. The clubs and bars had good music, high energy, and are usually packed with friendly locals and other travelers.
Sagres is another small beach town. You don’t need to spend a long time in Sagres, as there is not a lot to see or explore. Another great place to go surfing, or just relax on the beach.
We went on a bike ride to the Lighthouse of Cabo de Sao Vicente, which is an incredible place to go see the sunset.
- Tip: Bring a jacket (or a blanket, like I did haha) as it gets very windy and chilly during the sunset!
After Sagres, we made our way to our last destination.
Lisbon almost deserves its own blog post, as there is SO much to do and see. I instantly fell in love with this city.
The biggest thing I would recommend for Lisbon? Allow yourself to get lost. We found and explored so much just by walking for hours. We created a guideline of the main things we wanted to see, but allowed ourselves to get off the beaten track and explore all the endless streets and cobble roads.
Things to check out:
- Time Out Market: You can find local Portuguese cuisine here, or dive into other dishes if you’re craving something else. It can be VERY busy, so best to get there early or get a friend to save seats for everyone while the other gets food.
- Graffiti and Street Cars: The street cars are famous in Lisbon, but also allow yourself to admire the amazing graffiti located around the city.
There are a lot of other cool things to see and explore. You can stumble upon a store full of sardines, or find your way up incredibly steep roads for worth-it views of the city.
I also got my first tattoo in Lisbon, which was crazy but super exciting!!!!
Photo Cred: Annie Walsh.
Fun Fact: Lisbon has their own Christ the King statue, which was inspired by the one in Rio, and a bridge that looks exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco. The bridge was actually built by the same people who built the Golden Gate Bridge, which explains why they’re identical!
For partying, head to Bairro Alto (their main central district). A lot of bars are on random streets, but Pink Street is where the main party is at. The street is literally pink, so you can’t miss it!
Overall, Portugal blew me away. I went with no idea what to expect, and I was overwhelmed by all of its beauty and culture. I could definitely see myself back again exploring more of this beautiful country.
Top Tips For Portugal
- In Lisbon, be wary of pickpockets. Make sure your bag is in front of you, and when sitting down put your bag on your lap. For backpacks, never keep any money or important documents in the zippers. Place them in a secret pocket or somewhere visible to you
- Sunscreen is EXPENSIVE. If you can avoid buying it there, you will be saving yourself a lot of money
- Fruit is very cheap in the grocery store. If you’re looking to save some money, buy fruit to carry with you for snacks
- Green wine is a speciality in Portugal. Definitely give it a try, but it has more of a bitter taste to it. I personally didn’t like it, but some of the group did!
- Pastel De Nata is a famous speciality custard dessert in Portugal, and it is a MUST to try. It is absolutely delicious!
- When out at bars or clubs, try to avoid high balls. Some places will offer Happy Hour deals where the high balls are actually quite cheap, but beer and sangria are much cheaper and will never be expensive anywhere you go.
- When going out to bars, you can leave your passport at home. There is a possibility you may be asked I.D. in Lisbon, but the chances are not very high. If you look of age, you should be okay.
Have you ever been to Portugal?
Any tips you have that I may have left out?
Let me know!
Thank you for reading,