Portugal Recap

Highlights from 3-weeks of backpacking around mainland Portugal, São Miguel Island (one of the Azores islands), and the island of Madiera

FARO

Eat:

  • The Woods for a fresh salmon salad, plus their motto is “Love fresh food” so what’s not to love about this place
  • llaollao for an epic froyo parfait

 

Don’t Miss:

  • Capela de Ossos (Bone Chapel): a chapel made of human bones
  • Water/beach activities if you’re there when it’s warm (unfortunately, I was there out of season)
  • Fórum Algarve if you fancy some shopping

 

 

MADEIRA

Eat:

  • Espada fish (scabbard fish in English), a fish native to Madeira
  • Confeitaria No Mercado for cakes almost too pretty to eat
  • Mercado dos Lavradores for fresh fruits and dried fruits (sample them all!), veggies, flowers, and more

 

Don’t Miss:

  • Levada walks: you can’t go to Madeira and not go on a levada walk; I recommend the Rabaçal levada walk
  • Pico do Ariero: an amazing hike
  • Santana: see the traditional Madeira houses
  • Monte Cable Car: gorgeous views, but don’t attempt walking down…
  • Canyoning: because why not?!

 

 

SÃO MIGUEL

Eat:

  • Grilled sea bream, it’s the local specialty!

 

Don’t Miss:

  • Salto do Prego: a short hike with a beautiful end point
  • Lagoa do Fogo: take this hike and you’ll think you’re in Jurassic Park
  • Sete Cidades: if you only go on one hike in São Miguel then it needs to be Sete Cidades

 

 

LISBON

Eat:

  • Casa Pasteis de Belem for a pastel de nata. These Portuguese custard tarts are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, lighty & flaky on the outside and warm & creamy on the inside. Casa Pasteis de Belem is the home of the pastel de nata!
  • Time Out Mercado Da Ribeira for a giant food court filled with fresh Portuguese specialty foods and all the fish your heart desires
  • Amorino for gelato shaped like a flower

 

Don’t Miss:

  • Sintra: take a day-trip to this gorgeous town filled with castles, ruins and pastel-colored palaces. Check out Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and Castelo dos Mouros
  • Belém: check out the Torre de Belém and of course Casa Pasteis de Belem
  • Cascais: take a day trip to this adorable Portuguese fishing town, or even just catch the train there for sunset (that’s what I did!)
  • LX Factory: artsy shops and hipster vibes
  • Alfama: check out the oldest part of Lisbon

 

 

PORTO

Eat:

  • Liquid Baixa for acai bowls and smoothies
  • daTerra Baixa for a €9.90 all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet (no that’s not a typo, €9.90 ALL YOU CAN EAT !!)

 

Don’t Miss:

  • Livraria Lello: Harry Potter fans will love this famous book shop
  • Ribeira: walk along the Douro River and admire the gorgeous architecture in this neighborhood
  • Dom Luís Bridge: did you even go to Porto if you don’t walk across the Dom Luís Bridge?! (Go on top!)
  • Peneda-Gerês National Park: no destination would be complete with a taste of nature. Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only national park in Portugal and trust me, you DO NOT want to miss it!
  • Aveiro: take a half-day trip to the Venice of Portugal. You don’t need more than a few hours here
  • Guimarães: take a half-day trip to Guimarães and admire the birthplace of Portugal. Catch the bus to Braga for the second half of your day…
  • Braga: after your morning in Guimarães, admire some more beautiful architecture in Braga
  • Coimbra: this town had such a charm to it! I took a day trip here but I’d recommend spending the night here if you have time

 

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