Melissa Giroux, better known as A Broken Backpack, is a full-time traveler, blogger and digital nomad! Originally from Canada, she’s been traveling the globe since June 2014. We partnered up with her so that she could share some insights for one of our favourite destinations in Europe: Portugal! Here’s what she had to say:
Portugal is a must-visit country when in Europe. Portuguese food is delicious, the charming towns will surely work their spell on you, the views are breathtaking and did someone mention something about their famous port wine?
You could easily spend one week or two discovering what Portugal has to offer, or even longer, who knows? We hope this article will help you make up your mind!
We’ve broken down the country in four regions to make it easier top plan your travels: Porto and the North, then the center of Portugal, following by Lisbon and its surroundings and finally, the Algarve and the South. Let’s now have an overview of the top destinations for each region.
Porto is a charming city located in the North of Portugal. This is the region where you will want to go if you’re planning on cruising in the Douro Valley, drinking a lot of wine and of course, visiting wineries. If you’re looking for other activities, Porto has a lot more to offer. This historic city has many museums and sightseeing activities that are worth a visit.
If you’re planning on spending more time in the North, you should also consider heading to Braga and Guimaraes, which are two small towns known for their history and culture. If you’re an outdoor lover, you must visit Peneda-Geres National Park, where you’ll find several beautiful waterfalls and natural pools. It’s ideal for camping or for a day trip in nature!
If you’re traveling from Porto in the North to Lisbon, a bit further South, you should make a few stops in the center of Portugal along the way. If you have to concentrate on two cities, we would recommend you to stop in Aveiro and Coimbra.
Aveiro, coined the Venice of Portugal, is where you’ll find gondolas (barcos moliceiros) and little canals in the city. There’s also a beach and you’ll be able to spot the famous stripped beach houses along the coast.
Coimbra, student city located on the coast, bears a vibrant and hip atmosphere. You could visit several museums in Coimbra or go for a walk in the old town part.
Have you ever heard of Nazaré, one of the most popular seaside town on the Portuguese coast? If you’re into surfing, you should definitely go check out the pros who brave some of the biggest waves in the world.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on Sintra and Cascais, hidden gems around Lisbon. Sintra, a World Heritage Site where you can find several colorful castles and palaces with spectacular views, is only 1 hour away from Lisbon by public transport! Cascais is perfect for the coastal views, natural parks and beaches. Also 1 hour away by public transport, Cascais is the perfect escape plan for those who want a short break from the city.
The Algarve is located in the southernmost region of Portugal and is known for its amazing beaches, rock formations and towering cliffs.
Our favorite spot is surely Lagos, a charming town that gives you access to some of the most scenic spots in Algarve. Grab a kayak and enjoy the views directly from the water or simply sit and relax while enjoying the sunset! Lagos also has a bustling nightlife with multiple bars, restaurants and clubs.
Which one of these top destinations in Portugal is on your list? Is Portugal the next place on your bucket list?
This post was written by Melissa Giroux, better known as A Broken Backpack, is a Canadian travel blogger who has been on the road since June 2014! Read more about her adventures on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.