Category Archives: portugal

My Favorite Finds in Pretty Porto, Portugal

porto

I was so excited to finally make it to Portugal and in particular Porto. Everyone I know that goes to Porto falls in love with it. I did too. I mean, what’s not to love?! The weather is great, the people are so friendly, the food is fantastic and the city is so very charming. It doesn’t hurt that it’s inexpensive to visit. All of this is enough to make you love Porto but I’m lucky enough to also have friends that live there. This almost ALWAYS makes a visit to a new city more fun. It most certainly did for me and Porto. I cannot wait to go back again and see and do more but most of all to see my wonderful friends there. Here are some of my favorite things about Porto, Portugal.

taylor's port

P – is for Port. DUH. This is a “must do” when visiting Porto. The wine caves are all different from each other and have lots of fun tasting options and tours. My favorite was Taylor’s. They pair their ports with either orange flavored or salted chocolates. I’m not even that big of a fan of sweets but OMG that was one fabulous way to taste the difference in the ports and get the most out of them.

sunset at ela's bar

O – is for Ocean. Porto is on the Atlantic Ocean and I particularly enjoyed this as I live on the other side of the Atlantic. Plus, I love the beach. So do the Portuguese. It didn’t matter what day of the week or time of day, people were taking full advantage of the warm sunshine and I just loved that attitude. Also, you can find amazing beach bars for great drinks and some of the best & freshest seafood. I can highly recommend Ela’s Bar. It was good, we went there twice and BONUS it’s the perfect sunset viewing spot.

tapabento

R – is for Restaurants. I had so many great meals in Porto but one of my favorites was Tapabento. In a quaint cafe sort of setting, Tapabento’s food was so yummy and very reasonable. 8 of us ate for just over $100 USD total and that included lots of bottles of awesome Portuguese wine.

taste porto food tour

T – is for Taste Porto Food Tours. I’m obsessed lately with food tours while traveling. Let’s just say you get to try some of the best the city has to offer and get a bit of sightseeing and historical tidbits in to boot. Taste Porto Food Tours was so good, we repeated almost all of it again on our own 2 days later. Notable stops were the Balhao Wine House for their outstanding olive oil and sardines and Leitaria Da Qta Do Paco for their famous eclairs.

porto tiles

U – is for Unique Tiles. I knew that Porto had loads of tiled buildings but I had no idea how diverse and beautiful they would be. Definitely something that makes this city so pretty and unique. You cannot help but fall in love with them.

porto cruz

G – is for one of the best Gin and Tonics I’ve ever had was at Porto Cruz. The tunes and view were also pretty fantastic. A not to miss spot if you ask me!

portuguese wine

A – is for All The Wine you can drink for ridiculously cheap! I knew Portugal was famous for port but didn’t know they had such delicious wine. We certainly did not hold back on partaking. One of my favorites was only 6€. I didn’t make it to Douro Valley where you can go wine tasting but will definitely do it the next visit to Porto.

swing station dancing

L – is for Late Night Fun. I had no idea how lively Porto would be. It is truly a city that is alive. One of my favorite activities was going to the train station for drinks and swing dancing. That’s right, swing dancing. The Portuguese in Porto like to shake their groove thing and it was one of the more fun things I’ve ever witnessed. I even pretended to know a bit and danced too.

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The Top 5 Beaches to Visit in Portugal

Pure Shores Lola Needs to See!

There’s something about the ocean that is a cure for the soul. I have to say the ocean and beach are my absolute favorites and with all the hubbub heard from my good friends about Portugal, it has quickly moved to the top of one of my “must” places to go STAT. Portugal’s coastline totals nearly 1,000 km, so there’s certainly plenty of it worthy of exploring. There are tiny coves only accessible by boat to vast stretches of pristine white sand, and everything in between – Portugal sounds like it has it all. From the windswept sands of the Costa Verde to the well-known tourist sports of the Algarve, the only problem for beach lovers might be choosing which ones to visit during their trip. So, from what I hear, these are some of our must-see seaside spots for travelers going to Portugal.

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1. Alvor

People don’t like to tell others about Alvor – because they like to keep it a little secret. But given that this seven-kilometre strip of fine, golden sand is said to be one of the most spectacular in Portugal, I couldn’t leave it out. At the eastern end, you’ll find Praia dos Três Irmãos, a stunning collection of coves, rocky outcrops and caves ripe for exploring. If it gets too busy during the summer months, take a stroll along the recently built wooden boardwalks to reach the estuary side of the beach, usually only frequented by locals, where you can watch the daring feats of the kitesurfers who gather here. SOUNDS ACTION PACKED!

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2. Sagres

For sheer drama, not much can beat a visit to Sagres. Here, it’s almost as if Mother Nature is showing off her might as waves pound the cliffs at the place once described by famous explorer Henry the Navigator as “the end of the world”. Breathtakingly unspoilt, Beliche Beach is a magnificent bay of soft, golden sand, sitting beneath towering cliffs. Nestled between Sagres point and Cape St Vincent, it is almost deserted out of season, and little frequented even in the height of summer, with only a handful of keen surfers and the occasional explorer are found appreciating its raw beauty. DRAMATIC, like a movie.

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3. Costa Verde

Portugal’s green coast is renowned for its wild beaches, popular with windsurfers and surfers looking to catch the perfect wave. But, the Vila Praia de Ancora, protected from the formidable winds of the Atlantic by the Serra d’Arga hills to the north and the Monte de Santa Luzia to the south, offers calm waters for sun bathing. An unspoilt refuge from the troubles of the world, the Vila Praia de Ancora offers sheltered spots, stunning sugary-white sand and pristine clear water. You had me at sugary-white sand – HEAVENLY!

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4. Praia do Meco

Meco Beach is quite popular with the Portuguse, so they say. There’s good surfing to be found but perhaps it’s a favorite for its ‘mecca’ of nude beach goers. Only 40 km south of Lisbon, Meco Beach is protected by high cliffs and has green mud which sun worshipers use for skin treatments. Meco Beach has many good restaurants along the beachfront keeping it a destination even past the season of the sun.  SOUNDS RACY YET FUN!

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5. Tavira

Reached by a pretty miniature train which takes you through dunes and marshes, the Praia do Barril is an atmospheric spot that pays homage to the tuna industry which once thrived here, with a collection of anchors which look like an outdoor art installation. There are two restaurants where the train drops you off, but walk a little way east or west and the crowds thin out, leaving just you and miles of clean, empty sand. SHHH…how lovely.

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With special summer holiday deals and frequent flights into Faro and Lisbon, it’s easy to experience this beautiful country’s beach life. It truly is a beachgoers paradise. And, with hundreds to choose from, there’s certain to be one, or perhaps five, that are perfect for you. I am ready to pack by bags…how about you?

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