5 Things You Can Do in Portugal That Will Make Your Trip Special

Portugal is one of Europe’s oldest extant nations and is a truly spectacular country. While most visitors tend to head to Portugal’s capital of Lisbon, there’s so much more to Portugal with its landscape of beaches and high mountains to its verdant valleys and rolling hills. On top of that, the people of Portugal are incredibly friendly, and food and wine is also affordable.
If you’re planning on heading to Portugal for a trip, we’ve put together five things that you can do in Portugal that will help make your trip that much more special.

Cycling on the Atlantic Coast

If you’re heading to Portugal, cycling along the West Coast from Porto to Lisbon is an absolute must. Not only will you get the chance to soak in the sights of the beaches, you’ll also get to taste some fresh seafood and visit nature conservation areas and picturesque villages along the way. As you’re cycling, visit the quaint city of Porto and admire the traditional architecture or wander around the streets.

The Atlantic route – the largest in the country crosses some magnificent landscapes, charming beaches and more. As you bike through this route, you’ll pass by beaches such as Espinho and Figueira da Foz. You’ll also get to see some of Portugal’s fishing villages along with flourishing cities. During this biking trip, you’re welcome to take it easy and spend some time basking in the sun or learning more about Portugal’s culture. Some other highlights including the enchanting Lagoa de Óbidos lagoon along with the medieval town of Óbidos.

This is simply an adventure you can’t miss as you choose exactly what you’d like to do from wandering through Portugal’s towns, visiting historical places, enjoying the best beaches or taking photos of elegant 19th-century architecture. This is truly one adventure that you absolutely wouldn’t want to miss.

Walking in Rota Vicentina

Along the West Coast of Portugal is the gorgeous Rota Vicentina. This hiking path stretches for a total of 400 kilometres along one of the most gorgeous and well-preserved areas of Europe with jagged cliffs and gorgeous fields of wild flowers. While you can choose to walk along the path, you can also choose to hop on a bicycle to explore all that this area has to offer.

The diverse geography of Rota Vicentina is what makes it such an attractive location from its steep cliffs to forgotten white sand beaches. Walk into the protected zone of Parque Natural Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina to discover the ancient Roman ports. There, you can also sample the fresh seafood or be in awe of the various artisanal crafts.

There are two different trails you can take when walking through Rota Vicentina. The first is the historical trail that spans 230km. It’s a long route that goes from Santiago do Cacem to the Cape of Sao Vicente. While it might be a more rural trail, you’ll encounter plenty of forest tracks and villages that exude history. Alternatively, the “fishermen’s trail” is 125km long and as the name suggests, you’ll encounter plenty of beaches and fishing grounds. It is relatively physically demanding and is a trail that can only be accessed by foot.

Visiting the Portuguese Historical Villages

Discover the history of these Portuguese Villages at the oldest European border. There are a total of 12 villages that dot Portugal and each one of them comes with their own century-old castles and traditions. These villages are mainly located across Central Portugal’s inland territory and each one of them incredible landscapes, winding desert roads, ancient trails and gorgeous castles.

The Great Route 22 will take you across these historical villages, and you can choose to also pop by other impressive Portugal sights such as the Serra da Estrela Mountain Range or Faia Brava Private Protected Area which is the first private conservation area in Portugal. At the villages, learn about the local history and taste some of the local dishes of Portugal. As you wander around the villages, you’ll be in awe of the diverse territory and culture along with the sights and smells of this beautiful area.

Exploring a Different Side of Algarve

Algarve is known as one of Europe’s best holiday destinations due to its incredibly gorgeous coastline, lovely beaches and delicious food. On top of that, there’s also other stunning landscapes and it usually has a warm and sunny weather. While that’s what Algarve is usually known for, there’s plenty more for you to discover at this idyllic destination.

To start off, you can traverse the villages and picturesque fishing towns as well as walk the pristine coastline that attracts thousands of visitors every year. With over 300 days of sunshine, tourists flock to Algarve to soak up the warm weather while taking in the gorgeous sights.

Once you’ve had your fill of the beaches, it’s time to discover another side of Algarve. Choose to walk or mountain bike through the Serra de Monchique mountain range that’s also covered with strawberry trees. There, you’ll be able to experience some fresh air along with sights that you’ll only get to see from the highest mountain in the south of Portugal.

When you’re visiting a country like Portugal, the last thing you’d want is to head to an overcrowded tourist location. Instead, at Algarve you’ll be able to experience all the different sides of it without feeling stifled by the overwhelming amount of tourists. From cycling pathways to historic architecture and the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, there’s plenty to explore at Algarve that’s sure to take your breath away.

Learning More About the Azores

Another destination that you can’t miss in Portugal is the Azores with pristine white sand along with vineyards covering slopes. One of the largest islands in the area is São Miguel with its Sete Cidades and Fogo Lagoons. There, you’ll be able to discover both hot thermal waters along with volcanic lakes.

At the central area, there are a few other islands where you may even be able to spot whales and dolphins amongst the azure blue waters. These islands are Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial and Graciosa. On Terceira, don’t forget to head to one of the festivals to learn more about the history of the area and in Faial take in the sights of the extinct Capelinhos volcano. At Pico, revel in the sight of vineyards that are planted in black lava fields, taste unique cheese at São Jorge, and soak in the sights of Graciosa’s unique windmills and green fields that are covered with vineyards.

While at the Azores, you can’t miss the island of Flores with its gorgeous waterfalls and lakes that are carved out by volcanos. You’ll also get to marvel at the different species of birds that are coming from both Europe and America.

When visiting Portugal, choose to do any of these five things or if you have the time go all out and do them all. Portugal is a gorgeous place with plenty to offer, and you’re sure to have a wonderful trip that you’ll remember for many years to come.
Credits: TRIP101