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YOUR FIRST TRIP TO PORTUGAL: OUR TOP RECOMMENDATIONS

This southern European country doesn't lack natural or architectural beauty. It's no wonder you have a desire to visit Portugal. There's a never-ending number of things to do and see. So, where should you even begin? Here are some top recommendations for visiting this magnificent destination for the first time.

Yellow cable car in Lisbon
Lisbon cable car. Photo by Aaysuh Gupta

Must See Places

Lisbon

As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is full of vibrant culture, historical sights, and modern charm. Begin your stay by exploring the historic district of Alfama, where narrow streets wind through colourful houses, revealing Fado bars and hidden treasures. Visit the São Jorge Castle for panoramic views of the city and the Tagus River. For a cultural experience visit Belém, home to the iconic Tower of Belém and the grand Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Stroll along the lively Baixa district, known for its elegant squares and boutique shops, and take a ride on the iconic Tram 28 to explore the city's historic neighborhoods. Indulge in Lisbon's culinary delights at the vibrant Mercado da Ribeira or savor a traditional Pastel de Nata at the historic Pastéis de Belém bakery. Finally, make sure to end at least one day at Bairro Alto, where the night comes alive with eclectic bars, live music, and a lively atmosphere.


Batalha

The crown jewel of this quaint town is the Batalha Monastery, a testament to Portuguese Gothic architecture. When you see the intricate details of the Flamboyant Gothic style, and the Manuline artistry of the Founder's Chapel, you'll understand why it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The monastery, built to commemorate the Portuguese victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota, also houses the tomb of King João I and his queen, Philippa of Lancaster. Beyond the monastery, explore the charming streets of Batalha and discover local shops and cafes.


Porto

Nestled along the scenic Douro River, Porto is a captivating city that beckons with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes. Must-sees include the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge, offering panoramic views of the city and river, and the historic Ribeira district where colorful buildings line narrow cobblestone streets creating a picturesque backdrop. Don't miss the Livraria Lello, a century-old bookstore with its enchanting Gothic architecture. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy a tour of the world-renowned Port wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, savoring the distinct flavors of this beloved local specialty. For some local culture visit the contemporary Fundação de Serralves, home to a museum, park, and art deco villa. And no visit to Porto is complete without a leisurely sunset boat cruise along the Douro, watching the city light up as the sun sets – a perfect ending to a day in Porto.


The Beaches

The coastline of Portugal provides some of the most stunning beaches you'll ever see. Make sure to include time in your trip to take a break and relax on the shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream. Some of the most popular beaches are in the Algarve region, Sagres, Aveiro, and the Praia daAdraga.


Must Try Foods

Pastéis de Nata

Originating in Lisbon, this custard tart is a local staple. Your trip to Portugal won't be complete without savoring this sweet treat.


Alheira

Indulge in this delightful lunch featuring sausage, typically accompanied by french fries and fried eggs – a true Portuguese comfort food.


Bacalhau A Bras

Savor shredded and sautéed cod served with onion, straw-fried potatoes, eggs, parsley, and garlic – a culinary masterpiece that captures the essence of Portuguese cuisine.


Arroz Doce

For those with a sweet tooth, this creamy rice pudding topped with cinnamon and caramel custard is a must-try authentic Portuguese dessert.



Now that you have some ideas on what to see and try in Portugal, let's start creating an unforgettable itinerary for your trip to Portugal.


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