Forget Paris and the Greek Islands… Portugal has slid right on in as one of this year’s hottest new travel destinations and here is why.
As one of the hidden gems of the European travel destinations, Portugal is a beautifully untouched location (read more on Renaes World). In recent years the tourist population has risen to 12.8 million in 2018 according to The National Statistics Institute (INE) said total arrivals grew 0.4 percent, but this number is still substantially lower than the surrounding European countries such as Spain which had 82.8 million visitors in 2018.
Bordering Spain, this magical country has exceptional food delicacies (Pastel de Nata, which means Portuguese custards tarts and is a must try), beautiful castles and palaces, unreal beaches and is Uber cheap.
Recently Bondi Beauty founder Renae Leith-Manos and Bondi Beauty writer Maddison Langshaw visited Portugal on their travels around Europe and both explored the culture, scenery and adventure that is Portugal. From Pena palace, the most insanely beautiful, architecturally magnificent palace in Sintra just outside Lisbon to the two tier bridge in Porto and the Tower of Belem in Lisbon. The country bursts with cultural integrity and fun.
Pastel de Nata is a delicacy in the country and no doubt why, the custard tart is a must try (especially freshly baked in the morning). I costs around $2 and the best place hands down is to buy it from Pastéis de Belém (which was the birth place of the portugese pastry in 1837).
Also give Time Out Markets Lisboa a day trip, hustling with crowds and food as far as the eye can see. An entire day can be spent here devouring traditional Portuguese meals as well as Western and European inspired dishes for reasonable prices.
2. Everything is so cheap.
Forget spending $20 on a drink in Portugal you can buy a cocktail for $6 from little street vendors, $2 for a Nata and main meals can be brought for $15 or even less so it works perfectly for those budget trips.
The locals actually appreciate that you have come to their country to visit and help their economy. Many locals are happy to stop to chat and talk of the cultural significance of certain places and give you cheeky little tips and tricks to the cities.
Forget overly polluted beaches and hundreds and thousands of tourists laying everywhere, from Lisbon to Lagos the beaches are so uniquely placed and clean. Huge crowds of people don’t take up the beaches in Portugal, as mentioned the tourism numbers are still substantially lower than Spain so if you are looking for a quiet beach escape this is your sanctuary. Just look at the pictures, there won’t need to be anymore convincing.
Architecture in this country is a mix between Moroccan influence and Portuguese culture. From beautiful and vibrant colours to intricate designs on tiles and buildings it combines two cultures together. A must see and once in a life time place to visit for these particular architectural phenomenons is the town of Sintra. Even the big cities like Lisbon have beautiful buildings and sights, especially in the Santa Cruz and Alibahama region of the city.
If you are after a quieter sanctuary, Porto is the place, residing on a small river the city bursts with colour and Portuguese traditional tiles every where you look. It is 320 kms from Lisbon and is accessible by bus that takes 3 and a half hours or plane which takes 1 hour. The country is bursting with vibrant colours and designs that is a must see.
With big name stores such as Zara, H&M and Oysho shopping seems endless in Portugal. Although if you are looking for more traditional or unique clothing the district of Princípe Real in Lisbon is a go to for Vintage Portuguese shopping. In Porto the main shopping strip Santa Catarina provides boutique shopping, high end brands and cute street vendors that provide traditional and hand made items.
Portugal 100% is the place to be in 2019 and watch it continue to boom in the coming years.
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