Author: Gabriela Saldana.
Portugal holds a very special place in my heart, it’s like my second home. It’s one of those places that once you visit you will never forget. I lived unforgettable moments while I was studying there, more specific in the little city of Coimbra. Like my Portuguese friends will say ‘Uma vez Coimbra, para sempre saudade’, roughly translating to ‘Once Coimbra, forever will be missed’. No wonder it’s been a year since I’ve been back and I still miss it every day!! Why may you wonder? Well, it’s the place where I changed as a person and become more independent, learned to adapt to a new culture and language, but most importantly I made long lasting memories and friendships that I know will last a lifetime. It’s those experiences that make a city truly unique and significant.
So if you were ever thinking of visiting Portugal don’t think it twice!! But if you’re still in doubts, here are three reasons why it should be on the top of your bucket list!
- The food
If you’re a foodie like myself then you will fall in love with the food like I did. Portugal has a range of wonderful delicacies that caters to every taste, that you won’t have enough time to try them all!! Of course, you can’t visit Portugal and not try their national dish the ‘Bacalhau’ (Cod fish). Portuguese are very patriotic and take their Bacalhau very seriously. Although there are different ways to prepare this dish, my favourite was ‘Bacalhau a Brás’, a combination of onions, potatoes, olives, parsley, eggs and, obviously cod. To die for! If you’re not a big fan of fish do not be alarmed! Because you will love the ‘leitão’ (roasted pig) or the famous ‘Francesinha’, a typical dish from the city of Porto. Basically consisting of a big sandwich filled with steak, ham, sausage, and chorizo, covered in melted cheese and submerge in a tomato spicy sauce (messy I know! But mouth-watering, trust me). Now if you have a sweet tooth like I do, then you have to try the famous ‘Pastel de Nata’ (custard tarts) that you are sure to find it in every bakery. Or the well-known ‘Tripa de Aveiro’, a crepe/waffle consistency that is filled with your choice of topping, from chocolate to strawberry jam, to an egg sauce known as ‘Ovo mole’ or a simple cinnamon filling.
Doesn’t matter what you’re into, you are sure to find something that you will love and won’t stop raving about!!!!!! So make sure you try as many foods as possible and go with an empty to stomach.
- The beautiful beaches & cities
What can I say?! Portugal has some of the best beaches the Mediterranean can offer. Crystalline waters, soft sand and most importantly lots and lots of sun! The Algarve is home to many of these paradise beaches located in the south of Portugal. Believe me when I say that you can spend days and even weeks during the summer, and never get tired of the beautiful sceneries Portugal’s Mediterranean can provide. So make sure you’re ready for the long fun filled days and work on your tan!
However, beaches it’s not the only thing Portugal has to offer. This is a country that is filled with a lot of history, traditions and beautiful landscapes. So you will never run out of things to do and see!! My top picks will be Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Coimbra, Porto and Aveiro. Each city provides unique experiences, filled with diverse things to do and see. Varying from art, music, castles, wine, food and amazing panoramas to fall in love with that you will never be bored. (I wouldn’t be able to write about all these places in one blog, so it will be for another day!).
So there you have it, Portugal has a lot to offer and will sure keep you busy every day!
Finally, if nothing else convinces you, I hope this does! Portugal is CHEAP!!! At least one of the cheapest countries in Europe. The food is cheap, the clothing is cheap, the drinks are cheap, clubs are cheap, accommodation is cheap! Do you get the drill?? Everything is cheap, you can have a nice breakfast for as little as 2-3 euros and a fulfilling dinner with just 5-8 euros!!!! And how does a beer for 1 euro sounds? Yep, that’s how cheap alcohol is, let’s just say water is more expensive than wine.
So if you’re looking for a fun filled destination on a budget, Portugal should be on the top of your list. Trust me you will not regret it! And be ready to have the best time of your life.
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