Travel

Since some of my friends have already started their careers for a few years now and can not afford, unfortunately, to go on the great trips that we as students at university, with our four months of holidays are able to… To you, dear young professionals, with careers that leave you with only two or three weeks off a year maximum, try exploring PORTUGAL. This destination is perfect for a period of 10 days to two weeks; with its historic towns, beautiful beaches and vineyards filled with the aromas of port wine. You will be delighted with everything you see! For those who have more time, Portugal is on the borders of Spain and Morocco as well as close to France which are the perfect spot to extend you trip!

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Lagos

lagosWell… everyone will tell you to go over here and there and try to cram everything into one trip … But I will tell you, go to Lagos and stay there. The beaches in this city are among the most beautiful I’ve seen in my entire life! In August, they are pretty full, but it is charming, because there’s nothing better when you’re on vacation then people you meet on vacation! Yeah yeah, I tried to adventure further and further away, to get away from the crowds and find my personal oasis, but impossible. In August, it was packed! However, a nice young man told me some great tips of other beaches, much more peaceful, 30-minutes drive and are worth a visit. Missing time (and money), I did not go. But if you get claustrophobic in crowds, try visit one of the more remote beach destinations!

Do not miss:

– A seafood meal (do not forget you are near the ocean, huh!)
– The BEST burger in town and part of the TOP 50 in the world:  NahNahBahRestaurant
– A night of madness bar hopping in the small coastal town. Charming. In addition, the beach welcomes you with open arms the next day to deliver you from your tiny hangover, it’s sunbathing is always a good way to decompress …

Oh, be careful: if you start your trip by Lagos, you’ll never want to leave. I promise!

 

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Lisbon

Because it is the capital of Portugal, you can’t miss it, right? Lisbon consists of seven hills; so be prepared to have a workout on your days there if you decide to explore the city by foot. I choose to walk around the city, but there’s also the tram, buses, and taxis, depends on what you want!

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If you have a budget and you want to put your money in something other than tour buses: be sure to try the free walking tours. They are becoming increasingly more popular all over the world. Lisbon is a city with history and there’s thousands of really good stories that are worth knowing. So it’s super exciting to go there with a guide to find out what really happened. In addition, you discover places that you would never have seen walking alone in the streets! But beware, when they tell you that it is FREE, it’s free, but the guide expects a tip at the end of the tour. Although it is optional,  if you don’t give a lot, you’ll look pretty cheap to the guide! But hey, that’s the price to pay…

Do not miss :

– The sunset from the top of the highest hill
– To go out: Bairro Alto where there is a loooooots of bars
– Belem, Fatima, Sintra to visit the historical monuments (or choose one…)
– Enjoy some Pastel de Nata, the Portuguese egg tart pastry. It’s a DELIGHT. Eat all day every day.

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Porto

Porto just stole my heart! It is a small town on the edge of a stream that is soooo lovely it makes you want to stay there forever! I visited the whole town twice in 4 days with different people! After you have toured the historic district and have walked through the maze of steep streets, you have to climb the bridge that connects the two shores of Porto for a splendid view of the entire city that is separated by the Douro River. Then, go to the waterfront to enjoy a glass of Port Wine (yummy!).
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There are several choices if you are looking to go out in Porto. You either go to the edge of the wharf to see the beautiful lighted bridge at night and join the crowd of young people who drink, sitting on the ground or standing along the river. Otherwise, you can stay within the main city where there are a lot of cool bars where you can grab a drink in peace in a trendy Portuguese bar. When I was travelling with two French friends who I met at the hostel, we noticed that there were so many people coming out of a door at the far end of the bar. After several jokes about what was going on behind that door, we decided to ask the waiter, who just told us to go. So we stumbled to the steps that led us to the top floor. Surprise! We had just entered an authentic evening of Portuguese tango. The dancers were really talented, it evening was beautiful, … it was the perfect night!

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If you are looking for an exciting escape in Porto, try renting a car and to visit the wineries in the Ouro region. There are beautiful routes that travel through the countryside where you can discover the cellars, how they make the wine, and where you can purchase the local wine to bring back a few bottles of port wine as a souvenir!

Do not miss:

– The port of Porto at night (and day, of course)
– Enjoy several port wines in a tasting place
– Rent a motobike for 24 hours to go for a tour of the beaches further along the coast

Tips and tricks in Portugal:

– You have to eat a minimum of one pastel de nata per day in Portugal!
– My advice: if you have the budget, hire a car. It’s quite affordable, if you are travelling with two or more people. The bus system is good, but it does not travel to every cities and buses make 14,000 stops (well, I exaggerate, but still …) along the way before reaching your destination. Plus, for the region of Ouro is almost inaccessible without a car. I would have loved to have one to have been able to explore it fully!

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Here are other cities that I wish I would of have time to visit:

– Peniche for surf + party :)
– Coimbra: Portugal’s oldest university town!
– Evora : a UNESCO heritage, it looks beautiful!

Have a nice trip!

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