From tourist hotspots to hidden gems, old favourites to new highlights, here are some amazing ways to fill up your free time in Portugal.
You may not think of Portugal when you think of surfing, but not only does it have some of the best surfing, but it has some of the biggest and longest waves in the world.
Thanks to the amazing weather, you can surf all year round and take your pick from areas with various surf types suited to every skill level. And if you’re more of a body board or floatie person, there’s more than enough opportunities for that kind of water adventure as well.
From amazing markets to big shopping centres and everything in between, there is so much shopping potential in Portugal. Open air and flea markets are where the locals go for just about everything, but they’re also a must-see for travellers. There are so many products that Portugal does well, and from cork, gold and wool to chocolate, ceramics and wine, there’s a little something for everyone to take home.
If you’ve ever wanted to add to your book collection, we can think of no better place to do so than in the world’s oldest bookstore in Lisbon. Plus, Lisbon has the best old school shopping, designer stores and some of the trendiest shopping locations in Europe, from Barrio Alto to Principe Real.
Eating your way around Portugal is one of the best ways you could ever spend your free time, and trust us, you and your taste buds will never be disappointed.
There’s a reason why Portuguese cuisine is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, and those of us that have been keeping it our culinary secret for years now are happy to welcome all of the newcomers to the party. Its coastal location means that the fresh seafood just doesn’t get much better, and the signature Portuguese seasonings just bring your favourites to a whole new level.
There are very few countries that can take credit for transforming a culinary staple, but once you try Portuguese Piri Piri chicken and its delicious chilli spices you won’t be able to see chicken the same way again. End it off with a Portuguese custard tart – a pastel de nata which is arguably the best tart in the world – and you’ll be in total culinary heaven.
The beauty of modern Portugal, however, lies in its embrace of new flavours and trends, so even if seafood and chicken aren’t a part of your typical cuisine you can find some glorious vegetarian and vegan restaurants as well. From the infamous AO26 vegan cuisine in Lisbon to Essência in Porto, there’s some Portuguese flavour available for every kind of foodie.
A trip to Portugal without a trip to the beach just doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether it’s in Cascais or the Algarve, the water is blue, the sand is white, and the vibe is quintessentially Portuguese. Caves, cliffs and coves make the Portugal coast some of the most jaw-dropping and remote-feeling beach spots in Europe.
Combine the coast with some incomparable Port wine, caipirinhas and ice cream, and you have the epitome of a perfect relaxing afternoon.
There’s also the countless cafes and bars that line both the coasts and the cities that make for the perfect place to just chill out and enjoy the good life, preferably with a pastel de nata in hand too.
Whether they’re medieval monuments, trendy museums or natural landscapes, the most enjoyable part of Portugal is just getting lost, exploring and wandering your way through every place.
In Lisbon, make sure you check out the medieval Bélem Tower, traditional trams, the Time Out Market and Jeronimos Monastery.
In the Algarve, the Moorish castles, Old Town of Faro, tavira and the resort town of Lagos are just some of the great additions to all of the gorgeous beaches and coastlines that’ll make you fall in love with Portugal.
In Porto, the Douro River, Clérigos Tower, Ribeira and the Sé Cathedral all add to the list of magical sites to see while you’re wandering the city.