Top Tips for Your First Visit to Portugal
This southern European country certainly doesn’t lack natural or architectural beauty. So, it’s no wonder you may have a desire to visit Portugal.
There’s a never-ending number of things to do and see.
So, where should you even begin? Lisbon
As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is full of vibrant culture, historical sights, and friendly natives.
Also, Lisbon is an ideal place in the nation to take delight in authentic Portuguese cuisine and enjoy live entertainment.
Lisbon is known for its traditional Fado performances.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to listen to some of the best Portuguese folk music!
Here are some top recommendations for visiting this magnificent country for your first time.
What places should I check out?
Benagil Cave also referred to as Algar de Benagil, is probably the most famous sea cave in Algarve, Portugal.
You’ll see many beautiful villages and stunning sea caves. The dome is impressive with its colorful rings and a blue opening at the top.
To get to Benagil Cave, you’ll need to either kayak, take a small boat tour, or swim, but beware, the ocean is rough, and even the best swimmers should take caution
The Batalha Monastery is one of the most phenomenal Gothic churches in Europe.
Due to its significance, the church preserve is protected as a World Heritage Monument.
As you enter the grand doors of the church, you’ll immediately notice all of its architectural details and picturesque 16th Century stained glass windows.
King João accredited this gothic monastery in gratitude for the 1385 victory in the battle of Aljubarrota, and the grand designs took over a hundred years to construct. The leading portal has myriad carved arches and magnificent stone statues covering most of the western wall. The lower figures represent the Apostles, above them are angels, and at the pinnacle is a statue of Christ.
You can visit the main church for free and revel in its high vaulted ceilings and original stained glass windows. However, you must attend the paid sections to experience the real magic of the monastery.
The Abbey of Santa Maria
As Europe’s most significant building of the Cistercian order, wander through this historical site for hours if you wish.
There certainly is a lot to see, including a monastery, seven dormitories, the library, the kitchen, and the church.
The coastline of Portugal provides some of the most stunning beaches you’ll ever see.
Don’t shy away; take a break from your explorations to relax on the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream shorelines.
Some of the most popular beaches are in the Algarve region, Sagres, Aveiro, and the Praia da Adraga.
What are some of the most popular dishes and foods?
Pastel de nata
Originating in Lisbon, this custard tart is an indigenous staple, and you certainly can’t leave the country without giving it a try.
Monks and nuns originally baked many of Portugal’s best cakes. Pastel de Nata’s original recipe came from the Jerónimos Monastery monks in Belem, Lisbon. In 1834, when the monastery closed, the formula was sold to the eventual owners of the Fábricade Pastéis de Belém, which opened in 1837. Pastel de Nata looks like a cross between a custard tart and a cake. The outside is crispy and flaky, while the inside is creamy and sweet. To order this in Lisbon, request “u pastel de nata.” However, other regions call it different names.
Arroz de Cabidela
It might seem daunting once you know what this dish derives from, but this chicken blood rice is a native favorite in Portugal.
You can also get this dish made with rabbit and rabbit blood.
This delightful lunch includes sausage, typically prepared with french fries and fried eggs.
Bacalhau A Bras
Cod is shredded, sauteed to perfection, and served with onion, straw fried potatoes, eggs, parsley, and garlic.
On a chilly night, treat yourself to this fantastic soup.
It’s merely potato, onions, and shredded kale, cooked in garlic and olive oil, and yet it certainly doesn’t lack in flavor!
Now that you have some of our top tips for your first trip to Portugal let’s start planning your stay!