Summer. That time of the year that seems to be everyone’s favorite. But what would summer be without a beach? For me, a summer without a beach would not be a real summer, so i decided to fly to Portugal. Together with my best friend we first discovered the Algarve Coast and afterwards we were visiting the capital city of Portugal: Lisbon.
I am enchanted by this country. Portugal has so many beautiful sites. It was for sure not the last visit in this beautiful country.
But what can you expect of Portugal?
Language: The Portuguese language is practically universal in Portugal, in addition the people understand English pretty good. We never had any communication problems.
Currency: Euro for sure ;).
Climate: The temperate Algarve climate and the warm weather of the Algarve are the most attractive points for tourists. All year around the Algarve has one of the best climates in Europe.
In Lisbon the climate is Mediterranean, with mild and rainy winters and warm and sunny summers. Sadly we had some foggy days in Lisbon, which is not usual for August.
Traffic: For sure Portugal offers you the possibility to travel from city to city with busses. But the bus connection are not always the best and some places are hard to visit by bus. For visiting the towns along the coast it is better. to rent a car. But you have to be careful because the highway has a mount. However there is a free road parallel to the highway. When renting a car you have to sign a paper to declare if you want to use the highway or not. If you use the highway after all, although you have signed that you will not use it, you have to pay penalties.
Luckily you do not pay for parking! Every parking lot we have been was for free. If someone asks for money for parking, I advise you to park somewhere else.
Food: Portugal’s food is typically hearty and relies on fresh ingredients such as seafood, pork and vegetables. I love Portuguese food and I guarantee you, you will love it too. I will inform you about the dishes that you should definitely try out:
Cataplana de marisco is a seafood stew cooked in a pan and served mostly with rice. The region that traditionally prepares this dish is the Algarve, but I ate it in Lisbon as well. And the dish was definitely as good as at the coast (picture on the left).
Codfish, or bacalhau in Portuguese, is more than simply a traditional dish; there are hundreds of different recipes and versions of this traditional dish. Portugal even has codfish cakes. Absolutely worth to try it out.
Pastel de Nata is Portugal’s most famous cake, and for me Portugal’s best cake as well. It is a cake with vanilla cream and puff pastry. The cake is originally from Lisbon from the Confeitaria Pastéis de Belém, and was invented by monks at Jerónimos Monastery. The Confeitaria Pastéis de Belém is the most popular place to buy pastel de nata (picture on the right).
Pão com chouriço is the Portuguese equivalent of a sausage roll: bread dough is wrapped around chouriço sausage and then baked in the oven. It’s a perfect snack throughout the day, particularly if you are looking for something savoury.
Asparagus bread pudding and squid are very delicious as well. Portugal has so many fabulous dishes! It is also worth it to go for a tapas dinner once!