Here I would like to tell you a few my general impressions on Portugal. Portugal is like other countries of Europe in the rhythm of life and relationships. People has the same approach to the rules and laws and in social life. But people here love espresso, the football game on TV, and even the elderly watch the world go by outside the bar.
Portugal is not easy to appreciate. At first glance, it is not overwhelming. It is not a Venice, it has no Louvre, it doesn't have a Great Wall of China, or it has no Machu Picchu. But when I went out from the Porto subway and I saw for the first time I missed my breath. The long, narrow houses studded with gleaming tiles. There are wrought iron balconies at each window. The narrow and cobbled roads always go uphill or downhill. It is a place to see and breathe.
To visit Portugal for a week is enough and if you want to take it easy at most two. While I enjoyed it one week was enough. But I'm very glad that I went and had breathed that air that is only in Portugal. Do not trust the books set in Portugal. I had imagined a different Portugal that is more romantic, refined and intriguing.
I imagined a mystic and melancholic Lisbon, that is passionate and a little decadent. It is not so. This discrepancy in expectations and reality has left me a bit bitter taste in the mouth. It was like seeing the film after reading the book, only it was the reality.
Portugal is not a too expensive country. I knew it was much cheaper. In general, the prices are not too high, but it is at the expense of quality. A hotel can cost 20 € per night per person. In Spain, for that amount, we can stay in beautiful places. Lisbon is less expensive than the other cities of Portugal. For example, all the Algarve towns have very high prices. Even at the hotel reception, most do not know a word of English.
The best way to see Portugal is in the car. Transport is sparse. We took a bus from Faro to Seville. The car is the best way that gives freedom and privacy. It allows you to reach places that are not connected by public transport. The only well-organized area is around Lisbon. We were four and dividing the hire, petrol and tolls we were able to spend less.
Up to Lisbon in the evening, it was chilly. Going down to the Algarve, it became warmer but was still very bearable. In Andalusia, there was the feeling of sickness from the heat instead. In Portugal, the weather was fine and perfect.
The Vicentina Coast in the western side of the coast of the Algarve region is the most touristic area. Starting from the north, Costa Vicentina begins in the small village of Odeceixe. It also has a beautiful beach. Continuing to the south the first beach not to miss is the Praia da Amoreira, before the village of Aljezur. It is a beautiful beach, with a small river that flows into inlets.
The sea, as in all the Atlantic coast, is often violent, and you have to be cautious. Here we are in Cesenatico, and the force of the waves and currents inspired due respect. The sea is an unforgettable experience. Relaxing in the sun on these beaches will be of great pleasure. The nearby village of Aljezur, of Arab origin, is small and attractive. In its market, you can buy excellent fish that is affordable, and its castle is worth a walk.
Leaving Aljezur, after a few kilometers turn right towards Monte Clerigo beach. with a landscape that seems unreal and very special, and the Arrifana beach with the sand shell is a rare beauty. As in all the beaches of Portugal, the best moments are those during the low tide. The difference between high and low tide in the sea level match the beach at your disposal. This a few hours before was hiding under water.
Arrifana is excellent for surfing. A little further south is an endless beach that is perfect for walking lonely. It is the Bordeira beach, another jewel of the Costa Vicentina. A little further south, await two other very nice beaches. They get connected to each other in the low tide with the Cordoama beach. Castelejo is accessible from the village of Vila do Bispo.
The town is famous for its crustaceans. These parts serve them warm, after a quick boil in salted water. They get served together with buttered toast and chilled Draught beer. This trip ends with a visit to Cabo of S. Vicente, on rocky outcrops. Here we see fishermen in unlikely situations or in the small Beliche Beach. Sagres was a marvel accessible from the local road, with long stairs.
I would not put Portugal among the most recommended European destinations. But you should see and live once. I was lucky because I've lived with the extraordinary fellow travelers. They have made me appreciate even more. For every place in Portugal, I have a happy memory. I got attracted by the melody that was completely new for me and the Portuguese language.
I found that the Portuguese language is completely different from the Spanish language. And every time I happened to say a few words in Spanish, my guide picked me that it is not Portuguese.
In three days I attended the Noite Branca (White Night) in Braga. An event during which the city gets colored and filled with streams of people. The music is the backdrop to the streets of downtown. Music is the undisputed star.
The most beautiful scene of the event was when a host of guys chased the tram. My puzzled expression turned into excitement when I realized the reason for the mad rush. A famous Portuguese singer and the host of the event was performing on the tram.
Portugal is chock full of little, beautiful and colorful doors. I admit. Together with the riot of colors of the tiles. And then the adventure. The wilderness was lush and rebellious with towering waterfalls. The amazing rivers and animals block the move while we get on board of a jeep while we enter into the forest.
In Portugal lurks a wild heart. And you have to pay attention to every detail with the tight bends and dirt roads. You have to surrender to the beauty of nature. I did not expect to find all this green here. Led by an SUV in this enchanted landscape, it was like a fairy tale.
The Peneda-Geres National Park is the only National Park in Portugal, in the north of the country. It is a wild oasis and a true haven in which we find serenity among impressive waterfalls. Ancient Roman roads and gigantic boulders that make the landscape surreal. With the dense fog, we sometimes visualize the locations of the fantasy film.
The food is divine in Portugal. It caresses the palate but seduces us. In Lisbon, we dined very well. I loved the desserts, especially the set of typical tastes and Portugal are Petiscos. But it is not like the tapas of Spain. Last but not least was the wine. The wine may already be a good excuse to not leave Portugal. The Port and the surrounding area, in particular, is full of restaurants. Here you can enjoy the gastronomic experience and taste local wines.
My favorite was the Tawny wine, with an amber color, sweet taste, and rich aromas.