Traveling: Unlocking Portugal


    I finally made it to the amazing country of Portugal!

    I am not going to mention that it was on my since list forever, because the whole globe is, but I do want to mention that Portugal has been postponed a few times for me due to other events. But this year, no more!

    My trip was divided between Lisbon for 5 days and Algarve for 3 days. Since Portugal has an amazing transport system, we rented a car only to go to the south and used public transport and organized tours in Lisbon.

    Even if at first it looked like it was going to be easy to fit 2 places in the same week, in the end, we realized that a few more days would have been ideal to get some rest. 

    Lisbon Area 

    Our trips started in Budapest, but that is for another story (incoming) and we took the direct flight from there to Lisbon. Given the whole flight cancellation issue, we decided not to risk a stopover, so we went by car and then plane.

    From the airport, you can either take the metro (that has a station there) or an Uber. Given the Uber was only 6 euros, we ended up taking it. We realized that the metro station was right in front of our hotel the day after. 

    Getting around Lisbon with public transport is very easy, also the same cards that work for the metro and bus, work for the famous 28 Tram(the historic line) or the funicular. One trip with the metro is around 1.66 euros and you will need to buy a card (1 euro) to add credit to.  

    A few of our favorite places in Lisbon were the Pink/Umbrella Street, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (where you can see the city), Belem Tower (I would suggest seeing it from the outside since there isn’t much to do inside) and the viewpoint for the bridge. Getting on the Tram is worth it, but it is also going to consume a lot of your time because of the waiting in line. Tickets can be taken from the driver (3 euros) or you can use a public transport card.

    For us the best way to explore the city was just walking around, there are so many parks, old buildings, and traditional restaurants that make the experience a great one.

    One of the most popular attractions near Lisbon is the Sintra and Pena Castle. I do recommend you pick a tour since it’s nice to have someone explain and give you the historical details. In the tour, the Cabo Roca is usually included (the most western part of Europe).

    There is a combination of other castles and cities, but when we booked the tour we chose to see Cascais instead of Quinta de la Regaleira. Do not make mistakes!

    We ended up going there with the car and it was a bit of an adventure due to the limited parking space. Yet if you are here, don’t miss out on probably the most beautiful park in Europe.

    Algarve Area

    After 4 nights in the heart of the country, we took our rental car (Fiat 500 😀) and drove for 3h south to the Algarve area. We booked accommodation in Albufeira, 5 minute's walk from the city center. We were lucky enough to even have a sea view room with an adorable balcony to enjoy one of the most beautiful areas in Europe.

    The weather was not on our side for going to the beach, but we were able to at least see them. Apart from the famous Bengali Caves that you will see on all the posters/tours everywhere, I do recommend Dona Ana and Camilo Beach.

    We went to the viewpoint (don’t miss it) and we walked around the coast to see the beaches from above. You can even rent a bike to save some time and maybe a sunburn ➕.

    The landscape of the area is unique and if you find yourself here, make sure to think about safety before “pictures”. Many tourists ignore the signs and end up falling from the rocks while taking pictures.

    Of course, I will mention the Bengali Caves and Beach, this is for sure something that needs to be experimented with. On our last day the sea was finally calm enough to go (there were still medium size waves), unfortunately, due to time constraints we only booked the express tour and we didn’t go out of the boat in the cave. If the sea is calm (but only then) I do recommend getting a kayak.

    On the day that we were there, to me it looked a bit dangerous to go on it, but then I am afraid of waves. For us, the experience was amazing, especially since we almost missed it.

    Overall Costs 

    In my mind, Portugal was always a pricey place, but getting there I realized that it’s actually decent, I could compare it to Italy. You can find food and accommodation for every budget, so I would say it’s actually way cheaper than I had anticipated.

    To do a short breakdown of the costs for 2 persons:

    • Our flight from Budapest roundtrip is ~ 340 euros including one Wizz Priority to have a small carry-on suitcase

    • Accommodation in Lisbon & Algarve - 830 euros for 7 nights

    • Car rental: 400 euros (including gas)

    • Food, public transport, entries and tours, souvenirs and shopping ~ 1500 euros

    We rounded up the total cost at around 3100 euros, but I would say there were a lot of areas where we could have saved if we had better planned the trip.

    Usually, I am very organized with the places that I want to see and do, but this time around we decided we will take it as it is since both of us worked a lot before our trip and we had 0 time to plan it.

    For sure Portugal impressed me and I am already planning on returning in the upcoming years for Faro, Madeira, and Terceira.

    I hope I convinced you to give this amazing place a chance if you haven’t already seen it.

    If you did, what did I miss and I should add to my next visit?

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