TRAVEL GUIDE TO PORTUGAL by Eva D.
Eva D. is an Global Explorer, Fellow Foodie and Art Aficionado and loves music, wellness and yoga :) She likes to be out and about and can't really sit still for too long. She'd definitely compromise sleep to see even more of a new place! If you recognise yourself in that description, Eva's travel diary will help you decide where to stay, eat, hang out, and play.
I tend to underestimate what Europe has to offer in terms of beaches, food and good vibes. What this means is every now and then, I get completely blown away... like I did on my recent trip around Portugal.
I started off with a weekend in Lisbon on Costa da Caparica across the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge, which houses the nicest beaches and beach clubs in the area. Hit up Yamba or Bohemian Beach Club for a day on the beach, a night on the beach or yoga on the beach on weekends. Beware there can be quite some traffic back into town and taxis can be hard to get, especially in the hours between when the sun has gone down and before it has gone up again.
In Lisbon, I recommend staying in Bairro Alto, Chiado or Alfama -- all very hip but also hilly neighbourhoods. Lisbon in general is not the place to get your heels out, and neither your flip flops as a matter of fact, since the cobblestones can be very slippery. And while electro-scooters and bikes have made an appearance here, I would recommend walking, taxis (dirt cheap) or taking one of the much-photographed trams (tram 28 covers quite a scenic route of Lisbon, or check out the Hills Tramcar Tour). There are lots of great Airbnbs out there, alternatively check out Dear Lisbon Gallery House.
For great food in a great ambience, go to any José Avillez restaurant. And there are plenty, for different occasions, wallets and pallets: At Bairro do Avillez, you will find a Taberna, an indoors Páteo, and a cabaret. Cafe Lisboa has both a stylish indoors and outdoors area. Cantina Peruana caters to those loving South American flavours, Casa dos Prazeres to those who like Asian cuisine, and Pizzeria Lisboa is for the Italian fans. If you just want to drink and nibble, make your way to Mini Bar.
Other great places to visit when hungry or thirsty are Dear Breakfast, which usually has a queue; Prado, which has a coffee shop and a restaurant; and Memmo Alfama, which has a great rooftop bar & pool. For Pastéis de natas, either hit the original Pastéis de Belém in Belém (where the first natas were ever sold in 1837), or Manteigaria in Chiado.
Great souvenirs to bring back from Lisbon are olive oil (e.g. from D’Olival), ceramics (e.g. from Ceramicas Na Linha), Tiles (e.g. from Surrealojos) or anything from Sal. Ladies: check out Bernado, ali-jo and the market along Praça do Príncipe Real.
Next up: The Algarve. Leave Lisbon early morning, aim to arrive at the lighthouse by Cabo de Sao Vincente past Sagres before sunset, and stop at a couple of beaches along the way - ideally even stay somewhere overnight. The choice is tough, and I won’t make it for you: Look up Praia da Arrifana, Praia do Monte Clerigo, Praia da Amoreira, Praia do Amado and Carrapateira, and take your pick. After the sun has set, continue to Lagos and have the grilled catch of the day, Arroz de Marisco or Shrimp Cataplana at Casa da Prego or Restaurante Reis.
Next on the list are those spots the Algarve is so famously known for: the fascinating cliffs, coves and caves - with sometimes ever so tiny strips of sand in between them. Again, I won’t spare you the choice, but I’ll give you my shortlist: Praio do Camilo, Ponta de Piedade, Praia dos Três Irmãos, Praia Caniço, Praia do RF, Praia do Submarino and Praio dos Caneiros. Try to avoid the touristy area around Praia da Rocha - if you happen to find yourself there though, ring at the gates of the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa and ask for a Spicy Mezcal Margarita.
Last stop: Comporta. According to Condé Nast Traveler “people come here because it reminds them of St-Tropez in the ’70s or Ibiza in the ’80s, or the Hamptons in the ’90s.” I can’t vouch for any of this, but can definitely recommend the place to unwind and relax, especially if you go outside of the main holiday months of July and August. Note though that after September 15, a lot of restaurants and activities are closed.
With over 60km of untouched beaches the options are many: There is Comporta Beach, home to Comporta Cafe and Ilha do Arroz; Pego Beach, home to Sal; and Carvalhal Beach, home to O Dinis. If you are tired of lying around, you can also enjoy the beach views from the back of a horse on private Praia da Torre. Last but not least, there is the more rustic Praia Galé-Fontainhas, which is where the vast, sandy and peaceful beaches of Comporta meet the wild cliffs and coves of the Algarve. It is a very impressive and picturesque combo, and probably a lot of people’s paradise - and even more so if you surf. Check out Dreamsea Surf Camp for details. If you just head over here for a day, come after lunch or pack your own as there is only no-frills beach bar, and a volleyball net.
If you want to move, you can go for long walks or runs around the rice paddies or watch fishermen depart at Cais Palafítico da Carrasqueira - in fact, most of the area around Comporta is a natural reserve and you could spend hours roaming around. And of course there is yoga - check out Comporta Yoga Shala or Raiz Yoga & Therapies. Alternatively, contact Sublime or Quinta Comporta for their weekly class schedules - and consider spending the rest of the day at their spas or restaurants - bliss!
If for dinner you feel like delicious Portuguese cuisine in a traditional setting, head to Sao Joao. If on the other hand you feel like getting elaborate tapas and sophisticated cocktails in old horse stables or an old rice factory, make your way to Cavalcaria or Museu do Arroz respectively.
Voilà! If you have any questions, find me on the ICBRKR app and connect! Safe travels, ICBRKRs!
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