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Published On: Wed, Jun 13th, 2018

Portugal Travel Guide for First Timers

Portugal is a country world famous for its rugged coastline and great beaches. The cosmopolitan city is architecturally stunning as well as boasts of incredible weather. What makes it a perfect holiday spot are the captivating cities, cobblestone villages and medieval castles. The Portugal experience is a lot more than its art, architecture, and history. It is also about the idyllic scenery, great food and lots of wine. What adds to the holiday fun are the low prices! The food is delicious, people are friendly, and the weather is always fantastic. What more could one ask for?

photo/ Nuno Lopes

Moving around in Portugal
Portugal is only about 350 miles long from the northernmost border to the south. Thus it is not too big, and that makes it easy to traverse. Airport transfers in Portugal make the travel even better and more comfortable. Thanks to well-maintained roads, the major cities are well connected. One can take advantage of those taxis to not just reach their hotel or resort but can explore the cities as well as smaller towns and villages. It is a relatively easy country to drive. Take advantage of the rental cars at major airports, and they are indeed a good deal. Not only are they safe and reliable, but you will be driven around by experienced and licensed drivers.

The typical costs
In Portugal, the accommodation is affordable, and the private rooms in hostels are the cheapest. You can enjoy light meals and sandwiches at local bakeries for meager costs. You can even shop for your groceries and cook your own meals to bring the costs down. Cycling is popular around the country, and none can take advantage of bike rentals. However, activities can be expensive, but visits to the Museums and UNESCO sites are cheaper. You can easily survive on a daily budget of about 40 Euros assuming you’re staying at cheaper places and eating out at cheaper restaurants.

photo/ Birgit

What to do, see and taste
There is plenty to do and see in Portugal. Evora, a World Heritage site, is made of an array of historic buildings. The Temple of Diana is the most famous landmark here. Another interesting site is the religious monuments in Braga and the Abbey of Santa Maria. Make a visit to Sintra known for wonderful views, palaces and museum collections. Lose yourself in Coimbra, which is home to the world’s ninth-oldest campus.

Head towards Aveiro that offers good opportunities for windsurfing and surfing. Do not leave Portugal without attending a Fado performance that will give you a good sense of the country’s musical culture. Check out Faro which is the starting point for different tours of the Algarve region. Stand at the edge of Europe at Cape Sagres which is the southwestern point of the European continent.

You must taste the delicious custard-filled tarts, Pastéis de nata, which are a Portuguese staple. Sopa da Pedra is an excellent soup while Piri Piri Chicken is a fantastic roast chicken that must be tried. Other favorites include Terylene Sandwich, Bacalhau, and Portuguese Rice. Also, you must taste the Chocolate and Lemon Eclairs and the Cheese & Charcuterie Plates while in Portugal.

Author: Wahab Sheikh

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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