Portugal – by Elaine Marie Debono

First of all I would like to thank Samantha for giving me this opportunity to produce this write-up.

Samantha and I do not know each other, but apart from sharing the same surname (we’re in no way related), we share a common disease: the Travel Bug. I came across Samantha’s travel blog a couple of months ago and started following it ever since. We often share travelling things, or simply exchange a “Like” on any travel related post, which happens often on our Facebook or Instagram account. I asked Samantha if I could share my Portugal experience, and she said YES.. so here goes..

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After coming over pictures of the Benagil Cave a number of times, I was curious enough to google the exact geographical location. Portugal, right in the south of Portugal, on the Atlantic ocean. Seemed to be impossible to reach – until I came across Vueling Airlines, which offer connecting flights (through Barcelona) to various destinations in Portugal, including Faro, the airport closest to the Benagil Cave. Whilst I was reading about Portugal and its beautiful Algarve region, I came across a beautiful picture of Lisbon and so I decided, 4 days in Lisbon; 4 days in the Algarve.

We paid a total of approximately Eur 250 each for the round trip, which is relatively good considering this was in the peak season of July and that there is a connecting flight involved.

Lisbon

We arrived in Lisbon at around 8am after a whole night spent airborne including some waiting time at the Airport. Our hotel was bang in the centre of Lisbon, with an underground stop just 30 seconds away. So upon arriving we immediately got the underground, which pretty efficient and very easy to use. Our hotel was Hotel Borges Chiado, located in Chiado District. A lively place full of shops and bars. The hotel itself was only around 10 mins away from the famous Rua Augusta which road leads to the splendid Praça do Comércio, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

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What to see in Lisbon

Torre de Belém & Belém District

Belém is a pretty district of parks and monuments that follows the banks of the River Tagus. From the harbour that once lined the water’s edge departed a number of voyages of discovery.

Torre de Belém an old fortified tower in the district carrying the same name. This is, I think, my favourite spot in Lisbon. I highly recommend you go late afternoon as in the morning it’s completely impossible to take a decent picture with the amount of visitors. Plus your pictures will come out better with the beautiful colours of the Portuguese sunset. A short walk away one can also see the Jerónimos Monastery and for the ones with a sweet tooth, please do not leave Lisbon without trying the Pastéis de Nata from Pastéis de Belém.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

This a viewing point where you can get a beautiful panoramic view of Lisbon. Also a great spot for beautiful pictures.

São Jorge Castle

Located in the Alfama District. Alfama is much an opposite from Baixa as possible. Alfama was once the home to the poor of Lisbon and today the maze of narrow streets which give a certain charm to this district, which lead to the Castle itself. For those not to keen on walking all the way up the hill, you can save some time and catch the Tram, which in itself is such a sweet experience.

Venturing out of Lisbon

The cool thing about taking a day out of Lisbon is that you have to catch a train from the beautiful Rossio Station – Rossio Square is beautiful. We missed the first train to stop taking some pictures there.

Cabo De Roca

The most western part of Europe. Windy but sincerely, one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Gave me goose bumps just thinking about the fact that right in front my eyes laid the Atlantic Ocean, after that there was the US. Super Mega Windy Place – look at my hair!

Sintra

Sintra is a mesmerizing village just outside Lisbon. You can get their by train. The ride is a little less than 60 minutes in total. This village is home town to a number of charming castles. From the train station you just walk a few steps to take a bus which connects the train station to the beautiful castles.

Cascais (read as Qashqai)

Once again, just a 1 hour train ride away from Lisbon, you can find this beautiful coastal resort with plenty of restaurants and a small beach. This place is not very far off from Sintra and Cabo De Rocha so you actually combine it with either of them.

 

Moving towards Algarve Coast!

Lisbon, is really enchanting to say the least. But after 4 days in this splendor of a city, I had the first beach holiday in my life. Despite travelling for a number of times a year, I was always very spectical about a Beach Holiday. But I decided it was time to give it a shot! The Algarve region is 4 hours away from Lisbon by bus – https://www.rede-expressos.pt/ costing Eur 20 per person.

Based in Lagos, we stayed in this modern, simple yet so central and comfortable apartment right in the centre of the village, Inn Seventies. Breakfast is served on the top floor, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean which in the evening turns into a club. Lagos itself is very simple, the centre is very sweet and much quieter than the Albufiera, very popular for clubbing. The thing about Lagos is that the number of beautiful beaches that there are is simply impressive.

Beaches of Lagos – Reachable on foot, bus or taxi (super super cheap!)

Praia do Camilo
Praia Dona Ana (my fave!!)

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Praia do Pinhão

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Praia de Porto de Mós

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Farol da Ponta da Piedade

The Algarve is beautiful, possibly one of the most beautiful coasts I will ever see in the whole life –  approximately 155 kilometres. Making it impossible to visit in just four days (will have to return one day). But the highlight thereof is of course the world know Benagil Cave.

Visiting the Benagil Cave

It is highly recommended that if you want to reach the Benagil Beach with ease you do rent a car however doable even without one. You just need patience J – Bus from Lagos to Lagoa, then taxi from Lagoa to Praia de Benagil. From the Praia de Benagil you can find take a boat tour to the world-famous Benagil Cave. I booked this tour a couple of weeks before departure date – https://tarugatoursbenagilcaves.pt/

Visiting the Benagil Cave is one of those memories which I will carry in my heart forever. The smile is the pictures below says it all.

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