Portugal has something for everyone. Fans of history, tastings for wine lovers, tourists looking for relaxation, surfers, marine enthusiasts...and the list goes on. It is a country that has dramatically impacted the world and continues to leave a mark on all who visit. This southern European country, roughly the size of Indiana, certainly doesn't lack natural or architectural beauty. There's a never-ending number of things to do and see.
So, where should you even begin?
Here are some top recommendations for visiting this magnificent nation for your first time.
What places should I check out?
As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is full of vibrant culture, historical sights, and friendly natives. Also, Lisbon is an ideal place in the nation to delight in authentic Portuguese cuisine and enjoy live entertainment. Lisbon is known for its traditional Fado performances. Don't miss out on an opportunity to listen to some of the best Portuguese folk music!
As you enter the grand doors of the church, you'll immediately notice all of its architectural details and picturesque 16th Century stained glass windows. It's one of the most phenomenal Gothic churches in all of Europe. Due to its significance, the church preserve is a World Heritage Monument.
The Abbey of Santa Maria
As Europe's most significant building of the Cistercian order, wander through this historical site for hours if you wish. There is a lot to see, including a monastery, seven dormitories, the library, the kitchen, and the church.
The coastline of Portugal provides some of the most stunning beaches you'll ever see. Don't shy away. Take a break from your explorations to relax on the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream shorelines. Some of the most popular beaches are in the Algarve region, Sagres, Aveiro, and the Praia da Adraga.
What are some of the most popular dishes and foods?
Arroz de Cabidela
It might seem daunting once you know what this dish derives from, but this chicken blood rice is a native favorite in Portugal. You can also get this dish made with rabbit and rabbit blood.
This delightful lunch includes sausage, typically prepared with french fries and fried eggs.
Bacalhau A Bras
Cod is shredded, sauteed to perfection, and served with onion, straw fried potatoes, eggs, parsley, and garlic.
As an authentic Portuguese dessert, this dish is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. This creamy rice pudding is topped with cinnamon and caramel custard to add to the burst of flavor.
On a chilly night, treat yourself to this fantastic soup. It's merely potato, onions, and shredded kale, cooked in garlic and olive oil, and yet it certainly doesn't lack in flavor!
Pastel de nata
Originating in Lisbon, this custard tart is an indigenous staple, and you certainly can't leave the country without giving it a try. Allow us to introduce you to the Portuguese Tart. Locally they are called pastel de Nata, tiny eggs and custard tarts found around every corner in Portugal. In Lisbon, heading to Belem to try their own Pastéis de Belem is a must.
Now that you have some of our top tips for your first trip to Portugal let's start planning your stay! You'll be amazed by the nation's delicious food options and breathtaking sights!