11 TOP REASONS TO VISIT PORTUGAL

Stunning beaches, crystal blue water, world class architecture, great wine and food, friendly people and affordability – if that sounds like a perfect vacation, I have a place for you to visit – Portugal! Not many countries can offer all of this, and more, in one package and without breaking your budget. Portugal’s weather just puts an additional glow on the country’s perfect mixture of attractions. Read on to discover 11 top reasons to visit Portugal.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Stunning Algarve shines year around.
Stunning Algarve shines year around.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal

1. Portuguese tiles – azulejos

2. Diversity of attractions

3. Portugal’s weather

4. Affordability

5. Port wine

6. Fado –  the soul of Portuguese music

7. Portuguese food

8. Portuguese architecture

9. Ease to reach and navigate

10. High standard of living and services

11. Low crime rate

I traveled to Portugal twice so far. My first trip was a 24 hour stopover in Lisbon. I was sold on the spot. I fell in love with its colorful tiled houses, outdoor cafes, fado music and the city’s local vibe despite being a popular tourist destination. My second trip was a week long and I was happy to discover that the whole country is lively, colorful, and one of a kind, just like Lisbon. Every day of my visit brought something new and fascinating. So what am I so excited about? These are my top 11 reasons to visit Portugal.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Colorful tiles everywhere!
Yvonne in tile heaven!

1. Portuguese tiles – azulejos

When I think about Portugal, tiles immediately come to mind. They are the soul of the country. Azulejo is a form of painted tin glazed ceramic tilework. You will find them in the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses, schools, restaurants, bars and even railway or subway stations.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Stunning tile facade in Lisbon.
Stunning tile facade in Lisbon.

Traditionally they are blue and white, but other colors can often be seen. They are not only used as an ornamental art form, but also to control temperature in Portuguese homes. They make the country cheerful and inviting.

2.  Diversity of attractions

One of the most important reasons to visit Portugal is that it offers a huge variety of attractions. You will find there calm sandy beaches, waves for surfing, dramatics cliffs, wineries, centuries old history and culture, stunning architecture, and a fado scene for music lover. Check my One Week Itinerary in Portugal to learn in more details what the country has to offer.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Did you know that Portugal has its own little Venice called Aveiro?
Did you know that Portugal has its own little Venice called Aveiro?

Venture out off the beaten path and discover little towns and villages bursting with character and colors. Meet the  locals at the corner cafes and just smile to them. They will return your smile for sure or even better talk to them if possible.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. How cool is that when your gondola ride ends up with a little local dance?
How cool is that when your gondola ride ends up with a little local dance?

3. Portugal’s weather

Majority of travelers picture their holidays in sunny and warm places. Portugal can definitely deliver on that.  With plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures all year round, it is one of the warmest European countries. Summers can be hot, but the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean tend to tamp down the heat.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Follow the sunshine to beautiful Algarve.
Follow the sunshine to beautiful Algarve.

The western parts of the country have a more maritime climate with cooler, dry summers. The southern region, stunning Algarve, had more Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild winter. Outdoor cafes were open there when I visited in December! Expats have been moving to the Algarve for decades for the abundance of sunshine, the top-class seafood. and the slower pace of life.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Pena Palace gardens in December - still green and blooming.
Pena Palace gardens in December – still green and blooming.

4. Affordability

Other then its attractiveness, the most important reasons to visit Portugal is its affordability. You will definitely get your money worth there. I am talking about hotels, food, attractions, transportation etc. If you travel off season, like I did, you can rent a beautifully remodeled apartment in a center of Lisbon’s famous old districts Alfama for less than $60 per night. Two room apartment with a sea view in Albufeira in beautiful Algarve will cost your under $30 per night.

11 Reasons to Visit Portugal. Because of its beauty and price, Portuguese pottery will make you smile.
Because of its beauty and price, Portuguese pottery will make you smile.

A delicious dinner with appetizers, drinks and deserts will cost about $40 for two, that is less than a half of what you pay in the USA for a similar meal. You can park your car by the Portugal’s most popular attractions for less than a dollar per hour versus $20 and up in major US cities. Portugal remains on of the most inexpensive countries in Europe for visitors and expats alike.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. These souvenirs I bought in Portugal, a beautiful trivet and a huge spoon rest, costs together around $10.
These souvenirs I bought in Portugal, a beautiful trivet and a large spoon rest – costs together around $10. You can buy gorgeous high quality things all over the country.

5. Port wine

Ok, this when it becomes personal, I love port!

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Indulge yourself in Portuguese deliciousness - port wine.
One word for that: delicious!

Port wine is as Portuguese as it could be. Made for centuries in the rugged region of northwest Portugal’s Douro Valley, it is a fortified wine, which means blended with a small amount of a distilled spirit, usually brandy. It’s rather sweet and comes in a variety of styles. Its name ”port” comes from the coastal city of Porto, strategically located at the mouth of the Douro River. This where for centuries, merchant ships loaded with casks of Port began their journey up the coastline to England.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Do not miss this cultural experience - port tasting.
I found a perfect shelter for a rainy day in Porto. Do not miss this cultural experience – port tasting.

6. Fado –  the soul of Portuguese music

Fado, translated as destiny or fate, is a soul of Portuguese music. It can be traced from the 1820s. The mournful tunes originate from the sorrow felt due to the separation of dangerous Portuguese sea voyages around the globe. Fado has its historical roots within the district of Alfama in Lisbon where the families of sailors lived. The best Fado restaurants and venues are still located within this district. This also where you will find Fado Museum. 

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. This is the heart and soul of Lisbon and fado music - full of charm district of Alfama.
This is the heart and soul of Lisbon and fado music – full of charm district of Alfama.

I attended a fado show during my first visit in Portugal. It was not only a music to my years but also a culinary delight. Watch this excellent movie about Fado, with actual performances, and narrative about Fado’s roots and its meaning to people of Portugal.

7. Portuguese food

For foodies, one of the most important reasons to visit Portugal would be its delicious and fresh food. With strong Mediterranean influence, the country is famous for seafood. It also reflects its colonial past with wide variety of spices. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine, which is used both for cooking and flavouring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs, such as bay leaf and parsley. Here are top Portuguese dishes you should try.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Because of Portugal's affordability, eating out every day was not a problem.
Because of Portugal’s affordability, eating out every day was not a problem. I tried many different dishes and loved them all.

I did not have a bad meal during my week visit to Portugal. Everything was delicious and fresh, and… did I mention cheap?! Eating in Portula is not just about taking care of your hunger, it is an experience.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Introducing another superb dish, a duck in a port reduction. Not only delicious but price at about $15!
Introducing a superb Portuguese dish, a duck in a port reduction. Not only delicious but priced at about $15!

8.  Portuguese architecture

Portugal has 22 sites classified as World Heritage, including monuments, historic city centres, landscapes and intangible heritage. Prior to Sintra’s classification, there was no such category as Cultural Landscape. Unesco created it specifically for this area where the mountains and nature park are dotted with palaces and farms bursting with history and culture. So pleasing to the eyes, it feels like a fairy tale land, straight from the children’s books.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Pena Palace should not be missed.
I put colorful Pena Palace on the top of man made attractions to see in Portugal.

Castles in Portugal were crucial components of the military throughout its history. The Portuguese learned the art of building fortifications from the Romans and the Moors. Today these structures add to the charm of the country: The Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Portugal. 

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Charming architecture of Rossio Square in Lisbon.
Oh, how I love fountains! Rossio Square in Lisbon.

Learn more: The Best Examples of Architecture in Lisbon and Portugal

9. Ease to reach and navigate

If you think of reasons to visit Portugal, you should know that reaching the country is very easy. Many major airlines fly to Lisbon and Porto. It is not a large country so you can get almost everywhere from other parts of Europe by car, train, or bus. Regional trains are often cheaper and some lines very scenic, but it’s almost always quicker to go by bus – especially on shorter or less obvious routes. Still, driving is the best way to explore Portugal and its little off the beaten path corners. Roads are well kept and do not get as congested as in other parts of Europe.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Lisbon. Monument of the Discoveries in Lisbon. Portugal's geographical location allowed the explores to travel the world. For the same reason today's travelers can reach the country with ease.
Monument of the Discoveries in Lisbon. Portugal’s geographical location allowed the explorers to travel the world. For the same reason today’s travelers can reach the country with ease.

10. High standard of living and services

Portugal is a developed country with a high income, advanced economy and a high living standard. The Portuguese healthcare system incorporates both public and private healthcare services and the standard of Portugal’s healthcare is high.

If you love stunning scenery, colorful architecture, soulful music and port wine, Portugal is your destination. #reasonstovistiportugal #portugal

The country also ranks highly in every indicator under the tourist service infrastructure category, and especially in ATMs, car rental companies and quality of tourism infrastructure. Additionally, it has high scores in other tourism categories, including safety and security and international openness, making the country an all-around comfortable place to visit.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. A charming mixture of old and new.
Old and new and a cat! Streets of Lisbon.

11. Low crime rate

Portugal is a very tolerant and religiously and politically united, which contributes to the fact that it boasts one of the world’s lowest crime rates. It is one the most peaceful countries in the world. Low cost of living, transparent tax rules, climate and friendly people makes Portugal a great place to live. Violent crime occurs very rarely, however, small crime like pickpocketing do exists in large cities like Lisbon and Porto. Despite the fact that Portugal is a generally safe, travelers should exercise appropriate care and commons sense.

11 Top Reasons to Visit Portugal. Christ the King in Lisbon. The giant statue was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II.
Christ the King in Lisbon. The giant statue was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II.

If you looking for a completely different but also captivating European experience, check out 10 Top Reasons to Visit Iceland.  

 

 

 

 

 

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