I always wanted to visit Portugal, always heard the best stories about its weather, its delicious sea food and perfect wine. Having heard this combination I think makes you understand why almost all Europeans visit Portugal many times during the year.
Well am writing this article, to let invite the whole world to visit this amazing small European Country that is on the coastline of the Atlantic.
The country of Sun, great vibes and awesome wine this is what Portugal is. So if you are looking for such an escape, Portugal shall be on top of your list!
My small secret!
Now this being said, I will share with you my small secret. Portugal was actually my first Solo trip! Yeah you heard my right I went to Portugal all by myself. And guess what? It turned out to be one of my greatest trips and experiences.
Was it hard? When I was still on the plane waiting to land, I started questioning myself “what am I doing, why going on a trip alone? Trips are not supposed to be shared with friends lovers or family?” but well obviously it was too late to go back now don’t you think? So yeah I was a bit scared but I put it aside and went on with my trip.
And yes! Am gonna be telling you about Portugal along with my solo experience. This way I encourage you to visit this amazing country. And in case it happens that you have no one to accompany you there I will make sure to encourage you to do it on your own. Because the experience is really worth it!
So now, let’s get ready to fly together to Portugal!
In this article I will be sharing with you the whole trip that I did in this country during a week. The cities that I have been to, the experiences that I most liked and as usual some tips and extras just for you.
Here it is prepared especially for you, my SOLO trip in Portugal!
The capital! The busiest city among them all and the one that has to offer a lot. I was surprised by how much Lisbon has to offer. I actually spent 3days there! and yes 3 days are perfect to explore more of the city. Any less than that wont be enough!
The feeling of surprise! This is what Lisbon made me feel. I was surprised of how the city looked like and what it had to offer.
Can it be visited by walk?
You can walk in down town Lisbon, it is a walkable city. I did almost all of it by walking. But keep in mind that there is lots of hills! So you should consider taking the public transportation that will save you some efforts. Oh and enjoy the Vintage trolleys tour.
My Solo experience!
My first Solo experience went out perfectly in Lisbon. At first it felt weird, I felt a bit lost in an strange city alone. But like an hour later I forgot about all this only by walking around in the city. The people are so nice in case you need any advice, The hotel staff was very friendly and helped me in finding some nice spots and must do things in the city!
I won’t be writing about My full experience in Lisbon and all the main things to do there in this article. But Hey don’t worry, it’s not like am ditching you or anything! I will be preparing a full article about Lisbon! In here gonna tell you how to experience the city almost as a local! You know in case you are just passing by Lisbon, and not planning to visit any touristic or main attraction.
Roam the streets of Alfama
Alfama is an impressive neighborhood in Lisbon. Located downhill the San Jorge Castle, it is actually in the heart of the city. Make sure to stroll down its narrow streets and get lost in its hidden ones.
Tip! Go there during daylight for you to enjoy the maximum of it. If you are lucky enough you might attend a nice street show.
And yes! This is what my favorite are of Lisbon “Alfama” looks like!:D
Experience Barrio Alto at Night
While this neighborhood is also popular during daylight, this is where you should go at night. Barrio Alto offers everything, from small bars to traditional restaurants playing Fado music. It’s the right area for your cool drinks and great ambiance.
My experience! I didn’t feel alone and unsafe in Barrio Alto, as a lot of tourists and local were walking down the area. The general ambiance is warm and the people are super friendly If you stop them for any advice or recommendation.
Tip! However, for all the Solo travelers, in Lisbon I recommend that you chose a central hotel location. Walking back late at night to your Hotel might be a bit scary because streets can be empty.
Eat some Pasteis de Nata
So if you are new to the Portuguese specialties, I definitely should introduce this one! The Nata is the delicious Portuguese dessert. You can find them everywhere in all corners of the city. So whenever you feel like having one just ask for it!
What makes it special? There are unique because of their custard made only of milk and extremely crisp puff pastry. Go ahead and have many! Who is counting calories while travelling!
Enjoy the Time out Market
The time out Market wasn’t actually on my list. But I had the chance to know about it from a local who was actually my tour Guide. I asked about a typical local experience at night and he recommended this Market. And guess what? It turned out to be the best advice!
So go there, during the day or at night and enjoy the various food and drinks kiosks. You will be eating very well in a cool & friendly ambiance. You will find a large variety of fresh sea food & wine.
I know what you might ask:” how will I know which is the best?” Don’t worry about that follow your intuition and whatever you chose am sure you wont be disappointed!
My solo experience there!
The nice thing about the Market place is that you choose your food and drink and actually share a table with others. So I wasn’t actually alone I made some couple of English friends just by socializing!
And well this what I had for dinner! We ended up sharing a bottle of great White Wine. This wine comes directly from the Famous Douro valley and is delicious. I also enjoyed a fabulous fresh grilled octopus for like not more than 10 euros! So what are you waiting for??
One the best Towns for a relaxed vacation at the beach. Cascais is the prestigious beach town of Portugal where many celebrities’ have their vacation homes. So as you can notice, Cascais is better to be visited in summer to enjoy its beach! Situated in west of Lisbon, it’s known for its beaches and Marina along with its beautiful old town.
How much time does Cascais need?
As much time as you want for you to relax on the shores of the Atlantic and enjoy those Cocktails & great sea food. I regret that I went there in April and just for a day trip from Lisbon, so don’t do the same mistake!
How to get to Cascais?
Now the most common and convenient way is to take the train that departs Lisbon, from the Cais do Sodre train station Lisbon to Cascais station. The journey takes about 40 to 50 minutes, and the two ways ticket costs €4.50
But if you are going to Cascais not in high season and simply for a day trip, what I recommend is actually a guided Tour! Search for a tour that covers all of Cascais Roca de Cabo & Sintra. Here is a website that might help you: https://www.getyourguide.com/discovery
The old Town
So basically, have a walk in the old town, enjoy a morning coffee in one of its Cafes and why not get some souvenirs. There are many surrounding shops if you care for some shopping and a small mall too. Don’t forget to also check out the small statues and beautiful houses.
The coastal Walk
Make sure to walk along the coastal pedestrian cobbled sidewalk. As you can see it’s a large one and offers a panoramic view to the beaches and the surrounding statues and marvelous structures.
Tip: What I would suggest in case you are just passing by, is to grab that coffee and go on that walk. Also walk along the whole side walk the views are different and are all beautiful.
So now in case you are spending the day or a couple of those. Then consider Cascais in summer! You can go there in May it would be warm enough for tanning and relaxation at the beach. Don’t hesitate to take a swim or sail in the most impressive beaches: Praia da Rainha & Praia da Conceicao.
My Tour experience!
I didn’t want to take a tour there! I actually arrived at Lisbon, with a pre-decision of visiting all surrounding towns on my own. What happened is that there was a train strike and my only option was to buy a guided tour. And that was one day before my day trip.
I was lucky enough to find a spot, And it turned out to be the best experience! I took the small group tour. So the guide picks you up in a private van from precise spots in the city. (You chose in advance your most convenient spot). It was a great experience for me considering the fact that I was travelling Solo. I made some friends, the guide was super friendly and gave us many tips and It was nice to share the daytrip with other travelers.
We actually stopped on our way to Roca de Cabo to catch this beautiful scenery and take those amazing pictures! I still remember the guide saying:” enjoy it guys! And take a lot of those Instagram pictures, those pictures might one day make you famous!”
This was the highlight of the guided tour! I wouldn’t have known about this if I went on this day trip on my own. And this is why I am here to tell you about that secret place!
So, Whatever you wish to do in Cascais, don’t miss out the chance to see this nature wonder located in the seaside cliffs close by Cascais. Don’t hesitate to stop for some great pictures and to buy some of those nice seashell souvenirs. From the local shops around.
Okay you can thank me later! 😀 Now let me convince you to stop there for an iconic view and some amazing pictures!
And in case you are driving there: here is your address: Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália 642, 2750-642 Cascais, Portugal! Now you are all set to check out this gem!
3- Roca de Cabo
At 40KM from the Capital, this is the most Western point in the whole European Continent. It’s name says it all! Cape Roca is a cape that forms the westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain Range. But not only this, the further land point of the whole Eurasian land mass.
” Here where the land ends and the sea begins”. This is what this exceptional spot in Portugal is all about. As is well engraved on a stone in the middle of the spot. Roca de Cabo falls within the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais and forms one of the main points of interest on the available walking trails.
Is it worth the visit?
Although, it’s just a spot, its one of the very few on earth with this importance! So yeah it is specially worth it. One to feel happy to actually be there and two for the breathtaking amazing view over the Atlantic. Which I can assure you that is a one of a kind!
There is also a lighthouse that you can check. But make sure to walk along the coast line for the magnificent views. And hey of course to take a souvenir picture with the Iconic Rock that says it all!
How to get there?
In case you went on your own to Cascais, and you have no car, take the bus 403. The bus station in Cascais is called Cascaisvila and is located in the shopping center. The journey takes about 22 minutes and costs about 4 euros for the one way ticket.
Address: Estrada do Cabo da Roca s/n, 2705-001 Colares, Portugal
The most impressive of them all! Sintra without any doubt was my biggest surprise of this day trip from Lisbon! And as we say, let’s leave the best for last. Well by chance this applied to me. The town is impressive. And what makes it touristic by far, is its Pena Castle! With its forested terrain, its pastel-colored villas and palaces, Sintra is the Gem of Portugal and one of its most amazing towns!
Now how to get there?
As you already know by now, for me it was part of the guided tour. So I didn’t actually have to worry about this. But hey don’t worry about it neither. So if you are not on an tour or don’t have a car, take the train from lisbon from Rossio Station. The ride is about 40min.
Tip! Don’t worry about getting around in Sintra. In case you don’t feel like walking, take the 434 tourist Bus that connects all main attractions.
The Old Town
Start your journey by walking in down town Sintra surrounded by all the Castles and beautiful landmarks. The walk there is enjoyable. You will find many restaurants where you can have lunch. Some museums and souvenir shops. Don’t hesitate to spend 2hrs in this old town.
Parque de Pena
Take a walk in Pena castle park and enjoy the mesmerizing surrounding view. This park that dates back to the 19th century is full of tall green trees and plants from around the world.
You can skip everything else, but don’t skip Pena castle! I repeat it don’t! And I would say it 100 times again. This landmark was the highlight of my whole trip. Pena Castle is a World Wonder!
My Impression! This is not real. This is what I first felt. I felt like stepping in a Disneyland or better Legoland movie. The palace is super colorful and really Impressive. I spent most of the time gazing at its outside facades. Each one of them unique and more surprising than the other.
Take the time you need to walk all over the palace don’t skip any of its astonishing gates and walls. Each one of them hides in own story and mystery.
Although the Outside of the castle is simply amazing, the interior also gives you a nice overview about the Portuguese history. So make sure to have a small wander inside before going all over the upper outdoor terraces. Check all the palace corners. Don’t leave anyone of them unseen. And above it all check out the perfect overview of Sintra from the uphill.
The entrance fee to the Castle is 7.5 euros. Those will be the best 7.5 euros you ever spend!
Tip! If you are on schedule and still have time for another palace visit. I recommend The Monserrate Palace. It shows a mix of neogothic and Indian architecture. The result is impressive! Check it out yourself! 😀
Whether you believe in religion or not, Fatima town is a nice stop for you on your way from Lisbon to Porto. So if you’d like to have a small getaway in a small peaceful town in Portugal this can be your option. However, if you are not interested at all to visit the Cathedral and surrounding church, I don’t recommend it. There is not much else to do.
A bit of description!
There are many sacred sights to be visited there. The most important one beeing the Capelinha das Aparições where the Virgin Mary appeared in 1917. In addition to that there is the iconic Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário, with its golden angels, and the modern church of Igreja da Santíssima Trindade.
I actually stopped in Fatima for 1 night stay on my way from Lisbon to Porto. I took the bus from Lisbon to Caxarias. And took a taxi from there to Fatima. You can take a shuttle Bus that connects both time. The trip was about 2hours.
Tip: You can actually go there on a day trip from Lisbon and go back to the city. So if you are not getting to Porto its better for you to check out the tours for that!
The town is so calm and peaceful, the people are so pleasant and there is not much to do at night except that having dinner in your Hotel. It was a nice stop for me to have a quite night relax and shape up complete my trip solo.
I visited all the mentioned landmarks, the second day. They are all so close to each other so you don’t need much of a time in Fatima.
My last destination in my trip and honestly my favorite one was Porto! The city has such wonderful vibes that makes you really happy in it. 2 days in Porto that’s what I scheduled and that was perfect. You get to see everything in 2 days and enjoy all Porto’s experiences. The most famous of them being Porto’s Wine!
So how did I get to Porto?
So easy, I bought a Bus ticket from Fatima for around 10 euros. And took the bus to Porto. the ride was about 2hrs. It’s possible for you to take the train but I don’t recommend it from Fatima as it takes around 2.45 hrs.
If you are leaving from Lisbon directly to Porto, taking the Train is the best option! Make sure to take the Alfa-Pendular train that is the high speed train for your journey to take around 2.45 hrs. The price of this ticket is around 30 euros.
I loved Porto! I felt light, happy and relaxed. The city is small you can easily make it on your feet. Everything is beautiful: The weather, the food, the landmarks, the street the view over the Douro…..The city is a masterpiece. What I enjoyed most is the perfect wine and great sea food.
Tip! This city is definitely for couples who are looking for the great weekend getaway! Don’t think twice. Especially if you live somewhere in Europe.
News flash! I wanted to tell you all about Porto here, but it turned out to be a lot. I loved this city so much that I have a lot to write about it. Because well I want you to enjoy it as much as I did or even more. So I am gonna be writing a full article about Porto! 😀 BUT right here I AM gonna give you my two most important advices: Porto by walk & Porto Wine!
Porto by walk
Porto is so small and that’s what actually makes it perfect. You would enjoy so much walking in its streets that you wont need to use any public transportation or taxis. Allow yourself to wander in its streets and enjoy the beautiful traditional Portuguese architecture.
I have two recommendations for you:
- Walk uphill and check Porto from the top. Trust me you will be amazed by the overlooking view of the city
- Walk along the Douro River! It’s a pleasant walk and you can rest there anytime on the benches by the waters.
Drink as much as you can! And when you feel that you can’t take it anymore drink even Moreee! Porto wine is one of the best wine I ever had. Go for red wine!!!! Have a glass for lunch by the waters and a bunch at night.
My Recommendation for you!
- Have a wine tour in one of the old wine cellars.
- Have a wine tasting in PORTO CRUIZ.