Portugal is one of those destinations that you go to because you want to capture the history & really indulge in the culture. Although the most common question of ours was “Hi, do you speak English?”, it was still kind of nice to feel foreign to the area. It gave a sense of excitement & an element of surprise to every situation we encountered. There is so much to see & do in Portugal- which we ended up jamming into 3 days. Although exhausted & jet lagged from air travel, it didn’t spoil all the beauty & fun we had staying here.
Below is a list of highlights from our trip & where we stayed.
Walking around the streets of Loule: The town of Loule is a quant & adorable area that can satisfy all your shopping needs. Several shops lined the tiled streets filled with plenty of unique & cute items: woven baskets, spices, honey jars, pottery dishes, cork material goodies. Just as girls do, we went on a spending craze the first day & bought lots of stuff we probably didn’t need. I really enjoyed how pretty all the buildings look as you walked along. Tons of exposed brick, tattered paint & white washed buildings that just add to the culture of the area.
Kayaking in Lagos: We had an amazing time kayaking along the coast of Lagos! We took a 2 hour train ride from Loule to get to this adorable beach town. Lagos has some of the most remarkable beaches because of its clear water, stunning rock formations, & cliffside views. Since we only had the day to spend here, we thought a kayak adventure would be the best way to experience Lagos. For $30 pp we joined a kayaking tour that took us on a 2 hour paddle throughout all the several different grottos & caves along the coast (plus a nude beach but let’s pretend that didn’t happen). It was unbelievable how beautiful & unspoiled everything was!
The only aspect we weren’t too fond of was the little value the locals put on safety. Katerina & I constantly had to paddle for our lives because the other boat tours rarely left us any space! We constantly felt like we were going to get run over! To make matters even worse, the more we looked like we were struggling, the funnier they thought it was. RUDE. Despite the constant adrenaline rush, we did throughly enjoy doing this!
Visiting Lisbon: We couldn’t go to Portugal & not visit Lisbon! Even though we only had one full day there (well half a day technically because we slept most of the time after our dreadful 6am flight), we still wanted to see some of it at least. We spent the day taking the trolly to the main centers while being in awe by all the architecture. This day was filled with a lot of walking & sightseeing but we made sure to at least try some yummy food. We all shared the shrimp paella (my first time trying it) & it was beyond delicious!
Having Pistachio Ice cream: Well, if I wanted to know what heaven tasted like… I pretty sure it would resemble the taste of pistachio ice cream. I don’t know what it is about Europe… but for some reason ice cream is a widely acceptable meal for breakfast, lunch, & dinner. Although we may not have had it for every meal, we definitely had it more times than I can even count. The ice cream in Europe is so much creamier & decadent that it made it hard to resist!
Continue below to see where we stayed.
Where We Stayed
Quarteria & Lisbon- We were lucky to be able to crash at Emily’s uncles’ apartment that he usually rents out. We stayed in Quarteria which is a beach town located about 30-40 min from the Faro airport. It’s a really cute town that has many close surrounding cities. Villamore marina is a 15 min walk & Loule is a 30 min bus ride.
In Lisbon we decided to stay in a hostel that Katerina’s boyfriend suggested called Hub New Lisbon. Being that this was my first time to ever stay in a hostel, I was actually pleasantly surprised by my experience. Hub new Lisbon was very clean, accommodating, & friendly. For only $15, this hostel was a steal. (Not to mention, we were lucky we were able to all share a room & not have to worry about strangers) The best element to this hostel was the ball pit. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Lord knows what germs may have been hiding in there, but hey! regardless of that aspect we shared many laughs rolling around in this sketchy looking thing.
NEXT STOP ITALIA!