Are you a beach person? How about sunshine, beaches, seafood with Sangria? If it sounds so right to you, pack your bag and come to Portugal.
Beach resorts, located in south part, in Algarve serves incredible vacation vibes. Laid-back, cultural, historical castles and vibrant night life, Lisbon, the colorful capital in mid-west, always awaits for you to discover more.
In Portugal, from south to north, cities provide different energy and demonstrate its own charm. Plan a road trip in Portugal and start your own adventure. The country is generally very safe and the cost of living including car rentals is relatively affordable/cheap comparing to central & north european countries.
Before you hit the road, don’t forget to have full insurance to go with, it might seem like a unnecessary expense but you will be grateful to yourself if any unlikely event happens while traveling. My friend and I experienced crashing a BMW in Portugal and after reading our story, most will agree that a full coverage insurance is a good choice.
algarve｜two main regions：Lisbon & algarve
這次挑選的區域主要有二：1) 南邊Algarve區和 2) 首都里斯本、臨近的山城 – 辛特拉(Sintra)。
After reading many, I picked two main regions: 1) Algarve, the south, and 2) Lisbon, the capital city, and a UNESCO heritage town nearby called Sintra.
南部Algarve區：Faro, Albufeira, Lagoa, Portimão，加上中西部的首都Lisbon和聯合國文化遺產Sintra
Look at the heavenly beaches in Portugal, no one would deny that this is a blessed land, one of the top 10 most beautiful caves in the world also sits in Algarve. That’s why people will never skip Algarve region when visiting Portugal. The popular areas for hotels are Albufeira and Lagos.
Lisbon, as one of the most historical city in western Europe. It’s impossible to hide its charm scented with the old time glory. “Lisbon is my favorite city in Europe." a friend said. The favorite, not one of the favorites.
The distinct yellow tram, colorful architecture style, the cultures, and the delicacies, this city’s energy shines through all the pictures I found online , whispering warm welcome greetings to me even before my visit.
Sintra, located in the north of Lisbon, is approx. 1-hr-train-ride away and is definitely worth a visit. However, I would recommend drive there if possible, then it would be much easier to go around in the mountains. Besides Sintra, if you are a wine lover, don’t forget to include Porto in the route.
Planing different types of holidays? With family/ with friends/ romantic getaway, click here to see the city recommendations.
road trip/ route plan：
Starting form south, landing in Faro FAO airport, the car rentals are right next to the terminal waiting for you. Grab a rental car and hit the road, Albufeira is a good starting point, located 40-min drive away, as it provides a more vibrant scene than Faro.
1 傍晚降落在南邊Faro機場(FAO)/ 住一晚；
2 住濱海度假城市Albufeira/ 住兩晚；
3 北上途經西南邊的Alentejano看海灣懸崖/ 停兩小時；
4 吃住玩在首都里斯本Lisbon/ 住三晚；
Route: from south to north
1 Land in Faro FAO airport/ stay 1 night;
2 West bound to each resorts town – Albufeira/ 2 nights;
Benagil caves yacht tour departing from Portimão/ half-day
3 Drive towards north for 1.5-hr to Alentejano to see the amazing coast line/ stay for 2 hrs;
4 Lisbon city/ 3 nights;
Sintra, a UNESCO heritage town/ day tour;
5 Leave from Lisbon LIS airport.
Faro FAO is a good point to start if the route is form south to north.
Notes: Include a full coverage insurance in your rental car contract, please.
I stayed in Faro for the first night after a late evening landing, the reason why I suggest drive 40-min to Albufeira directly for the stay is because its lively atmosphere, definitely not because of the car crash within the first hour of arrival in Faro… More resorts, restaurants and entertainments there in Albufeira and so is the vivid nightlife.
Albufeira is located in the west of Faro, about 50-min drive from Faro airport. The atmosphere here smells like a authentic beach holiday area, good for friends, couples and family. Surrounded by many beaches and holiday resort hotels, you will feel time really s-l-o-w-s down once you arrive here.
Sun bathing, beach lunch and sangria, strolling on the white sand beaches and enjoy the kisses from the sun and the gentle breeze, yes, that sounds summer to me. For the adventure ones, feeling like jet skiing, kayaking, or surfing? Yes, this is the place for you.
Dining & night life: in old town area. Casual clothes fits the environment more if you are going out dancing here, smart casual at most. It would be intriguing and “outstanding"if dressing up like in a fancy club of a big city. Girls, breezy beach goddess style is the most you could do here, after all, we don’t want to look like being photoshopped into the scene…
Notes: order a pot of Sangria or a glass of red wine from Porto, Portugal is in our eyes, as well as in our glasses. Cheers, my dear.
In Algarve, Benagil cave tours and most boat tours depart from here. Many tour stands are here at the port. Popular things to do here includes coastline boat tour, dolphin tour, water sports. The one I tried is a caves tour by yacht, luckily there was no other people booking it in the morning, therefore, exclusive indeed that we were daydreaming the invitation from the private beach castle would be delivered to our hands on the same day…
Coast Natural Park: Alentejano 阿蘭特海岸公園
Great scene indeed! Driving from Algarve to Lisbon, a small detour would lead you to this majestic view. There are plenty of cliff along the west coastlines, with amazing beaches embedded in between. Get ready to spoil your eyes with this incredible scenes.
As a traveler who has been to 30 countries, Lisbon has convinced me with its charm. During my stay, everyday the city was lit up by bright sunshine, great pastries & seafood, clean streets, culture & histories, and the most notable is that people here with warm hospitality remind me of my hometown Taiwan so much.
For dining & wining, the only thing you need to worry about is no time to try it all. Variety choice here ranging from authentic delicacies, international selections, and modern food court, you name it. Public transportation here works well and uber is very affordable alternative too.
A small town to skip? No, it’s a must come.
讓人回味的景點有：火車站斜對面的餐廳、粉彩色調的山頂Pena城堡、全歐最西境的Cabo da Roca，海天會合在極遠端真的劃出一道明顯的圓弧線，「地球真的是圓的！」對世界、對自然的讚嘆與敬畏展現在每個人的臉上。
Listed as unesco heritage, Sintra really surprised me. It exceeded my expectation to a so-called mountain town. It’s poetic, laid-back and historical/architectural-wise interesting. Sintra is a mysterious beauty under a vail. Quiet but non-neglectable. The beauty it holds is classic and imperishable.
Time plan and transportation: day trip from Lisbon suggested; save one entire day for Sintra.
The most common way is to take a train from Lisbon to Sintra ( approx. 50 mins/ one way); however, you could always drive there as the mountain roads there are much less challenging than in Lisbon city center, and it’s easier and more efficient to drive around among tourist attractions. The hop-on hop-off bus routes are perfectly planned, however, it might be helpful to check how long the wait is to get on the bus.
If you like surfing, many great surfing spots await for you; if you are a wine lover, wines produced from Porto are easily found in shops, or, plan a visit to Porto, it will not let you down!
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