3 Reasons Why You Should Explore Portugal

Anyone who reads or hears about Portugal probably immediately thinks of beautiful beaches underneath breathtaking cliffs, spectacular surfing and delicious Pastéis de Nata.

Portugal is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination. The country is experiencing a tourism boom, in fact – and there are good reasons, as this land on the western edge of Europe has so much to offer. Here we look at three of the reasons why a holiday in Portugal is definitely worthwhile.

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Summer, Sun & Beaches

Despite its relatively small area (92,212 square kilometres), Portugal has one of the longest coastlines in the world. Overall, the Portuguese can dig their feet in the sand over 3,000 kilometres. The popular holiday islands of Madeira and the Azores are part of this, of course – but even on the mainland, coastline is everywhere. A drive from Faro in the south to Viana do Castelo in the north is particularly recommended, and it provides a comprehensive insight into the culture and beauty of Portugal. You can experience this adventure even during a short break – by car, for example, you can complete this trip in less than seven hours.

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Last summer I went on a two week holiday to the famous Algarve Coast in Portugal. We went to new beaches on the Algarve daily and explored the beautiful Algarve area that has so much to offer. (Read more in my travel guide articles about that trip!)

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Many Possibilities to Explore & Adventure

Holidays are very important, giving us the opportunity to relax and escape from everyday life. At the same time, however, we also want to develop ourselves. We don’t want to spend all of our time just lying on the beach and drinking cocktails – we also want to experience the country that we visit. Portugal offers many opportunities for this, catering for a range of interests. After all, the country combines beautiful landscapes and beautiful beaches with a rich and distinctive culture. Whether it’s the big cities like Porto or small places on the edge of the streets – visitors will always find new corners and new opportunities to develop themselves.

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That’s why Portugal is also the country of road trips. To appreciate it fully, the western side of the Iberian peninsula should really be explored by road. The good news is that the roads of Europe are now safer than they have ever been before – in 2013, the EU even set itself the target of reducing road deaths by 50%. True freedom and opportunities do not appear at the hotel pool, but out there on the road.

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If you want to experience the real Portugal, you have to do this in contact with the Portuguese themselves. It’s highly recommended to visit one of the many local wineries, for example. You can buy fine wines for little money directly from the producer, and they often have special offers too.

As well as testing the local foods, that are not as known as Italy’s pizza and pasta but just as mouthwatering. The sweet little pastry cakes ‚Pastéis de Nata‚ can be found at every corner and taste like heaven to me.

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Lisbon

No list of Portugal’s highlights is complete without a mention of its capital. This beautiful city is spread over several hills overlooking the Rio Tejo, rewarding the explorer with breathtaking panoramic views at every turn. Whatever you’re looking for – whether it’s history, culture, or an exciting range of bars and cafes – you’ll find it in Lisbon. If you want to escape the tourist crowds, the cobblestoned streets of Alfama is the area of Lisbon for you. Chat with the locals here and relax, watching the world go by. This is the real Portugal.

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I visited Lisbon for two days myself last summer and got a general overview of the beauty it has to offer, but I am already keen to go back and explore more! The city is also very famous for great vegan cafés and restaurants, that I want to try myself as well as wandering through the beautiful and colourful streets.

Besides Lisbon, I am also super keen to visit Porto! Another beautiful city in the northern part of the country that I’ve heard many great things from.

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Have you been to Portugal yourself? Where have you been & what do you recommend? Is it on your bucket list? 

 

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Family Travel on the East Coast of Australia | 3 Weeks from Cairns to Sydney

I enjoy travelling alone on the other side of the world by myself (mostly) and it’s very rare that I actually get homesick for my family or friends just because I am having such a great time.

But after my first three months in Australia and my not so great time in Perth I was so so happy to finally be able to hug my parents again and spend time with my family.

They visited me for three weeks over Christmas and New Years and we got to spend three weeks together travelling from Cairns down to Sydney in a Mobilhome and celebrate New Year’s in Sydney together watching the fireworks over the Harbour.

It was a wonderful time and I am really glad I got to spend Christmas with them and experience a different way of travelling through Australia as a family (instead of as a Backpacker)

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So we started in Cairns and had an amazing day trip to the Great Barrier Reef to go snorkelling. It was amazing how many big and colourful fish you can see and I was so impressed. The underwater world is just so beautiful and we really need to put an effort into saving it.

We could already see the damage humans cause to the reef. First of all the mass tourism that goes to the Reef day by day and also the climate change and the warmer water that makes the corals die.

That’s why we decided to go to the Reef with „Passions of Paradise„. They advertise being an eco-friendly tour. Not too many people on board (in comparison to others), great food, two beautiful snorkelling/ diving spots (without any other boats there) and they do reef education as well. I really liked and can recommend it and they are honoured with being eco-friendly, but who knows if that‘ actually accurate. But it is certain, that they have to be better than most other companies and if you don’t want to miss the Great Barrier Reef experience, you should go for them!

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The next day, we got our camper and started our road trip.

Travelling in a Mobilhome with 4 adults

We already did several Mobilhome trips, but at that time my brother and I haven’t been fully grown adults and in Canada, for example, we also had a bigger and more practical Camper.

So when we got our little home on wheels we were all a bit shocked how this adventure is going to happen because the Mobilhome scene in Australia is not as advanced as in America and our camper wasn’t as big, practical and comfy.

But we made it work and in the end, we got used to it but were also excited to finally sleep in proper beds again.

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Our first stop was Townsville but we didn’t see much of that city because we spend our day on Magnetic Island. A beautiful island only a few kilometres from the mainland and actually Paradise.

I made a vlog that day and showed you a bit around. We visited many beautiful places and shot some amazing drone footage and the prettiest sunset. Have fun watching!

Afterwards, we went further south to Airlie Beach from where we went on a three-day sailing tour through the Whitsundays.

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We had a wonderful time living the always-barefoot-and-bikini-life and it made me dream of doing a bigger sailing tour one day. I just really enjoy the boat life!

So we had two nights on the water and lot’s of amazing views, snorkelling, stand up paddling, yummy food and obviously visiting Whitehaven Beach. Sadly that day it was a bit rainy, but we still had such an awesome time.

I am also currently working on another short video with drone footage from the sailing boat and underwater shots from the Great Barrier Reef – so stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my YouTube Channel!

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With my parents, I obviously also had so much great food! I could finally buy and try all the cool vegan stuff in the supermarkets and we went to so many awesome restaurants and cafés.

I already have a Sydney Food post up, sharing all my favourites with you from the official vegan food heaven city.  And there is also a Sunshine Coast Food Guide planned as I got to try so so many restaurants living there for three months.

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In the Cape Hillsborough National Park just south of Airlie Beach, we watched the sunrise and Kangaroos on the Beach.

Before we had a beautiful afternoon in Noosa and a lovely evening/night in Brisbane.

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Byron Bay had to be a stopover as well obviously. I just love the spirit of this place and even though it was really crowded and touristy, it was still beautiful.

You can find all my Byron Bay Highlights in this post! Including food, beaches, walks, horse riding on the beach, where to stay, shop etc.

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High Season Travel

Christmastime is summer, summer holidays and high season for travellers from all around the world & Aussies in Australia. But we have to say that besides the really big hotspots (Byron Bay, Noosa, Sydney for New Years) it wasn’t as crowded as expected and especially when you are already used to Europe in summer and holiday time it was only average crowded.

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Campgrounds

We usually always had our campgrounds prebooked and for some spots, it was definitely necessary but not for all and sometimes we were surprised by how empty the campgrounds were.

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With a stopover in Port Macquarie where I’ve already been once with my cousin before we headed to Sydney.

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From Cairns to Sydney in 3 Weeks

Our schedule was really tight because my brother only got three weeks off from school. But my mom still wanted to make the most of it and travel along the whole East Coast. That meant a lot of driving and many days we spend more time on the road than at a place. But then we also wanted 3 days to spend in Sydney and we did a sailing tour through the Whitsundays for three days as well.

Afterwards, we can now say that we would have prefered to not drive the whole way and rather drive from Cairns to Byron Bay and then fly to Sydney to have at least a few more days to actually do something.

We had many different stops along the way but often not as many as we would have liked because there are so many beautiful places and that’s why I am really glad I am able to do a few things more in depth because I have more time here in Australia.

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I had an awesome time travelling with my family. Living the camper life, experiencing travelling Australia from a family point of view, daily family breakfast (one thing that I miss a lot about home) and obviously just spending time with my loved ones.

Food Porn in SYDNEY – mostly VEGAN Food Guide

Sydney is the best place to eat vegan that I have ever been to. So many health food cafés, restaurants and so many completely vegan places.

I already wrote a general Travel Guide for Sydney with all my tips on where to go, what to do and also some important things to know. So this post is supposed to be the addition to that, talking about all the food hotspots, cafés and restaurants that I tested and loved and recommend to you!

I hope you are ready for some serious mostly vegan + mostly healthy food porn!

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But before I start with the restaurants & cafés, you definitely need to check if the SYDNEY VEGAN MARKET is on! They host it once a month and it’s a paradise for vegans and foodies (and vegan foodies obviously). Unfortunately, I never made it there, but I would do everything to go there next time.

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Speedos Café, Bondi Beach

Goals for every food blogger and photographer. This place is not just heaven for the mouth but also for the eyes. Vegan banana pancake stack, different avocado toast options, amazing juices & smoothies, and a berry-licious breakfast pannacotta. Sounds like a dream? It is. I’ve been there twice and even though it’s pretty loud and squishy, the food is just 100% worth it.

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Bodhi, Asian Vegan Restaurant

Located near Hyde Park and St. Mary’s Cathedral this restaurant overlooks into Cook + Phillip Park and has a wonderfully quiet location. The menu is completely vegan and offers so many different meals and little dishes that it is hard to choose. It is a bit more pricy but soo delicious and great to order different things and share with friends and family.

I remember the Japanese taco, cauliflower chicken, spring rolls, mushroom dumplings and „nachos“ as super delicious.

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Café in Westfield Shopping Centre Burwood

For my last breakfast with my parents, we found this little surprise in the Westfield Shopping Centre in Burwood. We didn’t expect to find something that delicious and pretty in a shopping centre, but we got surprised.

Avocado and poached egg on black sourdough with beet hummus, fruity honey crunchy muesli on yogurt and I also had a great Acai bowl. Super photogenic and great taste – we did not expect that at all! Only the juices where disappointing because they weren’t fresh pressed and super watery…

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Shift Eatery, Surry Hills

I saw them on Instagram and immediately knew that I had to try one of their toasties. 100% vegan, fresh sourdough, tofu ham, creamy „cheese“, garlic aioli and tomato – so freaking delicious and they had so many more options. Vegan bacon, sauerkraut on toast, breakfast toasties and other deliciousnesses. Perfect snack or lunch when walking around in the city all day.

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Preach Café, Bondi Beach

At daytime an epic breakfast and lunch spot. In the evening an 100% vegan restaurant. Unfortunately, I only tried their dinner and not one of their healthy buddha bowls, vegan pancakes or acai bowls, but I can really recommend their vegan mac’n cheese, burger and nacho bowl.

Cali Press, Bondi Beach

Famous for acai bowls, sandwiches and toasts, juices and smoothies. They offer many different options and everything I had was really good. They also make all their juices themselves and you can order juice cleanses with them.

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Lentils as Anything, Newtown

I discovered this amazing chain in Melbourne. They have a daily changing menu with three different all vegan meals and you pay as much as you want/can in the end. I like the vibe & food in Melbourne better, but it was still a super delicious vegan health lunch.

Toast Café, Surry Hills

Australians just love their breakfast. That’s why they have so many cafés that do amazing all day breakfast and so we had no struggles finding a new place to eat every day (and for ever meal).

And even if their Avo toast contains fetta or poached egg, it’s never a problem to ask for vegan options!

Max and Co, Manly

I love good Mexican food, but I think it can be boring and similar everywhere you go. It’s always Burrito, Nachos, Tacos, Enchiladas and Quesadillas. But if a restaurant really knows how to do it nicely, it’s so delicious. And this place in Manly really did it great! But still not as good as the Mexican restaurant I went to in Byron Bay.

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The Sandwich Shop, Haymarket

Between all the big skyscrapers and offices you find amazing bistros to eat lunch or have a snack. Because that’s what the Sydneyaner and business people do in their break as well. At lunchtime, you see so many of them meeting for a quick lunch or coffee with friends, business partners or just to eat and be outside.

At The Sandwich Shop, you get super healthy sandwichs, wraps or salads and mine, with avocado and hummus was really good!

Umu Vegetarian, Bondi Beach

Breakfast heaven, snack bar, lunch spot and daily dinner menu – all vegetarian. Me and my friend shared a dream of a breakfast. Vegan avocado toast, sweet potato zucchini breakfast stack with beetroot hummus and vegan cheese and a berry ricotta pancake. Everything was so so good!

Jet Café & Restaurant, Townhall

I’ve been there 4 times, I know, crazy. Never to eat lunch because it’s pretty expensive, but to have cake. Because their carrot cake is heavenly, so moist, creamy and with pecans on top and it’s only 5$ (3€).

Lord of the Fries

Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Surfers Paradise. This chain is slowly taking over Australia (and hopefully the world soon) with their completely vegan menu of burgers, hot dogs, nuggets and fries. Not healthy and definitely fast food, but you can find all those „cheese burger“, „bacon and egg breakfast burger“, „fish burger“ and more made vegan – how amazing is that! No need to mention that it tastes amazing.

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Two Daughters, Surry Hills

Super cute hippie café that offers amazing vegan options. I had a tofu scramble avocado toast and their juices were really good too.

 


Oh and by the way… it’s not just Sydney that is amazing when it comes to healthy food places, vegan meals and beautiful cafés and restaurants. Australia in general is so so good when it comes to amazing food!

Melbourne is probably Nr. 2 on the vegan heaven! Here are my tips. And I also made a ‚Eating out vegan – What I Eat‚ blog post.

Byron Bay – Acai bowls, fresh coconuts and raw vegan treats everywhere you look around. I tested many places and still haven’t tried them all, but here you find my top tips for you.

Perth also has many great places and I love seeing vegan options everywhere. Here are my tested places.


And there are more blog posts and food guides in planning. One for the whole East Coast and general (vegan) food tips for Australia. A Sunshine Coast food guide because they just know how to make the best breakfast. And I am also freaking excited to eat out in Bali soon!

Which Cities can you recommend for great (healthy & vegan) food? Have you tried a few of these places in Sydney? What are your favourite meals when eating out?