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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Why I couldn’t be a Full-Time Nomad – Things I Miss about Home

I have many homes now. I call everywhere I go home. If it’s a hostel bed, friends couch, camper bed or my own room. As long as I feel comfortable and have my stuff with me I feel good.

And even when I leave Australia there is a place that I’ll call home forever. The Sunshine Coast with my AuPair family. This place and these people will stay in my heart forever.

But there are definitely things that I miss about my real home. Germany. My parent’s house. And about having a constant home base.

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The Nomadic life is great and I love it. I enjoy it a lot to have the freedom to go places, see friends, move again if I am not happy and travel where my heart leads me, but through the 6 months that I have been doing that now I discovered that this couldn’t be my life forever.

I love it, BUT I also love having a set home. So in this blog post I want to talk about a few things that I miss about Germany, my home and the „normal“ life and why. Maybe for you to understand that the settled down life has its advantages as well and for you and me to remember and appreciate when we are not travelling.

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  • Having your family and friends around you. No need to constantly make friends with new people, meet new people. To be around people you know, that know you and that you trust.

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  • Knowing your way around. I love exploring new places, but it is always most exciting when you finally can put your map in your bag and stop constantly checking on google maps if you are still on the right way. It’s great to know the best places to shop and know how to get around with public transport easily.

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  • Having a routine. Daily and weekly routines make me more productive, organised, feel safe and comfortable which can be great. But I obviously would never miss the curiosity of new challenges, changes and new adventures.

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  • Staying on track with your goals and plans. It can be hard to continue good habits and work on your goals while travelling. You get distracted, you want to explore and experience and you’re not in your usual environment. So it might be a bit harder to eat healthily, work out and work as you are used to.

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  • Having everything you need. I am definitely not a person that needs a lot of material things. I am fine with the few T-Shirts that I carry around with me and only use one soap bar to wash my hair, body and face. But there are a few things that are wonderful to have. Your own comfy bed, no snorers, fresh air and nobody distracting you while sleeping. Your clean kitchen with all the utensils you need and nobody in your way while cooking. A clean bathroom where you don’t need to wear flip flops or clean the toilet before you use it.

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  • Your own space. Walking around naked, throwing your clothes on the flow when you come home late at night, cooking only in a shirt, singing out loud or listening to loud music, only wearing underwear while getting ready –  all the things you can do when you have your own space.

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And a few small things that I miss:

  • German bread. The sourdough bread here can be really yummy, but sometimes I just miss my super grainy, moist fresh bakery bread from home.
  • My cat. I miss her so much. Miss her cuddles, her talking, snoring. Just her being around.
  • Some real German food. Sauerkraut, red cabbage, German dumplings, Schupfnudeln, Spätzle… sometimes that’s just really nice. Especially when my grandma cooked it.
  • Family gatherings. I am always so sad when I miss family gatherings. Christmas, Easter, birthdays or just for no reason… I love sitting together and talking with my grandparents, aunts & uncles and my cousin and eating yummy food together. And also my aunt & uncle just adopted a foster child and I haven’t got the chance to meet her yet :(

 

  • Sauna. We have a sauna at home and I missed the snuggly Sunday evenings.
  • Food Testing & Photography. I miss my pretty bowls and dishes, decoration, ingredients, supplies and the time to try out new recipes, experiment in the kitchen and take pretty food pictures from it… but I am still cooking: Easy, Cheap, Healthy Dinner Recipes – Perfect for Backpackers

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But there is something that would combine the two – being on the go, travelling, exploring and having a home, a cozy place where you don’t need to move from: camper life!

I’ve done several camper road trips and vacations with my parents already and last week I did my first one with a friend renting the little camper myself. We had a lot of fun, a great little cozy place for us and everything with us all the time.

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And if it’s your own camper you can even pimp it and make it extra cozy and cute with your own things, decoration and nicely renovated.

I definitely want to own a camper myself at some stage in my life to travel Europe in a little home on wheels and also do some other van trips on the West Coast of Australia and through north and south America.

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What do you love and dislike about Travelling? What do you miss when longterm Travelling?

 

Places I want to Travel to

If you’ve been following me for a while you’d know that I loved writing Bucketlist Travel Posts and present some beautiful places that I want to visit one day. But for these posts, I always used Pinterest pictures from strangers and now that the data protection regulation is more strict, I deleted them all from my blog.

So from now on, I am only going to show you places that blogger / Instagrammer that I follow have visited, so I can use their pictures and have a proper source and I hope I am allowed to do so – if you know better please let me know!


picture source: @morton_mac

Palawan, Philippines

I never heard of this island before but Palawan is part of the Philippines and on the west. It is a very long but narrow and looks like paradise – am I right? Crisp turquoise water, beautiful wild nature to explore, long white sand beaches and nobody except you. That’s probably the main reason why I want to go to the Philippines so badly. It is still very underrated and unspoiled.


picture source: @hilvees

Norway

I haven’t been to any Scandinavian country but my dream is to rent a campervan and explore Norway ( & Sweden & Finnland & Danmark) for a longer period of time and really see a lot of the beauty they have to offer. A family member of mine has done a kayak tour in Sweden for a week and that sounds super fun and adventurous as well!


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New York

I could never imagine living in such a big city, but I would love to experience the N.Y. vibe for some weeks – not just being on vacation and going to the popular places but really soaking that special atmosphere in and exploring some more unknown places.

That’s really what I want all my travels to be: longer than necessary to see all the touristy stuff so I can experience the place a bit more like a local. Hopefully, I will be able to do so in the future when I have a job and a family – but that’s what I really want, so I need to find a job that works with that life I want to live!


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Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Another little paradise on earth that I would love to visit, maybe for my honeymoon :D Bora Bora reminds me of the Maldives with all the water bungalows which isn’t usually my thing because I am not a huge fan of hotels and many touristy people on one place, but I mean – it’s still a little paradise and I am sure I would love it anyways! I think traveling should be a mixture of both: rest and adventure.


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New Zealand

Another absolutely stunning country that I am super stoked to explore with a camper! All this breathtaking nature and amazing views. I would love to hike through the mountains, swim in the lakes and explore. Maybe I’ll do another work & travel year but in New Zealand – who knows?


Which places do you want to visit? Where are you going to soon? What is on your bucket list?