I feel like Portugal is a very underrated destination when it comes to places to travel in Europe. It is thought to be Spain’s little brother and whose greatest achievement since settling Brazil is Cristiano Ronaldo, which may be true, however it really has a lot to offer. There are great beaches and Lisbon is by far the most beautiful city I have ever seen.
The first time that I went to Portugal was in 2009 with a few friends I was studying abroad with. We took a bus with the tour group Discover Excursions to Lagos, which is a small beach city and surfer’s paradise. On the bus it took only 2 and a half hours to get to from Sevilla, Spain. I love how small Europe is; you can drive for a few hours and you end up in another country with a different language, food and culture. In Lagos, we spent the first night going out to different bars and clubs with the tour group. It was nice but since the town is so small it felt like we were the only ones there, well, and a group of guys from Ireland who loved to sing Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.”
Then the next day we spent at the beach and took a boat ride through the grottos. This is definitely the most beautiful boating adventure I will ever have. The water was crystal clear, which doesn’t often happen when sailing in an ocean. It was April when we went so it was still a little chilly but we had many pitchers of sangria to keep us warm. (A glass of which was spilled on my white pants so I had the crew wash them and hang them from the sails to dry.)
The second time I went to Portugal I spent a weekend in Lisbon by myself in 2013. I didn’t have any expectations or plan for when I got there but I had a very helpful host who planned everything out for me. I believe the hostel I stayed at was the best location for sightseeing, getting to other attractions and access to the nightlife. Lisbon has a lot of history and there are many museums and tourist sights to visit. In addition, Lisbon has a wild nightlife. By the hostel were many different bars and clubs that were going until all hours of the morning. Overall, I would say if you are planning a trip to Europe, don’t overlook Portugal!