Our time in Portugal is slowly coming to an end.
We have three days left in this beautiful country, splitting our last few days between Carvoeiro and Faro. I don’t know if it is physically, emotionally, or spiritually possible to enjoy Portugal more than we have our first time around. We are already looking forward to coming back to this country.
Portugal is far more than sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and delicious wine, it is a country of substance. Rich in history and full of culture, Portugal is a must for people who want to travel back in time and still have the modern conveniences of today. Travellers who want to awaken all of their senses will thrive in Portugal, and those who are capable of appreciating and understanding the historical significance of this great country will fall in love with it.
Oh, and for those who like to have fun certainly won’t be left behind. If you like to indulge in day drinking and boat cruises which often result in late night dance parties, embarrassing karaoke sessions and questionable moral decisions, there are a few places (may I suggest Lagos) that will certainly appeal to those more wild at heart.
There are (at least) Three Things that I’ve promised myself to see / experience on my next visit to Portugal:
UN Heritage Sites
Portugal has fifteen properties that are inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. Fifteen! We had the opportunity to see one, the Historic Centre of Oporto, however there are many others that have caught my attention. The beautiful cities of Guimarães and the Cultural Landscape of Sintra are at the top of my list. Sintra is well known for it’s 19th-century romantic architectural monuments, whereas Guimarães is often referred to as the “cradle city” for being the birthplace of the Portuguese nationality.
You can read more about Portugal’s World Heritage Sites here: UNESCO
The Douro Valley
The Alto Douro Wine Region is also listed under UNESCO World Heritage sites, and as much as I want to see the region and valley, it’s more the wine tours that interest me. Based on the delicious Douro wines we’ve sampled in our time here, I would love to come back to Portugal and partake in a wine tour, or many wine tours. Maybe even a wine tasting and Douro river cruise for a week or so. I’ll need time to pick out my favourite vineyard 🙂
You can read more about the Douro Valley here: Visit Portugal
St. Anthony and St. John’s Festival
I say both festivals because my walking tour guide in Porto said “São João festival is the best festival in Portugal”, and my guide in Lisbon said “Santo Antonio Festival is the best festival in Portugal”, both stating that “You absolutely must come back for it”. Therefore, I have no choice but to follow these suggestions and return some day to party at both. Luckily, they take place in June; St. Anthony (12th or 13th) and St. John (23rd and 24th) which make doing both during the same visit very plausible.
During the festivals people take to the streets to eat, drink, dance and celebrate. The parties are lively, overtaking the city and historical centres. However, different traditions are attached to each, one involves plastic hammers… have I piqued your interest? It sure got mine.
You can read more about the festivals here: Visit Portugal
What festivals have you been to that stood out? Which would you suggest people visit given the chance?