WHERE I WANT TO TRAVEL IN PORTUGAL AFTER LOCKDOWN
We’re living in unprecedented (downright crazy) times right now and thanks to COVID-19 most travel plans have been put on hold. Whether you were planning to travel nationally or internationally this year most of our trips have come to a standstill. Even when countries start to re-open most of us will be apprehensive about traveling out of country for a little while. I have many travel plans for the future including Italy, Greece and China. In reality those particular travel plans are still a while off but until it is safe (and responsible) to travel abroad again have decided to plan travel in the country I choose to call home – Portugal.
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WHY TRAVEL IN PORTUGAL AFTER LOCKDOWN?
There are a million and 1 reasons to choose Portugal as a travel destination. Before COVID19 became a threat I had already vowed to travel around Portugal more this year. I had told myself that I would dedicate 2020 to exploring deeper into Portugal’s regions and make a conscious effort to seek out hidden gems in its rugged interior and along its mesmerising coast. Portugal is a beautiful example of a country that has it all. Soak up sunshine on some of the world’s best beaches in Algarve, drink wine in the world’s oldest demarcated region Douro Valley, eat fresh fish BBQ’d on the street in Matosinhos and listen to traditional Fado in a local bar in Lisbon. The truth is these are just some of the most popular spots to travel in Portugal. Look outside these obvious destinations and you’ll discover a dizzying amount of experiences to behold. I’ve been living in Portugal for 3.5 years and although I now truly consider this my home I feel like I have only just scratched the surface of this incredible country.
I know there is so much more to see, do and (most-importantly) experience in Portugal. I want to really get off the beaten-path and get to know the Portugal I have fallen in love with even better.
The situation regarding COVID-19 in Portugal and the rest of the world is changing rapidly. It is important to keep up to date using reliable websites such as foreign travel advice at GOV.UK and up-to-date information about Portugal at DGS.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES IN PORTUGAL AFTER LOCKDOWN
Another reason I want to travel around Portugal after lockdown is to support the local travel and tourism industry as much as possible. Many businesses in Portugal will be suffering hugely due to the impact of COVID-19 has had on both tourism and everyday life. I can’t help but worry about family-run cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels who will no doubt be hurting financially right now. I know I am just one person but If there is an opportunity to inject even the smallest amount of cash back into the economy I will.
HOW I’M PLANNING MY TRAVEL AROUND PORTUGAL
Asides from keeping a close eye on relevant travel information I am using my usual methods of trip planning.
LONELY PLANET ATLAS – this atlas has been a dream for trip planning. Although I usually use this for international travel I have found myself constantly referencing back to the map of Portugal to get my bearings.
GUIDE BOOKS – My first port of call is always Lonely Planet when planning a trip. I use these books (or e-books on Kindle) to start my planning and Portugal is no exception.
Lonely Planet have very kindly offered Soi 55 readers 10% discount – just use SOI55 at checkout. You can also make the most of their 3 for 2 offer when you shop directly with them.
It’s worth mentioning that Amazon have a free 3 month trial of Kindle Unlimited and many Lonely Planet guide books are available to download and read for free. Its a great way to save money on trip planning!
PINTEREST – Once I have a general idea on region I head over to Pinterest for unlimited trip inspiration. I search for posts from locals or travel bloggers who have spent a lot of time in the region. I save everything in my travel boards.
BOOKING COM – A great starting point for finding accommodation in Portugal. I love zooming in on the map of a town or village and finding the most unique room or apartment possible. I always try to book direct with the accommodation if possible.
CP.PT – A brilliant website for booking train travel in Portugal. I’ve written a guide on how to travel between Lisbon and Lagos and train is my favourite option.
MY PORTUGAL TRAVEL WISH LIST
Let’s get to the exciting bit – where I want to travel in Portugal after lockdown. I have been compiling a list of bucket-list destinations in Portugal since we moved here. Although I have ticked some of those boxes already ,no sooner than I did had I added another 10 spots to the list. Right now my wish list is overflowing with ideas for the future. Of course, at the moment travel around Portugal is on hold but planning trips for the future has helped me stay positive. I have used this time to start planning out itineraries across different regions so that as soon as national travel is up and running (and safe) I am ready to go. When International travel is on the move and it is safe for the world to explore again I hope my wish list can inspire your travels to Portugal too.
This seaside town sits just outside Aveiro (the Venice of Portugal) and the main reason it features on most people’s Portugal itinerary are these colourful beach houses. Apparently you can get amazing fresh seafood here too! At just an hours drive away it would make the perfect day trip from Porto.
I found this gorgeous town whilst planning an Alentejo trip before lockdown. I had plans to explore (arguably) Portugal’s most authentic region and this village was my first stop. When I found photos of the typical white houses tumbling down from a castle to the Guadiana river I knew I had to visit.
Another castle I want to see with my own eyes is the medieval castle of Marvão. Castles aren’t usually on my itinerary when I travel but the views here look spectacular. The village itself looks pretty cute too.
ARRÁBIDA NATURAL PARK
We are pretty spoiled for beaches here in Algarve but that doesn’t stop me wanting to see every single beach Portugal has to offer. I have known about Parque Natural da Arrábida (which is based just an hour south of Lisbon) for a fair while now but for one reason or another haven’t found the time to explore yet. The beaches here look like they belong to Thailand rather than Portugal.
Until recently I hadn’t given a thought to the Portuguese islands Azores. I gradually started noticing the odd photo pop up on travel groups and started doing some research….WOW! These diverse islands would be the ultimate adventure. You can bet I am making this one of the first places I visit when travel is safe again.
Another longtime feature on my Portuguese travel wish list is Óbidos. This popular day trip from Lisbon is postcard pretty and exactly the type of place I would like to get lost in.
I have actually visited Évora during our drive through the country to our new home in Algarve. We may have stepped foot in the historic city of Évora but it was nothing more than a tosta mista (cheese and ham toastie) in a cafe so I don’t count it as a visit. We didn’t even see the chapel of bones! I can’t wait to see this in real life!
PENEDA-GERÊS NATIONAL PARK
The furthest north you can get before hitting Spain. This national park looks incredible for hikes and yet more proof that Portugal is home to an abundance of natural wonders. This would be a wonderful way to stay socially distant too!
So there you have it. My list of places to travel in Portugal after lockdown. What’s missing? I would love to know where you want to travel in Portugal too.