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Top Tips for Your First Visit to Portugal

Porto, Portus Cale

This southern European country certainly doesn't lack in natural or architectural beauty. It's no wonder you have a desire to visit Portugal. There's a never-ending number of things to do and see.

So, where should you even begin? Here are some top recommendations for visiting this magnificent nation for your first time.

What places should I check out?


As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is full of vibrant culture, historical sights, and friendly natives. Also, Lisbon is an ideal place in the nation to take delight in authentic Portuguese cuisine and to enjoy live entertainment. Lisbon is known for its traditional Fado performances. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to listen to some of the best Portuguese folk music!


One of the most phenomenal Gothic churches in all of Europe. The church preserved is protected as a World Heritage Monument due to its significance. As you enter the grand doors of the church, you'll immediately take notice to all of its architectural details and picturesque 16th Century stained glass windows.

The Abbey of Santa Maria

As Europe's most significant building of the Cistercian order, wander through this historical site for hours if you wish. There certainly is a lot to see including a monastery, seven dormitories, the library, the kitchen, and of course, the church.

The Beaches

The coastline of Portugal provides some of the most stunning beaches you'll ever see. Don't shy away, take a break from your explorations to relax on the shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream. Some of the most popular beaches are in the Algarve region, Sagres, Aveiro, and the Praia da Adraga.

Douro River Valley

The Douro River is a very practical and historically essential river of the Iberian Peninsula. River Cruises run from Porto, Portugal to Vega de Terron, Spain. However, most are round-trip from Porto. You get a nice blend of Portugal and Spain on Douro River Cruises. Excellent paella from Spain and Port wines from Portugal. The River Valley is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offer a nice variety of boutique, luxury hotels for an indulgent wine tasting escape.

Pena Palace

Every princess' (child or adult) dream come true! Visit a real-life Disney Castle in Portugal! Palacio da Pena is one of the most beautiful places in Sintra. It's also one of the seven wonders of Portugal. It's rich history began in the 19th century boasting an array of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance architecture. A must-see for any princess want to be, as well as the architecture enthusiast.

What are some of the most popular dishes and foods?

Arroz de Cabidela

It might seem daunting once you know what this dish derives from, but this chicken blood rice is a native favorite in Portugal. You can also get this dish made with rabbit and rabbit blood.


This delightful lunch includes sausage, typically prepared with french fries and fried eggs.

Bacalhau A Bras

Cod is shredded and sauteed to perfection and served with onion, straw fried potatoes, eggs, parsley, and garlic.

Arroz Doce

As an authentic Portuguese dessert, this dish is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. This creamy rice pudding is topped with cinnamon and caramel custard to add to the burst of flavor.

Caldo Verde

On a chilly night, treat yourself with this fantastic soup. It's merely potato, onions, and shredded kale, cooked in garlic and olive oil, and yet it certainly doesn't lack in flavor!

Pastel de nata

Originating in Lisbon, this custard tart is an indigenous staple, and you certainly can't leave the country with giving it a try.

Now that you have some of our top tips for your first trip to Portugal let's start planning your stay! You'll be amazed by the nation's delicious food options and breathtaking sights!

What to learn more about a luxury vacation or river cruise in amazing Portugal? Contact me and let's chat.

Contact me here.


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