The Portland of Portugal

When to Travel to Portugal


photo, image, ponte 25 de abril, lisbon, bridgeWe are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Sue, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Sue is from the United States, and submitted the following report about Lisbon

1 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: Portugese, English

Reasons to Visit Lisbon

I quickly fell in love with Lisboa. The people are truly proud of their country and no matter what I asked, I always received much more kindness and information than I had expected. While English is not the native language, most people are able to speak it, which was a huge help to me.

As a solo woman I loved getting lost in Alfama, a neighborhood of narrow alleyways. Even without a map, I was able to find my way around.

photo, image, custard tart, lisbonLisbon is a big city that has a small town feel. I loved the pastries, especially the pasteis de nata, which are egg tarts that taste almost like crème brûlée and melt in your mouth.

It is a very walkable city which also features many trams, buses, and trains. I recommend exploring the neighborhoods: Barrio Alto, Alfama, Belem, etc. Talking to the people was a treat in itself.

Portugal has much milder winters than most of Europe. It also has breathtaking views. There are many markets that bring you back to the times of the Moors.

My favorite sights and experiences included Praca do Comercio, a huge plaza; 25 de Abril bridge; Jeronimos Monastery, where Vasco da Gama is buried; soulful fado music; the Church of Santa Engracia, now the National Pantheon; and the Feira da Ladra flea market.

photo, image, Lisbon streetThere are also many day trips available to take from Lisboa: you can set off for Sintra, land of the princess castles of fairy tales, or Cascais, a beautiful beach retreat.

Don’t forget to try ginja, a cherry liqueur served in a chocolate shell. Let yourself relax and become one with the city.

As a 31-year-old female solo traveler, I felt completely safe. The best part is that Portugal, unlike many other areas of Europe, has not been overwhelmed with tourists, especially during their off-season. Take advantage of this treasure while you can! It is still reasonably-priced and it is easy to feel like a local. You can discover this area in 4-6 days.

The entire city had a “San Francisco meets Europe” vibe which I enjoyed.

Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)



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