For us, Portugal is pretty special. Its historic and vibrant European charm is something we can’t get enough of, and no matter what direction our lives take us, we’ve no doubt we’ll keep coming back.
In the summer of 2018, we visited Portugal for 10 days in what became our first taste of backpacking-style travel, albeit minus the backpacks. We traversed Portugal’s rugged west coast, keeping a vague eye on our budget and forgoing the all-inclusive, luxury holiday bubble.
Two years later, having returned from our backpacking trip across Southeast Asia, we found ourselves at a crossroads. In the middle of a pandemic, we took a bit of a risk and headed back to where it all started. Thus, Portugal became our first destination as remote workers. In total, we have lived and worked in Porto for two months, Lisbon for two months, and the Algarve for one month, visiting many hidden gems in between, including Setúbal, Sagres and Aveiro.
The ancient frontier of Europe’s old world, Portugal is full of history that intrigues and enchants; it’s enough to keep any culture-buff occupied. The windswept and rugged coastline is a surfer’s paradise, but you don’t need to don a wetsuit to admire the exquisite scenery. The northern Douro region is one of the oldest demarcated wine-growing regions in the world, and there aren’t many better places to enjoy a glass of wine than pretty Porto, Portugal’s second city.
Head south to the Algarve to soak up the sun. Whether you plan to stay in five-star golf resorts or one of the ridiculously charming white-walled towns lining the southern coast, you can enjoy the sun, sea and surf on some of Europe’s best beaches.
The cities – namely Porto and Lisbon – are some of the most beautiful you’ll come across, thanks in no small part to azulejos, the small, blue, hand-painted tiles that cover cloisters, cathedrals and train stations. The sounds and smells are as vibrant as the colours you’ll see across Portugal, with sugary sweet pastel de natas, the oaky flavours of heavenly port wine and the soaring notes of traditional Fado music.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we could happily live in Portugal, and that’s saying something because we’re self-confessed tropical weather junkies. That’s how much we love this unique and incredibly diverse country, so make sure it’s top of your Europe travel list.
We’ll probably see you there…