Portugal is a prime destination for many holidaymakers around Europe. With its beautiful golden beaches in the Algarve and its wonderful historic cities like Lisbon, it’s no wonder this country is so popular with tourists. However, sometimes the excitement may be overshadowed by the fact you’ve got to battle crowds to get to some of Portugal’s most famous landmarks. So, try some of these genuine alternatives to Portugal’s tourist traps the next time you’re in the area:
1. Skip Sintra for Viana do Castelo
Sintra is a fairytale destination, and thanks to its close proximity to Lisbon, it’s a great day trip for those in the city. But this also means it can get extremely crowded very quickly, so much so that you can’t really enjoy the scenery when you’re there. To avoid this, take a trip to Viana do Castelo, an equally impressive castle in Portugal that’s far less busy. You can even do this via bus, just make the journey a little more comfortable with a neck pillow, plenty of water and a good book.
2. Find a Tasca Instead of Eating at Rua Augusta
Rua Augusta is a long street in Lisbon’s Baixa Pombalina district. It’s a wonderful place to visit with its beautifully tiled streets and boutique shops. However, it also tends to be packed during the summer months, and restaurants take advantage of this by hiking the prices up. Go a little off-piste and wander down some side streets for delicious yet affordable traditional Portuguese cuisine.
3. Swap the Algarve for the Azores
The Algarve is a hugely popular resort for tourists. Visitors will travel for miles with just a travel pillow and magazine in hand to see what all the fuss is about. Because of this, it can get hectic in the summertime. Swap the Algarve for the Azores, which is just as impressive but far less populated. This Azores is made up of nine islands, each waiting to be explored.
4. Pick the Countryside over Cities
Portugal has many dynamic, vibrant cities, which is why so many tourists get taken in when booking their holiday. But away from this, Portugal’s countryside is also a sight to behold. With an abundance of vineyards producing sweet Portuguese wine and rolling hills perfect for hiking lovers, it’s a great place to visit if you love discovering untapped areas.
5. Tour the Convent of Christ
The Jerónimos Monastery is very near Lisbon, which makes it a must-visit for those in the city. However, if the enormous queues weren’t off-putting enough, the 12 euro fee might just be. If you can, tour the Convent of Christ instead. Walk through the grand castle and spend the rest of your time strolling around the gardens for only 6 euros.