I wasn`t planning on going to Portugal but my brother is currently staying there for work so I said to myself : “OK, why not?”. And I am not sorry at all. The country completely impressed me.
I was staying with my brother in Braga. The town is beautiful, full of small local stores and pubs.
The houses in Portugal are mostly old with typical tiles of different colours and very small balconies which I am not really sure why they have them, because they are too narrow to use.
The people in Portugal are extremely nice and welcoming. At first you need to get used to their “slow service”. It takes time for them to come to your table and take an order and it takes time for them to bring you that order. That is just their way of life – being easy and stress free. So just relax and go with the flow, you are on your holidays, so why should you hurry?
One of the typical foods there is called “francesinha” and it is a mix of different kinds of meat and sausage on bread, covered with melted cheese and like a tomato and beer sauce, served with french fries. People there really like to mix different kinds of meats because many foods are served that way. And it is very typical to get both rice and french fries along with the main dish. If you are trying to loose some weight, forget about Portugal, mostly you find fast food there, hamburgers, sandwiches, pancakes and of course a lot of french fries. The price for the dish is normally about 7 € , fast food is cheaper, you can get a hamburger or a sandwich for about 3-4 € and if you want something a bit more healthy like fish, be prepared to pay about 10-14 €.
We also went to a town called Viana do castelo, you can get there by train and it takes about an hour and 10 minutes from Braga. The ocean view is amazing, however it does get chilly and very windy, so don`t forget to take a jacket with you – trust me, you wont regret it. After walking along the beach, we decided to go see the famous church of Santa Luzia. You can get there by foot or by funicular. If you go there by foot, be ready to walk up approximately 700 stairs. It sure is a good exercise but once you get there, you forget all about the pain in your legs, because the view is simply amazing.
A town you shouldn`t forget to visit in Portugal is Porto. We actually went there 3 times and we could easily spend more time there. Same as Viana do castelo, Porto also gets very chilly and windy, the Atlantic ocean takes care of that. In May the water is quite cold and the waves make it difficult to swim. But the view is breathtaking, I could stare at the ocean all day and not get tired of it. There are many pubs and restaurants along the beach so you can drink your coffee and relax while listening to the sounds of the sea.
Portugal is a very safe country. People are willing to help you out so don`t hesitate to ask a local for help, they will be happy to do it. The only thing you need to be aware of is stepping on dog poops, because most dog owners don`t clean after their pet, no matter where they do their business. So watch out for that – while looking at the city, don`t forget to look in front of you!
Other than that, you will love Portugal. So if you ever get a chance to see it, go for it! You wont regret it.