My biggest hindrance when mapping out a travel itinerary is understanding how my time frame translates into destinations. So I have one week in Portugal. How many stops, cities, towns, side trips does that translate to?
Lisbon: The capital of Portugal and second oldest capital in Europe after Athens. Lisbon is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and, according to myth, was built upon seven hills. It consists of a number of “villages” and neighborhoods within the city, an iconic bridge, monuments for days, loads of street art and vintage trams.
Sintra: A UNESCO World Heritage Site largely popular with tourists due to its three famous palaces. Sintra is a 40-50 minute train ride or 30 minute drive from Lisbon making it the perfect day trip.
Driving Lisbon to Sintra
Lagos: A popular tourist destination centrally located along the southern coast of Portugal. Lagos is a 4 hour train ride or 3 hour drive from Lisbon. Across the river to the east, Meia Praia, a long stretch of sandy beach, is worth a visit.
Driving Lisbon to Lagos
Aljezur: A quiet small town away from the typical tourism scenes of the Algarve, Aljezur is located 30 minutes north of Lagos on the west coast of Portugal. Praia da Amoreira is a beautiful beach on the north side of the Ribeira de Aljezur. Praia da Arrifana and Praia de Vale Figueiras are also nearby.
Odeceixe: Another small and peaceful town located about 15 minutes north of Aljezur. The Praia de Odeceixe is popular for being one of the most sheltered beaches, offering great stretches for surfing and swimming.
Sagres: The southwestern-most point of Europe, Sagres is where Henry the Navigator once set up his school of navigation. Today it is famous for its stunning views. Sagres is about 30 minutes southwest of Lagos.
Albufeira: A well-known and popular destination for those on holiday, this picturesque town is brimming with resorts. It is about 50 minutes east of Lago by car and an hour and a half by train. Praia da Marinha is about halfway between Albufeira and Lagos, offering the iconic limstone rock stacks often photographed. Praia da Falésia is another beach10 km east of Albufeira with a beautiful cliffscape.
Tavira Island: A sandy island and bird habitat located a little over an hour east of Lagos. Tavira Island is easily reached by boat from the town of Tavira.
Praia de Cacela Velha: The shallow water of this beach keep the water warm. The nearby village of Cacela Velha is pretty and peaceful. This beach is an hour and 20 minutes east of Lagos, almost at the Spanish border.
Stay tuned! The next step will be taking all this information and mapping it out as a loose itinerary on a calendar so we can really see what we can do with our time.
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