Whether it be the sunny, urban city life of Lisbon or the stunning sandy beaches and amazing Algarve coast line riddled with flowers; Portugal is a great escape.
I have only been to Lisbon on a day trip as one of the stops on a cruise, but we managed to squeeze in a fair amount. We took a Segway tour of the city which was a bucket of fun! They take you to the square by the docks were they teach you the basics and let you get used to this weight and balance based machine. So for 10 minutes there are a bunch of Segway noobs buzzing about the square. Then it’s off in single file, up and down the cobble street, whizzing all over town, taking in the sites whilst the tour guide tells you all about the secret underground tunnels and the rest of the vast history that this place holds. After the Segway tour ended, we took a stroll around the town centre, stopping at a quirky café for a frappe to cool off from the August heat. The city is the perfect spot to get some shopping down and chill in a cool bar or café.
Alternatively, I recently went to Portugal as one of my modules for uni. We stayed in a super chill hostel/villa which doubled as out field station. Despite having to do plenty of write ups and many deadlines, it’s safe to say we enjoyed the sun, sangria and beaches!
The villa we stayed in is called Boa Vida and it is quite the little backpackers escape, with a vegetable patch, skate park, quaint but refreshing pool overlooking the valley below and a couple different roof terraces, a great place to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Inside hosts rooms with a variety of bunk beds and double or single beds. Both the outside and communal area are riddles with wall art giving the place a super laid back vibe. The communal area has a couple sofa to relax on, and if you’re lucky you might get a visit from the kitty that seems to have adopted Boa Vida as its new home. The food here was amazing! There was a large selection for breakfast which included bread and spreads, yoghurt, fruit, salad, scrambled egg, cold meat slices, cereals along with soya milk, tea and coffee (the good kind too). Lunch was pretty much just rolls/sandwiches with various spreads and fillings, along with fruits, cereal bar and juice boxes, which we prepared after breakfast since we were in the field for lunch. Dinner was the winner though. Since there were 5 vegetarians in our group, there was always a veggie options, and can I say all the dinner were delicious! We had a range, from curries, to pasta, to lentils and despite them sounding pretty plain, the taste as anything but! We also had an abundance of yummy vegan deserts!
As part of our module, we had to trek along the flower filled coast, hop between rock pools, get sand between our toes walking along the beach and estuary, weave through the trees amongst crumbling ruins of old brick houses reclaimed by the forest, or have the sun bake our necks as we wondered through the sand dunes. Algarve is perfect for nature lovers and sun worshippers, but most importantly surfers! The sea is perfect for surfing, and if you’re not quite as skilled as that, Boa Vida also hosted paddle boards if you still want to hit the sea.
Written by Raphaella Ruggiero
Edited by Amy Ruggiero