I asked over on my personal Instagram what people wanted to hear about Portugal as I started to dive into my photos and memories from the trip. One of the responses was a question: Why did I choose to travel to Portugal at all?
Good question. Considering that it’s a tiny country with a population the size of New York City, a lot of it is quite poor, and people are often familiar with it because it is a destination for people who love beaches (and you can probably guess: that’s not me).
So why did I choose to go? There were a couple of reasons:
- It’s Not Too Touristy: I learned on one of my walking tours that tourism in Portugal didn’t pop up until about ten years ago. That means that overall, there still aren’t a lot of tourists who go there, compared to, say, London or Paris. This meant I wouldn’t have to fight through throngs of people or wait in lines the entire time. This sounded awesome to me.
- It’s Cheap: When a friend of mine visited Lisbon last year, she told me it was a cute city and it was super cheap. I’ve written before about the cheap places I’ve traveled (most notably Hungary and Poland) but hearing that Portugal was on the Euro and still considered to be cheap, that sparked my interest.
- The Language: No, I don’t speak Portuguese and that’s why I wanted to go. I knew I wouldn’t become even conversational in it while I was there, but I love going to a country that speaks a language I’m totally unfamiliar with and learning a few words or phrases here or there. On this trip, most notably, I learned the words for hello, goodbye, and thank you. Not exactly hard, but it’s something. I like going somewhere where the native language is extremely different from English so it’s a bit of a challenge to communicate with the locals.
- The Weather: I very much went to Portugal during the offseason because of the weather. I’d read that Portugal gets hot during the summer and there’s nothing I like less than sweating, especially while I’m traveling, so I wanted to avoid that at all costs. Also traveling during offseason saves you money and there are fewer tourists (see Reason #1!).
- Not a Lot To Do: This might seem counterintuitive if you’re looking to book some interesting travel, but I looked up the sights to see in both Lisbon and Porto and it didn’t seem as though there was that much to see/do. This sounded both right up my alley and was also going against the grain as far as my traveling goes. I’ve said it before, but I usually run myself ragged when I’m traveling, hopping from place to place for days on end. So, to that end, I thought it might be nice to go to a city where I wouldn’t have even the slightest possibility of that happening.
- Bonus: The architecture looked REALLYYYY pretty in photos that I saw online and I’d heard great things about the country.
I think those are the main reasons that I went to Portugal. I hope this has given you some inspiration to maybe choose Portugal for your next trip (when we’re allowed to travel again!) because it’s a beautiful country and the Portuguese people are SO nice.
So stay safe, stay healthy, stay home, and happy travel daydreaming!