Find yourself in beautiful Portugal for your next Yoga adventure. It has been a secret insider for many years now, becoming more and more popular every year. No matter if you enjoy a big city life, sun tanning at breath-taking beaches, surfing the best waves that Europe has to offer, or wandering around south Portugal natural parks, you can find whatever your heart desires.
Venture to one of Europe’s least expensive countries, while still enjoying beauty. Surrounded only by Spain, and an hours flight away from Northern Africa, Portugal is perhaps best known for its distinctive rich, gothic architecture, colorful buildings dating back to the 1500’s, and flowing, cheap Port wine. It is ranked the eighth largest producer of wine, and is mainly surrounded by beautiful coastline. There are regular, direct flights to Lisbon, Faro and Porto from Europe and surprisingly so, from some US cities as well.
Just a 30-minute drive outside of central Lisbon is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra. Renowned for its 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, take a tour to marvel illustrious palaces and extravagant mansions scattered amongst the forested hillsides.
While Lisbon is a city to explore, make your way to Porto, as it is a must see destination, for your eyes and tastebuds. The much adored variant, Port Wine has its roots in this wonderful town, so you can get the tastiest, yet most inexpensive here.
Portugese, Miranda do Douro
Important dates in Portugal
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Feb 28 – Carnival/Shrove
Apr 14 – Good Friday
Apr 16 – Easter
Apr 25 – Liberty Day
May 1 – Labor Day / May Day
Jun 10 – Portugal Day
Jun 15 – Corpus Christi
Aug 15 – Assumption of Mary
Oct 5 – Republic Implantation
Nov 1 – All Saints’ Day
Dec 1 – Restoration of Independence
Dec 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Dec 25 – Christmas Day
- Portuguese is the official language of nine different countries.
- Portugal is the oldest established country in Europe.
- The oldest bookstore in the world is in Portugal’s capital.
Good to know
If you’re coming to Portugal with intentions of utilizing Spanish expertise, think again. The two languages are as linguistically different as are the cultures, and the assumption that Spanish is interchangeable could be taken as an insult to the Portugal locals.
Most museums, galleries and attractions are fairly inexpensive (and some are free on the first Sunday of the month). Portugal is rarely a dangerous place for women travelers and you only need to be particularly wary in parts of Lisbon at night, and in the darker alleys near the river in Porto.
Culture and Etiquette in Portugal
You will notice that waiters bring bread, olives and other goodies to your table the moment you sit down. This unordered appetizer is called couvert and can cost upwards to over 10 euros a plate. If you aren’t interested in eating it, no problem- send it back to the kitchen and you avoid getting charged.
Portuguese food doesn’t have the same public appeal as other European cuisines, but the traditional flavors are quite enjoyable. The nation eats rather fresh with large amounts of grilled fish and meat. They are most famous for their salted cod.
Pescatarians will get by, but serious vegetarians might have to search a bit further in Portugal. Even vegetable dishes usually include meat with soups including the bones. If you like to eat on the run, you may notice considerably fewer options than in North American culture. Prepared, frozen foods are unusual in this part of the world.
It’s customary to leave a few coins adding up to 5-10% in establishments that exceed your prior expectation. Always ask if they accept credit cards, if you’re planning to use one. You do not want to finish your plate, then be embarrassed by your lack of acceptable payment.
Although not strict, when visiting churches or other religious buildings, try to wear appropriate clothes. Cover your shoulders and knees entirely.