This Summer we suggest you keep Portugal in mind for an off-the-beaten path adventure. A country that once dominated the maritime routes between Africa and the East, Portugal today offers its travellers an easy going vibe with lots to do and explore: superb beaches and hidden coves, small fishermen villages and charming, friendly cities, private islands, fantastic sunsets and history. Make Lisbon your base camp and enjoy day trips to unknown sandy beaches, the Alentejo region, private islands and romantic villages.
Lisbon is famous for its warm climate and its thriving cultural scene. A friendly city that faces the Atlantic Ocean and is buzzing with music, art and architecture. Amongst the favourite hidden spots in the city, make sure you have time to hang out at Casi da Pedra, an old port warehouse where legendary chef Henrique Sá Pessoa will delight you with his specialty dishes on a terrace overlooking the river.
Live like a local and grab some food and drinks and take it to Cais do Ginjal, a beautiful secluded garden close to the river where you´ll enjoy one of Lisbon´s most spectacular sunsets.
Cais do Sodré is a riverside district that has been restored into one of the city´s most exciting ones. Locals love it for the variety of restaurants, cafés and shops where to discover unique gifts.
Once you´ve had your share of urban excitement, the Plains of Alentejo is a destination that is rarely visited by tourists. Vineyards, olive groves, almond orchards and cork oaks fill the landscape. The town of Évora with its medieval cobbled streets, archways and patios offers travellers a taste of Roman and Moorish rule and makes for a great starting point to Portugal´s finest and non-touristy beaches. The coastal village of Praia do Queimado has uncrowned beaches and sand dunes while the hip village of Comporta, nestled between green forests and the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, is just an hour south of Lisbon.
An hour and 45 minutes away from Lisbon is the beautiful fishing village of Peniche. Known for its excellent seafood, fresh fish and lace makers, this tiny seaside village has a 16th century fort and makes for a perfect gateway to the Berlengas Islands.
Sintra and Cascais aren´t really off-the-beaten-paths but make for excellent day trips, as both fairy-tale towns are located very close to Lisbon. Hilltop castles, lush gardens, the ruins of Castelo dos Mouros and lovely laid-back beaches.
Just a 30-minute train ride away from Lisbon, you´ll discover the beach of Tamariz, near Estoril. If you´re looking for long sandy shores, check out Costa da Caparica, south of the Tagus River.
Finally, we´d like to share one of our favourite secret hideouts close to Lisbon and that is Mouse Island (Ilha do Rato, in Portuguese). You´ll feel like Robinson Crusoe on this perfect day trip to an island that has no inhabitants, electricity or water. Come prepared and bring extra water and food because the view of Lisbon´s skyline from here is something you will keep in your memory forever.