Spontaneous. This pretty much sums up how we do it. Do what? Travel! I don’t really recall the last time I booked a hotel months/weeks/days in advance. What I do recall is the last time we had to sleep in our car, because we couldn’t find accommodation last-minute. Well, enough about this; what I actually wanted to say was, that just like in Portugal, most of our trips are..free style: prior to the trip we do some research about what there is to see, if we like a place and connect with it, we spend some more time there, if we don’t we just…drive!
From Faro To Porto. Long story short: we arrived in the morning at the Faro airport and picked up our rental. We drove along the South Coast, known as the Algarve, for the next 6 days; then we went to Sintra for one day, Lisbon for two days and visited Porto on our last day. Initially we had planned more days for Sintra and Porto, but we felt in love with a particular place in Alvor and decided to spend there 3 nights instead of 1, which kind of messed up our plans..but it was totally worth it! Was that enough? Not even close, but it was ideal to get a taste and now we know which places to visit next time we decide to travel to Portugal.
Off season = best season. From my point of view, at least. We chose early April to explore Portugal and it turned out to be a great choice.
- The weather. Personally, I don’t do great when it’s hot outside; more than 25-27 Celsius degrees outside and I am out! Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely love the sea, but I just can’t enjoy it if it’s too hot outside. And yes, the water was pretty chilly, but it doesn’t get much warmer during the summer anyway – so if you just swim for a couple of minutes, you will get used to it for sure. The heat just makes me sleepy and moody and I am not the type to lay in the sun for hour either – hell, I get bored in a couple of minutes (probably why I look like a vampire all year round). I like to explore, to see, to hike and wander, to stay active and not sweat while doing it and this is why lower temperatures are my best friend! Also…not that many people feel this way, which gets me to the next point:
- Few tourists. Do I really need to say more? “Such a beautiful place…and look at all these tourists here – I just love crowded places!” – said no one ever! To me there’s nothing more annoying than a long queue in front of the museum I want to visit or a serene beach filled with people. Want to avoid these kind of things? Travel during the off-season and forget about queues and loud tourists.
- It’s cheaper. Everyone likes a bargain. Even if you are not looking to save money on your trip, it’s still great…because for the same price you would have paid in the summer for a 3 stars hotel, now you get that 4 stars hotel with the better view. Or use the money to buy a boat trip or a nice dinner. Not to mention plane tickets, activities and many more.
- Photography bonus. I love landscape photography, which is why the first two points (the weather and few people) are very important to me. Bad weather is often the key to spectacular photography!
Head over to my gallery to literally see why Portugal should be one of your next destinations!