Travel to Portugal – Episode 108

categories: europe travel

The Amateur Traveler talks to Catherine from Cycling through the Centuries who grew up in Portugal about the country she calls home.

Catherine lays out a tour for us with the best of Portugal. She includes Lisbon, Porto, The Blue Coast, the Alentejo but you may be surprised what she does not include.

Catherine says, “Portugal is fantastic because it’s quite small, very small. You can actually see almost everything in 2 weeks if you plan well, but there is so much to see.”

“I would recommend you start in Lisbon which is a fantastic city, the capital. It’s kind of like an old man, a bit tattered around the edges but still quite elegant and noble. It is a very safe city. It’s a very comfortable cozy city. There’s fado, the Portuguese music. It’s singing sorrow and unrequited love. I would definitely go to a fado club and listen to some fado.” She recommends 3 days in Lisbon.

She also recommends the beautiful area of Simbra which has a green microclimate. It was the summer residence of the Portuguese royalty. There are two palaces and a Moorish fortress. She recommends 2 full days in Simbra. The coast is also nearby. One of the beaches has dinosaur footprints.

She does not recommend people go to Fatima unless they are on a specific religious pilgrimage.

She recommends the region near Porto. The whole region is a UNESCO world heritage site, the vineyards which are terraced along the Douro River. Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal.


click here to download (mp3)
click here to download (iTunes enhanced)

Show Notes

Cycling through the Centuries

Portugal Travel Guide
Fado -Music
Lord Byron
Portuguese Explorers
Henry the Navigator
Portugal’s Blue Coast Bike Tour
Rail Europe: Specials & Promotions

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

9 Responses to “Travel to Portugal – Episode 108”

Carlos Faria



You already come to Portugal and Azores Islands, now you need to visit Madeira Island.
The Madeira nature is unique in the world.
Its Climat is very pleasant and pleasant temperature (14 º to 22 º).

Fantastic Levada Walks throught natural beauty and its majestic sceneries.
Madeira Food, is probably one of the best places in the world for a good meat and a faboulus fish. The famous honey cake (you can keep it during one year). The “Bolo do Caco” in butter with garlic. The meat speciality “Espetada” and the Fish especiality “Espada Fillet With banana Flambé.

The Madeira wine and Madeira Poncha are very famous world wide.

You can swimming on the sea all around the year (water 18 º to 22 º)
Some great events like Carnival Event, The Flower Festival, The Festival of the Atlantic (June every weekend), Religious festivities in every villages (May to September), Wine Festival (September), Christmas and the New Year’s Eve (December 31).

In the see you can do boat trips to see the tartules, the doulfins and whales all year but specialy fromMay to November.

Very good hotels , Bed & Breakfast and Madeira Rural Accomodation

Regards from Madeira Island

Kathy Simonsen


I just listened to episode 108 Travel to Portugal and loved it. My husband and I will be traveling to Portugal in June of 2013 for the Rotary International Convention. Catherine was very informative about the wonderful places to visit. I appreciated her honesty about the places that were not very interesting, like Fatima and most of the Algarve. We love to travel and get to know the people a little bit and stay away from the tacky touristy areas, so I appreciated her suggestions to travel down the Atlantic Coast and visit the area with the cork trees.




any plans for travelling to portugal again?
You are writin so many very good articles! Tha nk you. It’s allways nice to read this blog.

Best regards



I have not actually been to Portugal myself, but yes I want to 1) get there and 2) do more on Portugal

toomanythingstoolittletimeMax Scott


My wife and I just returned from cruising the Douro River, from Porto all the way up to Salamanca and it was fantastic! We opted to spend two days exploring Lisbon before the cruise and learned so much about the country and its history. I will be glad to share my notes and photographs upon completion. Have a great week-



I look forward to it

Hilton Santos


@Kathy Simonsen

October 18th, 2012 at 5:47 pm
“I appreciated her honesty about the places that were not very interesting, like Fatima and most of the Algarve.”

Are you kidding me? The Algarve is not very interesting? It only has the best beaches in Europe and unforgettable views! 🙂
If you actually do some research about where to go in the Algarve before saying something like that, you will surely find something to your liking.
There are 70KM of virtually virgin beaches to discover on the west coast, genuine fishing towns scattered all over the Algarve with traditional construction like Alvor for example, about 40 excellent golf courses, country views of endless orange fields, historic landmarks like castles and roman ruins, did I say the best beaches in Europe?

I could keep going, but there is really no point. It is no surprise that the Algarve is becoming a major travel destination and folks are coming over from as far as Canada to visit..

Those reading this blog should take a second and third look at the Algarve when deciding their holidays as thousands make it their go to long term holiday plan and many dream to live here. Yep I am biased, I am one of the lucky ones who does live here.

Visit Portugal and especially the Algarve!

Hilton Santos



I have not been to the Algarve, but I will admit that “best beaches in Europe” does not seem like a high bar to me. I have not been very impressed with the beaches in Europe that I have seen. Nice is just rocks. Malaga and Santorini are pebbles. Italian beaches and the Riviera are small and crowded. I liked the beaches on Crete and some of the beaches in Northern Europe are nice but the weather is colder. I still have not seen beaches as nice as in the U.S. (particularly Hawaii), the Caribbean or Australia.

Nick Robinson


I listened to this podcast with interest and Catherine was really relaxed and informative about Portugal. I find it sad that she thinks Faro is a total waste of time. I’ve been living in the Algarve for 18 years and while Albufeira is exactly as she describes (drunk British tourists on tour), they are mainly located in that small area. The rest of the Algarve is filled with stunning beauty and calm serene places with a unique history. I’d love to be given the opportunity to jump on your podcast and explain a little?

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