Portugalʼs Backpacking Highlights

Portugal has a lot to offer backpackers including the magnificent Atlantic coast surfing beaches and beautiful cities such as Lisbon. One of the major plus points of Portugal is that the costs are around 30% cheaper than other western countries in Europe and this includes the capital city. Here are some highlights to look out for on a backpacking trip to Portugal.

Beaches of Faro
The Algarve coast contains some of the most stunning beaches in Portugal, if not Europe. If your reason for visiting Portugal is to escape the crowds then the 10 km of golden sands in Faro known as Ilha da Deserta, the desert, will be ideal. This is the place for sun lovers, and nature lovers, and if you can tear yourself away from the beach then the city of Faro is easily reached by boat.

The best way to explore the Algarve coastline is by car, Faro car hire in 2013 is inexpensive at around 50 per week. You can pre-book your car online and then drive it away from Faro Airport when you arrive. This is a great way to travel for the free spirited, not being bound by public transport affords a great deal more freedom in choose where and when to travel.

Portugalʼs Capital City
If youʼre hankering for some city sights then make the three hour journey west from Faro to the capital city of Lisbon. If youʼre not hiring a car then bus and train fares for the 280 km trip will cost between 20 and 25. Lisbon itself is a beautiful and very compact city, and is easy to traverse thanks to the ferries, trams and metro system. Lisbon hostels are known as the best in the world and are good value at 20 per night while a meal in a Portuguese restaurant can be had for around 5.

If you want to learn the local history and see the sights then book a place on one of the free Chill Out tours. The guides work on tips only and your city tour will last approximately three hours. Lisbon has been described as Europeʼs most scenic capital and highlights include the magnificent St Georgeʼs Castle and Sao Roque Church, the worldʼs most expensive chapel.

Surferʼs Paradise
If youʼre a surf bum looking for the best surfing beaches then head 90km up the coast from Lisbon to Baleal on the Peniche peninsula, known as Portugalʼs mecca of surfing. You can enjoy plenty of water sports in Baleal including diving at the Berlengas Islands; the beautiful little beaches on the islands are well worth a visit. Accommodation in Baleal can include the Peniche Surf Lodge, which will set you back around 17 per night.

Image credit to Eurail.com