Portugal was the first country I visited as a graduated yoga teacher. Last year, when my life was completely different from nowadays, I went to Omassim Guesthouse to go, for the first time in my life, on a ‘me alone’ holiday. Yoga and surf, relaxation guaranteed. And I fell in love. With Omassim, doing yoga every day, surfing and Portugal in general. The people, the food, the vibe. It was amazing. I never wanted to leave and I knew that I would come back someday. And I knew, the minute that I was holding my diploma in my hands, I wanted to travel and Omassim had to be my first stop.
I visualized it. Me teaching at this beautiful place, meeting new people, learning every day. It almost didn’t happen because I could not stay for a whole season because of my brothers wedding end June. But I saw it so clearly and knew my day would come. I was emailing with people in France, found some nice places, and the day before I decided that I would confirm these places, Lia from Omassim send me an email. That they would like me to come, even if it was just for two months. I was over the roof, bouncing around en cheering ‘I knew it!’.
So there I was, starting beginning of May. And what a ride! Read more about my personal experiences at my blog Let go. Because this blog is to share my travel tips with you.
Travel tips for Portugal
Go, see and stay
From Lisbon you can travel by bus to Ericeira. A beautiful old little town where the sea rules and people making a living out of it. Surfing and yoga are well know here. Some of the surfing spots are even the best in Europe! What is so nice about Ericeira is that it’s still a little bit on the down side if you talk about tourism. There are surfers there of course and sometimes it can be a bit busy in the water. But overall the vibe is very nice and chilled. No big crowds, just how I like it.
Stay at Omassim Guesthouse in Ribamar, super close to the vibrant beaches and Ericeira, for the best yoga and surf lessons. Or if you want to stay at a beautiful charming guesthouse with a very personal touch, I can also highly recommend The Surfers Lookout.
Most beautiful beaches are Coxos, Empa (very quiet), São Lourenço and São Julião. You need a car to get to the last one, but it’s the most amazing beach there is. Beautiful rock formations with hidden spots in between the rocks where you can sunbathe without people around.
For food I would also recommend Omassim for the best vegetarian food there is. For the best fish and most amazing romantic view overlooking the ocean and see the sunset, Golfinho Azul is definitely your best choice. It’s more expensive (wining and dining around €50 p.p.) but totally worth it. If your budget is a little bit lower but you still want some good fish, A Panela in Ericeira won’t let you down. The owner is super nice and the restaurant has a very authentic Portugees touch. After diner, go to Adega Bar 1987 for some live music and a Imperial Beer.
A beautiful town with not one but two amazing castles to visit. See the gardens and walk all the way up the mountain to see the beautiful view. I would recommend to go there for just a day trip. It can be crowded with a lot of tourists especially in the weekends. So set your alarm early, put on your walking shoes, and just to be save, bring a jacket. It can be a bit chilly up there. I would specially recommend to see the gardens and just get lost. There are waterfalls, secret underground passages and old wells you can enter. A very Alice in Wonderland feeling.
When your are walking down again I would recommend to go to Tea room Saudade for a warm cup of tea or coffee and great sandwiches and/or pastry’s. They are define!
It’s easy to get to Sintra from Lisbon or Ericeira by bus.
Oh Lisbon, I really fell in love when I was there. The city has so many different sides to see. So take at least three days to vist, you won’t get bored, I promise.
First thing to do is go outside of the city centre to Belém. I did a beautiful walk from Cais Do Sodré (end of the green metro line) along the water all the way to Belém. Thats a 1,5 hour walk and totally worth it. You cross some amazing art galleries and nice restaurants, bars and little parks. Walk all the way to the palace and of course take a bite at the best pastry in town at Pastéis de Belém. A bit touristy so there is a big line during the day. I went there at 11 p.m. and there where only two people waiting in front of me. Nice for midnight munchies.
Near to Belém there is Lx Factory, an amazing artistic place with murals all over, pop-up concept stores and the best chocolate cake in the world at Landeau Chocolate. Don’t be shy and step in the old factory spaces and walk up the stairs. People are working here but you can just walk around and find amazing places like a bar on top of the roof or a pingpong table in the middle of beautiful art pieces. Take a refreshing drink and a bite at the rooftop overlooking the river and the Jesus statue at Rio Maravilha.
If you have seen all the amazing places Belém has to offer then go to the city centre and take a walk to Príncipe Real where you can shop at very affordable and beautiful shops with one of a kind pieces. For a walk through the park, go to Estrela parque to see amazing old, super big trees. I just sat on a bench there and took all the energy of this ancient creatures in.
And then of course yoga! Foodprintz Cafe is definitely the place to be. Karo (a dutch yoga teacher) is a very enthusiastic Jivamukti teacher with energy going through the roof and your soul. I promise you will get sweaty and feel enlightened after. Also because she tells you beautiful stories in between the asanas about the history of the poses or how she feels about the world (she is an vegan activist). After the yoga you should linger around in the cafe above the studio and eat the best vegan food in town. The smoothies are to die for!
I hope you have enough information to explore a little bit of Portugal by yourself. And please leave a comment below if you have some nice tips as well! Let’s share!