In this blog we post local travel tips and information about
Portugal and the Portuguese culture. Enjoy!
Portugal and the Portuguese culture. Enjoy!
Spring is a great season to visit Portugal. The weather is usually mild, the landscapes are stunning and there are no crowds so you can wander freely and really experience our culture. From north to south, there are many places worth a visit, but we have selected these three as our top picks and you’ll easily understand why.
ISLAND HOPPING IN THE AZORES
The archipelago comprises 9 islands, situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between Portugal and the USA. Exploring the Azores is quite a humbling experience as we quickly come to the realisation that all we are is a small speck of something much greater. The landscapes are truly overwhelming and the natural beauty is astonishing.
Each island has its own charm and offers different reasons to visit but it is consensual that spring is a great time to head there!
Many of the plants, trees and flowers that thrive in the Azores were brought from as far as Australia, North America, New Zealand, China and South Africa. Some of them originated new sub-species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world as they adapted and grew due to the particular conditions that the azorean climate offers. Spring time is particularly beautiful as the flowers blossom and sprinkle the green landscapes with bright vibrant colours. The purple, pink and white hydrangeas are almost an icon as they invade every patch of grass and flank many of the narrow roads. It almost feels like an open air carwash.
Spring is also the best time of the year for whale watching, as there are almost 20 different species of cetaceans cruising the Atlantic waters that surround the Azores. The three biggest mammals in the world migrate to the North Atlantic during this time of year, after giving birth to the little ones in the southern waters. Watching these massive creatures swimming effortlessly through the rocky seas is somehow exhilarating and mesmerising at the same time. Doing snorkeling or scuba diving around some of the islands is an unforgettable experience!
Read more about the Azores here.
ROADTRIP THROUGH THE HISTORICAL VILLAGES
The historical villages located inland, in the Beiras region, are also a great spring break destination! There are 12 in total and choosing a few makes up an amazing road trip.
In early Spring it might still be a bit chilly, specially at night, but this area has a special charm even if the weather is cold. We couldn’t think of a better place than any of these little enchanted villages to get wrapped up in blankets and sip a hot cup of tea while gazing at the starry skies. You might even get lucky and spot some almond trees in bloom! Sometimes you can still see the hills covered in white and light shades of pink, resembling snow, and feel the delightful aroma in the air. If you have the time visit Serra da Estrela Natural Park, as the ice is melting and the absolute silence is replaced by the gush of water flowing and birds humming. The peaceful landscapes are the best to chill and forget about the chaotic cities.
Easter is also a good reason to visit. The old traditions and customs have been kept through generations and you can even participate in some of them. Not to mention it is a great excuse to try some of the traditional easter sweets. Some say a few are a perfect match to the rich and creamy Serra da Estrela cheese. You have to try it!
In early June, the weather is a lot warmer and it is perfect to go on walks, do picnics outside and go for a dip in one of the river beaches. There’s also the cherry party, where you can try the best cherries in the country and learn how to make (or just stock on) compote, liquor, cakes, muffins and every single treat made of cherry you can think of.
Read more about the historical villages here.
ALENTEJO: EAST TO WEST
Alentejo is Portugal’s biggest region, occupying almost a third of the national territory. Driving through the region is always a good idea as the never ending plains offer spectacular sights! The coast is also astonishing, and some of the best beaches in the country are located here. There still are a few pretty much unexplored, and we’re keeping them that way!
In this region the clock ticks slowly and everyone’s pace is brought down a notch. It is the perfect place to unwind and recharge batteries. Spring is a great time to visit as the weather is usually quite nice and there are no crowds.
It is too hard to decide if you should head west or east, so the best is not to compromise and do both! Explore the peaceful and remote villages located inland, try the delicious local food and learn about the region’s great quality wine. When you start craving the sea breeze, head to the coast to stock on vitamin D while lying in one of the massive stretches of sand. If you’re into sports you can ride some waves with the locals or do some beautiful walks through the fishermen trails. This really is a beautiful region that has kept true to itself.
Read more about the Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park here.
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