Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Portugal Travel!

Portugal is one of my favorite countries in the world.  And it’s certainly one of the most under-rated.  Within the geographically-blessed continent that is Europe, Portugal often takes a back seat to the pleasures of Italy, the famous landmarks of France, & Spain’s exciting cities.  Portugal offers much of the same, but with more down-to-earth charm & a lower price tag.  And with regards to female travel & solo travel, Portugal is the #3 safest country in the entire world!!  Which is particularly great if you’re setting out on your first solo adventure, or simply if safety is a concern to you.  Let’s get more into specifics in this “Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Portugal Travel!”

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Portugal takes the cake for being one of the most relaxed, unpretentious, & beautiful countries in Europe (photo above is of Lisbon). And it’s also the third safest country in the world, making it ideal for female travel.

Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Portugal Travel

When I think of Portugal, I think of bright yellow buildings & white cathedrals, & the seven hills of Lisbon ~ a place that reminds me of San Francisco, with its steep hills & breathtaking views.  Yet it’s significantly cleaner & definitely has more charm.  Then there’s Sintra, about 45-minutes from Lisbon, with its beautiful views & sumptuous palaces.  You may want to stay awhile, unless you feel like heading to the beach…in which case, the Algarve is where you’ll want to go ~ Portugal’s famous southern coast line.  Or if wine-tasting is more to your liking, head up to the Porto region, & visit some of its wine cellars or the many vineyards in the surrounding Douro Valley

All of this & more awaits you in underrated & laid-back Portugal!

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Portugal was one of my first trips as a young post-college age girl ~ & I found it to be a very un-intimidating country for female travel (minus when I tried to drive a stick shift thru Lisbon)! I HIGHLY recommend Portugal for female travel, as its people are very pleasant & unassuming.

Map of Portugal

Lisbon

Porto

The Algarve

Madeira

Temple of Diana in Evora

Portugal Travel Overview

  • Safety = VERY Safe! In fact, Portugal is the #3 Safest Country in the World! 99% 99%
  • Cost = One of the cheapest destinations in Western Europe 40% 40%
  • Adventures = Plenty ~ though most are of the more relaxed variety: wine-tasting, beach-combing, castle-gazing, etc. 85% 85%
  • How Safe I Felt as a Female Traveler = VERY Safe 99% 99%

Portugal Travel Quick Facts!

  • Portugal in One Word = Underrated.
  • Portugal in One More Word = Bright. 
  • Wi-Fi = Wi-Fi is available in Lisbon & major cities, but is harder to find in more rural & off-the-beaten path places.
  • Global Peace Ranking = #3 out of 163 countries (U.S. is #103) = One of the SAFEST countries in the entire world, & the safest country in all of Europe ~ except for Iceland.
  • Hotels = Considerably cheaper than most of Western Europe, & generally cheaper than the U.S.
  • Must-Do’s = Wander Lisbon’s colorful streets.  Listen to Portugal’s signature fado music in Lisbon’s lively Barrio Alto.  Marvel at the beautiful yellow Pena Palace in Sintra.  Fly out to the Azores.  Sip wine & admire the beautiful tile work in Porto.  Find the Temple of Diana in Evora.  Stay in a Portuguese castle, called “Pousadas” ~ such as the stately Pousada Castelo Alvito.
  • Is Portugal Good for Solo Travelers = YES!!  Portugal is at the top of my list for solo travel ~ in terms of both safety and price.  And typically, it’s not overwhelmed with tourists, which is a plus for the independent traveler.  The only detractor is that Portuguese is a difficult language to pick up, & most locals don’t know English.
  • What to Expect as a Female Traveler = Expect bright buildings, a laid-back vibe, & friendly locals who are helpful, even if they don’t fully understand you!  You may experience rowdy youngsters in the Barrio Alto (Lisbon’s lively, central bar district) ~ but other than that, Portugal has a very relaxed, non-machismo vibe.  
  • Would I Go Back = Yes!!! I could see myself retiring here…

Photos of Lisbon, Portugal

I’ll never forget the first moment I set foot in Lisbon: my friend Lea & I disembarked from a local train, & literally felt the city vibrating beneath our feet.  It felt like there was a stampede going on.  We looked at each other in confusion: what the heck was going on??!  The year was 2004, & there was a minor little event called the Euro Cup taking place (which we knew nothing about)….& the city was absolutely vibrating with pandemonium & excitement. 

What I learned: Portugal is pretty much always relaxed ~ except when it comes to football (aka soccer)!!  That trip still remains one of the best & most serendipitous trips I’ve ever taken, where everything seemed to fall exactly into place….

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Literally STumbling into the Euro Cup, which was being hosted by Portugal, was one of the most fortuitous travel “mistakes” I’ve ever made…& we also stumbled into these killer seats somehow!

Ultimate Girls Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Lisbon is a city of many hills, & the views you get from hilltop perches are phenomenal.

Ultimate Girls Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Ultimate Girls Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

If you don’t feel like walking uphill ~ hop on one of Lisbon’s many cable cars…

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Bustling restaurants with sweeping sea views abound in Lisbon…

Taking a Trip Around Portugal….

Now, let’s leave the capital of Lisbon & venture further out: to the whimsical Pena Palace in Sintra, then up north to Portugal’s wine capital, Porto.  Next, we’ll head down south to Portugal’s glamorous beach resorts in the Algarve, & finally, travel even further afield to the island of Madeira….which has an otherworldly beauty all its own.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

About 45 minutes from Lisbon, the hilltop Pena Palace in Sintra is a MUST day-tour from the city, with its distinctive bright yellow & red, Moorish exterior.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Everywhere we went, we enviously ogled the exquisite Portuguese tile work. Save room in your bag to bring some home!

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Quaint Porto is known for its seaside location, cobble-stoned streets, & world-famous port wine. It’s a charming stop worth at least two days of exploring. And something about it reminds me a little bit of Venice!

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World, Portugal

Albufeira, Portugal is one of the most popular cities in the region known as the Algarve, which encompasses most of Portugal’s southern, coastal region.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World, Madeira, Portugal

Stunning Madeira, an archipelago comprised of four islands, is a 90-minute flight from Lisbon.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Portugal Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Madeira isn’t the only island chain off of Portugal: so are the exotic Azores…

Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Portugal Travel!

Thanks for reading this “Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Portugal Travel!”  Whether you’re looking for a safe, relaxed place to embark on your first solo travel journey, or you’re a couple looking for a romantic & understated adventure ~ Portugal is sure to delight.  Ask me any questions in the comments below!

Read Next: Where Did Colton The Bachelor Stay in Portugal?