At the end of August, I “fled” to Portugal with one of my best college friends as I couldn’t let another summer go by without making it to Europe, where I feel oh, so lucky to have started visiting as a little girl due to growing up with a friend who was Swedish. I love the culture, the language, the water, the narrow cobble stone streets, and learning about the food in each country. I will say, I’ve never had such a hard time figuring out where to go in one country. EVERYONE I talked to had a different opinion: “Go the beach they say; Go South; Go to Porto! Don’t go to Porto! You can just go to Napa instead of the Duoro Wine Valley; There’s not much to do in Lisbon; You’ll LOVE Lisbon; Fly to Azores.” Man, I had a tough time, but after a few weeks of researching, I pulled it off. We did 3 nights in Lisbon, 3 in Comporta, and 3 in Porto. It was PERFECT. I wouldn’t change the order or any of the places or the amount of days. Here is my guide to Comporta which is the up and coming beach and surf town that I actually planned the entire trip around because of an article my always-ahead-of-the-curve travel friend, Leslie, sent me in Conde Nast Traveler. This place is blowing up, and I’d travel this far again JUST to stay at Quinta da Comporta overlooking the rice fields with the most gorgeous pool.
The best lesson I learned on this trip was really from Erin. While I was trying to make sure we didn’t miss a place, a restaurant, or a site visit in advance, she said, “Oh, we’ll figure it out when we get there.” While I heard a lot of restaurants are closed in August, I made sure to find 3 best restaurants in Lisbon and Porto and just call it a day. I never want to come home and someone ask me if I went to the best place on earth and me never have heard about it. While I’m not a big fancy, Michelin-style diner, which there are plenty of here, I found places that were casual, cheffy, great food and never looked back. We had the best time frolicking around, with one big plan each day, and enough space to figure out what to do next in the moment. Highly recommend this— or just follow my recs below!