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Trip Report

Portugal Girls Trip including Sao Miguel Island

For our Portugal girls trip, the goal was seeing as much of the country as possible in a week. Skipping museums and tours, and aimed to have some great meals, as well as unstructured days.

by Mer19About Me:Hi! I am a Midwestern girl living in Seattle with my dog Grady. Now that I am in my 30s, I have decided to poke my head up a bit from my job, and invest more time in traveling. Things I love when I travel: Give me a great restaurant or ba... read more

EuropePortugal12 days / September 2015

Highs & Lows

Driving around gorgeous Sao Miguel followed by happy hour and pool time.

There was a taxi strike, and train strike that threw off an entire day .

Itinerary Overview

  • 4 Nights: Lisbon
    Tuk tuk ride around the city, day trips to Caiscais and Sintra, Fado
  • 3 Nights: Lagos
    Beach time, surfing, cave viewing
  • 2 Nights: Porto
    Sightseeing, port tasting
  • 3 Nights: São Miguel Island
    Sightseeing, spa time

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have stayed longer in the Porto area and checked out the wine scene a bit more, and I would have driven the coast of Portugal like we originally planned but didn't end up doing because renting a car was so expensive (for automatic cars at least).

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Do not miss the Azores! Sao Miguel is stunning!

  • Transportation Tips?

    No need for a car while in Lisbon, save yourself the drama of driving in a city.

  • Any standout moments?

    Allowing ourselves a mellow day in Porto felt like the ultimate reward, I think because we planned basically nothing there - we felt a bit like we actually lived there - just experiencing the city as it came to us.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    Yes, two transportation strikes! Always have a back up transportation plan. I am not a huge fan of buses, so my initial reaction to the train being out of commission was to find a driver, or rent a car, or figure out how to fly to our next destination. And the bus was hardly luxury, but it did get us to where we needed to be. There were just a lot of hoops to jump through to figure it all out last minute early in the morning.

  • Packing tips?

    Pack lighter than I did - bathing suit is a must.

  • How was the food?

    The food was pretty good, stick to seafood. Or if you are in the Azores eat the beef and the cheese. Not the best meals of my life, but definitely some crowd pleasers.

  • Booking details?

    We booked everything direct ourselves. If I could do it over again, I would have pre booked more restaurants though!


  • Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Lisbon Fontana Park - It was a bit out of the way from the action so I would not recommend it. I think if I went back, the Barrio area is likely where I would aim to stay. Lots of restaurants and bars, and felt a bit younger.

  • Cascade Wellness and Lifestyle Resort - We got an apt like setup there and the property is pretty - nice pools and whatnot. https://cascaderesortalgarve.com/en/. I got a lot of recommendations for where to stay in this area, really just depends on what you are looking for. I probably would have stayed somewhere else if we didn't have three people.

  • Airbnb: Casas de Sant'Ana Oporto Rua de Santana 25 - It was perfect. Super centrally located, we could walk everywhere and the apt was cute. Only drawback was that you could not drive up to it and you had to walk up a few flights of stairs, and we had big suitcases. Would rethink that!

  • Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort