Please login to vote.
Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Portugal: Euro-Break on a (Grown-Up) Shoestring - Page 3

  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Finding ourselves just shy of our thirties and well on our way into the “real world” -- careers, a mortgage, and various other trappings of adulthood -- my husband and I felt the need for a winter getaway. Perhaps the idea of a budget Euro-vacation struck us because its appeal lay in the evocation of younger and more carefree days. At the same time, we weren’t prepared to spend our restful week away from work hitchhiking with backpacks and passing off fake ID’s to get into youth hostels. We had a week’s vacation, and we had the means to upgrade slightly from the days of student travel. We agreed that if we could do it for the price of a Caribbean all-inclusive deal we would go. We did some reading and deemed Portugal our destination of choice.

On the whole, we found the dining options in Lisbon a bit disappointing. I have no doubt that there are many fine restaurants in Lisbon, but for what the budget traveler’s purse strings allow, there are many tourist-trap restaurants, with meals that one can only guess were meant to make British tourists feel at home. Keep in mind that “cheap for Europe” doesn’t necessarily translate to being cheap by North Americans’ standards; however, it is possible to eat well with some flexibility.

Portugal: Euro-Break on a (Grown-Up) ShoestringBreakfast is easy, with delicious pasteis de nata (custard tarts) and coffee. This meal was inexpensive, decadent, and often repeated in the early afternoon! Any hole-in-the-wall or cafeteria-style pastelaria will do, but for ambience try the famous artsy hangout, A Brasileira, in the Chiado district, or Pastelaria Nacionale in the Baixa. A plain, hot lunch can be found for between five and eight euros in cafes in many of the squares. A more appealing option is to buy take-away from a department store deli, or make a lunch of bread, fruit, cheese and wine (from 2€ per bottle!) from the nearest grocery. For supper, do some guidebook research, or ask your innkeeper for suggestions. Our tastiest and most memorable supper in Lisbon was at Adega do Ribatejo, a Fado joint in the Bairro Alto district. While eating our meal we were serenaded by singers performing Fado standards (the ‘Portuguese blues’) while the cooks chimed in during the chorus.

Portugal: Euro-Break on a (Grown-Up) ShoestringLeaving Lisbon by bus, we headed south to Albufeira in the Algarve region; this was the sunny relaxation we craved to wrap up our winter trip. A beach destination popular with British retirees, Albufeira is all white cliffs and sandy beaches. Double rooms can be had for under 26 € in some of the many local resorts. As our guidebooks had warned us, this was not the ‘true’ Southern Portugal – we heard more English spoken than Portuguese -- but if you’ve already taken in some culture and you just want to bask in the sun a day or two, this is the place! Wander about the old town, grab a seafood dish at a cliff-top restaurant or chicken piri-piri at a beach-terrace bar, and then stroll back along the beach to your resort . . . with a bottle of bargain wine in hand, of course!


© Christine Baillie

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

Search Content by Map


All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2023 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.