How We Spent 16 Days in Portugal

Pictures and video do not do the views justice

Well, well, welcome back to the first Mixed Up Money post of the summer. I'm finally back from Portugal! Although I normally preach savings and frugality, it seems that the next few weeks will be quite the opposite. So, might be time to buckle your seatbelt, chuck the closed mind, and join me in this 2-month lifestyle inflation adventure that will abruptly end come September 1st.

As you may already know, my Instagram husband and I just returned home from our honeymoon. You can check out our highlight reel below:

Unlike most of my past vacations, holidays, or experiences with travelling, I wanted to be able to splurge and make the most of each opportunity and location.

In my mind, that meant accommodations with views of the ocean, unique and delicious food (x10,000), taxis rather than public transport, and a rental car with GPS.

So – if you’re here looking for tips on how to spend less in Portugal, I’m probably not your gal. However, my friend Barry over at Money We Have has tons of awesome tips in that regard.

None the less, if you’re looking for ideas on places to visit, things to do, and food to eat – that is where I promise to come in handy.

OKAY LET’S DIVE IN.

We flew out of Calgary, meaning there were no direct flights *sheds single tear*, and opted for a connection through Toronto before arriving in Lisbon early Sunday morning.

Hot tip? Flying overnight is bomb.

Once we landed, we grabbed our bags and headed to the rental car area. We went through Sixt, and decided to upgrade to this Renault Megane DCI with some sick add ons.

Hot tip number two? If you plan to do quite a bit of driving, say yes to the electronic toll cost. We didn’t, and then we called back the next day to add it on. Silly tourists, tolls are fo’real.

Days 1 - 2

We stayed in Lisbon for one night, indulged in some rosè and pizza, caught up on sleep, and woke up early to hit the road for a day that included 6 hours of travel.

Our first stop was the extremely small town of Casegas, which is my husband’s mothers hometown. The drive there was INSANE. The roads are extremely narrow, windy, and the speed limit is 90km/h. These cats do not mess around. 10/10 would recommend the journey (if your blood pressure is good that is).

It was amazing to see somewhere that genuinely meant so much to my husband, in turn providing me with an even better understanding of his grandparents history, and the beauty of the culture in Portugal.

Afterwards, we strapped our belts back on and took off to Évora for a relaxing night at the most beautiful resort and spa I’ve ever been to. We had an individual villa with tons of privacy, and the infinity pool saw miles and miles of cork trees and farmland. The cost for what you get here was well worth the insanely wild drive down a back road and past some roosters and donkeys to find your magical oasis.

Hot tip number three? We booked all our accommodations through Booking.com, and found that the reviews and information was super accurate.

Days 3 - 6

The next morning, after enjoying another delicious breakfast, coffee, and dip in the pool, we started our drive down to the Algarve.

Words cannot explain how incredibly beautiful I found this part of Portugal. Pictures and video do not do the views justice.

We stayed at an amazing villa in Lagos, that was less than 5 minutes from Praia Don Ana and Camilo beach. For anyone who gets a chance, I highly recommend eating at Restaurante O Camilo. You must make a reservation as it is fully booked every night, but it is well worth it. Reasonably priced food, amazing flavors, gorgeous views, and incredible service.

It is so cool to walk through Lagos city centre with cafés, shops, and bars built into its castle walls. A great place to go in the evening to enjoy the atmosphere, people, and food. I’m also pretty confident we had sangria literally every day and night we were in the Algarve.

Hot tip number four? For those of you who want to save some money, head to a supermarket or local shop to buy wine or beer for a couple of euros and head to the beach. Best date night ever.

On our last day, we decided to drive to Faro for lunch, and walked around the castle which also has tons of shops and cafes, not to mention some pretty dope graffiti. Which is literally everywhere in Portugal.

Days 7 - 13

Next up on our travels included flying to the island of Madeira. For those of you who have never heard of it, check out Google Maps and you’ll realize just how small we really are. Also – Cristiano Ronaldo was born there and has a museum and hotel on the island. So, that’s cool.

Luckily, we made it out for the last night of their Atlántico festival, and enjoyed the firework show from his rooftop patio. Best night ever.

Madeira is absolutely amazing. There is a view from every single spot you could find, the people are extremely humble, and there are tons of things to do. My favorite part? We could hear dolphins every night from our hotel room balcony. It felt like a dream.

We took an opportunity to hike a levada, visit Cabo Girão, explore the black sand beaches, walk around Funchal, and suntan (a lot).

Hot tip number five? Madeira’s main industry is tourism, and a local told us that it sits at 62% increasing each year. If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, it might be worthwhile to stay on the other side of the island (opposite to Funchal), or rent a car so you can cruise around the insanely hilly roads and many mountain hikes.

Days 14 - 16

We spent the last of our trip back in Lisbon, eating tons of crazy good food (pastel de nata all day, erryday), walking around some castles, strolling by the beach, and once again – drinking sangria.

The memories, stories, and experience we gained from this trip are enough to last a lifetime, and I can’t wait to get back and explore northern Portugal and dive into their wine and cheese.

BUT HOW MUCH DID PORTUGAL COST US?

ITEM CATEGORY COST (in CAD) Flight to Portugal Travel Wedding gift Feels Like Home Accommodations $183.86 Ecorkhotel Accommodations $112.18 Villas D. Dinis Accommodations $772.87 LTI Grand Pestana Accommodations $1464.17 Rental Car Travel $399.69 Euros Cash $700 Purchases on Credit Food/Taxi/Bus $939.61 Flight to Madeira Travel $418 TOTAL $4990.38

Was it expensive? Yes. Can you do it for cheaper? Absolutely. Would I change anything? Not in a million years.

What's your favorite place in the entire world, and how much would you pay to visit? Let me know in the comments.