Portugal, situated on the Iberian Peninsula, is a small nation in west Europe. Surrounded by sea in West and South and by Spain in North and East, the country offers outstanding landscape diversity. Being small in area, you can travel from the mountains in North, covered with wines and trees, to Highlands in central mainland, to almost desert kind landscape and finally to the stunning beach in South, all in one single day. If you are thinking where to go this holiday season, then you must consider spending your memorable time for Portugal holidays.
Established itself as an independent kingdom from León in 1139, Portugal is not a very old country on the world map. Though just 900 years old, Portugal has played a big role in world history. Colonizing major parts of Africa, South America and some islands in Asia and Oceania, Portugal is credited by the western world for exploring India via sea, which no other European country could do on Pope’s high priority order Papal Bull.
Portugal has one of the warmest winters in Europe and temperature remains dry and pleasant rest of the year.
Best way to reach Portugal is by Air, unless you live in Spain or nearby country, you may think of travelling by convenient international trains. There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the Schengen Agreement (European Union – except UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania; and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
Minimum validity of travel documents in Portugal
- EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, as well as non-EU citizens who are visa-exempt (e.g. New Zealanders and Australians), need only produce a passport which is valid for the entirety of their stay in Portugal.
- Other nationals who are required to have a visa (e.g. South Africans), however, must produce a passport which has at least 3 months’ validity beyond their period of stay in Portugal.
I took a taxi to the city center from the Airport. There is also Aerobus and regular bus services, but some taxi drivers, who will grab your bags and rush towards their taxi, are so convincing that you will make your mind, though this is something bad and you can say no to them.
Usual taxi metre fare from Airport to the city center should be €10.00. If you have luggage you will be charged additional €1.20 per item of luggage. It is usual that you might get overcharged and taxi drivers may gave vague reasons like metre has malfunctioned or was not working. For this reason, always ask before getting in the taxi if their metre is working fine or not. If you think you have been cheated just ask their name and receipt and complain to the police.
In Lisbon you have lots to see from attractive gardens, neighborhood to museum, galleries and even special transport.
I made my mind to travel in famous Tram 28. It is one of the oldest tram lines laid between 1936 to 47, which is still active in the city. It takes you by many of Lisbon’s famous and interesting sites, including the old town, monuments, churches and gardens. The whole journey took nearly 30 minutes and can be called slight hilly and noisy, but it is worth it. The ticket costs €2,85, but it you have “Viva Viagem” card, which can be purchased on the station, then the ticket would cost €1.05.
|Tram 28, Photo taken by Franco Caruzzo|
Apart from the tram, there are some Funiculars (cable railway or vertical trams), which have been declared as national monument.
Lisbon is also famous for some marvelous architecture. Just up on the hill you might visit Castelo de Sao Jorge (Castle of St. George). Open mostly from morning 9 to evening, you can’t resist admiring the architecture of this grande castle.
|Castelo de Sao Jorge, photo taken by Barbara|
Another interesting thing that I personally admired is Ponte 25 de Abril. It is something similar to the Oakland Bay Bridge of San Fransisco, as it was designed by the same architect in 1966. A rail line was added later in 1999.
|Ponte 25 de Abril, Photo taken by Morgaine|
Ponte Vasco da Gama is another mega structure that you would love to have a look on. With the total length of 17.2 Kms, it is the longest bridge in Europe and 9th longest in the world, named after the sailor who discovered India for the first time in 1492.
|Ponte Vasco da Gama, Photo taken by Endless Autumn|
You would have never thought that facilities and infrastructure that supply water in the different parts of the cities in older times will become one of the major attraction of the city. Aqueduto das Aguas Livres is one such example, one of the most remarkable example of engineering of the 18th century.
There are a number of Museums and galleries and a number of parks and gardens that adds to the attraction of the city, like Lisbon Botanical Garden, that is one of the oldest in Europe and considerable the first in Portugal, Oceanarium which is world’s largest oceanariums and you may enter with admission fees of €12.00 (if I remember well there is student discount as well). Parque das Nações is another ttractive park developed for the 1998 World Expo.
Do not forget to plan a trip to the place full of monuments next to Lisbon, Belem. Most of the people who come to Lisbon visit Belem for sure. Go for Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, Monument to the Discoveries, CCB, Coach Museum, and Statue to Afonso de Albuquerque.
So I conclude all this serious stuff and I come on the main topic, shopping and food.
Baxa and Chiado are one of the most popular shopping streets, but sometimes they can be high on tourists and upon that narrow street might turn you off. I would suggest Avenida da Liberdade, this market is beautiful, wide, fancy, with a number of good restaurants and hotels.
|Avenida da Liberdade, photo taken by|
There are modern shopping malls as well and one of the most popular is the Armazéns do Chiado mall. It is famous for its top floor restaurants and cafes that present a wonderful view of the city.
In Lisbon most of the restaurants are in budget. Most of the restaurants display their dish of the day on the doors “pratos do dia” (these dishes are cheaper, fresher, and indeed tastier). If you love music while munching, then you should go to some restaurant that plays traditional Fado music.
Find a pastelaria (pastry shop) and try pastéis de nata or visit Antiga Confeitaria de Belém (Casa Pasteis De Belem). They are served right out of the oven there, with the side of confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon
7 Travel Safety Tips You Should Know
Travelling can be enthralling, but have you ever asked yourself what if you get robbed? What if you get kidnapped? Or you get lost?
Leaving the comfort of your home to explore a foreign country can be an exciting experience. However, several worst-case scenarios can make you anxious when travelling overseas. From losing precious items and getting injured to theft or kidnapping, a lot can happen abroad.
The first step is to acknowledge that bad things can happen, which is part of the adventure. With these safety tips below, you can protect yourself as a traveller and have peace of mind.
Conduct Sufficient Research
Research and gather a lot of information. Travel safety starts even before you board that plane. Google about your destination and know the common risks and prevalent scams in that country. Get to know the safe and unsafe neighbourhoods.
Ensure you read reviews in the places you’ll visit or the hotel you’ll be staying in. Check if your rent property is in a safe environment. Read blogs from travel bloggers to find if there is anything written about your destination. You can watch videos on YouTube to learn a few things. You can listen to the accent, see attraction sites, and what the landscape looks like.
TripAdvisor is also a great platform where you can search your destination before travelling. It’s great for hotels, restaurants, local attractions, and tour companies. Read reviews to get valuable information from previous clients.
Doing research helps you feel confident and comfortable when travelling.
Buy Travel Insurance
A vacation isn’t a vast investment, like buying a car or house, but you still need a lot of money. Buying airfare, paying for tour guides, and accommodation needs tons of cash. The travel insurance cover protects you from lost or damaged items.
It can be expensive to replace items like electronic devices, clothes, and medication. You might also get hurt or sick while in a foreign country. If you get hurt or sick before travelling, you’ll have to cancel your trip. With this, you’ll lose the full cost. In such a scenario, the travel insurance will reimburse the amount used.
You may also need to get evacuated from a danger zone, and using helicopter transport can cost you a fortune. This is where travel insurance comes in. Early returns or losing a family or friend are other incidents that should motivate you to get insurance cover.
However, ensure you get a comprehensive cover that will cater to almost every bill you might incur. Choose a reliable insurance provider to give direction and offer the necessary help. Check the reputation of the said company, their insurance packages, and don’t forget to read reviews.
Share Information with a Reliable Friend or a Close Relative
Travelling is marred with uncertainties. Anything can happen when in a foreign land. That’s why you should let those close to you know about your whereabouts.
In case of an emergency, you might not manage to communicate specific details. The insurance may require you to call before going to the hospital. They can help you find a reliable hospital nearby.
It is always advisable to scan and print important documents and upload a digital cover of the insurance package.
Keep Your Money in Various Places
Never travel with all of your money in the same place. Stash emergency money throughout the luggage just in case you lose some. You can also place cash on your body but in different pockets.
You may wear a money belt beneath your clothes or have a handy bra pocket to keep your credit cards and cash. Invest in an excellent zippered passport pocket that can hold a phone and a passport. This way, even if you get robbed, you’ll still have some cash and cards tucked away.
More so, be mindful of purses and pockets when in a crowded place. It’s too easy to get pickpocketed in a crowded subway or bus. Criminals know their target pretty well, but you can give them a hard time trying to rob you.
If you get into a crowded place, keep your hands-on any pocket that has your valuables. If possible, tuck the purse underneath your arm to ensure it opens towards your body and hard to access. Ensure the purse can be zipped, covered, or fastened.
Avoid keeping stuff in your back pocket as it’s an easy target. Also, it’s recommended to ditch the purse and wallet altogether.
Lock Your Bags
Locking your luggage can deter thieves. Zip your wallet and purse and lock your bags as well. A determined thief goes for easier targets. They know travellers carry tons of valuable items, and that’s why locking your luggage during transit is a great security measure.
You can use non-TAS travel locks as they’re hard to break, unlike the universal TSA lock. However, you may use a TSA-approved travel lock for added security and peace of mind.
Don’t Bring with You Your Precious Items
It’s easy to have items disappear while in transit. It could be a scarf you left in a park or sunglasses fell in the water as you were surfing. When packing for air travel, leave anything that will break your heart if it gets stolen or lost.
For instance, leave your precious jewellery at home. Carrying education or property documents is risky. Bring cheap items like a travel-friendly necklace or wedding ring, an older smartphone, or inexpensive clothes.
Watch Your Drinks
When in a foreign country, you become an easy prey. No matter the circumstances, ensure you watch over your drinks. Make sure you see what’s being poured so someone doesn’t spike your drink.
It would also be best to avoid getting drunk. If you usually take six drinks, reduce to two. If you didn’t travel with a buddy, go everywhere with your drink, even to the washroom.
Every day there is news of travellers who have fallen victim to several crimes while travelling. This should be your huge concern in taking the necessary measures. Don’t be too naïve or optimistic to think it can never happen to you.
But don’t allow anything to stop you from having an enthralling vacation. Follow these travel safety tips, and you’ll enjoy a peaceful trip.
A unique perspective of Jamaica
Over the last years, Jamaica has become one of the most visited destinations by tourists in the entire world. This beautiful Caribbean island with its stunning beaches, rich nature and delicious gastronomy has everything you could wish for in a holiday destination. However, if you want to experience Jamaican culture in a unique way while interacting with nature hand in hand, there is a place you can not miss during your trip: Yaaman Adventure Park.
The most original holidays
Jamaica is famous as a beach holidays destination. And who can really blame those that choose to visit the country because of this? Its white sand beaches with crystal clear waters and jungle right next to the shores make out for some breathtaking views. However, Jamaica has so much more to bring into the table. A good example of this can be found in the famous tours in Ocho Rios offered by Yaaman Adventure Park.
Ocho Rios is known as the most touristic area on the entire island. And in an area with such a wide catalogue of activities focused towards tourists, we can find Yaaman Adventure Park. Formerly known as Prospect Plantation, Yaaman Adventure Park original placement used to be an 18th Century agricultural property with a lot of history and cultural points. Yaaman Adventure Park offers its visitors the opportunity to interact hand in hand with nature in a lot of adrenaline filled adventures that will make out for unforgettable experiences.
Do not limit yourself to simply laying on the beach, discover the beautiful island of Jamaica and its culture in a fun and original way.
The perfect activities for everyone in the family
There are as many types of holidays as there are types of people in the world. Yaaman Adventure Park is aware of this, and that is why they offer a wide catalogue of activities in Ocho Rios that will adapt to everyone’s needs. Your age does not matter, there is the perfect activity waiting for you at Yaaman Adventure Park. Yaaman Adventure Park has a lot of fun activities that will allow you to interact with nature, as well as some more relaxing ones that will help you understand Jamaican culture better. Some of their most renown activities include:
Bird aviary tour
An activity that everyone in the family will surely love! In this aviary, you will be able to interact with exotic and local birds while they freely fly around you. The aviary is a tropical heaven for the birds that live there, and will make you feel like you have been transported to a fairytale world.
Swim with dolphins
Dolphins are some of the most beloved sea animals in the world. And in Yaaman Adventure Park you will be able to swim with dolphins in their unique shore excursions in Ocho Rios. These loving creatures are very smart and love interacting with the visitors. During these excursions, you will be able to swim with them and even hug and kiss the lovely dolphins.
Cook genuine Jamaican recipes
Jamaica has one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Their traditional colourful dishes are full of unique flavours that will not disappoint your palate. On the cooking tour offered by Yaaman Adventure Park, you will learn how to prepare the traditional “Jamaican Fare”. The famous chef Irie will teach you all the secrets of this dish consisting of festival, Steamed Callaloo and chicken. All of this while you enjoy some breathtaking views 1100 feet above sea level.
But these are only some of the activities you will be able to enjoy at Yaaman Adventure Park. From Mud buggies tours to tours across near stunning rivers, rides on the back of camels or a jitney ride, the possibilities at this park seem endless. So if you are looking for a fun and original alternative for your next holidays, then look no further, Yaaman Adventure Park is the perfect place to go.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?
There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about living in Spain: its population is friendly and kind; its climate, especially in the coastal areas, is enviable; its gastronomy is incredible… but, what about its prices? What is the most affordable way to live in Spain?
Perhaps the most important question if you decided to go: would it be better to buy instead of renting a property in Spain. Or yet living in a Spanish residence?
Spanish cities where to live cheap and well
In the geographical variety that Spain presents, we can find many differences in average salaries and the standard of living that reside there would require. The areas of Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, together with Almería and the south of Alicante usually have a lower price of euros/square meter in their homes. The quality of life is really appreciable, but you should know that there are fewer possibilities for business and transports.
The autonomous community of the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid, which have higher than average incomes (normally more than 24,000 euros per year), also have higher prices. However, Madrid has such a wide range of rents that it sometimes makes them cheaper than other countries.
In addition, and taking into account the tourist seasons, the areas of Valencia and Andalusia are normally a preference when it comes to living in Spain for a while or even spending your retirement. Although day-to-day life can be more expensive than in other areas of Spain, the mild climate and variety of leisure options are often worth it in the long run.
Whatever your option is when moving to another country, especially if you don’t know its legal system, can be very tiresome. That’s why our advice is to try to contact local agencies (that speak English) to give you fair and fruitful advice. For example, to move to Andalusia, we usually recommend Tejada solicitors.
I have already decided on the place. Now what?
Well, if you have already fully immersed yourself in the streets of a beautiful city that we have talked about, what should be your first step?
Decide what kind of stay you want to be in (since your future economic situation will also depend on this: taxes, permits…). You may have already chosen, for example, property conveyancing in Marbella, but it is recommended that you also think about renting a property, because it can be very profitable while you are in your other place of residence.
To sum up, before moving to a Spanish city, decide if you want to spend a little more money per month in exchange for the exceptional conditions that their precious land can give you; secondly, contact a reliable agency that will help you make the best investment and even more, apply for a Spanish residency if you are decided to stay for a long time.
And remember: a move is always a new beginning.
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