Portugal had been on my bucket list for years, so I was thrilled when we planned it for our first babymoon. We visited first week of January, and the weather was quite mild compared to other Europe destinations. I listed below our take-aways from the trip (i.e., restaurant and activity recommendations and our itinerary details), as well things to consider when traveling during pregnancy.
Portugal Itinerary & Transportation
Our trip was 10 days long, and we visited Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve. From Algarve we took an overnight trip to Spain (Seville and Cordoba). All in all – it was incredible.
|City||Days in City||Arrived Into City||Transportation While in City Center|
|Lisbon||3||Plane (1.5 hr from Madrid)||
|Algarve||1.5||Car Rental (2.5 hr drive)||
|Seville/Cordoba||1.5||Car Rental (2-4 hr drive one-way)||
|Porto||2||Plane (1 hr from Algarve)||
**At the time, I was pregnant, but if I was to return with our kids, I would request to rent car seats from the car rental company. Otherwise, the public transit will work fine for kids.
Where to stay in Lisbon, Portugal:
We have always loved to stay walking-distance to sites, to keep our itineraries more flexible. In Lisbon, we stayed in the Baixa center, which was quite central to the main attractions. Check Booking.com for hotels in your price range in this neighbourhood.
What to do in Lisbon, Portugal:
- Explore streets of Lisbon and Rossio Square.
- Book a free walking tour in advance for an overview of the city. We used Lisbon Chill Out Free Walking Tour.
- Explore Alfama and head to viewpoint at Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
- Take a day trip to Sintra/Cascais, two pretty towns! Sintra is known for its for its beautiful palaces, gardens, and natural beauty. Cascais is a charming coastal city, with beach resorts and a large marina. We loved taking the tour linked earlier because we were able to do both cities in one day.
- Visit the Belem Tower, walk along the Water, and visit Monastery of Jeronimos.
- Visit the Castelo de S. Jorge for view of Lisbon.
Where to eat in Lisbon, Portugal:
- Time Out Market: This food hall has so many options, everyone will find something they like!
- Zenith: I loved the Chicken Toast and Hummus Toast, and Oreo pancakes (with banana cream replaced with Nutella), and the almond milk vanilla chai.
- Cervejaria Ramiro: It is essential to try the garlic shrimp and bread and butter, and it eat it like a sandwich.
- Pasteis de Belem: This place has great Pasteis de Nata.
Where to stay in Algarve, Portugal:
Within the Algarve, we decided to stay in Albufera because it is considered a popular beach destination. We stayed near the Old Town so that we could easily walk to the city center, as well as beaches. Check out Booking.com to find a hotel in the area.
What to do in Algarve, Portugal:
- Relax on the golden sand beach
- Sign up for a boat tour of the Benagil Cave
- Take a day trip to Seville and Cordoba in Spain (2.5 hour drive) to enjoy the Real Alcazar Seville, the Cordoba Mosque Cathedral, and eat lots of Churros and Chocolate. We had no issues crossing the border. For more posts on other Spain cities, visit my blog post on our trips to Barcelona, Mallorca, and Canary Islands.
What to eat in Algarve, Portugal:
- Restaurants in the Old Town
Where to stay in Porto, Portugal:
Similar to the other cities, we opted to stay walking distance to the city center. We stayed in the Ribiera, a vibrant and historic area, which is full of cute cafes and shops. Check out Booking.com to find a spot in this neighborhood.
What to do in Porto, Portugal:
- Sign up for a classical Walking Tour with Porto Walkers. The tour takes you to the São Bento railway station, Santa Catarina, Praca da Batalha, Bridge Luis I, Cathedral (Sé), Barredo neighborhood, and Ribeira quarter. They also stop at a dessert shop, where the lady makes delicious treats soley for tour companies participants Try the Chocolate Mousse!
- Walk across Dom Luis bridge and higher up to the park for the best views of the city.
- Visit the bookstores and cafes that JK Rowling frequented (Majestic Cafe and Livraria Lello).
Where to eat in Porto, Portugal:
Note if Pregnant:
Uphill Walks in Lisbon: Walking and moderate exercise is encouraged in pregnancy. If you are staying near the city centers of the cities in Portugal and Spain, the areas are absolutely walkable. However, in Lisbon, there are quite a bit of uphill walks and stairs. I was 5 months pregnant, and although I managed, I tried to take breaks and rest when I needed to. Just remember, it is okay to go at a slower pace, and search for public transit options when necessary.
Boats and Pregnant Women: One of the highlight activities in the Algarve is the boat tours. It is not safe for pregnant women to go onto speedboats, or even regular boats on choppy waters. It is suggested to take the slower and larger Catamaran boats. I experienced that I informed the captain of my pregnancy, and they allowed me to sit in the captain area, which feels the waves less than the bottom of the boat.
Ordering Food: Because I was pregnant, I tried to be careful with checking if the dairy items were pasteurised. If I was not sure, I would order a dairy alternative like oat milk. Additionally, I ordered cooked sushi at a Japanese restaurant in Porto, and there was a language barrier with the waiter and I received raw sushi. Make sure to clarify that you are pregnant and there are certain food restrictions – it doesn’t hurt to use Google Translate if you feel there is a language barrier. Better to be safer!