One of the main reasons to start this blog was to have a channel where to collect and share memories about my winter getaway in Portugal beginning of 2022. In this post, I am going to explain my relationship with Portugal, the background about the trip and the reasons behind choosing Portugal among other countries.
First of all, I love traveling. Already as a child, we travelled a lot with my family, mainly in Europe. Spain was one of our top destinations besides France, and I truly enjoyed our vacations there. My first trip to Portugal took place during my exchange year in France, Bordeaux in 2018-2019. During the year, one of the main goals was to travel as much in Europe as possible, as it was cheap and the studies were flexible. That was the ideal time to explore places where I hadn’t visited before.
One of the many destinations in spring 2019 was Portugal, and I couldn’t be happier that we chose this country. It was the destination I have wanted to visit for a longer time, and finally I made it happen. With the other exchange students, we booked flights and airbnb and spent some nights both in Lisbon and Porto. Both cities were great, but Porto stole my heart. I loved everything there; the atmosphere, the cute streets and buildings, the breathtaking views, delicious food, port wine, and affordable prices. I also loved the river leading to one of the most beautiful coastline and sunsets I’ve ever seen. To back this all up, here some photos from that trip. Beautiful, right?
After this Portugal trip in 2019, I decided that I definitely want to go back, no doubt about it. And finally I can say that soon it is time to go! This time, I am traveling together with my boyfriend and we are staying there for three months, from New Year’s eve until the end of March 2022. We decided to go for winter months to escape the the darkest and coldest months and snow in Finland. For sure we know that even in Portugal, it is no beach weather in January or even in February, but the temperature is for sure warmer than in Finland in winter! The purpose of our trip is not to get tanned, but to explore the country, have some more light in the day than in Finland, and do outdoor activities that are not possible in Finland at that time of the year.
We have decided to go to the warmest place in Portugal, and therefore chose Algarve as our destination. Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal. In Algarve, during winter months, the highest temperature in January can be 15 celsius degrees, getting warmer each month. That is perfect compared to Finnish winter, where temperatures can go down to -15, even -20 celsius degrees in Helsinki, where I live. You might ask, why we did not choose an even warmer place, where would be summer in January. Well, we also needed to consider the fact that I need to work remotely from Portugal, which is why we needed to consider the time differences. It is 2 hours time difference in Portugal compared to Finland, which is still doable when it comes to working remotely and being available during Finnish working hours.
Also, one of the main reasons for choosing Portugal, is the safety, affordability, culture and activities. My boyfriend and I have both visited Portugal, and fell in love with the country. When it comes to the activities, in Algarve, the golf courses are open full year. Golf is very important for my boyfriend, and in Finland it is impossible to play during winter months. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to combine work and holiday and to see, what is it like to live in Portugal for a longer time than just some weeks.
For accommodation, we have booked an airbnb, to be able to call our place a home instead of an impersonal hotel. A resort accommodation would have been another option – a flat in a golf resort for example – but we want to try local life, and take all out of the authenticity of the place. I will write a separate post about how we chose the apartment, which location we chose and how to deal with all the practicalities before the trip.
What do you think about Portugal? Let me know in the comments below!
Until the next post!
x Mari Susanna
What do I think of Portugal? Speaking as strictly for myself, as a US citizen, it seemed (after spending a month in Tavira and the Algarve two years ago) that Portugal is actually a sane country, while America is more of a lunatic asylum run by its resident patients. Now that things here are getting dangerously out of control, my wife and I have decided to leave the US for good and move somewhere along the Silver Coast, where we can spend our retirement years in peace, far away from all the madness. Cheers.
Thank you for your comment and opinion! Good to hear that you have decided to go towards what feels right for you 😊 happy retirement days in Silver Coast and all the best for you and your family!