The Ultimate Guide to Portugal Yoga Destinations

Porto by night

Portugal is one of the most popular yoga destinations in Europe. While it’s a frequent travel choice for lots of yogis and non-yogis alike, it’s also a hidden gem to others. Having traveled through Portugal recently myself, I’ve put together this guide to help you get a glimpse of what yoga in Portugal looks like and what the country has to offer.

If you’ve ever been on a yoga retreat in Portugal, you’ll find some of the things below familiar, and your interest in exploring Portuguese sights will probably be renewed. If you’ve never been to Portugal before and it’s still an exotic destination for you, I hope you’ll give in to its charm after reading through my article.

Before I start, I have to confess that I’ve had a thing for this country for a long time, even before visiting it in the flesh. I was very attracted to the rough-edged melodic notes of the language (as melodic as Spanish, but with a rougher note overall), to the country’s poetry and cultural history, to its fado music and medieval architecture, its cuisine and the sights I saw in photographs.

I was sampling a bit of all of those in my spare time, dreaming about the day I could take the time off to visit its shores. Therefore, for me, Portugal was a dream come true and I’m pretty sure it will feel that way for almost everyone, whether they were dreaming of it before or not.

 

Portugal at a Glance

portugal

Portugal is located on the shores of the Atlantic coast, on the Westernmost reaches of Europe. It’s shaped like a long strip of land, encompassing a lot of shorelines but having plenty of mountain regions as well. Basically, everywhere you look you’re bound to find a spectacular, breathtaking view.

Because of this natural beauty, Portugal is a favorite destination for both surf and yoga. The numerous beaches conceal plenty of hidden spots, ideal for exploring any kind of watersports, while the tranquil and majestic landscapes everywhere are the perfect setting to inspire meditation. It’s no wonder yogis all over the world (as well as surfers) are flocking to Portugal’s shores in search for their next great adventure.

You can find here almost anything you are interested in: a unique culture, great music, great food (including an amazing quantity and variety of fresh seafood), great wine (and we all know how wonderful yoga and wine go together!), castles and romantic medieval architecture, majestic mountains, lots of beautiful beaches, and much, much more.

The people are friendly and very welcoming towards visitors, the temperature is perfect (not too cold, not too hot) and it’s all around one of the most charming destinations you’ll ever visit.

I will now do my best to walk you through the best destinations to explore, so you can have a glimpse of just how great the tourist experience in Portugal can be. Afterwards, I will get into more specific yoga holidays and retreats in Portugal, so you can book a retreat that gives you the chance to both practice what you love and see the country as well.

 

The Best Cities Destinations to Visit in Portugal

1. Lisbon

belem tower lisbon

No visit to Portugal can be complete without Lisbon, its capital. It’s the center of its cultural life and there’s plenty of fascinating history and street life to be admired in any neighborhood, not just the old town center, as is the case with most other European cities.

The famous pasteis de nata cookies, the appetizers made from salted cod (bacalhau) or the fresh sardines are among the most impressive treats of the Portuguese cuisine. In Lisbon, they will all be outstanding so it’s the best place to try them, especially if you hadn’t before.

2. Porto

porto overlook

One of the most beautiful port towns of the world, Porto is a travel lover’s dream. You can walk along its beautiful river Douro all day and night and not get bored. Charming tavern-style restaurants litter the edge of the parapet and the stone steps leading right to the river’s edge; you can take a break for a delicious snack or drink any time you like.

If you follow the river towards the ocean, you’ll be able to face not only a spectacular view but also the rare opportunity to admire the sunset with the sun diving right into the ocean. I did exactly that and it was so awe-inspiring it lifted my mood for weeks!

Me while on the shores of Porto, admiring the sun going down into the ocean and enjoying the fresh sea spray and breeze.

Also, if you visit Porto, you cannot leave without visiting the famous bookshop Livraria Lello, which is said to have inspired J. K. Rowling to write her Harry Potter series. One peek inside it and you’ll understand why: the intricate wooden staircases and decorations look just like Hogwarts.

3. Coimbra

coimbra

Coimbra is the oldest university town of Portugal and a small gem of medieval architecture. Placed on a hillside overlooking a river (as many Portuguese towns seem to be), it is a wonder in terms of things to visit while in it. It dates back to the Roman era and was even the capital of the kingdom of Portugal between 1131 to 1255. The best thing about this rich history is that most of the buildings from all eras are remarkably well-preserved and can be admired today (including an aqueduct structure from Roman times).

4. Sintra

sintra

Sintra is a place along a mountaintop consisting of several castles and palaces of different eras, along with Moorish ruins of a citadel and various gardens and parks. It is the historical residence of the Portuguese monarchy and it looks like something straight out of a fairytale. You won’t be able to believe your eyes once you visit it.

Be warned that one day is not enough even if all the castles to see are within 30 minutes of each other. Once you go into any of them, you’ll find that you can spend most of the day exploring its many chambers and beauty, so you’ll have to keep coming back the next days for seeing the rest of the castles.

Last but not least, Sintra is a favorite destination for wedding photography, and it’s easy to understand why. So, if you feel like a fancy photoshoot, whether you are getting married or not, keep in mind that there are a lot of local services of professional photography that can deliver some of the best profile pics you’ll ever have taken.

5. Algarve

algarve benagil

For those of you who love the seaside, going to the beach to bask in the sun or to get active on the surfboard, Algarve is the ideal destination. In peak holiday season, the population of Algarve triples, that’s how popular it is to tourists. Considering how breathtaking the cliffs on its shoreline are, and how many good surf spots are situated there, it’s easy to understand why.

Portugal and Yoga

Probably because the ocean’s proximity makes Portuguese people be very laid back and in tune with their bodies and natural harmony, yoga became popular in Portugal pretty early and developed into a strong tradition. Even the smallest of Portuguese towns are bound to have at least one yoga studio you can attend, and Portuguese beaches are a common choice for groups practicing their asanas.

This high popularity of yoga in Portugal, together with how beautiful the country is, make yoga retreats in Portugal also very sought after.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miriam Cihodariu

Miriam is the editor of BookYogaRetreats, an avid world explorer, and a yogi. She’s also into exploring world cuisines and reading fiction from all over the world. When she’s not doing marketing stuff, she expands her collection of teas and spends some time petting the neighborhood cats.

10 interesting facts about Portugal

Portugal

Portugal is currently one of the trendiest holiday destinations in the world.

We always knew and believed in the potential of this country by the sea, that’s why we have been dedicating ourselves to hotel management for over three decades and to the comfort and well-being of each one of the guests that visit us every day.

Besides our famous passion for cod, fado and fotball, Portugal is a country of nice and welcoming people, with a unique gastronomy, an enviable climate and a history filled with great achievements and victories.

On the other hand, we are a country with a wide offer of tourist experiences, suitable for all tastes and preferences. Because of all this, Portugal is a destination that raises more and more curiosity throughout the world – to the people that visit us and return home willing to come back.

  1. The first bookshop in the world opened in 1732, in Lisbon: Bertrand.

  2. The famous Japanese “tempura” dish originated in Portugal.

  3. Portugal has literally more than 1000 diferent cod recipes.

  4. With the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494, half of the world territory officialy belonged to Portugal.

  5. Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries: Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe, East Timor and Equatorial Guinea.

  6. Portugal is the oldest country in Europe.

  7. More than 50% of the cork production takes place in Portugal

  8. The biggest wave in the world was surfed in Nazaré by the Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa.

  9. One of the oldest European universities is in Portugal, the University of Coimbra, built in 1290.

  10. Portuguese fado was considered intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

EDP Marathon | Running through Portuguese landscapes – Porto and Lisbon

Running is an addiction for many and a sacrifice for many others!

Whether you are a regular athlete or you are starting in the running area, you can’t miss the two major and most beautiful marathons in our country.

Health, aesthetics or fun, running at least 40 minutes a day is very good for your health and an excellent way to fight a sedentary lifestyle.

If this is already a routine activity in your life and you like to challenge your limits, we have here two suggestions that combine the best of a good challenge: an exciting race in a breathtaking landscape!

EDP Lisbon Marathon

Date: 14 October 2018

Departure time: 8h

Course distance: 42 km

Registration price: € 56 per person

For 6 editions convincing fans by the beauty of its course, the EDP Lisbon Marathon brings, year after year, a flood of athletes that don’t miss this race, considered as one of the most beautiful marathons in the world by organisations like Forbes, Huffington Post and American Express.

Starting at Cascais, all participants will run first with the sea as backdrop, and later next to the Tagus river, which will follow them up to the finish line, at Praça do Comércio.

While running, athletes will be able to recover their strengths along the beautiful places they will pass during the course, such as Guincho, Oeiras and Belém, ending in an idyllic scenario, the old Terreiro do Paço.

To participate, you need to previously register at Banco Santander, through its website or in one of its agencies, until the 10th of October, with a maximum limit of 7000 participants.

EDP Porto Marathon

Date: 4 November 2018

Departure time: 9h

Course distance: 42 km

Registration price: €65 per person

In the North of Portugal, records are also broken in races, and Oporto is one of the stages of the EDP Porto Marathon, with already 15 editions. As one of the most emblematic events at Invicta, it welcomes every year thousands of runners from all over the world.

Followed by the sea views and the beauty of the Douro river along the entire course, the Porto marathon starts at the Edifício Transparente, in Matosinhos, and passes by the most iconic spots of Oporto, such as the Castelo do Queijo, the Douro mouth and the D. Luís I bridge. The course ends at the Parque da Cidade, where, surrounded by nature, the marathon runners can celebrate the proud of achieving their goal!

In 2018, this race was distinguished by the International Association of Athletics Federations as Bronze Label race, since it meets the high levels of quality, as well as the qualification requirements.

To participate, you need to previously register at the marathon’s official website, until the 31st of October or, after that date, at the Expo Marathon, located at the Centro de Congressos, Alfândega do Porto, with an added value of € 85.

HF Hotels conditions for marathon runners

If you are coming from other city or country for the Lisbon or Porto marathons, we have special conditions for you if you stay at the HF hotels!

Always thinking about the comfort of our guests and because we want, above all, to make you feel at home, in the marathon dates, you can benefit from the following advantages:

  • Special breakfast schedule;
  • Carbohydrate rich dinner in the day before the marathon;
  • Late check-out (subject to availability).

Check out here the HF hotels in Porto and Lisbon.

We are waiting for you!

Learn more at: www.hfhotels.com

5 luxury shops at Avenida da Boavista | Porto

If you are coming to Porto and you are a fan of luxury brands or you simply cannot resist taking a peak at the new trends, you cannot miss the 5 shops at Avenida da Boavista that place Porto in the itinerary of any lover of good shopping.

When we speak about Porto, Avenida da Boavista is always one of the topics of conversation. We tell you why!

It is the longest avenue in the city, with 5.5 km, which connects Rua da Boavista – where the emblematic Boavista roundabout is located – and Rua Gonçalves Zarco, where you can see Castelo do Queijo, a famous photo spot.

Considered as one of most noble streets in Invicta, Avenida da Boavista presents a versatile offer and is seen as one of the most central spots of culture and economy in Porto.

If you are a fan of fashion and luxury brands, you must go to this avenue and get fascinated by the 5 shops we suggest:

Boss Store

Where? Avenida da Boavista,1471, Loja 1, Porto

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

Founded in 1924 – at the end of World War I – in the small town of Metzingen, Germany, the Hugo Boss brand was created by Hugo Ferdinand Boss, and was initially dedicated to producing military uniforms. Although it went through several threats of bankruptcy, the Hugo Boss brand is currently one of the major reference brands all over the world. It invests in the production of clothing, shoes, glasses, watches and perfumes and has more than 1000 shops in more than 100 countries where the brand is present.

Ermenegildo Zegna

Where? Avenida da Boavista, 3493/3499, Porto

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm; Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

Dedicated to men’s world, the Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna was created in 1910, when Ermenegildo transformed his father’s wool business into a prestigious fabric brand. This is one of the best brands producing men’s suits, shirts, shoes, perfumes and accessories. It is managed by Stefano Pilati and has more than 500 shops all over the world.

Luís Onofre

Where? Avenida da Boavista, 3483, Porto

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

Luís Onofre is a Portuguese brand of luxury shoes and accessories for women. Created in 1999, in Oliveira de Azeméis, the passion of the designer Luís Onofre is a consequence of his family tradition, which has been connected to footwear production for 3 generations. This is one of the most prestigious Portuguese brands, which combines innovation and technology with high quality materials and high levels of production details. Present in all the corners of the globe, it exports 93% of its production.

Machado Joalheiro

Where? Avenida da Boavista, 351, Porto

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm

Founded in Porto, in 1880, Machado Joalheiro has been going through, from generation to generation, an expansion process, always presenting the best and most prestigious jewellery offer to those who visit the shop. With its own brand, it also sells other famous brands such as Dior, Cartier, Mikimoto, among others. At Machado Joalheiro, you can find the best pieces of jewellery, watches, engagement and wedding rings.

Fashion Clinic

Where? Avenida da Boavista, 4167, Porto

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

Created in 1990 and acquired in 2005 by the Portuguese business woman Paula Amorim, Fashion Clinic is the only multi-brand luxury shop present in Portugal. This paradise for luxury brand lovers was renovated in 2014, and there you can find brands such as Tom Ford – exclusive in Porto – Yves Saint Laurent, Prada or Miu Miu.

If you want to see more than just luxury shops, you can also discover some of the main attractions of Porto along Avenida da Boavista, such as Casa da Música, Parque da Cidade or the Serralves Foundation.

You want more good news?

If you stay at the HF Hotels in Porto, you will be just a few steps away from Avenida da Boavista and all these attractions. In addition, you can go to our Ontop and Onterrace bars and relax with one of our cocktails after a great shopping day in the city! Is there anything better?

We are waiting for you!

Learn more about our hotels at: www.hfhotels.com

5 must go to luxury shops at Avenida da Liberdade | Lisbon

Are you a regular customer of luxury brands or you simply cannot resist taking a peak at the new trends of the trendsetter brands? If so, you shouldn’t miss the 5 must go to luxury shops at Avenida da Liberdade, the busiest avenue in the Portuguese capital.

In Lisbon, when we think about luxury we immediately think about Avenida da Liberdade. The best luxury brand shops are located throughout the 10th most posh avenue in the world!

Recognised by its history, size and majestic beauty, the most famous avenue in Lisbon is also the 35th most expensive avenue in the world and offers all that pass by, a large range of services and trade in the most varied areas, especially fashion.

If you are a fan of fashion and luxury brands, you must go to Avenida da Liberdade and get fascinated by the 5 shops we suggest:

Prada

prada

Where? Avenida da Liberdade, 206/210, Lisboa

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

Created in 1913, in Milan, by the brothers Mario e Marino Prada, Prada is a reference brand in the fashion world, which presents a full range of men’s and women’s clothing, footwear, accessories, glasses and perfumes. Currently, by the hands of the fashion designer Miuccia Prada, the brand has more than 600 shops all over the world.

Carolina Herrera

CH

Where? Avenida da Liberdade, 144 B, Lisboa

How to get there? See the map

Opening hours: Sundays and Mondays from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm; Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

With a classic and timeless style, Carolina Herrera is one of the most prestigious brands in the fashion industry. Created by the Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera, in 1980, in the United States, it was a brand that was initially dedicated to bridal gowns, but currently also stands out for its ready-to-wear lines, glasses, accessories and perfumes.

Louis Vuitton

LV

Where? Avenida da Liberdade, 190 A, Lisboa

How to get there? See the map

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

If you are addicted to handbags or travel bags – it is impossible not to know Louis Vuitton. With the fashion designers Kim Jones and Nicolas Ghesquière, the major French bag brand also produces clothing, accessories and watches, and has more than 460 shops all over the world.

Burberry

Burberry

Where? Avenida da Liberdade, 196 E/F, Lisboa

How to get there? See the map

Opening hours: Every day from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

Famous for its trench coat – the classic gabardine – and the very characteristic tartan pattern, Burberry is a British brand, founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. Currently managed by the fashion designer Riccardo Tisci, it offers all its fans a clothing line, accessories, perfumes, footwear and handbags.

Michael Kors

Michael Kors

Where? Avenida da Liberdade, 108, Lisboa

How to get there? See the map.

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm; Sundays from 11.00 am to 7.00 pm

Famous for its handbags and watches, the American brand Michael Kors focuses on urban chic style and animal patterns. Founded in 1981, by the fashion designer Karl Anderson Jr., known as Michael Kors, and his partner Jack Orchulli, this brand also includes a clothing line and more than 500 shops all over the world.

If these 5 brands aren’t enough for you, at Avenida da Liberdade you can also find other luxury shops, such as Cartier, Trussardi, Armani, Montblanc, Fashion Clinic, Gucci, Boss, Stivali, among many others.

Do you want more good news? If you stay at the HF Hotels in Lisbon, you will be just a few steps away from Avenida Liberdade and all these shops. Is there anything better than shopping all day long and, afterwards, relaxing in one of our comfortable rooms?

We are waiting for you!

Learn more about our hotels at: www.hfhotels.com