In need of a short-haul sunny destination where you won’t be surrounded by families and couples? Portugal’s enviable surf camp scene gives its coastline an altogether different vibe, where solo travellers can easily turn up alone and be clinking bottles of Sagres with new friend that evening.
With over 800 km of coast, you can choose between melodramatic cliffs, stellar surf breaks, dune-covered beaches and serene sandy islets; Portugal can afford to be generous with its coastline, so no stretch feels entirely dominated by families, or couples, but a healthy mixture. Beyond the beaches, solo travellers hike the granite peaks of Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês or explore the traditional villages in the lesser-explored Beiras, increasingly on the map for wine-loving or retreat-craving travellers.
On top of the natural scenery, Portuguese cities like Lisbon and Porto are fiercely unconventional and informal compared to their Spanish, French or Italian counterparts. And festivals dominate Portugal’ s calendar, so consider planning a solo jaunt around Lisbon’s Festa de Santo António or Porto’s Festa de São João, or find a smaller jazz or rock festival down the coast.
But at any time of year you can hit the bars to hear the mournful strains of fado music, and in Portugal you’ll never dance alone.
Maria Ines Amaral
Founder and CEO of Portuguese Association of Tourism for the Middle East