Visiting a city you know nothing about, in a country you’ve never been to, where they speak a language you can’t understand is probably the most nerve-wracking thing you can do. But I’d recommend it, 100 per cent.
I’ve been traveling around Europe quite a bit recently and I often forget that english isn’t as common in other parts of the world. I had no issues in Rome as it’s quite touristy but when I went to visit my boyfriend’s family in Portugal for the very first time, it was a challenge.
Portugal has been on my list of places to visit for a very long time so when the opportunity to visit a small town in the northern region arose, how could I say no?
Bragança is located about two hours north of Porto, and is probably the most quaint city I’ve ever visited. The food, wine, people – everything about this place, I loved. The amount of greenery was actually breathtaking – and I’m not really an outdoorsy kinda gal so that’s saying a lot. And despite the language barrier, I felt very welcomed. I may have found my retirement place. Just gotta brush up on my Portuguese and I’ll be golden.
One of my favourite parts in Baragança was the castle, obviously. It was surrounded by cute little homes and bars – honestly felt like I was in a fairytale.
Instead of going all out in a ball gown, which I totally would’ve done if I had the luggage space, I went for a simple polka dot dress with ruffles I picked up from Nasty Gal. I paired it with the same sueded ankle boots I’ve been wearing nonstop and some round sunnies from Kate Spade.
Once I’ve hit all the touristy destinations, I really want to explore random cities in some of my favourite countries. Yeah, it’ll probably be overwhelming at first but it’s so worth it cause it’s just a more authentic experience.
What are some small, non-touristy cities you’ve visited in Europe and absolutely loved? Let me know in the comments!
Photography by Ruben Afonso.