Similar to Spain, Portugal has embraced modern characteristics while preserving the music and cuisine traditions of their ancestors. You will be able to find sweet outdoor cafés, 15th and 16th historical buildings, and romantic private beaches. An ideal trip to southern Portugal includes the capital, Lisbon, and the southern province Algarve. For the best deals on flights between Spain and Portugal, search RyanAir: http://www.ryanair.com/en.
Below is a map of Portugal and a sample route for visiting the beautiful beaches of Algarve and Lisbon.
The reason I recommend flying to Lisbon instead of Oporto is because the flights are cheaper out of Valencia. Accommodations: There are two great hostels (with different locations) under the same ownership that offer clean rooms, free breakfast, and free city tours: http://www.lisbonloungehostel.com/. Even though the hostel is fully equipped, you should still ask about linens and lockers when making reservations.
After the tragic earthquake in 1755, Lisbon was rebuilt with a symmetrical structure of square squares and wide boulevards. You will the splendor of the city within three neighborhoods: Belém, the Alfama, and the Bairro Alto. Lisbon is well known for their trolley system as it goes to many tourist sites, and even up the hill to the Torre de Belém. The Torre de Belém is an UNESCO site, but it’s not quite worth paying to go in. However, once you reach this area of the city, you can go to the Monastery of Jerónimos, see the Monumnet to the Discoverers that honors Portugal’s Prince Henry the Navigator, and eat pastel de nata at the local bakery. For more public transportation information go to http://www.lisbon.net/tram. During the summer you can visit the Feira Popular on the Avenida da Republica at the metro stop Entrecampos. This lively fair continues into the late hours of the evening. Once you’ve had enough of the capital city, and you’re ready to head south to the particular beaches of Algarve (Faro, Albufeira, or Lagos), you can buy tickets through EVA/Mundial bus company: http://www.eva-bus.com. Lisbon’s new long-distance bus terminal is Sete Rios on street Rua das Laranjeiras.
The entire southern coast is scattered with beaches surrounded by boulders and cut off with cliffs that jet out into the water. The water is fairly cold in winter and spring, but in spring the sun comes out and allows you to play on the beach. Linked with any popular beach that you decide to go to are restaurants and hotels, so you will be able to relax to the max. See local tourist office for a list of the beaches.
A note on Internet access: There is Internet access close to the bus station in Lagos (there is only one bus station in Lagos). It’s the first right after the marina footbridge coming from the bus station. You can also find internet access (free) in the local library.
Accommodation: You can easily book a hostel or hotel in one beach town and make day trips between towns using the same EVA bus company.