I'm a writer, Youtuber, photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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It’s been a dream of mine to visit here. These days I haven’t been home working in Strasbourg. I have been on the road catching trains daily, hitching rides and staying in the cutest and coziest Airbnbs in Portugal!

I’ve photographed two wonderful families on the beach in Quinta do Lago (Algarve region of Portugal) and when I have a few hours here and there on the trains and in the mornings before I head out for the day, I’ve been hand-editing my clients images from the past few weeks. To say I’ve been busy is an understatement!

Here’s a little glimpse of where I’ve been and what exactly I’ve been up to these past few weeks…

City of Porto, Portugal

My favorite city in Portugal, Porto is the most picturesque and laid-back city I’ve explored in Southern Europe thus far! While Lisbon is often a popular favorite among travelers, I loved how small Porto was, how warm and friendly everyone is, and how close to the water it was! I particularly enjoyed the spectacular view while crossing the double-deck Dom Luís I Bridge, having a 360 degree rooftop view of the city at Porto Cruz, getting lost in the perfectly manicured gardens at Serralves, the incredibly delicious vegetarian meal, cheese board and port wine I had at The George Restaurant Terrace, and dreaming away at one of the world’s top 3 most beautiful bookshops – and where J.K. Rowling was inspired by for her first Harry Potter novel – Livraria Lello. I also of course couldn’t not try a Portuguese delicacy – a custard tart with sprinkled cinnamon at Noshi Coffee.

Lisbon Portugal

A big city where colorful pastel building and charming old trolleys and street cars line the cobblestoned streets, Lisbon is a wonderland. I was able to spend 4 days here in Lisbon and quickly found my local favorites that I frequently visited again and again!

Favorite Places in Portugal

Most of the time I could be found wandering alleyways and cute little nooks and bookshops, but my favorite spot in Lisbon is the LX FACTORY. It is here when I explored the old warehouses that were converted into artsy design labs, boutiques, unique restaurants and coffee shops and the spectacular bookshop Ler Devagar. 

Bookstore Bar Girl and Girl is a charming local spot – a bookstore, bar, and lounge along the famous Pink Street. They are open until 3am on weekends and 2am on weeknights – perfect for fellow night owls!

Sintra

Sintra is a fairytale and just a short train ride away from Lisbon. It’s a quaint, romantic town filled with ancient history, palaces and old caves and grottos. I spent the full day exploring the old wells, caves, grottos and mansion at Quinta da Regaleira – you really can spend ALL day exploring the nooks and crannies of these strikingly beautiful gardens. Prepare to be immersed in nature, surrounded by natures and don’t forget your sneakers as there are plenty of hills and mountains to climb!

Favorite Food Spots in Lisbon

Moules & Beer

Comoba

Doces Teresa Pyrrait – for dessert 🙂

Faro Portugal

Faro is a small town in close proximity to Lagos and the surrounding beaches, including the very wealthy Quinto de Lagos where I had my two photo sessions. Aside from the old town, which I definitely recommend exploring, especially if you’re a photographer – there are so many cute spots that are worth snapping a photo of – I particularly loved eating mexican food at Taco y Tequilla. The design reminded me of being back in Mexico, with it’s colorful lights, sombreros and delciious chips and guac! The staff is also super friendly and humorous – always a plus! 🙂

Best Beaches in Portugal: Lagos Algarve

Lagos + the Algarve Region

My favorite place in all of Portugal is high upon the rugged cliffs of Lagos where choppy aqua waters greet you below. I stayed at the most lovely and charming Airbnb in Portimao  .

Portimao has the beautiful Rocha (rock) beach and is one stop away from Lagos (only 2 euros!) via train. It’s a great small beach-vacation town to stay in and and relax before doing all the day adventures in Lagos and Benagil Cave! I didn’t explore too much of Portimao aside from their rocky Praia da Rocha beach, which I highly recommend exploring and wandering the full beach and cliffs. I also enjoyed eating at a few local favorites in town – Indian food at Masala House and A Vegana for vegan food.

Favorite Experiences in Lagos and the Algarve Portugal

I stumbled upon an incredible tour called Kayak Explorers and had an adventure I’ll always remember! With a single, lone kayak I kayaked the choppy waters through caves, tight crevices and inside the sparkle-reflecting grottos. Pirates of the Caribbean was definitely playing in my head all day long, and after spending two full hours kayaking, we got to enjoy a private beach.

Best Beaches in Algarve 

Praia da Rocha

Praia do Camilo

Pinhao Beach

Praia da Marinha

Best Scenic Cliff-Side Views in Algarve 

Farol da Ponta da Piedade

Photo Diaries from My Solo Trip to Portugal!

 

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Travel Guide to Best Beaches in Portugal Lagos Algarve Travel Guide to Best Beaches in Portugal Lagos Algarve

Destination Family photographer Helena Wood's travel and photography guide to Portugal and the Algarve region!

Traveling through Lagos Portugal and the Algarve {Vlog}

October 17, 2018

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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