A cautionary tale – what to think about when deciding where to travel to next

A week in Troia wasn’t a completely wrong decision but it certainly wasn’t completely right.  It is on a peninsula about an hour South of Lisbon and it sounded amazing – 18km of sandy beaches, its own resident family of dolphins, a microclimate (so great Autumn weather guaranteed), Roman ruins, a pine forest and nearby nature reserve.  Every Portuguese person I spoke to about it mentioned its beauty and urged me to go.  So I did.

Troia is a resort, which is something I had given scant regard to because I had been thinking about the beautiful nature too much.  The resort aspect meant that everything was expensive, especially the restaurants and cafes, so I ate at home most of the time.  But the one supermarket was also very expensive which led me to spending the week eating a student diet consisting mainly of pasta and random special offers.

It was end of season so many things were closed – including the boat trips so I didn’t get to see the famous dolphin family.  Also this meant that there weren’t many people around so I had limited contact with others during my stay.

Finally, I know no one can control the weather but the much praised microclimate did not guarantee a good autumn after all – at best it was hazy sunshine and at worse rain, heavy rain.

It’s not that I regret going to Troia but I definitely failed on managing my own expectations – I had built it up into such an amazing place there is no way it could deliver.  Also I generally travel unplanned and this time it was a mistake not researching more or at least giving proper thought to the resort aspect.  Finally, a week was too long – I rarely book somewhere for a week, my usual pattern is to book for three days and then extend if I like it but my accommodation was only affordable because it had a weekly discount and I allowed this to dictate the length of my stay.

However, having said all of that the nature was amazing.  Breathtaking in fact.  And I spent my days walking as far as I could in the shallows of the golden sand, watching the birds fly their patterns and feed with the tide times, gasping at the stunning sunsets which were truly spectacular nearly every night and being in a general state of wonderment about our natural world.



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