Portugal Travel Guide
Written by Joeri Van Overloop
Why Visit Portugal?
Portugal is a popular holiday destination for many reasons, including its mild climate, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and rich culture and history. The country is also known for its picturesque villages, historic cities, and stunning natural landscapes. Additionally, Portugal is relatively affordable compared to other European countries and is easily accessible by air or car. Let's sum up a few reasons to travel to this beautiful country in our Portugal travel guide.
Beautiful Beaches: Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, with miles of golden sand and clear blue waters. Some popular beach destinations include the Algarve, Cascais, and Costa de Caparica.
Rich Culture and History: Portugal has a rich history that is reflected in its architecture, art, and monuments. Visitors can explore historic cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra, which are filled with museums, palaces, and castles.
Delicious Cuisine: Portuguese cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, traditional dishes, and delicious pastries. Visitors can enjoy local specialties like bacalhau (salt cod), caldo verde (green soup), and pastel de nata (custard tart).
Stunning Landscapes: Portugal is home to a diverse range of landscapes, from the rolling hills of the Douro Valley to the rugged cliffs of the Algarve. Visitors can explore the natural beauty of the country by hiking, biking, or taking a scenic drive.
Affordable: Portugal is a relatively affordable destination compared to other European countries. Accommodation, food, and transportation are all reasonably priced, making it a great option for budget-conscious travelers.
Easy Access: Portugal is easily accessible by air or car, with several major airports and a well-developed road network. This makes it a convenient destination for travelers looking for a quick and easy getaway.
In summary, Portugal offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich culture, delicious food, and affordability. From the picturesque villages to the historic cities and beautiful beaches, Portugal offers something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach holiday, a cultural experience, or an adventure, Portugal is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
Frequently Asked Questions When Travelling To Portugal
What Is A Good Budget For A Trip To Portugal?
The cost of a trip to Portugal can vary depending on several factors such as the time of year, length of stay, and type of accommodation. However, a rough estimate of a budget for a week-long trip to Portugal would be around $1000-$1500 per person. This budget would cover accommodation, food, transportation, and some activities and excursions.
Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in Portugal can vary widely depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Budget options include hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels, which can cost anywhere from $20 to $60 per night. Mid-range options include 3-star hotels, which can cost around $80 to $120 per night. Luxury accommodation can cost over $200 per night.
Food and drink: Eating out in Portugal is relatively affordable, with a meal in a local restaurant costing around $10 to $15. Street food and snacks can be even cheaper.
Transportation: Portugal has a well-developed public transportation system, including trains, buses, and metro. A one-way ticket on public transportation can cost around $2-$5. Taxis are also reasonably priced, with a ride within a city costing around $10 to $15.
Activities and Excursions: The cost of activities and excursions in Portugal can vary widely depending on what you choose to do. Entrance fees to museums and historical sites can cost around $5 to $10. Excursions to natural parks and beaches can vary in price, but some can be free.
It is important to keep in mind that this is a rough estimate and your actual budget may vary depending on your preferences and travel style.
How Many Days In Portugal Is Enough?
Portugal is a small country but it offers a lot to explore. If you're planning to visit just one city, such as Lisbon, 3-4 days would be enough to see the main sights and get a feel for the city. However, if you're planning to visit multiple cities, such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, or if you want to combine city sightseeing with beach relaxation and/or outdoor activities, then 7-10 days would be ideal.
If you have more time and you want to explore more of the country, you could consider visiting some of the smaller towns and villages, such as Sintra, Coimbra, and Evora, or go on a road trip along the coastline, for example. In this case, you could plan for a 2-week trip, which would give you ample time to experience the best that Portugal has to offer.
What Is The Best Way To Tour Portugal?
The best way to tour Portugal depends on your personal preferences and travel style. However, here are a few popular options to consider:
Self-driving: Portugal has a well-developed road network, and renting a car is a great way to explore the country at your own pace. This allows you to take in the beautiful landscapes, visit small towns and villages, and explore the countryside.
Train travel: Portugal has an efficient train system that connects the main cities and towns. Train travel is a great way to see the country, especially if you're interested in visiting several cities. This option is also convenient if you want to avoid the hassle of driving and parking in busy cities.
Guided tours: Guided tours are a great option for those who want a more structured and hassle-free way of seeing the country. They take care of all the logistics, and you'll have a local guide who can provide insights and information about the places you're visiting.
Public transportation: Portugal has a well-connected public transportation system, including buses and metro. This option is ideal for travelers on a budget, as it is relatively cheap, and also allows you to get a feel for the local way of life.
Ultimately, the best way to tour Portugal depends on your interests and priorities. A combination of these options could be a great way to explore different regions and aspects of the country, and get the most out of your trip.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Portugal?
The best time to visit Portugal depends on your personal preferences and travel style. However, here are a few things to consider when deciding when to go:
Weather: Portugal has a mild Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit for warm weather is from June to September, although the peak months of July and August can be quite hot, especially in the inland regions.
Crowds: Portugal is a popular destination, especially in the summer months, when the beaches and tourist hotspots can be crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall, when the weather is still pleasant, and the tourist numbers are lower.
Festivals and events: Portugal has a rich cultural calendar, with many festivals and events taking place throughout the year. If you're interested in experiencing local culture and traditions, consider visiting during one of the major festivals such as the Festa de São João in Porto, or the Festas de Lisboa in Lisbon.
Cost: Portugal is generally more affordable than other European destinations, however, the peak season (June-September) can be more expensive than other times of the year. If you're on a budget, consider visiting in the low season (October-April) when prices are lower and the crowds are smaller.
In conclusion, the best time to visit Portugal depends on your priorities. If you're looking for warm weather and beaches, summer is the best option, if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder temperatures and cheaper prices, spring or fall would be ideal. If you want to experience local festivals and events, consider visiting during the appropriate months.
What Are The Dos And Don’ts In Portugal?
Here are a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind when visiting Portugal:
Do try local specialties such as bacalhau (salt cod), caldo verde (green soup), and pastel de nata (custard tart).
Do try to learn a few basic phrases in Portuguese, such as please and thank you, as a sign of respect to the locals.
Do dress modestly when visiting religious sites, such as churches and monasteries.
Do tip at restaurants, usually around 10% of the total bill.
Do carry your passport or ID at all times, as it is required by law.
Don't be offended if locals address you informally, as it's a common practice in Portugal.
Don't litter or leave graffiti, as it is considered disrespectful to the country and its people.
Don't take pictures of military or government buildings as it is prohibited.
Don't leave your belongings unattended, especially in crowded areas, as pickpocketing can be a problem in busy tourist areas.
Don't use drugs, as possession and use of illegal drugs are strictly prohibited in Portugal and can result in severe penalties.
By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to fully enjoy your visit to Portugal and have a memorable experience while respecting the culture and customs of the country.
What Are The Visa Requirements For Portugal?
The visa requirements for Portugal depend on the citizenship and purpose of travel of the individual. Generally, citizens of most countries do not need a visa to enter Portugal for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, some nationalities are required to have a valid visa before entering the country.
For citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, a valid passport or national ID card is sufficient for entry into Portugal.
For citizens of other countries, a valid passport is required. In some cases, a Schengen visa may be required. A Schengen visa allows travelers to enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
If you plan to stay in Portugal for longer than 90 days or if you plan to work or study, you may need to apply for a different type of visa. It is recommended to check the specific visa requirements for your country and purpose of travel with the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country before you travel.
Do I need Travel Insurance To Visit Portugal?
While travel insurance is not legally required to visit Portugal, it is highly recommended as it can provide valuable protection for your trip. Travel insurance can cover a variety of expenses such as medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, lost or stolen baggage, and emergency evacuation.
In case of an emergency, having travel insurance can provide peace of mind and help alleviate any financial burden. For example, if you become ill or injured while in Portugal, your travel insurance can cover the cost of medical treatment and transportation back home if necessary. Also, in case of any unexpected event, such as a flight cancellation, travel insurance can provide coverage to help you get back home or recoup some of your expenses.
It's important to read the details of your policy and check what is covered and what is not. Some policies may have exclusions or limits, and some may not cover certain activities such as adventure sports.
In summary, while travel insurance is not a legal requirement for Portugal, it is highly recommended as it can provide valuable protection for your trip. It's best to do your research and compare different policies to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.
How To Stay Safe In Portugal?
Portugal is generally a safe country for travelers, but as with any destination, it's important to take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe in Portugal:
Be aware of your surroundings: As in any busy city, it's important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.
Use caution when using ATMs: Be aware of your surroundings when using ATMs and be cautious of anyone who may be watching you. Try to use ATMs in well-lit, populated areas.
Be mindful of pickpocketing: Pickpocketing can be a problem in crowded areas, especially on public transportation and in tourist hotspots. Keep your valuables in a safe place, such as a money belt or hidden pocket.
Be prepared for emergencies: Make sure to have the contact information for your embassy and the local emergency services on hand. It's also a good idea to have a copy of your passport and important documents with you at all times.
Keep informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest travel warnings and alerts for Portugal. Also, be aware of the local laws and customs, and be mindful of your actions in order to avoid any unexpected issues.
By following these simple guidelines and using common sense, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Portugal. Remember that staying alert and aware of your surroundings is one of the best ways to avoid any potential problems.
Where To Stay In Portugal?
The Best Booking Resources For Portugal
These are the companies I use predominantly when I travel. They offer great customer service and the best value, consistently outperform their competitors, as they always have excellent deals. I rely on them the most, and they are the starting point in my search for travel deals.
Booking.com - This is the best travel partner when it comes to planning your vacation in Portugal. With over 28 million listings in more than 200 countries and territories, you'll have no problem choosing from the world's most comprehensive selection of accommodations - from exotic villas to cozy apartments! Booking.com offers a secure and convenient way to book your next holiday, with unbeatable deals that will make sure you get the best value for your money when travelling to Portugal.
Skyscanner - This is the perfect tool for finding the best flights at the best prices to Portugal. With a comprehensive selection of airlines to choose from, you can compare prices and routes in seconds - saving you time, stress and money. Skyscanner's intuitive search engine makes it easy to find great deals on domestic and international flights. Plus, you can easily customize your search preferences so you get results that fit your budget and destination needs.
Get Your Guide - Are you looking for ways to make your travel experiences more memorable? With GetYourGuide, you can book amazing activities, tours and attractions all over Portugal. Whether it’s a tour of an iconic city landmark or unique experience that’s off the beaten path, GetYourGuide offers something spectacular for any traveler. With thousands of things to do and see in different cities around Portugal, this platform simplifies the search process with user-friendly filters.
More Portugal Travel Resources