Portugal Travel Guide

Located on the Western Coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has an idyllic climate and varied geography. You’ll find mountains and vineyards in the north and beaches along the Southern coast. The culture of Portugal is ever-present. Portuguese locals know how to have fun. When you walk through a Portuguese city—such as Lisbon—you’ll hear music and laughter from the locals. Food is also important in Portuguese culture and is often a focal point of most activities and social conversation.

Image of girl who wrote the Portugal Travel Guide. Girl is in a castle in Sintra Portugal.
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Know Before You Go

Language

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. A significant portion of the country also speaks English, Spanish, or French as a secondary language. English speaking tourists will have no problem getting around big cities like Lisbon as many of its locals speak English.

When to Visit

The best months to visit Portugal are March, April, May, September, and October. During these months; the climate is warm and there are fewer tourists than usual.

Currency & Payment

The Euro is the official currency of Portugal. Credit cards are widely accepted as payment and ATM’s are available all over the country for cash withdrawal. .

Transportation

Transportation in Portugal is quick and efficient. Trains and buses transport people from region to region. The tram is a fun and authentic method of transportation for inner-city travel. Other methods of inner-city transportation include buses and taxis. Rideshare apps such as Uber function in Portugal.

What to Pack

Here’s a list of what to pack for Portugal, in addition to what you would already plan to bring:

 

  1. Power Adaptor: Portugal uses plug types C and F and operates on 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  2. Refillable Water Bottle: There are fresh drinking water fountains available throughout big cities such as Lisbon. You can use these to refill your water bottle while you site-see. 

  3. Comfortable shoes: You’ll likely walk a lot in Italy, especially in big cities, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes. 

Experiences

Here’s a list of some of the top things to do during your visit to Portugal. 

  1. Spend time in Lisbon: As the capital and largest city of Portugal; it’s worth spending a lot of time in Lisbon. There are many sites to see here, including Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Torre de Belem, Alfama neighborhood, and St. George’s Castle.

  2. Go to Sintra: This is a magical place worthy of at least 1 day of any itinerary.  Sintra is a resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains and is located near Lisbon. It’s a royal sanctuary and boasts forested terrain and pastel-colored villas and palaces.

  3. Listen to Fado: Fado music is a form of Portuguese singing that can be heard in many pubs and restaurants throughout the country. This unique music represents a part of the countries culture which has a deep history with music. 

  4. Visit the Algarve: The Algarve offers sunny shores, cool rock formations, and a town with great culture and nightlife to explore.

  5. Sunbathe at the beach: There are many great beaches in Portugal worth visiting – in addition to what’s available in the Algarve. Some of the most popular include: Matosinhos Beach, Praia do Castelo, and Praia da Adraga to name a few. 

  6. Go canoeing at Lago das Furnas: Also known as Furnas lake, this is a great hideaway and hidden gem in Portugal.

  7. See the archaeological treasures in Evora: Evora is a town in Portugal with a lot of historical sites to see and great restaurants.

  8. Eat some cake in Amarante: Amarante is a dreamy town in northern Portugal. It’s known for its quaint houses and delicious cakes.

  9. Visit Porto: Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal known for its stately bridges and port wine production. It’s very charming and not that overridden with tourists.

  10. Explore Ria Formosa Natural Park: The Ria Formosa lagoon, located in the Algarve, in southern Portugal, is a system of barrier islands that communicates with the sea through six inlets.

Fast Facts
Here are some facts about Portugal that you may have not already known:
 
  1. The world’s oldest bookstore is in Lisbon, Portugal

  2. Portugal is one of the world’s top surf spots.

  3. Port-wine is Portugal’s most popular export.

  4. Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork.

  5. There are 15 UNESCO world heritage sites in Portugal. 

  6. Portugal is Europe’s most westerly point.

  7. Portugal’s official name is República Portuguesa and it’s derived from its second-largest city of Porto.

  8. Over 80% of Portuguese are Catholic. 

  9. A dish that’s famous in Japanese cuisine… tempura…was actually first created in Portugal. 

  10. Portugal is the world leader in creating renewable energy.

Budget Suggestions

Here’s a look at how much it would cost you to visit Portugal. The prices in Portugal vary – for example; if you visit a small town instead of a big city than you’d likely pay less. The season that you visit also has an influence. This estimate is based on what it would cost to visit Lisbon and should only be used to give a basic idea of what you may spend. 

 

Item

Budget Travel

Mid-Range

High End

Notes

Accommodation

$12 – $20/Night (Hostel Dorm)

$35 – $65/Night 

(Private Room in Hostel, budget hotel or Airbnb)

$85 – $250/night (Hotel)

There are even more high-end hotels available than what’s quoted here.

Food

$4 – $9/meal
(Local Food)

$10 – $25/meal
(average restaurant)

$25 – $100/meal
(high-end restaurant)

The cost of high-end food could go higher than listed.

Alcohol

$1 – $3
(Domestic Beers & Wines)

$5 – $12
(Imported Drinks & cocktails)

Wines from Portugal, Italy & Spain are cheap and delicious.

Transportation

$2 – $3/way

(bus or tram)

$3.50 base rate + $0.5/kilometer.

$10 – $30/hr
(pre-arranged taxi)

The cost of a private driver varies pending company. Rates converted from Euro to USD and subject to change based on currency variances.

Explore from Home
  1. Spend time with a local Portuguese woman as she talks to you about her bees on Airbnb Experiences. Click here

  2. Take a virtual stroll through the galleries of the national tile museum in Lisbon. Click here

  3. Check out the Tower of Belem from Home. Click here.

  4. Watch this 4K video of Portugal on Youtube. Click here