Portugal is a lovely European escape – a country of friendly people, delicious food, scenic beauty, and, best of all, more affordable than some of its neighbors!
getting to portugal
Portugal has regular flights to Lisbon, Porto, and Faro from Europe and some major US Cities. Traveling from the East Coast of the United States to Portugal is easy, affordable, and fairly quick. If coming from outside the US or Europe, it’s perhaps cheaper to fly into a major airport in Europe such as Paris or Barcelona and make a connecting flight from there.
when to go
When to visit Portugal largely depends on where in the country you’d like to visit. Want to go to the Algarve or islands? Summer is best, though it will be crowded (and more expensive).
If you’re visiting one of the cities such as Lisbon or Porto, the shoulder season is recommended (March-May and September-November).
For holiday cheer, head to Portugal in December or early January.
what to see
Portugal isn’t a very large country, but it still offers a wide variety of things to do and places to see depending on your interests.
|Lisbon||Hilly Capital City, Alfama, Fado, Beaches|
|Porto||Port Wine, Ribiera, Azulejo (Blue Tiles)|
|Faro||Beaches, Golf, Surfing, Hiking Trails|
|Sintra||Royal Mountain Town|
|Madeira||Portuguese Volcanic Islands, Madeira Wine, Old Aqueducts|
|Lagos||Algarve Beaches, Coves, Cliffs, Lighthouse|
|Coimbra||Medieval Old Town, Baroque Library|
|Cascais||Beaches, Lighthouse, Marinas, Casinos|
|Douro Valley||Port Wine, Vinho Verde, Scenic Landscape|
|Ponta Delgada||Capital of the Azores, St. Sebastian Church|
|Aveiro||Coastal City, Lagoon, Canals, Moliceiros Boats|
|Braga||Cathedral, Palaces, University|
|Peneda-Gerês National Park||Mountains, Scenery, Hiking, Adventure Sports|
|Costa Vicentina||Rugged Coastlines, Vicentine Coast Natural Park|
traveling within portugal
Given Portugal’s small size, it’s fairly easy to get around the country by train or bus. Buses in Portugal are usually a little faster than the regional trains. Renting a car and driving is the best option if you want to visit some off-the-beaten-path locations – just be sure you have your International Driving Permit.
detailed portugal articles
Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Romania’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!
When I travel, I personally prefer to use Airbnb. I book an entire apartment, giving me my privacy and the comfort of home amenities, such as a kitchen and washing machine. Since my dog(s) travel with me, it also allows me to filter based on pet-friendliness without the stress of disturbing hotel guests.
If you’re travelling long-term, Airbnb usually offers discounts for stays of a month or more – the discounts are significant, sometimes 50-60%! It winds up being cheaper than what I would have paid for my apartment rent back in the USA. In Portugal, this can mean having an entire apartment to yourself for around $500-600 USD! In larger cities the rentals are more expensive.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get a discount by using my link below.
If you’re a budget-conscious traveler and not travelling long-term, hostels are a great option and are abundant in Portugal.
For standard hotel stays, Booking.com usually offers the best deals.
Overall, Portugal is a very safe country to visit – it’s commonly ranked among the top safest countries in the world. In larger cities, however, travel scams are common and there are people who prey on the vulnerability of tourists. Be aware of the most common travel scams in Portugal and always trust your judgement!
money saving tips
Given the fact that it’s such an inexpensive country, there isn’t too much for me to write here.
If you’re on a super-strict budget, eat out for lunch instead of dinner. It won’t save you too much, however, as Portuguese restaurants are on the whole very affordable.
Get on Pinterest and find ‘free things to do in….’ whichever city you find yourself. There are a ton of free things to do in Portugal.
If you’re doing the tourist circuit and heading to museums, be sure to check out whether the places you intend to visit offer free days – many museums will have a ‘freebie’ day once a month or so.
covid resources for portugal
Before booking your next flight or accommodations, be sure to stay up-to-date with travel restrictions in Portugal due to COVID-19.