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!

Trolley in the pastel colored streets of Lisbon.

Practical Info

Portugal Travel Guide

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

Striped colored buildings in Aveiro, Portugal

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.

LisbonHilly Capital City, Alfama, Fado, Beaches
PortoPort Wine, Ribiera, Azulejo (Blue Tiles)
FaroBeaches, Golf, Surfing, Hiking Trails
SintraRoyal Mountain Town
MadeiraPortuguese Volcanic Islands, Madeira Wine, Old Aqueducts
LagosAlgarve Beaches, Coves, Cliffs, Lighthouse
CoimbraMedieval Old Town, Baroque Library
CascaisBeaches, Lighthouse, Marinas, Casinos
Douro ValleyPort Wine, Vinho Verde, Scenic Landscape
Ponta DelgadaCapital of the Azores, St. Sebastian Church
AveiroCoastal City, Lagoon, Canals, Moliceiros Boats
BragaCathedral, Palaces, University
Peneda-Gerês National ParkMountains, Scenery, Hiking, Adventure Sports
Costa VicentinaRugged 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

Discover Portugal’s Hidden Gem: Costa Vicentina

21 Epic Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

Prettiest Places in Porto

Exploring Ethnic Restaurants in Porto

13 Best Beach Towns in Portugal

7 Best Girls Getaways in Portugal

The Best 7 Day Azores Itinerary

Flight Resources

Skyscanner is the website I use for all of my flights. Other travelers also like Momondo.

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!

Hilly street in Portuguese village.

Accommodation Resources

When I travel, I personally prefer to use VRBO. 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 traveling long-term, VRBO 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 traveling long-term, hostels are a great option and are abundant in Portugal.

For standard hotel stays, Hotels.com usually offers the best deals.

Safety Tips

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.

FAQs About Traveling to Portugal

  1. Do I need a visa to visit Portugal?

    • Most travelers from the United States and many other countries within the Schengen area do not require a visa for short stays (up to 90 days) for tourism or business purposes. Visa requirements may vary based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. Check with the nearest Portuguese embassy or consulate for the latest visa information.
  2. What’s the best time to visit Portugal?

    • Portugal is a year-round destination with a Mediterranean climate. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Summer (June to August) is perfect for beach destinations, while winter (December to February) is ideal for exploring cities and enjoying the Christmas markets.
  3. What’s the currency in Portugal, and can I use credit cards?

    • The official currency is the Euro (EUR), and credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments. However, it’s a good idea to have some cash for small purchases and in rural areas.
  4. What languages are spoken in Portugal?

    • Portuguese is the official language in Portugal. While English is spoken in tourist areas, especially in larger cities and among younger generations, it’s helpful to know a few basic Portuguese phrases for a more immersive experience.
  5. Is tap water safe to drink in Portugal?

    • Yes, tap water is safe to drink throughout Portugal. You can refill your water bottle at public fountains and taps in many locations.
  6. How do I get around Portugal?

    • Portugal has an extensive public transportation system, including trains, trams, buses, and the Lisbon Metro and Porto Metro in major cities. Rental cars are also available for exploring the countryside and less accessible areas.
  7. What are some must-visit places in Portugal?

    • Portugal offers a wealth of attractions, including Lisbon (the capital), Porto, the Algarve coast, Sintra, and the historic city of Évora. Explore charming towns, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and beautiful beaches.
  8. What is Portuguese cuisine like, and are there vegetarian/vegan options?

    • Portuguese cuisine features dishes like pastéis de nata, bacalhau, and francesinha. You’ll find vegetarian and vegan options in most restaurants, particularly in larger cities.
  9. Is it customary to tip in Portugal?

    • Tipping is customary in Portugal. Service charges are not usually included, so it’s common to leave an additional 5-10% tip for good service in restaurants. In cafes and bars, rounding up the bill is appreciated.
  10. Is it safe to travel in Portugal?

    • Portugal is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Use common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and staying aware of your surroundings.
  11. What should I pack for my trip to Portugal?

    • Pack clothing suitable for the season and activities you have planned. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and a hat for sun protection are recommended, especially in the summer.
  12. What is the legal drinking age in Portugal?

    • The legal drinking age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, is 18 years old in Portugal. Please adhere to these age restrictions when ordering alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants.
Top Resources for Travel to Portugal