Portugal Travel Tips

Portugal is one of my favorite countries in Europe and I feel it is severly underrated when it comes to its neighbour, Spain. Lisbon is a favorite and I loved my time there. In my opinion, the Algarve region is one of the prettiest beach destinations in the world and if you are a beach baby like me, you will have so many untouched beaches to choose from along with stunning cliffs and hidden coves. And who can forget the wine area of Porto? In addition, there is so much history there. You can find some quick Portugal travel tips here if you are planning a trip there.

Portugal Travel Guide Contents

Latest Posts | Quick Tips | Where to Go | When To Go | How to Go | Driving Tips | Public Transportation | Where to Stay | What to eat | What to shop | Things to Do

Portugal Travel Tips

  • Visa required for Indians: Portugal is part of the Schengen zone and hence Indians require a Schengen Portugal tourist visa to go here.
  • Languages spoken here: Portuguese is spoken all around Portugal. But the major difference is the dialect. In the cities, it is easier to find people who speak English. Ola, Obrigado, Bom Dia, Como Estas are Hello, Thank you, Good morning, How are you in Portuguese.
  • Capital: Lisbon
  • Currency: Euro
  • Location: South Western Europe. Neighbours are Spain. It also includes the Atlantic Archipelagos of Madeira and Azores.
  • Electrical Travel Adapter specifications: 230 volts and 50 Hz. They use C and F plug types in Portugal.
  • IDP required for Indians? I drove in Portugal and it is one of the few countries where they insisted that I have an IDP.
  • SIM Cards: Most cards you buy in other countries in the Schengen zone will work without additional data or roaming charges. Vodafone is recommended in Portugal.
  • WIFI connectivity: The cities are well-equipped with Wifi and you can find free Wifi in many areas in Lisbon.
  • Safety in Portugal: Minor theft is common in some cities in Portugal. But as a solo traveller, I did not face any issues in Portugal.

Where to go in Portugal

Portugal definitely needs a place on your wishlist. Some of the suggested places to go in Portugal are:

Places to go in South Portugal

  • Lisbon: If you have been to Lisbon, then you would understand why it is one of my favourite cities in the world. A day trip to the magical Sintra if also recommended if you are in Lisbon.
  • Evora: If you love history and architecture, then head to Evora and while you are here, don’t forget to visit the Chapel of Bones. A day trip from Lisbon to Evora is always recommended.
  • Estrela: In the mood for some skiing during the winter months? Then head to the Serra de Estrela, the highest mountain range in continental Europe.
  • Algarve: I loved spending time in the Algarve region and it definitely has one of the most stunning coastlines in Europe. I loved all the road trips I took when I was in the Algarve.

Places to go in North Portugal

  • Coimbra: Looking to explore some Baroque and Roman architecture? Then head to Coimbra from Lisbon.
  • Douro Valley: Did you know that the Douro wine region valley is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world? Do you need any other reason to visit it?
  • Braga: Braga is known for a rich religious heritage and is home to many famous religious buildings.
  • Peneda: The Peneda Geres National park is only two hours away from Braga and is home to many home springs.
  • Porto: This famous coastal city is famous for its port wine and is said to be a must visit on a trip to Portugal.
  • Aveiro: Aveiro has suddenly become prominent on the tourist map and you can find many colourful boats in its canals and many colourful houses on the Costa Nova beach.
  • Obidos: Before you head back to Lisbon, stop at the charming town of Obidos.

Islands of Portugal:

Madeira: Madeira is an archipelago of 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa, known for its warm climate.

Azores islands: The Azores islands are a group of 9 islands off the coast of Portugal in mid-Atlantic. All the islands are said to be incredibly beautiful and well-preserved.

Recommended Read – Places to Visit in Europe

When to go to Portugal

One of the best things about Portugal is that you will always find something to do in every weather. I usually avoid summer months in Europe since the beaches can get a little crowded. I was there in May and it was the ideal time to go there and I found so many beaches to relax in. If you are in the mood for Skiing, then head to Estrela during the winter months between December and February.

How to get to Portugal

By Air: From India, you can fly to Lisbon Portela airport from most of the metropolitan cities. Additionally, you can fly to Porto, Faro from other cities in Europe. You can fly to the islands of Azores and Madeira from continental Europe. I opted for a pick up from Lisbon airport to the city center.

By Rail: Portugal connects most of the major cities like Lisbon, Faro, Coimbra, Porto and Braga by train. It is operated by Comboios De Portugal and you have the option to buy tickets online or at the train stations.

By Road: Flixbus regularly operates to major cities in Portugal from other cities in Europe.

Driving in Portugal

Portugal has one of the most scenic road trips in Europe. You drive on the right side of the road in Portugal. Gas costs approximately 5 USD per Gallon and most rental companies have a policy of returning a full fuel tank. Like most countries in Europe, you have to fill the Gas yourself and then pay at the counter. IDP is mandatory in most parts of Portugal.

Recommended Read – Planning a trip to Europe

Public Transportation in Portugal

Lisbon has an extensive public transportation system. You have the metro, bus, tram and the funicular in Lisbon. The iconic tram 28 is a must do activity even though it may feel like a touristic one. Porto is the other city in Portugal to have a metro system. Taxis are widely available in Lisbon and are usually beige in colour.

Algarve, on the other hand, has a bus system that runs on most days with only a few buses on Sundays. Even though a car is not mandatory in the Algarve, I would definitely recommend one since it is difficult getting around the region only with the help of buses. The day I landed in Algarve, I had to wait for a while to get a taxi to go to my hotel.

 Where to stay in Portugal

Find some recommendations on where to stay in Portugal.

PlaceLuxuryMid-RangeBudget
LisbonPortoBay Liberdade
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My Story Hotel Ouro
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Sete Colinas
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AlgarveTivoli Carvoeiro
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Sollagos Apartamentos Turisticos
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Hotel Don Rodrigues
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PortoInterContinental Porto - Palacio das Cardosas
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Stay Hotel Porto Centro Trindade
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Oporto House
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Tripadvisor
Sao Miguel, AzoresAzor Hotel
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Hotel Canadiano
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Hotel Arcanjo
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Tripadvisor | Booking

What to eat in Portugal

With the Portuguese cuisine being mostly meat and fish based, it is actually a bit more difficult to find vegetarian food in Portugal. In Lisbon, you won’t face difficulties but in places like the Algarve, it is actually a bit more difficult to find dishes without fish products. I eat egg and I ended up eating a lot of egg-based products when I was in Portugal. Pastel De Nata or the famous egg custard tarts are a must in Lisbon. Most of the soups are vegetarian and one of the popular ones are the Migas or bread soup. Port Wine is also quite popular. Also, don’t forget to try out Ginja or Ginjinha, a Portuguese liqueur made of Ginja berries. 

What to shop in Portugal?

Portugal is one of those places from where I did not buy anything except for a fridge magnet. It was my first stop on my Eurotrip and I didn’t want to carry stuff while I dragged my suitcases around Western Europe. Port Wine and Ginja are considered to be good gifts for alcohol lovers back home. Other popular items include the Rooster souvenirs, Cork products, Azulejos Decorative Tiles etc. Buying shoes is also recommended. You can check out more ideas here on what to shop in Portugal.

Things to Do in Portugal

There are numerous things to do in Portugal. But some of the recommended things to do in Portugal below:

  • Soak in the culture in Lisbon, one of my favourite cities in the world.
  • Listen to some Fado music in the many neighbourhoods around Lisbon.
  • History is crucial here and don’t forget to go on an ‘Age of Discovery’ tour while you are in Lisbon.
  • Visit the castle town of Sintra.
  • Explore the many beach areas including the Cascais around Lisbon.
  • Explore the wine regions of Porto and Duoro valley.
  • Go in search of some hidden beaches in the Algarve region.
  • Don’t forget to visit the world famous Benagil caves.
  • Visit the colorful Costa Nova Beach

In addition, choose one of the below tours to have a great and fun time in Portugal.

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