Portugal Travel Guide
🗝️ Key Facts
💶Currency: Euro €
🕙Time Zone: 0 GMT
📞Phone Code: +351
✈️Best time to visit: Year round.
🍴Eat: Pasteis de Nata,(Custard Tarts)
🍷Drink: Ginjinha liquor / Porto Wine
🗺️Don't miss: Belem Tower (Lisbon) Luís I Bridge (Porto)
🗺 Menu of Contents:
Located Southwest of Europe, Portugal only borders with neighbouring Spain. The rest of the country faces the Atlantic Ocean, which is one of the main reasons for coming to Portugal, to relax, bathe and enjoy relaxed and calm moments by the sea with friends or family. A sun-soaked land on the Iberian Peninsula with plenty to offer to both short- and long-term visitors, Portugal's greatest attraction is, inevitably, its gorgeous coastline. The southern region of the Algarve is a firm favourite, where an array of top-class beach resorts, once sleepy fishing villages, provide luxurious oceanside accommodation.
The region's fine, year-round climate and ease of access mean that it is a hugely popular winter sun vacation destination. It also serves well as the perfect place for a weekend getaway when the daily grind of city life becomes too much. Seaside towns like Albufeira and Lagos are home to some of the best beach resorts in the Algarve, providing a heady mixture of sheltered beaches, outstanding natural scenery and high-quality lodgings.
But, there is far more to Portugal than its beaches. The country is home to some breathtaking architecture and cultural treasures. Notable tourist sights in Lisbon include the Jerónimos Monastery and its Manueline architecture, the iconic Monument to the Discoveries, and the most-photographed building in all of Portugal, the Tower of Belém.
This geographically varied country also offers skiing opportunities, this forested mountain range is also a great area for walking and hiking trails, and is the place to go for those craving the taste of authentic Porto wine! Portugal offers some great culinary dishes, containing fresh fish, meat, rice and pastries, Pasteis de Nata, a must try!
The country’s main gateway is Lisbon, the capital. However it’s possible to reach Porto and Faro by direct air links from many European destinations.
The national airline is TAP Air Portugal, which flies from most European capitals and cities to its home base in Lisbon, with easy connections across the mainland and also to the islands of Madeira and The Azores, colonies of Portugal. It’s also possible to reach the cities and the islands direct with low cost airlines such as Ryanair or EasyJet which fly direct from Spain, France, Germany or the United Kingdom. For those travelling from overseas, TAP Air Portugal offers direct links from North America and Brazil, its biggest markets. For other destinations, one stop transit is required.
Once in the country, the local transportation of Portugal is practical, cheap and effective. Major cities have trains, metro, trams and busses whilst smaller cities or towns offer bus connections and trams. See more information about the transportation in each city listed below.
Portugal’s climate varies a lot from north, where higher rain falls and greener scenery is abundant, in contrast to the south, where a dry and hot climate is more typical. Overall, the coastal regions in the South and western parts of Portugal are excellent to visit all year round thanks to the lower altitude and ocean currents.
Northern Portugal generally experiences colder temperatures than the South, with pleasant warm Summers but rainy Winters. The best time to visit depends on the region and type of travel experience you’re seeking. For a beach vacation, the best months for guaranteed sunshine are June to September. Always remember to bring protective sun lotion, sun glasses, hats and stay hydrated, as temperatures can rise up to 35/40 °C in the peak summer! Naturally, these are also the busiest months for tourism along the coast, so be prepared for high prices and crowds.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, head inland closer to the border with Spain. The best time to go is mid season, Spring and Autumn: from March to end of May and September to November. These are when tourist destinations are less crowded and weather is still pleasant at around 15 to 20 °C.
So, whichever season you choose to travel, there is always fun things to do, in or out, regardless of the weather!
Portuguese cooking is not too well known in other parts of Europe, nevertheless it is definitely worth exploring the many dishes which are commonly associated with seafood, as it’s a regular ingredient and part of many dishes. Especially the salt cod that is very much a love or hate taste. It forms the base of hundreds of recipes and you should try it at least once. Anchovy, bass, clams, mussels, salmon, sea bream, sole and swordfish are also very common. You will notice as well many restaurants, bars and cafes serving pastries and tarts, with great places to sit to relax whilst you enjoy a drink and snack. Also there are many spanish inspired restaurants serving Paella ,seafood dishes and meats, since Spain brings in the most tourists.
The spice peri-peri is widely used to flavour chicken and shrimp, while Goan curry spices also add extra flavour to a variety of dishes and broths eaten widely. Meat lovers can taste the espetada (grilled skewers of beef with garlic), leitão (suckling pig) and cozido à portuguesa, which mixes beef, pork, sausage and vegetables in a delicious dish. Another traditional delicacy is porco à alentejana (pork and clams Alentejo-style).
Sweets such as chocolate mousse and “arroz doce” (lemon and cinnamon-flavoured rice pudding), together with classic egg-yolk and sugar-based cakes, can be seen on tables up and down the country.
Specialities in Portugal include: Bacalhau á bràs (scrambled eggs with salted cod, potatoes and onions; popular in Estremadura). Lulas recheadas à lisbonense (stuffed squid; a Lisbon speciality). Tripa à moda do Porto, Queijadas de Sintra (cheese tart found in Sintra). Açorda de mariscos (shrimp stew cooked in a bread bowl). Caldo verde (green soup made with finely shredded green kale leaves in broth). Pastéis de nata (traditional custard-filled tarts typical of Lisbon). Francesinha, a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat, and covered with melted cheese and a hot and thick spiced tomato and beer sauce. It is typically served with french fries.
A trip to Portugal would not be complete without sampling some of the wonderful drinks native to certain regions. Portugal’s most famous wine is Porto, like the city. Porto, naturally, can boast a wide selection of different wines and grape denominations. Other wines like Vinho Verde from Minho in the north together with Vinho do Dão and Vinho da Bairrada stand out from the usual favourites. Other kind of drinks you can find are Aguardente (a sugar cane based drink) and Beirão and Ginjinha (or Ginja) are distinctly unique liqueurs.
As lisbon shadows other bigger European capitals, it was a great surprise to discover this city finally. The scenery which surrounds the historic city, together with the hills, narrow cobbled streets where trams are running along its medieval architecture make for so many photo opportunities. With plenty to see and do, Lisbon has everything you need for a weekend city escape. Cheaper Hotels and restaurants for all budgets make the city perfect for all kind of visitors. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and sun cream if you come in the summer or Spring. The city lays within many hills and walking around requires a little effort, however, the transport is very practical and you can travel up many of the hills with the trams which act a an tourist attraction itself.
Its very easy to travel out of Lisbon as well thanks to some very interesting towns like Sintra and Cascais, making ideal half day trips to explore further and relax on some excellent beaches of the area. Come to Portugal for relaxing, exploring or eating. There is a place for everyone here! Additionally people are friendly, speak good english and helpful.
(2 times visited)