Lisbon Cityscape Sunset, Portgual
Lisbon Cityscape Sunset, Portgual

Lisbon

Lisbon Cityscape Sunset
Photo by Andreas Brücker

PORTUGAL

Europe

Portugal Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Lisbon

Location:

Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain

Currency:

euros (EUR)

Area:

92,090 sq km

Population:

10,263,850 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official, but locally used)

Religion:

Roman Catholic 81%, other Christian 3.3%, other (includes Jewish, Muslim) 0.6%, none 6.8%, unspecified 8.3% (2011 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC 0

Tel Code:

+351

Weather

Climate

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers. The country experiences an average of around 2,800 hours of sunshine per year. Portugal is known for having a relatively high amount of rainfall, particularly in the northern regions of the country. The southern regions are generally dry and sunny, especially in the summer.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Portugal depends on what you're looking to do and see. The high season for tourism runs from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the chance of rain is low. This is also when the majority of festivals and events take place. However, this also means that the prices may be higher and the crowds bigger.

If you're looking to experience the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, the best time to visit is from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny.

If you're looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy more affordable prices, the shoulder seasons (April, May, October and November) can be a good option. This is also the best time to visit if you're interested in visiting the cities, as the temperature is mild and the scenery is beautiful.

Overall, the best time to visit Portugal would be from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the chance of rain is low. But if you're looking for fewer crowds and more affordable prices, the shoulder seasons, from April to May and October to November, are also a good option.

Transportation

Public Transportation

Portugal has an extensive public transportation network, which includes buses, trains, and trams. Public transportation is relatively cheap and efficient, but it can be crowded, especially during peak hours. The main forms of public transportation are the state-run buses and trains, which connect major cities and towns. There is also a metro system in Lisbon and Porto, which can be efficient way to get around.

Taxis

Taxis are widely available in Portugal's major cities, and they can be a convenient option for getting around. However, it is important to note that the quality and safety of the vehicles can vary, and prices are often negotiated rather than being based on a meter.

Cars and Bikes

Renting a car or bike is another option for getting around Portugal. This can be a great way to explore the country's rural areas and have more flexibility on your trip. However, it's important to keep in mind that driving in Portugal can be challenging, with narrow roads and unpredictable driving habits.

Air travel

Air travel is another option to move within the country. Portugal has several airports, such as Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto and Faro Airport, and it is connected to major destinations around the world. It also has regular domestic flights between major cities like Lisbon, Porto and Faro.

Overall, the best way to get around Portugal will depend on your travel plans and budget. Public transportation is relatively cheap and efficient, but it can be crowded, taxis are widely available but prices are often negotiated, renting a car or bike can be a great way to explore the country's rural areas, while air travel is an option to move within the country.

Accommodation

Hotels

Portugal offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels. Many of the hotels in Portugal are modern, and they vary widely in terms of quality and facilities. Some of the newer and more luxurious hotels are in the major cities and tourist destinations like Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve.

Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts

Guesthouses and bed and breakfasts are a popular option for accommodation in Portugal, particularly in rural areas and small towns. They offer a unique and authentic experience of Portuguese culture and lifestyle, and they are often more affordable than hotels.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals, such as apartments and villas, are becoming increasingly popular in Portugal. These can be a great option for families or groups of friends who want more space and privacy. Many vacation rental options are available online, such as Airbnb and Booking.com.

Hostels

Hostels are a budget-friendly option for accommodation in Portugal, particularly in the cities. They are often located in the city centers and offer dormitory-style accommodation and shared facilities.

Campsites

Camping is a common option for accommodation in Portugal, particularly in the summertime, and in the coastal areas. There are several designated campsites in the country, where you can rent a tent or a cabin, and enjoy the nature.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Facebook Groups

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Portugal Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Portugal is a country that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the charming medieval towns of Sintra and Coimbra, to the stunning beaches of Algarve and the Azores, from the Douro Valley, known for its wines, to the vibrant cities of Lisbon and Porto, this country has something for everyone. Whether you're interested in outdoor activities, cultural experiences, or simply soaking up the local atmosphere, Portugal is a destination that should not be missed. In this list, we have curated the top 10 things to do in Portugal, that will make your trip an unforgettable one, from visiting the iconic places like the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, to the Ribeira neighborhood and Port wine cellars in Porto, and the beautiful beaches of Algarve and the Azores.

      1. Visit Lisbon

      The capital city of Portugal is a must-see destination, known for its charming neighborhoods, historic architecture, and rich culture. Some must-see attractions include the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery and the São Jorge Castle.

      2. Visit Porto

      Porto is a city located in the northwest of Portugal, known for its beautiful architecture, rich history and delicious wine. Some must-see attractions include the Ribeira neighborhood, the São Francisco Church and the Port wine cellars.

      3. Visit the Algarve

      The Algarve is a region located in the southern part of Portugal, known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters. Some must-see attractions include the Praia da Rocha, the Lagos and the Cape Saint Vincent.

      4. Visit Sintra

      Sintra is a town located in the western part of Portugal, known for its beautiful palaces, historic buildings and stunning views. Some must-see attractions include the Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle and the Quinta da Regaleira.

      5. Visit Coimbra

      Coimbra is a city located in the central part of Portugal, known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and excellent university. Some must-see attractions include the University of Coimbra, the Biblioteca Joanina and the Cathedral of Santa Cruz.

      6. Visit the Douro Valley

      The Douro Valley is a region located in the northern part of Portugal, known for its stunning landscapes, delicious wines and traditional villages. Some must-see attractions include the Pinhão, the Régua and the Peso da Régua.

      7. Visit the Azores

      The Azores is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, known for its beautiful landscapes, rich biodiversity and unique culture. Some must-see attractions include the Furnas, the Pico Island and the Flores Island.

      8. Visit the Madeira Islands

      Madeira is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, known for its beautiful landscapes, rich biodiversity and unique culture. Some must-see attractions include the Funchal, the Pico do Areeiro and the Pico Ruivo.

      9. Visit the Beaches

      Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters and excellent conditions for water sports. Some must-see beaches include the Praia da Marinha, the Praia do Camilo and the Praia do Amado.

      10. Visit the Festivals

      Portugal is known for its lively festivals, which take place throughout the year. Some must-see festivals include the Festa da Flor, the Festival Med and the Festival do Sudoeste.

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