Welcome to Portugal Travel Blog
Fancy a trip to Portugal? We are so excited for you!
Portugal is an amazing destination to visit. Located in southern Europe, sharing close borders with Spain, Portuguese history and culture will win you over.
Portugal Travel Blog: City guides, itineraries & tips
Discover the best of Portugal through our itineraries, detailed travel guides, and tips!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Quick Facts Portugal Travel Guide
🗸 Capital City – Lisbon
🗸 Population – 10.31 M (2020)
🗸 Portugal Tourist Visa – Schengen Visa
🗸 Currency – Euros
🗸 Language – Portugese, but English is spoken
🗸 Districts and Regions – 18 Districts and 7 Regions
There are currently 18 districts in mainland Portugal: Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Portalegre, Porto, Santarém, Setúbal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real and Viseu.
7 regions are as follows: Northern, Central Portugal, Lisbon, and Tagus Valley, Alentejo, Algarve, Azores Islands, and Madeira Islands. Here is a list of the most beautiful cities in Portugal.
Getting ready for Portugal – Travel Visa
Portugal belongs to the European Union (EU) and follows the Schengen Agreement.
🗸 If you require a Schengen visa for most countries in Europe, then you will need it for Portugal as well.
🗸 Nationals of EEA (European Economic Area) countries need not apply for a visa; however, they do need to carry their valid passport.
🗸 For citizens of the United States and Canada, no visa is required. US and Canadian passport holders can enter and stay in Portugal for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.
Portugal Itineraries ➳ ➳ ➳
Flight Tips for Portugal
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal, and it is easily connected to many other European cities. To travel from North America, one had to stop over somewhere in Europe, and then connect to Lisbon.
Barcelona, Zurich, Amsterdam, London, Paris – pretty much all the central/western European capital cities are great layover options from the US or Canada, before heading to Lisbon.
TAP Portugal is the national carrier of the country, and you can easily book a regional flight (at a great price). We love their service – clean and efficient flights!
Lisbon international airport (Humberto Delgado Airport) is located about 7 km (4.3 miles) from the city centre. You can reach the center using Lisbon subway trains, and they are very affordable.
There are shuttle buses available that connect major hotels to the Lisbon Airport.
Best time to travel to Portugal
Portugal is amazing at all times of the year. It doesn’t get super cold (like Canada or some parts of the USA and Europe), but summers can get very hot and humid.
Use this monthly breakdown as a general guide for understanding the seasons and the weather of Portugal,
- Spring (March to May)
- Summer (June to mid-September)
- Autumn (mid-September to early December)
- Winter (December to February)
Also, keep in mind that Portugal’s temperatures on the coast, inland, and islands will be slightly different.
🗸 Summer Months – Summers in Portugal are very hot/warm, especially in the central region. It is also a high tourist season, as visitors flock to the beaches (for water activities like surfing, etc.)
🗸 Off Seasons – Spring, fall, and winter are considered off-seasons, as crowds and prices are lower for airfares, car rentals, and accommodations. Rains are frequent from mid-November to March. During this time, many resorts in the high elevation areas could be closed.
🗸 Our Pick – Spring or fall months are the perfect time to visit Portugal. During this time the weather is a LOT bearable for sightseeing. Remember the capital city – Lisbon – and neighboring areas have a lot of hilly terrains, which are best explored on foot, and a mild temperature is definitely helpful.
For visiting the islands we recommend visiting from April to September.
Portugal CITIES AND TOWNS ➳ ➳ ➳
Festivals in Portugal
There are many different festivals that take place throughout Portugal each year. Some of the most popular include the Lisbon Carnival, which takes place in February, and the São João Festival, which occurs in June.
Summers are wonderfully amazing in the capital city of Lisbon, particularly in the month of June. This is when the city celebrates their loved Saint Anthony with pomp and parades (Lisbon’s patron saint is St Vincent).
He is the saint, who protects everyone, helps to get a good marriage, and whose day is celebrated just before the beginning of the summer. Throughout June, you will find colorful neighborhoods all decked up for a month-long partying and feasting – grilling sardines.
Other notable festivals include the music and religious festivals in various parts of the country. Portugal Day is celebrated on June 10th.
- Best time to visit: Fall (September to October) and spring (March to May)
- Peak Season: July – August
- Off-Season: Early spring, and some regions in the winter – February, March
Average Temperatures in Lisbon (west), and Porto (north)
- Winters: 15 C/59 F (Lisbon) | 13.8 C/57 F (Porto)
- Spring: 20 C/68 F (Lisbon) | 18.3 C/65 F (Porto)
- Summer: 27.7 C/82 F (Lisbon) | 25 C/77 F (Porto)
- Autumn: 22.7 C/73 F (Lisbon) | 20.5 C/69 F (Porto)
- Carnival Festival: February (religious)
- Good Friday (Sexta-feira Santa) and Easter: April
- Holy Week: April (Braga)
- Freedom Day: 25th April
- Fatima Pilgrimage: May (Fatima)
- Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ: June (Lisbon)
- Portugal National Day: 10th June
- Saint Anthony’s Day: 13th June (Lisbon)
- Festa de Sao Joao: June (Porto and other cities)
- Sintra Festival: June – July (Sintra)
- Cascais Festival of the Sea: August (Cascais)
- Christmas and Holidays: December
What to pack for Portugal? Portugal Packing List
Portugal experiences all the seasons, well sort of. January and February are the coldest months where temperatures range from 6ºC (42.8 F) to a high of around 15ºC (59 F). During the night, temperatures fall as low as 0ºC (32 F) to -4ºC (24.8 F).
What to pack in the winter? Carry a warm jacket, but you can ditch our heavy outerwear or parkas.
In Spring, temperatures slowly get warmer, and it is perfect for outdoor activities (you can even swim in the late spring months).
The summer months are very warm, with temperatures as high as 32 degrees celsius or 89.6 F (and a low of 16 degrees Celsius or 60.8 F). Precipitation is also common during this time.
What to pack? Comfortable walking shoes, light/airy cotton clothes, poncho/waterproof light jacket.
Fall brings back moderate temperatures again, and in terms of sightseeing, this is the BEST as crowds have dispersed and all the UNESCO World Heritage sites are still open.
Portugal’s rainy season begins in November (and December is the wettest month). Temperrayes are still pleasant at around 20 degrees celsius or 68 F (Portugal receives more sun than the rest of Europe, and it is even warmer in the north).
The Azores region is a little different. November is actually the last month of hurricane season and one of the wettest months of the year in the Azores. Be mindful of hurricane activity before indulging in any surfing excursion.
Add swimsuits, warm as well as waterproof clothing for the Azores for a winter visit.
Here is your packing list for Portugal
- Top: Long sleeve tops, shirts, flowy blouses (browse my Instagrammable outfits)
- Bottoms: Jeans, pants, leggings, shorts
- Shoes: Comfortable walking shoes
- Outerwear: Wool coat (winter). Light waterproof jacket (summer)
- Toiletries: Moisturizer, sunscreen (a must), toothpaste & toothbrush, shampoo, body cream, light make-up
- Your cellphone and sim card
- Charger: Like this multi-charging cable to power up multiple devices
- Universal travel adaptor: Europe uses a plug with two round pins (type C), unlike the flat ones in North America. Don’t forget to carry your universal adaptor
- Camera: Don’t forget your camera. We carry our Sony Mirrorless Camera and Sony A7iii
- Travel Documents
- Passport: Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Portugal The passport must be in good condition and not torn or tampered
- Visa: If you require a Schengen Visa for Europe then you will need it for Portugal. Do apply for it prior to your trip
- Currency and Credit Cards: Don’t forget your credit cards, and currency (Euro is the official currency, and many smaller towns and souvenir shops may only take cash)
- Travel insurance (medical, trip cancellations, etc): You can get a quote in minutes from Worlds Nomad Insurance
- Transportation: City Pass, flight tickets, or any tour confirmation
- Hotels: Confirm hotel reservations, and save your emails or a screenshot of the booking email
Budget Tips for Portugal: Road trip Portugal, train travel, accommodation, sightseeing
You know how we (Canadian) travel to Mexico for an inclusive and warm getaway, Europeans flock to Portugal for exactly that!
Prices in Portugal are much affordable and cheaper as compared to many popular European cities such as London, Paris or Zurich. Of course, there are luxury (and expensive) experiences that you can indulge in, but for the average traveler, a modest budget will suffice to enjoy beautiful Portugal.
In order to travel to Portugal, you will need a budget of at least $110 per day per person. This will allow you to cover your food, accommodation, and transportation costs. If you plan on doing any activities or sightseeing while in Portugal, you will need to factor in additional costs for these as well.
During our trips to Portugal, we stayed in mid-budget accommodation ($110 USD per night shared by two) and always ate out. We walked a lot, brought a transport/city pass, and took guided tours to go on day trips.
Shared accommodation in most popular Portuguese destinations starts at $35 USD, and depending on the duration of your trip and activities you can budget for travel passes.
Overall, you should expect to spend at least $1,500 for a two-week trip to Portugal.
Things to budget for
- Luxury: $275
- Mid-Budget: $110
- Hostel: $35 (dorm), $50 (private room)
- Restaurant: $30
- Fast Food: $8-20
- Day pass: $6.50
- Single ticket:$1.50+
- Taxi: $6+ Uber is cheaper, do download the app
- Car rental: $75 per day (standard)
Keep in mind, that flights to Portugal (Lisbon) might be expensive depending on your city of departure.
Portugal Road trip tips ➳ ➳ ➳
Portugal is a great destination for road trips. You can pick up car rentals from across the country, including airports in Lisbon and Porto. Here are some quick tips to help you out,
- Start by planning your route. Portugal has different regions and there are many different roads you can take. Decide what cities and towns you want to see and map out a rough route (more on destinations inspiration in the next section)
- Once you have your route, start thinking about where you will stay each night. If you’re on a budget, consider camping or staying in hostels
- Make sure you have a good map of Portugal and familiarize yourself with the roads you’ll be taking. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case you get lost.
- Pack light but be sure to bring all the essentials, such as food, water, and a first-aid kit.
- When you book car rentals, add insurance. Be sure to reserve a car ahead of time to avoid disappointment during peak season.
- When you’re on the road, take your time and enjoy the journey. Note that many town and city centres are pedestrian-friendly, so you will be walking a ton as well once you reach the destination.
What to see in Portugal? Things to do in Portugal
Portugal is the oldest nation-state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe. In 1139, Portugal appointed King Afonso Henriques as its king.
Lisbon is said to be four centuries older than Rome. Due to its excellent trading location, the Phoenicians settled in Lisbon around 1200 BC.
Portugal once owned half of the “New World”. When the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed in 1494, Portugal was given the eastern half of the New World, including Brazil, Asia, and Africa. Learn about the Age of Discoveries and maritime stories of legends from Vasco da Gama to Henry the Navigator.
Here is what you must explore in Portugal,
The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is a great place to start your exploration of the country. This vibrant city is filled with historical landmarks, museums, and cultural attractions.
Be sure to visit some of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
Head to the city centre and wander the historical neighborhoods of Chiado, Baixa, Alfama, Graca, and Belem. This is where you will learn about the age of Discoveries (museums and monuments dedicated to navigation and Vasco da Gama) 1775 earthquake and the nation’s resiliency, about Pombal and the new Lisboa (April 25 Bridge, aquariums, and so on).
- The Castle of Sao Jorge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lisbon. It offers stunning views of the city, as well as a chance to learn about the history of Portugal.
- The Carmo Convent is another popular tourist destination. It is located in the Baixa district and features beautiful Gothic architecture.
- The Cathedral of Lisbon is one of the most important historical sites in Lisbon. It is located in the center of the city and features a unique Baroque design.
- The Jeronimos Monastery is a must-see for any tourist. It is located in the Belem district and features beautiful Manueline architecture.
We have written detailed itineraries about Lisbon, take a look below
- One day in Lisbon
- 2 days in Lisbon
- 3 days in Lisbon itinerary
- 4 days in Lisbon itinerary
- How many days in Lisbon is enough?
Other Lisbon travel guides
- Best day trips from Lisbon
- Best Lisbon photography spots
- Guide to LX Factory Lisbon
- Where to stay in Lisbon for first-time visitors
- Best Lisbon hotels with rooftop pool
- Best Airbnbs in Lisbon Portugal
Outside of Lisbon, there are plenty of other places to see in Portugal. The coastal city of Porto is known for its picturesque setting and its world-famous port wine. The charming town of Sintra is a must-see for its many castles and palaces. And don’t forget to check out the beautiful beaches of the Algarve region.
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Situated on the Douro River, Porto is known for its picturesque setting, lively nightlife, and its world-famous port wine.
A visit to Porto would not be complete without taking a tour of one of the city’s many port wine lodges. Porto is home to some of the world’s most famous port wine producers, and a tour of a lodge is a great way to learn about the history and production of this iconic Portuguese wine.
In addition to its port wine lodges, Porto is also home to a number of other attractions. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cobbled streets and medieval architecture are a sight to behold. Porto’s Cathedral, Sao Bento Railway Station, and the Palacio da Bolsa are just a few of the must-see sights in this beautiful city.
Our Porto travel guides
- One day in Porto | 3 days in Porto itinerary
- Best day trips from Porto
- Porto viewpoints
- Best Porto Instagram spots
- Guide to Bolsa Palace in Porto
- Guide to visiting Livraria Lello Porto
- Are the 6 bridges cruise in Porto worth it?
🗸 Douro Valley
Known for its world-famous port wine, the Duoro Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal. It is located in the north of the country and features a variety of beautiful landscapes. The valley is home to many vineyards and you can easily join a guided tour to visit wineries.
Sintra is one of the most beautiful and intriguing places in all of Europe. Nestled away in the hills, this small town offers a wealth of history and culture, as well as some of the most stunning scenery imaginable.
A visit to Sintra is like stepping back in time – the cobbled streets and medieval buildings transport you to another era. And the surrounding hills are blanketed in lush greenery, making it feel like you’re in a fairytale.
There is so much to see and do in Sintra, from exploring the historic palaces to hiking through the fairy-tale forest of Monsanto. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Palacio Nacional de Sintra, a grand palace was built in the 15th century and is one of the most iconic buildings in Sintra. It’s known for its dramatic twin chimneys, as well as its beautiful interior decoration.
- Quinta da Regaleira is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture. The Quinta da Regaleira is a grand estate that was built in the 19th century. It’s filled with beautiful gardens, as well as an incredible system of tunnels and grottoes.
- Castelo dos Mouros, this castle is one of the most popular attractions in Sintra. It’s located high on a hill, offering stunning views of the town and surrounding countryside. The castle dates back to the 9th century and is definitely worth a visit.
- Pena Palace is the famed Sintra’s grand palaces. It was built in the 19th century in the Romantic style and is one of the most photographed buildings in Portugal. The palace is set atop a hill, surrounded by lush gardens – definitely worth a visit!
🗸 Cascais – Sintra Cascais National Park (the western most point of the European continent at Cabo da Roca)
Coimbra Portugal is a beautiful country with plenty to offer tourists. The weather is great, the people are friendly, and there are plenty of things to see and do. Coimbra is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a mixture of old and new, as it offers a variety of historical sites and modern attractions.
Be sure to check out the following places during your visit to Coimbra:
- The University of Coimbra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Coimbra. It is located in the center of the city and features beautiful Baroque architecture.
- The Monastery of Santa Cruz is another popular tourist destination. It is located in the Old Town district and features beautiful Gothic architecture.
- The Aqueduct of Coimbra is one of the most important historical sites in Coimbra. It is located in the center of the city and features a unique Roman design.
Braga is a beautiful city located in the northwestern region of Portugal. It is known for its stunning architecture, as well as its vibrant culture and nightlife. There are plenty of things to see and do in Braga, so be sure to check out the following attractions during your visit:
- The Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary is located on a hilltop just outside of Braga. It features a stunning baroque church, as well as an elevator that takes visitors up to the top of the hill for breathtaking views of the city.
- The Braga Cathedral is one of the most important historical sites in Braga. It is located in the center of the city and features a beautiful baroque design.
- The Nossa Senhora da Piedade Sanctuary is located on a hilltop overlooking Braga. It offers stunning views of the city, as well as a chance to learn about the history of Portugal.
Guide: One day in Braga itinerary
Guimares Portugal is a beautiful city located in the northwestern part of the country. It is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is known as the birthplace of Portugal due to the birthplace of their first king here.
Must see places during your visit to Guimaraes:
- The Castle of Guimaraes is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guimares. It offers stunning views of the city, as well as a chance to learn about the history of Portugal.
- The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza is a must-see for any tourist. Paid entry to exhibits.
- The Igreja de Sao Domingos church is a must-see for any tourist. It is located in the downtown area and features beautiful Rococo architecture.
Located just an hour away from Lisbon, Obidos is a beautiful town filled with quaint lanes with stunning views.
Be sure to check out the Castle of Obidos during your visit. This castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Obidos. It offers stunning views of the city, as well as a chance to learn about the history of Portugal.
There are a few chapels worth checking out, and don’t forget to try ginjinha liqueur (cherry liquor) on your trip!
Guide: One day in Obidos itinerary
🗸 Aveiro and Costa Nova
Aveiro is known for its canals, which are similar to those found in Venice, Italy. Aveiro is also home to a number of historical sites and museums. Be sure to check out the following places during your visit to Aveiro:
- The Museum of Aveiro features a variety of exhibits on the history of Aveiro. Then there is the art nouveau museum too that is worth visiting.
- The Cathedral of Aveiro is located in the center of the city and is a must-see, as you wander through this charming city.
- The Aveiro Canals are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Aveiro. They are located throughout the city and offer a great way to see the sights. Do join a traditional boat tour to explore the canals with comfort!
Guide: One day in Aveiro itinerary
Costa Nova is located just a 15-minute drive away from Aveiro. It is a beach and a coast area with stunning views of the ocean. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
🗸 Fatima – Home to the Sanctuary of Fátima, a Catholic pilgrimage site
🗸 Algarve – Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region with gorgeous white-washed fishing villages, beaches, and golf resorts.
🗸 The Azores – An archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, filled with dramatic landscapes, pretty fishing villages, green pastures, and vineyards.
We take pride in planning and crafting the perfect itinerary to make the most of our trips, and Portugal is no different.
With an efficient transportation system and a plethora of day tours, you can easily explore Portugal by keeping one city as a base and then venturing on day trips from there. You can keep Lisbon, Porto, or Coimbra as your base cities,
Take a look at our Portugal travel itineraries
How many do you need in Portugal?
We recommend at least one week in Portugal to visit a couple of cities, go on a few day trips, and also indulge in a cultural or beach/water-related activity of your choice!
Taking Guided Tours for Portugal
Guided tours are a great way to explore Portugal if you do not wish to do all the research and planning/booking. Intrepid Travel is a small group tour company that organizes tours to Portugal, and neighboring areas.
You can choose from a range of departure dates, activities, and areas and make the most of your travel time. You do have to book flights separately, and hotels are included (plus a few meals and of course guided sightseeing and free time).
🗸 Explore Portugal – This is an 8-day tour of Portuguese mainland highlights. Click to view the tour
🗸 Spain, Portugal & Morocco tour – An epic 24-day trip across 3 countries and multiple destinations. Click to book the tour here
Where to stay in Portugal?
For exploring Portugal’s prime attractions and cities, staying in Lisbon is a good idea. From here you can embark on day trips (like Sintra, Obidos, Evora, and beyond). Of course, you can stay away from the bustling capital city, and find Airbnbs and nice hotels in places like Sintra, Evora, or Tomar.
Porto, Coimbra, and the southern Algarve region deserve a longer stay (and not just a day trip), and you can easily find hotels, and resorts at an affordable price. With so many beaches and warm destinations, Portugal will not disappoint you!
If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful option, then staying in a hostel may be the way to go. Hostels and many Airbnbs with shared kitchens and bathrooms are popular choices for budget travelers, and there are many to choose from in all of the major cities. Expect to spend around $45+ USD per night.
For those who prefer a little more comfort, there are plenty of hotels, guesthouses, and apartments (private) available. Prices can vary considerably, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal.
Many accommodation providers also offer discounts for longer stays. Plan for a budget of $90 USD and above.
If you’re planning a luxury holiday, then you’ll be spoilt for choice in Portugal. There are hundreds of stunning villas and apartments to rent, often with their own private pools and gardens. Alternatively, you could stay in one of the many 5-star hotels that can be found across the country.
What to eat in Portugal?
Portuguese food is amazing. You must add a food tour, or try them during your trip.
Some of the most popular Portuguese dishes include bacalhau (cod), cozido (a stew made with various types of meat and vegetables), francesinha (a sandwich made with bread, ham, sausage, and steak), and Arroz de pato (duck rice).
Portuguese cuisine is also known for its desserts, such as pastel de nata (custard tart), which is a must-try for any sweet tooth.
🗸 Pastel de nata – This is the iconic and famous Portuguese egg tart. It is sooo addictive, soft and just melts in your mouth!
🗸 Chicken Piri – piri – Portuguese chicken covered in piri-piri or spices is national food in Portugal. Usually served with chips or french fries and small lettuce, tomato, and onion salad.
🗸 Bifanas – Portuguese sandwiches are made of marinated pork served in crunchy white bread.
🗸 Ham sandwiches, Porto wine
If you’re looking to try some authentic Portuguese food, be sure to check out one of the many restaurants in Portugal that specialize in this cuisine. You won’t be disappointed!
Safety in Portugal
Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world (ranked as the 3rd safest country by the Global Peace Index). You can travel alone or in a group, use public transportation at any time of day, and be safe.
Although safe, petty theft crimes including pick-pocketing in major tourist attractions are common, which is true for most European destinations.
Read the latest from Portugal + Travel Tips
From Lisbon to the north and the Central Portugal cities, our Portugal travel guides have you covered!
More guides from our Portugal travel blog