Welcome to Portugal Travel Guide
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.
Quick Facts Portugal Travel
✔️ Capital City - Lisbon
✔️ Population - 504,718
✔️ Portugal Tourist Visa - Schengen
✔️ Currency - Euros
✔️ Language - Portuguese, but English is spoken
Our Portugal Travel Guides
✔️ Guide to Lisbon Itinerary - Here is a detailed guide to 3 days trip to Lisbon
✔️ 2 day Lisbon Itinerary - A detailed 2-day trip itinerary
✔️ Lisbon Photography Spots - Photo locations in Lisbon
✔️Beautiful destinations to visit near Lisbon - Lisbon to nearby areas day trip ideas
✔️ Guide to Sintra Attractions - Explore Sintra in one day
✔️ Portugal Itinerary with Spain - Spain Portugal Itinerary 10-14 days
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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 Iceland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.
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 from the city centre. You can reach the center using Lisbon 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
🗸 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 having a mild temperature is definitely helpful. For visiting the islands we recommend visiting from April to September.
Weather in Portugal
Portugal experiences all the seasons, well sort of. January - February is the coldest month where temperatures range from 6ºC to a high of around 15ºC. During the night, temperatures fall as low as 0ºC to -4ºC.
What to pack? Carry a warm jacket, but you can ditch our heavy outerwear from Canadian winters.
In Spring, temperatures slowly get warmer, and it is perfect for outdoor activities (you can even swim in late spring months).
Summer months are very warm, with temperatures as high as 32 degrees celsius (and a low of 16 degrees celsius). 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 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 (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 winter visits.
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).
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!
You know how we (Canadians) travel to Mexico, Portugal is like that for Europe - affordable weekend getaways!
Taking Guided Tours in 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, 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 - Explore Spain and Portugal in 2 weeks. View the tour here
🗸 Spain, Portugal & Morocco tour - An epic 24 day trip across 3 countries and multiple destinations. Click to book tour here
What to see 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
🗸 Lisbon - 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 24 Bridge, aquariums and so on)
🗸 Sintra - Home to the famed Pena Palace, Sintra Palace, to name a few
🗸 Cascais - Sintra Cascais National Park (the westernmost point of the European continent at Cabo da Roca)
🗸 Porto - The wine destination in Portugal
🗸 Coimbra - Visit the site of the oldest university, it was also the capital of Portugal once upon a time
🗸 Obidos - White-washed lanes, and a beautifully preserved castle
🗸 Fatima - Home to the Sanctuary of Fátima, a Catholic pilgrimage site
🗸 Algarve - Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region with gorgeous whitewashed 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.
What to eat in Portugal?
Portuguese food prices are very affordable. You can eat out at local restaurants for very cheap (like 6 euros for a full meal with a drink), as compared to other places in Europe.
🗸 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
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 the 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.