Portugal Travel Guide

Portugal is Europe’s hotspot. From the bustling energy of Lisbon to the awe-inspiring beauty of the Algarve coast, Portugal offers an array of experiences. Indulge in delicious cuisine, dance to soulful Fado music, surf the sun-kissed shores or explore cobblestone streets lined with colourful houses.

Portugal’s charm unfolds across its distinct regions. In the north, you’ll find Douro Valley, with terraced vineyards yielding world-class Port wine.

Central Portugal boasts many medieval cities begging to be explored. Alentejo, exudes a relaxed pace, with its vast plains and ancient villages.

The Algarve’s golden beaches, soaring cliffs and fishing villages offer coastal bliss. The Azores and Madeira islands enchant you with natural wonders. From the north to the south, each region is worthy of exploring.

Ultimate Portugal Travel Guide

Welcome! You must be planning a trip to Portugal! Allow me to help you. This guide is filled with all the information you’ll ever need to know from the basics to my top places to visit, tips, and recommendations.

Or, if you’re excited, just jump into my Portugal Travel Blog by using the Table of Contents to go directly to what you want to read.

I adore the friendly vibe of Portuguese hospitality, and the stunning landscapes keep pulling me back. Portugal has an authentic charm that some European cities lost to mass tourism.

What I cherish most is venturing beyond Lisbon and Porto—as there’s an even greater discovery waiting to be explored. Places like the ancient city of Coimbra home to Portugal’s oldest university and a designated UNESCO Heritage site. Or, Cascais, the gorgeous resort town close to Lisbon.

Travel Guide to Portugal: The Basics

Capital City: Lisbon
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: Portuguese, while English is not as universally spoken you may find some people in popular tourist spots can communicate in English to varying degrees
Population: 10 million
Size: 92,090 km2 (35,560 sq mi) of which 91,470 km2 (35,320 sq mi) is land and 620 km2 (240 sq mi) water (Source: Wikipedia)
Average Daily Cost: 60 to 150 EUR per person

Getting there: Accessible by air, Portugal welcomes visitors through major airports in Lisbon, Porto, and Faro.

Getting around: There are some regional trains and buses, however, renting a car to explore beyond Porto and Lisbon should be considered your best option to see some of Portugal’s most beautiful villages.

Tipping: is customary in restaurants, usually around 5-10%. In cafes, rounding up the bill is appreciated. Tipping for excellent service is common in other services too.

Weather:

  • Spring (March to May): temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F)
  • Summer (June to August): temperatures ranging from 25 to 35°C (77 to 95°F)
  • Autumn (September to November): temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F)
  • Winter (December to February): temperatures ranging from 5 to 15°C (41 to 59°F)

Travel Guide for Portugal: Best Places to Visit

Top 5 Must-Visit Places in Portugal

city view of rooftops in lisbon on portugal travel guide
Lisbon
  1. Lisbon: the vibrant capital, Lisbon, captivates with its historic neighbourhoods, trendy cafes, and Fado music. Explore the iconic Belem Tower, wander through Alfama’s narrow streets, and ride the historic Tram 28 for an authentic experience.
  2. Porto: set along the Douro River, Porto boasts charming architecture and is the birthplace of Port wine. Stroll across the Dom Luís I Bridge, visit the historic Ribeira district, and indulge in a wine-tasting tour in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia.
  3. Algarve: the Algarve region is enchanted with golden beaches, limestone caves, and picturesque fishing villages. Lagos, Albufeira, and Faro offer a mix of coastal relaxation and vibrant nightlife. Don’t miss the stunning cliffs of Ponta da Piedade and the natural beauty of Ria Formosa.
  4. Sintra: a fairy-tale town, Sintra is adorned with colourful palaces, lush gardens, and mystical castles. Explore the enchanting Pena Palace, stroll through the romantic Quinta da Regaleira, and absorb the beauty of the Moorish Castle.
  5. Douro Valley: a paradise for wine lovers, the Douro Valley showcases terraced vineyards producing Portugal’s world-famous Port wine. Take a scenic cruise along the Douro River, visit wine estates for tastings, and savour the breathtaking landscapes of this UNESCO-listed region.

Top 5 Hidden Gems in Portugal

narrow street with clock tower in village in a travel guide to portugal
  1. Évora (Alentejo): a UNESCO World Heritage city, Évora exudes medieval charm with its well-preserved architecture, including the Roman Temple of Évora and the eerie Chapel of Bones.
  2. Aveiro: known as the “Venice of Portugal,” Aveiro is a picture-perfect place with charming canals, colourful moliceiro boats, and Art Nouveau architecture. Indulge in traditional sweets called “ovos moles” and enjoy a peaceful gondola-like ride through the canals.
  3. Monsaraz (Alentejo): perched atop a hill, Monsaraz offers panoramic views of the Alqueva Dam. This medieval village boasts cobbled streets, whitewashed houses, and a castle. Experience the tranquillity of the Alentejo countryside and stargaze in one of Europe’s Dark Sky Reserves.
  4. Tavira (Algarve): tucked away in the Algarve, Tavira is a charming town with a Roman bridge, historic churches, and a relaxed atmosphere. Explore the cobbled streets, visit the ancient castle, and relax on the pristine beaches of Ilha de Tavira.
  5. Óbidos: encircled by medieval walls, Óbidos is a fairy-tale town known for its narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and vibrant flowers. Wander through the enchanting castle, taste the famous ginjinha liqueur, and immerse yourself in the romantic atmosphere.

Travel Guide Portugal Tips

  • Time your visit to coincide with local festivals and events. From Carnival to the São João festivities, or experience the authentic Christmas markets in Portugal
  • Embrace the local siesta culture. Many shops and businesses close for a few hours in the afternoon, providing a perfect time for a leisurely lunch or a relaxing break
  • Discover the diverse wine regions. Visit vineyards in the Douro Valley, taste the Vinho Verde in the north, and explore local cellars for a true taste of Portuguese wine
  • Indulge in Portugal’s gastronomic wonders. Try the iconic Pastel de Nata, enjoy fresh seafood by the coast, and don’t miss the hearty flavours of Bacalhau (salted cod)

Portugal Travel Blog: My Articles

Lisbon

Porto

Other Destinations in Portugal