Recently Portugal has emerged as a popular tourist destination due to its mild Mediterranean climate. Portugal has its own attractiveness such as a unique culture, landscapes, and beautiful outdoors. The geographical size is not big but there are many cities to visit and discover. Portugal also has rich gastronomy from well-known egg tarts to fresh cod specialties dish. It is a place where you can have some extraordinary experiences such as a Portugues Fado performance, and Portuguese winery visits in Porto.
LANGUAGE : Portuguese
AREA : 922 million 2,600㏊
RELIGION : Catholic over 74%
CURRENCY : Euros
VOLTAGE : 220V
Portugal has a variety of attractions and it is full of its own characteristics. If you are planning to visit several small cities, it is recommended to take more time to consider travel time between places.
1) LISBON : Rossio Square, Carmo Convent, Bica Cable Car/Tram, Time Out Market, LxFactory, Jeronimos Monastery, Pasteis de Belen, Discovery Monument, Tower of Belen, Sanctuary of Christ the King, Alcantara Observatory, Augusta Street, Comercio Square, Augusta Arc, Lisbon Cathedral, Santa Luzia Observatory, Santa Justa Elevator, Alfama district, Santa Catarina Observatory, and Azulejo Museum
1-2) CITIES NEAR LISBON : Sintra, Cape Roca, Cascais, Obidos Municipality, Azenhas Do Mar, Nazaré, Evora, and Fatima
2) PORTO : Chapel of Souls, Bolhao Market, Porto Cathedral, São Bento Train Station, São Francis Church, Bolsa Palace, Ribeira Square, Don Luis Bridge, Vila Nova de Gaia, Lello Bookstore, Carmo Cathedral, and Majestic Cafe
2-2) CITIES NEAR PORTO : Costa Nova, Aveiro, Coimbra, Braga, and Guimaraes
3) SOUTHERN PORTUGAL : Lagos, Portimao, Faro, Algarve, Albufeira, Sagres, Tavira, and Olhao
Warm winter in Portugal, December-February
It is not too cold and not too hot, with an average minimum temperature of 9 degrees Celsius and an average maximum temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. It is recommended to carry an umbrella at all times because it usually rains about 15 days a month. In February, a carnival festival will be held throughout Portugal which creates its own exciting atmosphere.
Great conditions to travel, March-May
The frequency of rain decreases but still it remains at 10-13 days a month on average. It is better to carry a small umbrella. The average temperature is between 10-21 degrees Celsius. It can be a little chilly in the morning or evening, so keep a light coat with you.
Sunny without frequent rain, June-September
The best weather to travel! There is a very low probability of rain, an average of 2-6 days a month. The temperature is around 16-27 degrees Celsius. During the day it will be warm, but in the morning and evening, it could get chilly without the sun so make sure to carry a cardigan, and sunscreen and sunglasses are essential items. In June, there are various festivals held all over Portugal.
The end of a hot summer, October-November
To avoid hot weather, October and November would be a great season to visit as it's only 12-22 degrees Celsius, but the daily temperature difference is a bit big so it is better to wear warm layers, and keep a small umbrella in your bag because it rains about 11-14 days a month.
The cost of living in Portugal compared to other European countries is much smaller. Supermarkets, restaurants, and cafes are all inexpensive so you can taste whatever you want. On the other hand, prices of famous tourist attractions, accommodation, transportation are not very cheap. You can expect to spend around 50 euros per day per person, excluding a hotel.
Portugal is surrounded by the sea so its seafood is a popular option when it comes to meal choices. You can also enjoy various foods at a low price as their food isn't expensive.
1) ARROZ DE MARISCO : Portuguese seafood rice with a slightly spicy taste. It is rice with seafood and a little soup.
2) BACALHAU : Among the well-known Portuguese seafood meals, the most famous one is Bacalhau, a cod dish. It is cooked in various ways such as frying, grilling and steaming.
3) FILETES DE POLVO : Another famous dish is octopus. Almost everyone regardless of their nationalities loves fried octopus which has a crispy and soft texture.
4) POLVO : Octopus is boiled which creates its own soft and gentle texture.
5) SOPA DE PEIXE : Portuguese fish soup with a variety of seafood and eggs. It is a good starter with its tidy flavor.
6) FRANCESINHAS : A high-calorie but must-eat Portuguese sandwich with bread, beef, sausage, cheese and other materials stacked in layers.
7) NATA : Portugal's representative dessert, an egg tart. You can easily find numerous egg tarts throughout the city, like gelato in Rome and a macaron in France. Freshly baked egg tarts in Portugal is loved by many people, even those who are not in favor of egg tarts. It has a light and soft flavor. Try to eat it with cinnamon powder or sugar like the locals.
8) PIRI PIRI CHICKEN : Portuguese style cooked chicken dish. It is a fried chicken with Piripiri sauce. It is a spicy sauce made with Mozambican pepper 'Piripiri'. If you eat it with piripiri sauce, you will encounter a new taste of a chicken dish that you have never tasted before.
9) BIFANA : A Portuguese sandwich called 'Bifana'. It is served with warm and soft meat between bread and is suitable for breakfast or a snack.
10) GINJINHA : A traditional aperitif in Portugal, mainly in Lisbon. It is made of black cherry fruit, sugar, and strong alcohol Aguardiente. It has a fruity taste but with a high alcohol percentage. The locals drink it as a shot and take some pieces of chocolate to neutralize the taste.
11) PORTO WINE : The drink you must try in Portugal and is produced in the northern part of Portugal, Toru. As it started to be exported through Porto, it has been known as Porto wine. As it has a sweet flavor, it is drunk as a dessert.
Traffic in Portugal is well-structured and it is not difficult to travel between cities and the reservation process for trains and buses are easy. In Lisbon and Porto, which are the most visited cities for tourists, there is a variety of transportation, including buses, trams, and subways. It might be better to consider your tour route and calculate the fare and buy a pass card. Also, there are some places where you can only walk or access more easily by walking. If you are traveling with numerous people, it could be cheaper to use Uber than public transportation.
1) TRANSPORTATION IN PORTUGAL BETWEEN CITIES
TRAIN : Traveling by train is convenient in Portugal. Generally, it is possible to reserve your place 2 months before the travel date. If you book as early as possible, you can purchase a discounted ticket. Reservation is available on the CP(Comboios Portugal) website. https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en
BUS : Bus network is also recommendable to travel between cities in Portugal. Reservations are available at Rede Expressos. If you are a student or under 29 years old, there are special discounted tickets. Compare the price and schedule with the train for your best option. https://www.rede-expressos.pt/en
2) TRANSPORTATION IN LISBON
There are metros, buses, and trams in Lisbon but usually, people discover the city on foot, except for the Belem district. To save time, it is better to move on foot because the interval is not short. If you are going to use traffic more than three times a day, it is more efficient to buy a traffic card and charge it.
SINGLE RIDE : You can purchase one ticket each time you need a ride. If you can not buy a bus ticket in advance, you can buy it on the bus by cash and there are also ticket machines in trams.
VIVA VIAGEM CARD : You can purchase the card in the metro stations. For the first purchase, a deposit of 0.5 euros is included. Viva viagem card is chargeable, even for a single ride which is charged 1.45 euros and is less than a normal single ride 1.85 euros. The 24-hour ticket costs 6.3 euros which offers unlimited access to all of the metros, buses, trams, and funicula ascensor de bica. It starts from the first use of the card and it counts as time goes. It is made of paper but you can use it again after the expiration so do not trash it.
LISBOA CARD : Like Viva Viagem card, it includes a 0.5 euros deposit. It offers free or discounted access to Lisbon museums, as well as transportation in the city. It costs 20 euros for a 24-hour ticket, 34 euros for a 48-hour ticket, 42 euros for a 72-hour ticket.
HOW TO GET TO THE CITY CENTER FROM LISBON AIRPORT
AIRPORT BUS : You can get the airport bus from exit 1. It costs 4 euros per person and takes 30-40 minutes to the city center.
METRO : It is the cheapest way to get to the city center, only at 1.5 euros. To reach Comercio Square, you can take link VM from the airport and change to line AZ at Sao Sebastiao station and get off at Baixa-Chiado station. It takes around 50 minutes.
BUS : Depending on the destination, you can use a regular bus. It takes about an hour and the fare is cheap, but you may need to get a transfer so it is recommended to use the airport bus or metro.
3) TRANSPORTATION IN PORTO
There are metros, trams, buses, and funiculas. You can buy a ticket every time you need but it is more efficient to buy an Andante card if you are planning to stay in the city for several days. Porto is a small city, so you can travel on foot most of the time. It is better to consider your route and calculate the fare before buying a 24-hour ticket.
ANDANTE CARD : It charges 0.6 euros to buy a card at first. Portugal is usually divided into zones for transportation and the price is different by zones. If you are planning to use public transportation numerous times, you can charge Andante-24 to get unlimited 24-hour access. Andante-24 for zone 2 (Z2) costs 4.15 euros, Z3 5.2 euros, Z4 6.4 euros. You can also charge a single ticket, named Trip Ticket. Trip ticket Z2 costs 1.2 euros, Z3 1.5 euros, Z4 1.85 euros. It is also rechargable so don't throw it out.
HOW TO GET TO THE CITY CENTER FROM PORTO AIRPORT
METRO : You can buy a ticket for Z4 at 2.3 euros. It takes 30-40 minutes to get to Sao Bento station which is in the city center. For Sao Bento, you can transfer from line E to line D at Trindade station.
AIRPORT BUS : If you need to go to airport in the early morning, you can take 3M bus and costs 1.95 euros by cash. It runs from 1:00 am to 5:00 am, operating once an hour and takes about 30 minutes to get to the airport.
If you are a student, prepare the international student ID prior to arriving. Before paying for any ticket, check if there is any discount for students and present your ID card.
For Lisbon, there is a Lisboa card which you can use for the free or discounted entrance of numerous tourist destinations and unlimited use of public transportation. Check the admission fee and transportation costs first and compare with the Lisboa card, and If it is cheaper, get a Lisboa card.
Main tourist attractions usually have a very long queue. If you buy the tickets online in advance, you can save the waiting time and be efficient to organize your precious leisure time.
The currency in Portugal is euro, thus, if you are traveling in Europe, you most likely do not have to exchange your money twice. It is recommended to exchange money before the trip because it could be troublesome to find a currency exchange counter in the local area and sometimes there could be high commission fees.
1) GINJINHA : Known as a Portuguese cherry alcohol. It has high alcohol content but is still sweet and fruity which is loved by many people. There is also a sepcial cup for Ginjinha, made of chocolate which could be an extraordinary souvenir with Ginjinha.
2) CUTIPOL : Its sensual and luxurious deisgn is loved by newly wedes.
3) ROOSTER SOUVENIRS : Roosters are considered as a symbol of justice and luck. There are many rooster-shaped decoration everywhere in Portugal. Magnets, bells or ports shaped like a rooster is a recommended gift.
4) PORT WINE : A typical Portuguese wine and is sweet enough to drink as a dessert. Generally, its price is cheap so it could be a good souvenir or gift.
5) CANNED FOOD : There are numerous colorful canned food shops around Portugal. Canned sardines are the most famous one. Also you can find a package of canned with a variety of seafood.
6) CLAUS PORTO : Known as Portuguese royal soap. It is much cheaper to buy them locally in Portugal. It is a natural fragrance soap brand that originated in Porto. Many celebrities and the Portuguese royal family use them a lot. Also, it is a pure and mild soap that can be used on delicate skin.
7) COUTO TOOTHPASTE : A national toothpaste in Portugal loved by its yellowish color and cute design. It nourishes and softens your teeth without feeling too thick. It doesn't contain Paraben so that it is good for your teeth health.
8) JAM : Visit Meia or Duzia where you can buy a unique tubular jam from Portugal. It is easy to eat because it is tubed. There are a variety of tastes from strawberry to banana, kiwi, etc. And it goes well with cheese, ham, and bread.
9) AZULEJO TABLEWARE : Azulejo is a blue pattern tile which you can easily find in Portugal, especially in Porto. Azulejo pot stands, bowls, cups would be a unique souvenir to remember your memories in Portugal.
10) CORK PRODUCTS : Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world. There are many products made of cork such as coasters, pot stands, postcards, bags, magnets, etc. The types and price are varied.
In Portugal, the tax refund amount is different depending on the VAT levy rate. You can get a tax refund when you purchase more than the following amount depending on the VAT: 61.5 euros (VAT 23%), 61 euros (VAT 22%), 59 euros (VAT 18%) 56.5 euros (VAT 13%) and 53 euros (VAT 6%).
When you get the tax refund form from stores, try to fill out the form with your information including email address, postal code, and phone number so that you can save the time at the airport.
You can use a machine in the airport to get a refund for the goods that you purchase in Portugal. In case of the items without e TAX FREE PORTUGAL market or items from other countries, you have to get processed by customs. You will need to present your passport, tax refund documents, purchased items, and flight tickets. After confirming with the customs, you can complete the procedure at the tax refund agency counter, located in the duty-free area.
There isn't a special tipping culture in Portugal. Sometimes people leave some small changes or some tips when they visit fine dining restaurants or when they experienced a nice service. You can ask for the bill at the table to make payment at restaurants, like in many other European countries.
In the tourist's destinations in Portugal, you might need to walk a lot. Especially in Lisbon, there are many hills and stairs. Therefore, it is better to wear comfortable shoes. Also, it is recommendable to make reservations for a hotel in the city center to be less tired.
Try a Portuguese wine even if you usually do not enjoy wine. Porto wine is especially famous and there are many wine tour in Porto at affordable price. You can also buy a bottle of wine from supermarkets and enjoy it from the observatory, enjoying the city view.
Get at least 1 egg tart per day. People from all around the world fall in love with egg tarts when they visit Portugal. Do not forget to eat with cinnamon powder as locals do.
As more and more tourists visit Portugal, it is hard to eat at famous restaurants without a reservation in advance. If you have a list of restaurants that you want to visit, it is better to make a reservation by phone, email or in person.
Fado, performance with a soul of Portugal. There are a variety of restaurants with Fado performance in Portugal. Especially in the Alpha district of Lisbon, there are numerous Fado bars and restaurants.
The most cautious part at a restaurant in Portugal. European restaurants often offer free bread and olives. But in the case of restaurants in Portugal, it is not always free. You will be charged an average of 2 euros per person, so if you don't want it you can just tell the waiters right away.
As the tourism sector in Portugal has been developed, there are more pickpockets. When you visit crowded tourist attractions or use public transportation, be cautious.