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Essential Tips For Travelling To Portugal: 10 Things To Know + Cultural Do's & Don'ts 🇵🇹



Portugal is one of my favourite countries to visit and it has become a famous travel destination in the recent years, Portugal has historic cities, world-renowned cuisine, natural landscapes, and spectacular beaches. The weather and the variety of landscapes is why you should visit, this is a great vacation location.



 

10 Top Things To Know Before Visiting Portugal

1. Learn Some Portuguese


As mentioned above, you do need to learn a few words in Portuguese, since people outside of the major cities such as Lisbon and Porto will most probably not speak English. Learn some basic words to be able to ask for something and communicate with locals, they will appreciate the effort. Be aware that Portuguese is the 9th most spoken language in the world.



2. Portuguese Are Friendly


Portuguese people are very friendly and helpful, trust me I know from experience. They welcome tourists and are always there to help if you need any.



3. Wear Comfortable Shoes


Portugal is a hilly country, so it is a good idea to wear comfortable shoes especially in cities like Lisbon and Sintra. Since the best way to explore Portugal is on foot, you need to be comfortable.


4. Be Aware Of Tourist Traps


In general, Portugal is a budget friendly destination, but there are definitely some hotels and restaurants that will charge more than normal. Make sure to check the prices and compare them with similar spots, but know that prices change depending on the season as well.



5. Pack A Range Of Clothes


When I visited Portugal in the Summer, it got cold in some areas, but I was lucky since I always have a hoodie with me whenever I travel. So check the weather before visiting a pack a range of clothes in case of any change in weather.



6. Use SPF


If you are going to the beach, you will need to use SPF if you do not want to get burned by the sun. Since most of the country is blessed with sunny days, you will need to use SPF.



7. Use GPS In The Countryside


A lot of beautiful places in Portugal are in the countryside and you might need to rent a car to get there. Make sure to use a GPS because you do not want to get lost in the middle of nowhere, especially if you are not used to driving in Europe.



8. 112


911 has no meaning in Portugal, but 112 does. In case you get in trouble or you need to contact the police, then call 112, and it is free from all phones.



9. Portugal Is Surf Paradise


If you love surfing; then you will love Portugal. You will find beaches with beginners waves as well so don't worry, Portugal has some of the best waves in Europe.



10. Portugal Is A Safe Country


Portugal is a great country to travel to since it is one of the most peaceful and safest countries in the world. So, this makes it a great destination for solo travellers as well as families. You still should be aware of pickpocketing and scams, but this applied to anywhere in the world.



 

Cultural Do's & Don'ts

5 Do's

  • Dress modestly: You can wear whatever you want in cities like Lisbon, but Portuguese people ten to dress modestly and elegantly, so make sure to dress in a respectful manner especially when going to visit a religious site. Avoid wearing flip flops or sandals as you will instantly be labeled as a tourist and you will stand out.

  • Learn Portuguese: People don't speak English so you will struggle, make sure to know a few words in Portuguese to be able to speak with people. Also, people will appreciate your effort and will help you.

  • Respect history: You must respect the Portuguese history and traditions, Portuguese history is deeply connected to religion, so be respectful.

  • Tip: In general, tipping is not expected but it is welcomed, but you shouldn't feel any pressure to tip. Portugal doesn't have a tipping culture unlike some countries, and some people do tip but usually it's in mid to high priced restaurants.

  • Keep an eye on your items: Portugal is a safe country, but in touristy areas you should keep an eye on your belongings, this is not just in Portugal but in any touristy country.


5 Don'ts

  • Compare Portugal to Spain: Do not compare these two countries as well as their languages. Yes they are close to one another, but they are very distinct, so be aware of the differences in both countries as well as their languages. A Portuguese person doesn't necessarily speak Spanish and vice versa.

  • Talk about taboo topics: Avoid speaking about topics related to religion, politics, and colonial wars, these topics are taboo and it is preferable to avoid them.

  • Gloat: Do not talk very highly about your achievements, status, or wealth. Portuguese people are modest and you should be too, so do not exaggerate anything.

  • Raise your voice: Do not raise your voice in public, gentleness in speech is common and appreciated.

  • Walk alone at night: It is never a good idea to walk alone anywhere alone at night, but it is still worth mentioning here. Portugal's nightlife is amazing but walking alone late at night in a dark street is not a good idea.

 

What To Do Before Travelling To Portugal


🪪 Get Your Visa


Easily get your visa with iVisa which is simple and much less complicated than dealing with foreign governments. All documents are reviewed by a team of immigration experts. Their staff is well-trained and offers years of experience.


→ Go to iVisa



✈️ Book Tickets


Book your flights seamlessly with WayAway. Compare prices, find the best deals, and jet off to Portugal with ease! — Get 10% off WayAway Plus membership with this code → TP-385219.


→ Go to WayAway



📱 Buy A Travel SIM-Card


Stay connected easily with Airalo SIM-card. Activate one before your trip and enjoy hassle-free communication during your time in Portugal!


→ Go to Airalo



🔒 Choose Insurance


Ensure peace of mind during your trip to Portugal by having comprehensive coverage against any unforeseen circumstances.




 

How To Get To Portugal


There are 3 main international airports in Portugal that you can easily reach from anywhere in the world, and they are: Humberto Delgado Airport or Lisbon Airport (LIS) in Lisbon, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or Porto Airport (OPO) in Porto, and Faro International Airport (FAO) in the Algarve region. If you are an international traveller then you can reach Portugal through one of these airports.


You can also reach Portugal by train or bus depending on where you are in Europe, but you will easily be able to get to Portugal.


I like to use Omio to find either trains or buses whenever I am travelling in Europe. If you are looking for cheap flights to get to Portugal, then your best option would be to use WayAway.



 

How To Move Around Portugal


Public transportation is great to use in Portugal, and you can also use Uber which would be a great option then it is actually cheap in Portugal and available in most cities whether big as Lisbon & Porto, or even small like Aveiro. You can book trains or buses from one city to the other, and take public transport to move within each city. Some cities can be explored on foot so you wouldn’t need to worry about moving around them, and also some cities are bike friendly so if you like to bike you can do so. You can also use scooters in most cities to explore.



You can book trains and buses through Omio to move from one city to the other, which as I mentioned before is my favourite app to use whenever I am travelling in Europe, and I have used it multiple times when I was in Portugal.



 

Best Time To Visit Portugal


You can visit Portugal all year long, I visited it twice so far, once in the winter and another in summer and I enjoyed both times. The ideal time to visit would be fall and spring which would be between March & October, during those times there will be fewer tourists and the prices would be cheaper as well. Also, during those times the weather is nice, it is neither hot nor cold, and there still is sunshine. But keep in mind that it would depend even more based on each city.


The best times to travel Lisbon would be between September and November, or March and May. During these two periods the weather is nice and cool, and it is going to be less crowded compared to other times. High seasons months are July and August, which means the streets are much more crowded than usual and the accommodation prices are higher as well. If you are a fan of festival, then June is the month for you. June is the month of festivals in Lisbon so it would be a perfect time to visit.


In comparison to Lisbon, Sintra is a little bit cooler as it has its own microclimate. The best times to visit is from April to June, and from September to November, but keep in mind that Sintra will always be busy and crowded as it one of the best places to visit in Portugal.


Cascais is very busy during the summer times, which is why the best times to visit is during Spring specifically late spring, as well as early summer, before the holidays begin. During this time the weather will be warm and nice but the water will be cold all the time as Cascais sits at the mouth of river Tagus which is the opening of the Atlantic sea.

Porto is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year but during the winter it rains a lot there. The best times to visit would be late spring or early autumn as it is sunny and the temperatures are much cooler, and also it won't be as crowded as during the summer as there are less tourists during these times.


The best times to visit Aveiro would be between March and September, the weather is nice and sunny during that period. You need 2 days to stay in Aveiro so it would be great if you want to go during the weekend. If you plan to visit between September and March, be aware that it gets cold at night in Aveiro as well as windy.



 

Accommodations In Portugal


You can find a lot of different accommodations in Portugal that would suit every budget, so if you are on a budget you won’t have to worry, and also if you want something luxurious you will be able to find a lot. Be aware that some cities are more expensive than the others.


For example; Aveiro has gained a lot of international exposure during the past few years, most options can be found in the city centre but keep in mind that most hotels as well as family-run housings are a bit overpriced. You can find a lot of great Airbnbs in Aveiro and that would be my favourite option, but in comparison to Lisbon and Porto, Aveiro is slightly more expensive. Which is why it is better to stay in Porto and go on a day trip to Aveiro, which is what I did.


Same thing goes for Sintra & Cascais, it would be better to stay in Lisbon and go on a day trip there, since you only need one day to explore both of these locations.


You can book your accommodation through Booking.com, which is the one I use the most, or if you wan to stay in a hostel you can book through HostelWorld. You can also use Agoda, Trivago, or Vrbo to book your accommodations. I know most people have a favourite website or app to use, so just choose what you prefer best.




 

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