Portugal, the western-most country of mainland Europe, famed for its seafood, red rooftops, strange-looking castles, and yellow trams. It’s well known for being the home of some of the world’s most famous explorers – and can you blame them? Look at Portugal all out there on the edge of the world. They just *had* to know what was on the other side of the sea. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it also put Portugal on the map.
Lisbon (locally known as Lisboa) is the capital of Portugal but many travelers prefer visiting the smaller cities: nearby Sintra (a popular day trip from Lisbon), the ocean-side city of Porto, and the Azores–the autonomous group of nine volcanic islands out there in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, whose capital is Ponta Delgada. (pictured below)
⇢ If you’re interested in visiting Portugal, know that TAP Airlines offers a free stopover program so you can experience Portugal on the way to somewhere else at no additional cost.
On this page you’ll find all my articles on Portugal… which at this time is just one lonely post. I’m happy to answer questions about my time there in lieu of writing more blog posts on the subject but, in the meantime, check out this post that outlines how you can spend 3 days in the capital city of Lisbon.
PORTUGAL TRAVEL BASICS
CURRENCY | Euros (Check out xe.com for the most up-to-date currency conversion–they have a mobile app too!)
TIME ZONE | Mainland Portugal falls under the GMT time zone (all of mainland Portugal is five hours ahead of the Eastern time zone). However, the Azores are GMT-1 (four hours ahead of the Eastern time zone).
VISA / PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS | If you’re planning to spend less than 90 days in Portugal/the Schengen area, you can get by using just your U.S. passport–no Visa required. (Except for all those egg tarts you’re planning on buying, ba-dum-tshh!) However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you leave the Schengen area. It’s weird; don’t ask.
LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN | Portuguese is the primary language spoken.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR? | As with almost all of Europe, pick-pockets are probably your biggest safety concern. Watch your pockets and purses in crowded, tourist-filled areas, primarily in Lisbon. (Someone tried to pick-pocket my husband while he was at a urinal of all places–these thieves are relentless and ballsy.)
Obviously, always take standard safety precautions (don’t wander alone at night, stick to major streets and pathways, don’t flash your wads of cash you baller you). For more information on Portugal safety concerns, see this page and always pick up travel insurance before you go.
WHERE TO STAY IN PORTUGAL
The capital city of Lisbon is worth the visit, but though Portugal may be small, it’s packing tourism destinations out the wazoo. After you decide where in Portugal you want to visit,
And don’t forget, there’s always Airbnb and I can help you save $40 on your first Airbnb stay.
Just click here to activate the no-strings discount and shop away!
RECOMMENDED PORTUGAL TOURS
➤ INTREPID TRAVEL | If planning an entire trip sounds overwhelming, popular tour company Intrepid offers multi-day tours of Portugal, hitting all the hot spots in Portugal and beyond. Intrepid tours includes all accommodation, some meals, and your own personal, knowledgable Portugal travel guide.
➤ VIATOR TOURS | If you’re just looking for day tours to various attractions in and around Portugal, Viator is my go-to tour company. They’ve got tours for sightseeing in Lisbon, day trips to the mountains, food tours, castles, Portuguese cooking classes, and every single thing in between. Their tours include pickup and dropoff as well as your very own local tour guides.
PORTUGAL PACKING ESSENTIALS
➤ PORTUGAL GUIDEBOOK | I’m a big believer in travel guidebooks – they’re great for historical and background information, practical information like phone numbers, addresses, and opening and closing times, as well as restaurant recommendations and pretty pictures ’cause Portugal is just a beaut’! Consider them your portable Portugal travel guide.
Rough Guides and Rick Steves are my favorite go-to brands but Lonely Planet has their own loyal following as well.
And if you’re interested in a different kind of guidebook, check out Culture Smart! Portugal. Culture Smart! guidebooks focus less on hotel recommendations and more on getting you acquainted with the local customs and culture of your destination. I LOVE these guidebooks and find them to be 100% accurate.