Portugal Travel Tips
Portugal has been popular with European holiday makers for years and it’s easy to see why. The country is blessed with excellent sandy beaches and rugged coastline as well as cosmopolitan and architecturally stunning cities. Throw in great food, lots of wine, and cheap prices and it makes for a perfect holiday spot. Because it is on the tip of Europe, not a lot of people visit it since you can’t really get to many other places from there. Less crowds means a better experience. I fell in love with Portugal when I went and I can’t wait to get back. It’s a very underrated country.
- Accommodation: Most dorm rooms cost around $13 USD per night in a hostel. A double room in a hotel with cost from $35 for a cheap, two star hotel. You’ll find accommodation very affordable in Portugal.
- Food: You can find snacks in bakeries for around $2, light meals and sandwiches for around $8, and fast food for around the the same price. If you want sit down meal with drinks, you’re looking at spending closer to $20 or more per a meal. Groceries will cost around $40 for a week’s worth of food.
- Transportation: A city metro ticket will cost from $1.75 USD. Intercountry trains and buses are inexpensive. A train between Porto and Lisbon is only $27. A taxi in one of Portugal’s city’s should cost no more than $13.
- Activities: Activities are not that expensive in Portugal. Museums and UNESCO sites charge about $7 entrance fees. Wine tours are about $55 for a whole day tour.
Money Saving Tips
- Free museum entrance - Most museums are free on Sundays.
- Skip the taxis - Taxis are super expensive in Portugal, often adding fees for luggage and airport pick ups. Simply use the metro or bus system to go where you need to.
Top Things to See and Do
- Lisbon - Portugal’s capital is a gem of a city. It’s a city I instantly fell in love with when I visited. It’s got mystique, history, beautiful and friendly locals, and great food. It is compact so it is easier than other cities walk around. Take a trip to the Castle of St Jorge. Explore the churches. Dance Fado. Enjoy Lisbon. I came for a few days and spent a week.
- Visit Batalha - Built in 1388 and protected as a World Heritage Monument, Batalha is one of Europe’s greatest Gothic masterpieces and is a popular day trip from Lisbon. On walking through the gigantic and impressive gothic doorway, the interior of the church features 16th-century stained-glass windows. The building has seven chapels that are unfinished and therefore roofless.
- The Abbey of Santa Maria - The Abbey of Santa Maria is Europe’s largest building of the Cistercian order. You can wander around the abbey at your leisure and find out more about the different parts of the building: its five cloisters, seven dormitories, a library, and huge kitchen.
- Evora - Another one of Portugal’s World Heritage sites is Evora, a small town that offers an array of beautiful and historic buildings. Its most famous landmark is the Temple of Diana but there is also the Praça do Giraldo, the town’s main square. This is small town Portugal at its best.
- Visit the Azores islands – These nine islands lie about two hours flying and 930 miles (1500 Km) from Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean. Each of the islands offer a peaceful and slow-paced way of life, unique wildlife, and stunning beaches. These islands are very off the beaten track and a good “out of the way” place to go.
- Braga - The beautiful city of Braga provides many Baroque monuments, including one of the country’s best-known sights, the Bom Jesus Sanctuary. The old and the new city is connected by the main square, Praça da Republica. The city’s cathedral is also very much worth a visit as it is the country’s oldest!
- Party in Lagos - Lagos, a small town on the Algarve is the place people go to party rather than see historic sites or sit in pretty squares. It is an excellent place to soak up the sun and truly relax on the beaches and then go out for dinner and on to a bar. During the summer months, this is one of Europe’s premier party destinations with young travelers coming here to take part in bar crawls that last until the morning.
- Head to Sintra - Lord Byron writing in the 18th century, said that the town was “perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe.” If you are visiting Lisbon you should definitely make an effort to come here with its palaces, wonderful views, and museum collections.
- Porto - Porto is where the world famous port wine orginates so take the opportunity to visit Cais De Gaia’s port wine cellars as well as taking in some of the cities beautiful architecture by renowned architects before taking a stroll along the port to admire the boats. For even more wine, visit the surrounding Duoro Valley and its many vineyard. I spent a boozy week through the region.
- Tomar - The big attraction in the town of Tomar is the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ on the hill. It was the headquarters for the Knights Templar in the 12th century and contains one of the country’s most impressive monuments, the Convent of Christ.