Everyone can use Portugal travel tips. This is one of Europe’s oldest extant nations. It's an ancient kingdom defended by hilltop castles and dramatic walled towns. The coast covers 1793 kilometres. And the choice of beaches alone is vast. So take a look at our 20 top travel tips for Portugal. Avoid the crowds and get more for your euros. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal, your essential guide for visiting Portugal.
Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Portugal or Portugal Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Portugal expert.
Get off the tourist trail in Portugal.
Want to explore off the beaten track Portugal? Book a private trip round Evora and Estremov with local guides.
Local food and drink is high quality in Portugal. It's also inexpensive. So stick to ordering local produce. You’ll find fresh fish and seafood everywhere. And Portugal's pork and cheese is excellent.
House wine will usually be good. And local beers and spirits are great value.
Like some food-specific Portugal travel tips? Try a traditional food tasting experience in Lisbon.
The Portuguese like their cars. So take a walk is one of our best Portugal travel tips.
Wander up a quiet track. Step away from the car park. Head down a country lane. Good chance you'll find a quieter beach or beauty spot.
Most Portuguese restaurants bring you starters as you read their menu. These range from a simple bowl of olives up to a selection of seafood. They are not free. Anything you eat is added to your bill.
Some menus show a cover charge per person which usually includes bread. Others charge for individual items, even bread.
Don’t get too hung up. Most starters are cheap. Just remember fish and seafood can be expensive. Don't hesitate to check starter prices. And say 'no thanks' if you don't want something.
Portugal has one of Europe’s worst road safety records. Many of the country's roads are in poor condition. Conversely, toll-paying autoroutes are well-maintained and often quiet.
Be aware some toll roads use number plate recognition systems. Check the best way to pay these with your car hire company.
Trains in Portugal tend to be cheap. They can also be slow. Inter-city trains are speedier and more expensive. Or catch one of the fast coaches which which serve most main towns.
Caldo verde is Portugal's traditional vegetable soup. You'll find it on most restaurant menus. Just know it is not vegetarian. It almost always has sausage in it.
Vegetarian choices in Portuguese restaurants can be limited. Expect to eat lots of salads or omelettes.
There are a few ways to save in Portugal try;
On a budget. Swap hotels for hostels to save. Try Sant Jordi Hostels in Lisbon.
Live football is fun and family friendly. Match tickets are cheap and easy to get. Many Portuguese football stars started out at clubs like Porto or Sporting Lisbon. And they still discover major players. Expect live football on TV everywhere.
Missed a match? Take a tour of FC Porto Stadium and Museum instead.
Got kids? You'll love Portugal. Travelling with children is a great way to connect with locals. Expect instant conversation with pretty much everyone.
But don’t be surprised to get parenting advice. Old ladies are shocked to see kids coatless and hatless, even on hot days.
Want to simplify sightseeing for kids? Try hop on hop off bus tickets for families in Lisbon.
Portugal's famous for Port. But the country has a growing reputation for wines in general.
You might notice the word verde on wine lists here. It's not green coloured wine. Verde means young, acidic and slightly sparkling.
For more familiar wines, stick to maduro (“mature”).
Get to know Portugal's wines like a local. Take a full day Douro wine tour with lunch and a river cruise.
Businesses outside main towns can keep irregular hours.
Many shops, cafés, restaurants, museums and tourist offices open late or close early.
Bad weather can dictate opening hours. And some businesses will close if it's too quiet.
Factor all this into your travel plans.
Portugal's landscapes are very accessible try:
Prefer to sail for a little? Book a kayak tour in Parque Natural de Arrábida with local guides.
Best place to buy traditional ceramics? Caldas da Rainha in Estremadura.
Want hand-stitched Arraiolos carpets? Head to Arraiolos in Alentejo. The world famous carpets are expensive. But nobody stops you 'just looking'.
Hunting down designer bargains? Pick up brand-name seconds at Portugal's weekly markets. For quality designer clothes? Head to Lisbon and Porto's malls and shopping districts.
Take a private tour of Evora and Arraiolos and factor in some shopping.
Discover Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês.
Don't want to drive? Take a guided day trip to Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês instead.
You'll find markets all over Portugal.
Searching for more local culture in Estremoz? Stay at historic Pousada Castelo de Estremoz for the night.
Coimbra is famed for its historic hilltop university.
Book Hotel Botanico de Coimbra. It's good value and a short walk from the university.
Lisbon has never been easier to explore.
Try our best Lisbon budget stay. Lisbon Lounge Hostel in the city centre.
Portugal's known for its vast Atlantic waves. But beginners should ignore the breaks at Nazaré. Instead head to Sagres in western Algarve. The seas here are perfect for beginners. And more experienced won't be bored either.
Discover the wild western Algarve coast. Take a full day mini-van tour with local guides.
Ready for a trip to Portugal? Check out the snapshot Rough Guide to Portugal. Read more about the best time to go to Portugal, the best places to visit and best things to do in Portugal. For inspiration use the Portugal Itineraries from The Rough Guide to Portugal and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.
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