Portugal visitors travel Guide
View of the Castle of Sant Jorge and the city center with the Tagus River in the background

Portugal Travel Destinations

Portugal is a treasure trove of travel destinations, boasting diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture.

From the enchanting city of Lisbon with its charming neighborhoods, historic landmarks, and lively atmosphere to the fairytale town of Sintra with its majestic palaces and lush gardens, there's no shortage of wonders to explore.

The picturesque Algarve region beckons with its stunning coastline, golden beaches, and hidden coves, while the enchanting Douro Valley offers scenic vineyards, terraced hillsides, and world-renowned port wine. History buffs can delve into Portugal's past in cities like Porto, Coimbra, and Évora, home to ancient cathedrals, medieval castles, and UNESCO-listed sites.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Azores archipelago and Madeira island offer breathtaking natural beauty, from volcanic landscapes and emerald-green valleys to rugged coastlines and azure waters.

With its blend of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Portugal promises an unforgettable travel experience for adventurers of all tastes and interests.

Portugal city breaks

Portugal offers diverse city break options, from the historic streets of Lisbon with its iconic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods to the medieval charm of Porto, known for its riverside setting and renowned Port wine cellars. Visitors can also explore the university city of Coimbra, steeped in academic heritage, or immerse themselves in the maritime history of maritime history of Aveiro, often referred to as the "Venice of Portugal." Additionally, the cultural richness of cities like Évora, with its Roman ruins and whitewashed buildings, and the enchanting beauty of Faro in the Algarve, make for captivating city break destinations in Portugal.
Lisbon, Portugal's vibrant capital, captivates visitors with its historic charm, stunning architecture, and lively street culture.
Porto, renowned for its historic charm and riverside beauty, offers visitors a captivating blend of architectural wonders, port wine cellars, and vibrant cultural scenes.
Explore Algarve - region of Portugal
The Algarve, with its stunning golden beaches, rugged cliffs, and crystal-clear waters, is a paradise for sun-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Sintra, a picturesque town nestled amidst lush hillsides and dense forests, is renowned for its enchanting palaces, historic castles, and romantic gardens.

Great Places to visit in Portugal

Portugal is a country brimming with diverse and captivating travel destinations, each offering its own unique charm and allure. From the vibrant capital city of Lisbon, with its historic neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and lively street culture, to the stunning Algarve region beckons with its golden beaches, rugged cliffs, and crystal-clear waters, while the picturesque Douro Valley boasts terraced vineyards, scenic river cruises, and world-renowned port wine.

History buffs will delight in exploring cities to visit like Porto, Coimbra, and Évora, with their ancient cathedrals, medieval castles, and UNESCO-listed sites, while outdoor enthusiasts can venture to the Azores archipelago and Madeira island to discover breathtaking natural beauty, from volcanic landscapes and emerald-green valleys to pristine waterfalls and rugged coastlines.
Bottom view of the colorful facades of the Pena Palace
Known for its fairytale castles and palaces, including the colorful Pena Palace and the romantic Quinta da Regaleira.
Explore Sintra
View of the University of Coimbra building from the square
Home to one of the oldest universities in the world, Coimbra offers a charming blend of medieval architecture, historic libraries, and picturesque river views.
Romanesque facades of the Cathedral in Évora
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Évora is renowned for its well-preserved Roman ruins, medieval walls, and impressive landmarks such as the Temple of Diana and the Cathedral of Évora.
Painted boats on the river in Aveiro
Often called the "Venice of Portugal," Aveiro is famous for its scenic canals, colorful moliceiro boats, and beautiful Art Nouveau architecture.
Cascade of stairs going up the famous landmark in Lamego
Known as the "Rome of Portugal," Braga is a city rich in religious heritage, boasting historic churches, lush gardens, and lively plazas.
Green park overlooking the church in the center of Guimarães
Considered the birthplace of Portugal, Guimarães is steeped in history, with its well-preserved medieval streets, castle, and charming old town.
Inner courtyard of the Templar Castle in Tomar
Home to the impressive Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Tomar offers visitors a glimpse into Portugal's Templar history and medieval architecture.
The Douro River and a cruise ship sailing along it with a beautiful landscape at the back
Famous for its terraced vineyards and scenic landscapes, the Douro Valley is a wine lover's paradise, offering wine tastings, river cruises, and breathtaking views.
Typical fishing boat on the beach in Nazaré
Renowned for its towering cliffs, golden beaches, and vibrant fishing traditions, Nazaré attracts visitors seeking both relaxation and adventure. The town is famed for its massive waves, particularly at Praia do Norte, drawing surfers from around the globe.
Tower at the very top of the Serra de Estrela mountain
Portugal's highest mountain range, Serra da Estrela offers stunning natural beauty, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, and exploring charming mountain villages like Manteigas and Covilhã.

Things to know before traveling to Portugal

Before traveling to Portugal, it's essential to keep a few things in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Firstly, Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, so travelers from many countries need a valid Schengen visa. However, citizens of some countries, such as the US, Canada, Australia, and most EU countries, do not need a visa for short stays. Additionally, Portugal uses the Euro as its currency, so be sure to have cash or cards accepted in Europe. Portuguese is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. It's also worth noting that Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters, so pack accordingly. Lastly, Portugal is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it's always wise to be cautious of pickpockets and to take standard safety precautions.

Best time to visit Portugal

The best time to visit Portugal is generally during the spring (from March to May) and the fall (from September to October) when the weather is pleasant, crowds are thinner, and prices are lower compared to the peak summer months. During these seasons, you can enjoy mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and sunny days, making it ideal for exploring Portugal's cities, coastline, and countryside. Additionally, if you're interested in festivals and cultural events, visiting during these shoulder seasons allows you to experience local traditions and celebrations without the peak summer crowds. However, Portugal's climate is relatively mild year-round, so it's possible to enjoy the country's attractions at any time of the year, depending on your preferences and travel plans.
Vineyards on a slope in the Douro River valley
Vineyards in the Douro Valley: open in Google Maps
The best time to visit vineyards in the Douro Valley is during the fall months, specifically from late September to early November. This period coincides with the grape harvest, known as the "vindima," when the vineyards come alive with activity as grapes are picked by hand and transported to wineries for wine production. Visiting during the harvest allows you to witness the winemaking process in action, participate in grape stomping events, and even taste freshly pressed grape juice. Additionally, the fall season offers stunning scenery in the Douro Valley, as the vineyards are ablaze with vibrant colors of red, orange, and yellow, creating a picturesque backdrop for your visit.
1. Spring (March to May): is a delightful time to visit Portugal, as the country bursts into bloom with colorful flowers and lush vegetation. Temperatures begin to warm up during this season, with daytime temperatures ranging from comfortable to pleasantly warm. Spring is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring Portugal's charming cities and towns without the intense heat and crowds of summer.

2. Summer (June to August): is peak tourist season in Portugal, with visitors flocking to the country to enjoy its sunny beaches, vibrant cities, and festivals. During this season, temperatures soar, especially in the interior regions, and coastal areas can get crowded with tourists. However, summer is perfect for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts, as Portugal's coastline offers numerous pristine beaches with warm waters for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.

3. Fall (September to November): is another fantastic time to visit Portugal, as the weather remains warm and sunny, but the crowds begin to thin out, making it an ideal time to explore the country's attractions without the summer rush. During this season, temperatures gradually cool down, creating pleasant conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking, sightseeing, and wine tasting. Fall is also harvest season in Portugal, with vineyards and orchards brimming with ripe fruit, making it a great time to sample the country's delicious wines, cheeses, and culinary delights.

4. Winter (December to February): in Portugal is mild and relatively wet, especially in the northern and central regions, but it's still a great time to visit if you prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. While the weather may be cooler and rainier compared to other seasons, Portugal still enjoys plenty of sunny days, especially along the southern coast. Winter is perfect for exploring Portugal's cities and cultural attractions, as well as indulging in hearty comfort food and wine tasting experiences.

What is the best airport to fly to in Portugal

the best airport for you will depend on your itinerary, with Lisbon Airport being the most common choice for travelers visiting Portugal's capital city and surrounding areas. Here's a brief overview of each international airport in Portugal:
1.Lisbon Airport (LIS) - Humberto Delgado Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Portugal, serving as the main gateway to the country for international travelers. Located just 7 kilometers north of Lisbon's city center, LIS offers convenient access to the capital and surrounding areas. The airport has two terminals: Terminal 1 for international flights and Terminal 2 for low-cost airlines. LIS handles a wide range of flights from major airlines and destinations worldwide, making it a popular choice for travelers visiting Portugal's vibrant capital city, as well as other regions of the country.

2.Porto Airport (OPO) - Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport: is the second-largest international airport in Portugal, serving the northern region of the country. Located approximately 11 kilometers northwest of Porto city center, OPO offers easy access to the historic city of Porto, as well as the Douro Valley wine region and other nearby destinations. The airport is well-equipped with modern facilities and services, including two passenger terminals and a range of dining and shopping options. OPO serves as a major hub for both domestic and international flights, with connections to cities across Europe and beyond.

3.Faro Airport (FAO) - Algarve Airport: is the main international airport serving the southern region of Portugal, particularly the popular tourist destination of the Algarve. Located just 4 kilometers west of Faro city center, FAO is conveniently situated for travelers heading to the coastal resorts, beaches, and golf courses of the Algarve region. The airport offers a range of services and facilities, including car rental desks, shops, restaurants, and passenger lounges. With regular flights from major European cities, Faro Airport is a key entry point for visitors seeking sun, sea, and relaxation in Portugal's stunning southern coast.
Scenic Views
If you enjoy looking out at the landscape and capturing aerial photographs, a window seat can provide stunning views of the coastline, countryside, and cityscape as you approach Lisbon. You'll have the opportunity to admire iconic landmarks such as the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge and the Cristo Rei statue from above.

How to get around Portugal

Getting around Portugal is relatively easy, thanks to its well-developed transportation infrastructure. Here are some of the most common ways to travel within the country to explore diverse landscapes, historic sites, and cultural attractions:
1. Public Transportation:
- Trains: Portugal has an extensive train network operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP), connecting major cities and towns across the country. The trains are comfortable, reliable, and offer scenic views, especially on routes such as the Linha do Douro and Linha do Norte.
- Metro: Lisbon and Porto have efficient metro systems that provide easy access to key attractions, neighborhoods, and suburbs within the cities.
- Buses: Several bus companies operate intercity and regional bus services, offering connections to destinations not served by trains. Rede Expressos is one of the largest bus companies in Portugal, providing long-distance bus services to various cities and towns.
- Trams: Lisbon is famous for its historic tram network, particularly Tram 28, which traverses the city's narrow streets and historic neighborhoods.

2. Rental Cars:
- Renting a car is a convenient option for exploring Portugal's scenic countryside, coastal towns, and remote villages at your own pace. Major car rental companies have offices at airports, train stations, and city centers throughout the country.

3. Taxis and Ride-Sharing:
- Taxis are readily available in cities and tourist areas, offering a convenient mode of transportation for short trips or when public transportation is not available. Ride-sharing services like Uber are also available in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto.

4. Domestic Flights:
- For longer distances, domestic flights are available between major cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Madeira and the Azores islands. TAP Air Portugal and Ryanair are two airlines that offer domestic flights within Portugal.

5. Ferries:
- Ferries operate between mainland Portugal and the Azores islands, as well as between the mainland and Madeira island. Ferries also connect Lisbon to the south bank of the Tagus River (Cacilhas and Trafaria) and provide scenic river cruises along the Douro River in Porto.
Сruise ships on the banks of the Douro River in Porto
Douro River Cruises
Douro River cruises offer a leisurely and scenic way to explore one of Portugal's most enchanting regions. Meandering through the picturesque Douro Valley, these cruises showcase terraced vineyards, quaint villages, and historic landmarks nestled along the riverbanks. Passengers can relax onboard luxurious riverboats, soaking in panoramic views while savoring local wines and cuisine. Stops along the way often include visits to wineries for tastings, excursions to charming towns like Pinhão and Peso da Régua. Whether for a day trip or a multi-day voyage, Douro River cruises promise an unforgettable journey through Portugal's stunning wine country.

Explore Porto >

Food in Portugal

Portugal offers a rich and diverse culinary scene, characterized by fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and a strong emphasis on seafood, grilled meats, and hearty stews. Tourists can expect a wide variety of dining establishments ranging from cozy tascas (taverns) serving traditional Portuguese fare to upscale restaurants offering innovative twists on classic dishes.

Portugal offering tourists a taste of the country's rich gastronomic heritage and cultural diversity. Whether dining at a traditional tasca or a Michelin-starred restaurant, visitors are sure to be impressed by the quality and variety of food that Portugal has to offer.

Some must-try foods include:
Chorizo is fried over a live fire on a traditional boat plate
Roasted chorizo in one of the Alfama restaurants: open in Google Maps
1. Bacalhau: Portugal's beloved salted cod dish comes in countless variations, from Bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod with eggs and potatoes) to Bacalhau com Natas (cod with cream).

2. Pastéis de Nata: These iconic custard tarts with flaky pastry and creamy filling are a quintessential Portuguese treat, best enjoyed with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

3. Francesinha: Hailing from Porto, this hearty sandwich features layers of cured meats, steak, and sausage smothered in melted cheese and a spicy tomato sauce.

4. Caldo Verde: A comforting and hearty soup made with kale, potatoes, and chorizo, flavored with olive oil and garlic.

5. Piri Piri Chicken: Grilled chicken marinated in spicy piri piri sauce, served with fries or salad, is a popular dish with a kick.

6. Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled sardines, especially popular during the summer months, are a simple yet delicious Portuguese delicacy.

7. Arroz de Marisco: A flavorful seafood rice dish made with a variety of shellfish, such as shrimp, clams, and mussels, cooked in a savory broth with tomatoes and spices.

8. Alheira de Mirandela: A unique Portuguese sausage made with meats other than pork, such as chicken or game, mixed with bread and flavored with garlic and paprika.

9. Queijo da Serra: Portugal's famous cheese from the Serra da Estrela region, made from sheep's milk and characterized by its creamy texture and rich flavor.

10. Bifanas: Thinly sliced pork marinated in garlic and spices, served in a crusty bread roll, making for a delicious and satisfying snack or meal.

Portugal wine experience

Portugal boasts a diverse and thriving wine culture, with a wide variety of grape varietals, wine styles, and terroirs to explore. Tourists can expect to discover a range of unique and flavorful wines, from crisp whites to full-bodied reds, as well as fortified and dessert wines.

Wine regions offer a diverse array of wines, each reflecting the unique terroir and cultural heritage of its respective region. Whether exploring historic vineyards, enjoying wine tastings, or simply savoring a glass of local wine with a meal, visitors to Portugal can expect an unforgettable wine experience.

Some of the main wine regions and their signature wines include:
Typical landscape of the Douro river valley with its vineyards and river views
These are just a few examples of the diverse wines and wine regions that Portugal has to offer. Whether exploring historic wine estates, sampling local vintages at family-owned wineries, or attending wine festivals and tastings, tourists can expect a rich and rewarding wine experience in Portugal.
The Douro region of Portugal, famed for its picturesque landscapes and terraced vineyards, is synonymous with the world-renowned Port wine, offering bold reds and crisp whites crafted from indigenous grape varieties like Touriga Nacional and Viosinho.

Vinho Verde, nestled in the northwest, enchants with its light and refreshing wines, showcasing vibrant citrus and floral notes from grape varieties such as Alvarinho and Loureiro.

Dão, situated in the heart of Portugal, captivates with its elegant red wines, characterized by a fine balance of fruitiness and acidity, crafted from indigenous grape varieties such as Touriga Nacional and Jaen.

Bairrada, along the central coastal region, showcases distinctive reds, whites, and sparkling wines, with robust Baga reds and crisp Bical whites expressing the region's unique terroir and tradition.

Lisbon Wines, surrounding the capital city, produce a diverse range of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés, reflecting the region's maritime climate and vibrant grape varieties like Castelão and Fernão Pires.

Alentejo, in the south-central part of Portugal, boasts warm climates and rolling plains dotted with vineyards, producing ripe and fruity red wines with soft tannins from grapes like Aragonez and Trincadeira.

The Algarve Region, known for its stunning beaches, also surprises with increasingly recognized wines, offering fresh and fruity whites and rosés, perfectly suited for enjoying the region's sunshine and coastal charm.

Madeira, the volcanic island in the Atlantic, offers unique fortified wines aged through heating and oxidation, resulting in a range of styles from dry to sweet, with rich flavors of caramel, nuts, and dried fruits.

Pico Island, part of the Azores archipelago, charms with its UNESCO-listed vineyard landscape and crisp Verdelho whites, offering a taste of volcanic soil and maritime climate in every sip.

Portugal vacation ideas

Portugal offers a plethora of vacation ideas to suit every traveler's taste and interest. For history enthusiasts, exploring the historic streets of Lisbon and Porto, dotted with charming neighborhoods, ancient landmarks, and grand palaces, promises an enriching experience. Wine lovers can embark on a journey through the country's renowned wine regions, such as the Douro Valley or Alentejo, indulging in wine tastings and vineyard tours. Nature enthusiasts can bask in the natural beauty of the Azores archipelago, with its stunning volcanic landscapes, lush greenery, and vibrant marine life, perfect for hiking, whale watching, and diving adventures. For those seeking relaxation, the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve beckon with their golden sands and crystal-clear waters, ideal for soaking up the sun or enjoying water sports.

Whatever your preference, Portugal offers a diverse array of vacation ideas, ensuring a memorable and fulfilling journey for every traveler.
Top routes to do in Portugal:
As you embark on your journey to Portugal, prepare to be captivated by the allure of this enchanting country. From the historic streets of Lisbon to the picturesque vineyards of the Douro Valley, Portugal beckons with its rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. Allow yourself to be swept away by the vibrant energy of its cities, the tranquility of its coastal villages, and the splendor of its natural wonders. Whether you're savoring delicious seafood by the Atlantic Ocean or exploring ancient castles in the countryside, each moment promises to be filled with wonder and delight. Safe travels, and may Portugal's irresistible charm accompany you on every step of your unforgettable journey.