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Portugal Travel Guide

Situated on the western coast of Europe, Portugal has a rich history and culture to immerse yourself in. Experience Lisbon, the vibrant capital city with its colourful streets and captivating views from historic neighbourhoods. Explore the enchanting town of Sintra, known for its fairytale palaces and lush gardens. Wander through the charming coastal cities of Porto and Lagos, where you can indulge in delicious seafood and soak up the sun on pristine beaches. From the rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley to the dramatic cliffs of the Algarve, Portugal's diverse landscapes offer endless adventures for nature enthusiasts.

Immerse yourself in the historical sites of Évora and Tomar, where centuries-old castles and monasteries stand as testaments to the country's past. Delve into Portugal's maritime history in the charming city of Porto, famous for its port wine cellars and the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge. Experience the lively atmosphere of traditional Fado music in Lisbon's Alfama district. Portugal's warm and welcoming locals, along with its picturesque landscapes and vibrant cities, create a travel experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT

Money

Euro (EUR)

Dialing Code

+351

  • Portugal boasts good weather year-round, making it an anytime destination.
  • It has a varied and fascinating landscape from beautiful beaches with turquoise waters to the rugged mountainous region in Central Portugal.
  • There's plenty of history and culture to explore, especially in cities like Lisbon and Porto
  • It's the perfect destination if you love food and wine - think fresh seafood, delicious sweet treats like Pasteis de Nata, and delicious wine, all at a reasonable price!
  • Include a visit to nearby islands, Madeira or the Azores whilst you're there.
  • Great nightlife! In the bigger cities, you'll always find somewhere to have a drink and dance.
  • You'll find some of the biggest waves in the world to surf. 

The capital of Portugal is Lisbon, and it's one of the oldest cities in the world. The Mediterranean climate means it's a popular destination so it's always buzzing. Expect to find great food, rich culture and fascinating history. 

  • Explore the culture-rich capital, Lisbon and marvel at some of the incredible architecture.
  • Visit the Port Houses of Porto and sample some of the city's famous tipple.
  • See Portugal's oldest University, Universidade de Coimbra, which dates back to 1290, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Catch some waves in Santa Cruz. Portugal's west coast is known for having some of the best surf spots in the world.
  • Sample some of the local dishes including Bacalhau (dried and salted cod), Bifanas (a traditional pork sandwich) chicken Piri-Piri and Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts).
  • Take a boat tour on the canals of Aveiro - the Venice of Portugal!
  • Take in the magic of Sintral; this fairytale-like UNESCO town features some of the prettiest castles in all of Europe.

Portugal has recently become one of the world's best foodie destinations, and despite its fairly small size, the cuisine varies from region to region. You'll find some of the freshest seafood, delicious roasted meats seasoned with Piri-Piri, comforting traditional stews and plenty of bakeries serving up tasty sweet treats.

Although probably most famous for producing Port, Portugal has also stepped into the limelight for its wines, boasting some of the best in Europe alongside places like France and Spain. If you prefer an ice-cold beer, make sure to grab a Sagres - one of the most popular beers in the country.

Portugal enjoys a temperate climate, with plenty of sunshine year-round. In the north, it is slightly cooler and rainy, and as you move south it gets warmer. The far south of the Algarve enjoys and dry, sunny microclimate throughout most of the year. The border with Spain experiences a slightly more varied climate due to the mountain ranges.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

The language of Portugal is Portuguese.

Electrical sockets in Portugal are for two-pin Type F plugs, so if using UK appliances you will need to have a universal adaptor. 

If requested by the police or judicial authorities, you must show some form of identification such as your passport. 

If you are caught taking or in possession of drugs for personal use, you may be subject to a fine or another sanction. Selling or trafficking drugs is a criminal offence and is subject to severe penalties. 

Gambling is only legal in establishments properly licensed by the government, like official casinos. Games of chance, including bingo, are illegal if they’re held on unlicensed premises. The police may act on reports of illegal gambling on unauthorised premises without warning. Organisers, participants and anyone on the premises may be arrested, charged with a criminal offence and fined or imprisoned. If in doubt, you should ask whether the establishment you’re entering is legally licensed.

Portugal is generally a safe European destination and crime rates are low but pickpocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars and holiday properties are common in major tourist areas and can be accompanied by violence. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and be aware of thieves using distraction techniques. Be especially vigilant on public transport and at busy railway and underground stations and crowded bus and tram stops.

Always buy your own drinks and keep them in sight at all times, to avoid the risk of spiking. Only use officially registered or licensed taxis.

Take warning flags on beaches seriously - if a reg flag is flying you should not enter the water. 

Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion, especially in the Algarve where falling rocks are a hazard. 

British travellers should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date. 

We do not recommend hiring motorbikes, scooters, ATV vehicles, quad bikes or other types of motorised vehicles whilst abroad. Safety and quality of vehicles vary considerably and the traffic conditions can be much more dangerous than what UK travellers are used to. Should you wish to go against this advice, you should ensure you are hiring from a reputable company and that your travel insurance covers you for such activities.

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