Food and drink highlights of Portugal 🥕

  • Tipping - There is no rule on how much your tip should be and also you are not obliged to do it. Always tip with cash. While some card machines enable you to leave a gratuity, that doesn’t mean that the waiter will be the one to get it.
  • Eating hours - A Portuguese breakfast typically takes place from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. It often starts with a coffee. Later Portuguese people eat snacks around 11 a.m. Lunch is eaten between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m, but there are some restaurants which will keep serving until 3 p.m. Dinner is served between 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Shopping hours - Traditional shops are mostly open from Monday to Friday between 9 am or 10 am and close around 7 pm. Supermarkets in Portugal are usually open seven days a week from 9 am - 8 pm (shorter on weekends).
  • Discount shops - Minipreço, Pingo Doce and Pão de Açúcar are a very popular discount supermarkets brand. You may also find international brands such as Lidl or Intermarche.
  • Cuisine type - Portuguese cuisine is rich in seafood but tasty with unique flavors.
  • Savoir Vivre - While eating at someone’s home, guests often wait for the host to say: 'Bom apetite!' ('enjoy your meal!'). After finished meal, put the knife and fork parallel to each other across the plate.
  • Main ingredients - The most important ingredient in Portuguese cuisine is dry, salted cod or grilled sardines. Tto salads most often are uses; tomatoes, olive oil, and onion.
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Foods to try in Portugal 🥘

  • Bacalhau com natas
    It is a salted and dried cod, which is prepared in many different ways, including with cream. The typical side dishes are fried diced potatoes and onions. Despite the fact that Portuguese are not common for using cream in their cuisine, this dish is very popular.
  • Caldeirada
    A stew or a fish soup, which gained recognition in Portugal. It consists of a variety of fishes. Some people add chorizo to this dish, which is a pork sausage with a distinctive smell.
  • Sardinhas assadas
    A traditional Portuguese dish - grilled sardines. Especially popular at summer festivals. Coarse salt is a core product added to sardines. Prepared and ready sardines are often served on bread to absorb the fat from the fish. Baked potatoes or peppers are often offered as side dishes.
  • Francesinha
    A Portuguese sandwich from Porto. It includes ingredients such as toasted bread, sausage, steak, bacon, ham, cheese, fried egg, tomato and, beer sauce. It is a very caloric dish and popular fast food. Some Portuguese eat it with french fries.
  • Arroz de pato
    It is a baked duck with rice. The duck is first boiled and then baked with rice. The top is decorated with slices of chorizo.
  • Caldo verde
    A Portuguese green soup made of Galician cabbage with additives such as water, olive oil, potatoes, onion, garlic, and sometimes chouriço sausage. Eaten often at family celebrations.
  • Polvo à lagareiro
    This is a dish typical for this country because it consists of seafood. Baked octopus is served with mashed potatoes in herbal garlic oil.
  • Bifana
    It is a popular sandwich with stewed pork in tomato sauce with the addition of wine or beer, and wine. You can find it everywhere. It is perceived as a Portuguese fast food.
  • Pastéis de nata
    It is an egg tart pastry filled with custard cream and the top is made with cinnamon or icing sugar. The best taste of them is when they are warm.
  • Alheira
    It is a sausage made with a mix of meats inside and usually served toasted or straight from the grill.
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Unusual facts about food in Portugal 🥘

  • Hosts usually point to the guests their seats at the dining table.
  • Snack and coffee breaks during the afternoon are quite popular.
  • Booking restaurants over the phone can be difficult if you do not speak Portuguese, but a number of restaurants accept bookings over Facebook.
  • Large supermarkets like Pingo Doce or Continente in their offers have products like canteen-style meals that cost only around €3.
  • In tourist destinations, in restaurants, you can find a 'turistico menu' or 'prato do dia' (multi-course meal usually with wine) for an average of 10 euros (price varies by region).
  • Snacks like bifanas can be ordered at any time of the day.
  • At the beginning of a meal, the waiter will probably bring over bread, olive, or cheese. This is known as the couvert and is paid additionally. You are not obliged to take it.
  • Before judging customer service you need to remember that it isn’t really a priority for most restaurants except in touristy places.
  • The biggest tea plantation in Europe is on St. Miguel Island in the Azores.
  • The Portuguese have a rich heritage in food but a number of the dishes are not well-promoted world widely.
  • There is always time for coffee. The country is famous for its many coffee breaks throughout the day and the quick espresso-sized bica served in a tiny cup.
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Place to stay in Portugal 🛏️

  • Best booking sites - You can book accommodation in Portugal on many popular websites, such as booking, casamundo, wimdu or hometogo.
  • Rating system - In Portugal, hotels are rated in one to five stars and this classification is a common way of rating.
  • Seasonality - Prices are definitely lower during the spring and autumn than in the summer high season.
  • Cost-effective - The cheapest options will be youth hostels, but in case of visiting them, you need to have a valid membership card. Couchsurfing is also a cheap solution.
  • Air conditioning - There are a lot of places without air conditioning, so you must be aware of it. Remember that if you are coming in winter most aparatments do not have the heating, so it might be cold.
  • Payments - Prices are given in Euro, which is the official currency in Portugal.
  • Unusual accommodation - On pousadas.pt/en, you will find hotels that have been converted from historical buildings such as old monasteries or castles and are available all over Portugal. Another interesting object is Casa do Abrigo Ilha da Berlenga, which is located in an old fort on the island's nature reserve.
  • Camp - There are hundreds of campsites with a variety of options. It's worth pointing out that they are getting very crowded with Portuguese families in summer, though there are also plenty of smaller rural sites which offer a calm and quiet experience.On website: roteiro-campista.pt/ you find details of over 200 campsites.
  • Important - Camping outside campsites is legal. However, there are some restrictions – for instance, you can’t camp on tourist beaches or in natural parks. It is better to ask locally first due to the high rate of fire risk, which is a common threat in Portugal.
  • Warning - Portugal is a perfect choice for taking campervans and motorhomes. Though, it is significant not to stop in unauthorized locations to prevent environmental damage. In other words, you might be questioned by the police.
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Accommodation in Portugal 💡

  • Book your accommodation and car rental in advance, because during the holiday season Portugal is a very popular destination among tourists.
  • Among the top places to stay in Portugal are apartments, campsites, villas, hotels or country and manor houses.
  • A more and more popular alternative is to stay in a privately owned county or manor house.
  • There is also a growing network of independent and boutique hostels. Prices are similar to youth hostels, and most of them offer double/twin rooms as well as dorms.
  • There are some cosy places of four- or five-star quality, usually in a converted historic building or manor property in a rural location, are known as estalagems, or inns.
  • Breakfasts are usually included in the price of accommodation, but not always. Check it in advance.
  • If you’re traveling alone, make sure to choose “1 guest” while using sites like booking.com due to cheaper rates for solo travelers than couples.
  • July and August are the most expensive, so if you want to save money avoid those months.
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Getting around Portugal 💡

  • Cost-effective - The cheapest way to travel in Portugal is by bus.
  • Time-efficient - Alfa Pendular deluxe trains are the fastest way to get around Portugal with speeds of up to 220km per hour. It connects all of the main cities in Portugal.
  • Traffic safety - Portuguese roads are of good quality and it is a good choice for traveling between cities.
  • Important - The best and cheap way to get to the islands, such as the Azores or Madeira, are budget airlines.

🚗 Car

  • Speed limits: urban area: 50 km/h, outside built-up areas: 90 km/h. Motorways: 120 km/h (minimum 50 km/h).
  • It is allowed to drive if there is 0.5 per mille alcohol in the blood unless you have had a driving license for less than 3 years then only 0.19 per mille is allowed.
  • In Portugal you drive on the right side of the road.
  • In order to rent a car, you must be a minimum of 23 years old.
  • A driver is prohibited from using a mobile phone while driving a car — only with a headset. All passengers and drivers must have worn seat belts implicitly.
  • Rental firms have different requirements, check them carefully.
  • Automóveis Aluguer come sem Conductor' means 'renting a car with or without a driver'.
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🚕 Taxi

  • For taxis the most common payment method is cash.
  • In Portugal, taxi fares are calculated on the basis of minimum charges plus the charges for each subsequent km of travel.
  • Uber is available in Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve. Other taxi apps like Kapten are worth trying out, but might only be available in Lisbon.

👍 Hitchhiking

  • Traveling in Portugal by hitchhiking is possible and safe, but it requires a lot of patience.
  • Hitchhiking is not popular in Portugal.
  • In the case of hitchhiking the waiting time might take a while, it depends on the region.

🚌 Bus

  • The bus transport system is well developed and prices are affordable.
  • The main carriers in the country are Rede Expressos, Rodotejo and Algarve-line Eva.
  • Tickets can be purchased on bus stations or on the Rede website: rede-expressos.pt/en.
  • If you are moving between smaller towns, it is better to choose a bus - it will be cheaper and faster. Also, the frequency of connections is greater than in the case of trains.

🚆 Train

  • In Portugal, there are four types of trains. Alpha-Pendular are the fastest trains in Portugal. These are usually the newest, most comfortable, and most expensive.
  • Intercidades - this train is slightly slower than the Alpha-Pendular trains due to having more stops.
  • Regional (R) and Interregional (IR) - these trains cover much shorter distances.. Tickets cannot be purchased in advance or online.
  • Urban (U) - these trains are common in larger cities like Lisbon and Porto. Tickets cannot be purchased in advance or online.

Plane

  • Portugal is a well-communicated country with the whole of Europe. There are possible different connections and international destinations.

🚲 Bicycle

  • There are many cycle paths in Portugal - along the coast, in natural parks and forests, and in towns.
  • If you don’t have a bike with you, you can hire one for short trips or for a longer period of time.
  • In many cities, bicycles are available for free.

🚇 Metro

  • Metro is located in Lisbon and Porto.
  • The metro runs between 6:30 am and 1 am in Lisbona and 1:30 am in Porto.
  • In Porto, the best way to travel from the airport to the city center is via the purple metro line (E).

🏍 Motorcycle

  • There are possible tours for eager people, who would like to try this kind of exploring the Portugal.

Boat

  • The best way to avail yourself of a boat is by renting it for a longer period of time and you can book an organized trip with a guide.

How to travel in Portugal 🚗

  • Use a GPS while driving through the countryside. In Portugal, you will find very beautiful countrysides worth taking the time to explore.
  • Road signs are good, but the majority of them won’t be noticeable at night unless you shine some light on them.
  • Portuguese drivers are known for being impatient and not unduly fond of using turn signals.
  • Lisbon has the highest bus fare of €2 for 10 km in Portugal.
  • There are several motorways in Portugal. Thanks to them you will get faster from North to South and East to West.
  • When renting a car make sure to double-check that all important documents are there and up to date.
  • The Portuguese National Road number 222 has been recently recognized by a number of travel and motorcycle rental companies as the best riding road in the world. Connecting Régua to Pinhao, it is about 27 kilometers which takes you through the heart of the Douro Valley, one of the most impressive wine regions in the world.
  • Parking in Lisbon and Porto can be a real struggle. There are only a few parking lots and they are not so cheap.
  • To make traveling around the capital of the country easier, you should consider buying a Viva Viagem / 7 Colinas or Lisboa Card. See lisbon.net/7-colinas-viva-viagem or lisboacard.org for more details.
  • A similar offer of tourist cards can be found in Porto, more information at: visitporto.travel/pt-PT/home.
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Best time to visit Portugal 💡

⏱️ When to go

  • The best time to visit Portugal is during summer from June to September, but spring is also a good choice because then the weather is quite pleasant with plenty of sunshine.

🌡️ Temperature

  • The hottest month in Portugal is August, with the average temperature in the south of the country around 28 °C. The coldest months are January and December - around 15-16 °C. In the north, average temperatures are lower by approximately 3-4 °C, respectively.

Rainfall

  • Portugal has a Mediterranean climate. In the northern regions, mountainous terrain is predominant, with high humidity and an average annual rainfall of about 2,000 mm. Towards the south, the moisture gradually decreases, and the average annual rainfall does not exceed 500 mm.

🍂 Fall

  • The beginning of autumn in Portugal means the start of the velvet season. Mild warm weather, cool water, and overwhelming sunny days usually begin in September. Due to the presence of the ocean, even the highest temperatures in the fall are felt in a moderate way. Closer to October, the precipitation intensity of rains increases the same as the frequency of fogs and evening chill.

🌱 Spring

  • Spring in Portugal begins early. Rains happen less frequently. April is still quite rainy but the weather becomes much warmer.

☀️ Summer

  • Summers are warm with little rain, and heat occurs when masses of hot air flow from over West Africa.

❄️ Winter

  • Winter in Portugal is mild and the coastal areas are the warmest. The northern part of the country has cooler weather with an average temperature of about 5°C to 9°C. By night time temperature falls to 0°C or -4°C but frosts are unusual.

Portugal weather Insights ☁️

  • Portugal is a small country, yet it is diverse in terms of climate.
  • Spring is the time for numerous events such as festivals.
  • In Portugal, you can enjoy the most sunny days in Europe.
  • The greatest amount of precipitation is observed on the slopes of Serra da Estrela, which peak is covered with snow from November to May.
  • Mountain areas have cooler weather in winter with snow that remains for several months.
  • Beach season on Portuguese islands ends in November.
  • If you are in Portugal in the late fall or winter months, you should visit the coastal city of Nazaré, famous for its incredible massive waves that reach over 90 feet (27 meters) high.
  • Apart from the mainland, Portugal also includes two archipelagos: the Autonomous Region of Madeira and the Islands of the Azores Archipelago with their own specific climate.
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Savoir-Vivre in Portugal 📝

  • Greetings - In Portugal the most popular greeting is a handshake, It might be lighter or firm - it depends on the person. Among closer family and friends, women and men usually give other women ''beijinhos'' (‘'little kisses'') on each cheek, starting with one’s right side.
  • Punctuality - Most Portuguese perceive people and relationships as more important than being more restricted to sticking to time. Thereupon, time is seen as flexible, and punctuality is not always the most important. Actually, it is common for people to arrive late in social situations, but being on time for business arrangements is required.
  • Bargaining - Gentle haggling is common especially in markets.
  • Dress code - Consider the way you present yourself and what you are wearing. Portuguese have an inclination to dress modestly with a sense of quality and elegance. It is significant to dress in a respectful manner, especially when entering formal spaces such as a church. Casual attire (e.g. barefoot, beachwear) is inappropriate and not recommended in public because it can make one seem unsophisticated.
  • Temple entrance - Remove any hat or headpiece while entering a church.
  • Home invitation - During the visit of family or friends, most guests will wait outside the door until invited inside the home. Likewise, guests usually do not decide to let themselves out when leaving, but rather wait for the host to open the door and say goodbye to them. GRemember about a small gift to their hosts such as flowers or chocolates.
  • Etiquette - Hosts will often offer munchies to their guests such as tea or coffee and a light snack. By refusal, you may have been perceived as impolite and a rejection of the host’s hospitality.
  • Drones - We recommend using this map to easily check the applicable restrictions. If you are looking for more specific information take a look here.
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Things not to do in Portugal ⚠️

  • Keep an eye on personal items. Do not put them on the floor in a cafe. Remember that pickpockets are everywhere.
  • Do not compare Portugal with Spain.
  • Remember to buy travel insurance before your trip.
  • Don't start talking to Portuguese about wars in African colonies.
  • Better not to talk about relations between the Portuguese and Brazilians. Some regret the destruction of the language, and others the failure to respect their rules.
  • Portugal faces a major problem of domestic violence. It is better not to mention this topic during social conversations.
  • Watch out for the Portuguese pavement - Calçada portuguesa - very nice small cubes, but very slippery at the same time.
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Interesting facts about Portugal 🤓

  • According to the Global Peace Index, Portugal is in a high third place in terms of the level of security in the world.
  • In Portugal, almost 70% of energy comes from renewable sources (water, wind, and sun) and is a world leader.
  • In Portugal, the oldest bookstore in the world is still functioning.
  • Portugal is mostly known for its distinctive Late-Gothic Manueline architecture.
  • Fado is Portugal’s national music. It is characterized by its melancholic character.
  • The most southwestern point on the European continent is Cape Sagres.
  • There are many museums which are free on Sundays.
  • Although credit cards are accepted in many places, smaller outlets, and some restaurants, only take cash.
  • Portugal is the first country that made the inclusion of fingerprints on one's identity card compulsory.
  • Portugal exports the largest quantity of cork in the world, particularly in the Alentejo region.
  • It’s worth checking out some of the local events while your stay in Portugal. Every town or village has at least one food or saint-related festival during the year, especially in the summer months.
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Portugal packing list 💡

  • Airy clothes - In Portugal, it is generally warm, but during the winter it might be cold, and rainy, and the temperatures are lower, so a windbreaker might be useful.
  • Comfortable shoes - Portugal is rich in sandy beaches, but also full of hilly terrains that is why it is better to take a pair of comfortable shoes.
  • Sunglasses - It is vital to protect the eyes from the sun especially while spending time on the beach.
  • Sunscreen - In Portugal the temperatures might be high, so during the day do not forget to use sunscreen.
  • Hat/ cap - A hat or a cap is needed especially during sunny days in order to protect yourself from excessive sunlight.
  • Swimsuit - A swimsuit is perfect for the beach because in Portugal there are plenty.
  • Camera - If you are keen on taking photos, a camera is a must-have. The views in Portugal deserve to be captured.
  • Travel Adaptor - In Portugal, there is used a European two-pin plug. That is why a travel adapter might be helpful for your electronics.
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Things to do in Portugal ⭐

  • Most popular sports: 🏄 Surfing, 🥾 Hiking, 🤿 Diving, ️ 🏌️ Golf
  • Most popular activities: 🚴‍♀️ Cycling (all year), 🐎 Horse Riding (all year)
  • Most popular places: 🛶 Benagil Caves, 🌊 Salto do Prego

Top attraction in Portugal 📸

Tourist information about Portugal 🤓

🏳 Country Portugal
🌆 Capital Lisbon
💸 Currency European euro
💭 Language Portuguese
Timezone UTC+1
🇬🇧 English speaking Widely spoken (advanced)
🏳️‍🌈 LGBT tolerance Very high
👫 Gender ratio (overall) 👩 53% | 👨 47%
👩🏻‍🤝‍👨 Population 11 mln
✈️ Visitors per year 17.17 mln

Useful information about Portugal 🤖

💳 Card payments Yes, almost everywhere
🏧 ATM Availability Major cities
🏦 Suggested ATM takeout 200 EUR
🍺 Drinking in public Legal
🚰 Tap water Drinkable
🌐 Internet speed (avg.) 32 Mbps
🔌 Socket type Type C Type F C / F
🚕 Best taxi app Uber
🚾 Public toilets Unpopular & Free
📱 Top mobile providers MEO, Vodafone, NOS
✈️ Best internal air carrier TAP Air Portugal
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Cost of living in Portugal 💸

🌮 Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant
7.5 EUR
7.76 USD
6.49 GBP
35.13 PLN
🥘 Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant
30 EUR
31.02 USD
25.95 GBP
140.5 PLN
🍺 Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)
2 EUR
2.07 USD
1.73 GBP
9.37 PLN
Gasoline (1 liter)
1.54 EUR
1.59 USD
1.33 GBP
7.21 PLN
🎫 One-way ticket (public transport)
1.6 EUR
1.65 USD
1.38 GBP
7.49 PLN

Quality of life in Portugal 💚

💚 Quality of life Very high
☺️ Safety Index High
👨 Healthcare likability High
☁️ Climate likability Very high
💰 Costs of living Low
😷 Level of pollution Low

Important numbers ☎️

Local alarm number 112

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