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Portugal: Top 10 Things Travelers Need to Know Before Visiting

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From long-term travelers, newbie digital nomads, retirees, and so many more, everyone seems to be flocking to Portugal. And truthfully, it's no surprise why.

This coastal country's laid-back lifestyle, delicious food, (relative) affordability, are just some of the reasons why Portugal currently has a lot of appeal for international travelers. Want to find out more about visiting Portugal in 2022? This guide will cover all of the important topics, such as:

  • Must-know culture and customs in Portugal
  • The top experiences for travelers
  • How the WiFi is in Portugal
  • The costs and budget for all types of travelers

Here are the top 10 things to know before visiting Portugal in 2022.

On the narrow Alleys of Ferragudo, Algarve, Portugal

How Hard Is It on the Wallet?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

One of the reasons why Portugal is so appealing nowadays is its relative affordability compared to other nations in Western Europe. When visiting Portugal, plan for a budget of around $50-60 a day (less if you're really creative, more if you want to splurge). The average cost for a month in Portugal is about $1,400 USD for travelers. And an average monthly salary for Portuguese locals is around 900 Euros after taxes.

Big cities like Lisbon are getting up there in price, but some of the coastal towns and smaller cities are where you can still find the cheapest prices in Portugal. Here's a little cost breakdown:

Housing/Hotels: Rent costs can really vary in Portugal. At this time, rentals for travelers in Lisbon currently going for more than $1000/month and alternatively, a place outside of the city or in a cheaper city like Porto can go for $500 a month or less. According to the website Nomadlist, the average cost of an AirBnB in Portugal for a night is about $100, and the cost of a hotel is around $70.

The average hotel price across Portugal is 70-95 euros.

Food: Dinner for less than 10 Euros, lunch for 5, and your morning cappuccino that will set you back 2 Euros or less – what more could you ask for?

While dining out is cheap in Portugal, especially for Europe standards, doing a daily market run and cooking most of your meals at home will be cheaper. Here's a quick rundown of the average cost of food in Portugal.

Transportation: The public transportation system in cities like Lisbon are efficient and cheap. In the capital, the cost of a single ride on the bus is 2 Euros and the tram is 3 Euros per ride. Save money and buy a day pass for 6.40 Euros, which gives you access to all the bus, tram, and metro lines in Lisbon.

A view of the incline and Bica tram, Lisbon, Portugal

How Friendly Are the Locals?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Portuguese are friendly and welcoming people in general. Once you get on Portugal time and really start exploring, it won't be long before locals are sharing travel tips and their favorite restaurants with you.

This also means that it's important to respect the customs and traditions of the country and go with the flow, which will make it much easier to have positive interactions with the people you meet everyday.

Learn some Portuguese and soon enough, you'll feel like a local during your daily visits to the market and when ordering a pastel de nata at a streetside cafe (and let's face it, you'll probably be doing that a lot!).

Many people walking around historical riverside of Douro river, sunny day

Customs and Culture: Do's and Don'ts

While Portugal is welcoming to foreigners, it's still a good idea to respect the local culture. If you're visiting for the first time (or maybe you're returning!) here are some of the important customs to follow:

The religion practiced in Portugal is mostly Roman Catholic. People are traditional and they dress modestly (this means not showing your shoulders and anything above the knee) if you're entering a church.

Don't casually compare Portugal and Spain. Even though Spain is right next door, it doesn't mean that these two countries are very similar. Don't get on someone's bad side by comparing Portugal to Spain, seriously!

Don't worry about being always on time. No need to rush here in Portugal. If you want to have a good experience, get on Portuguese time because it's common to be 15 minutes late.

This may seem like an odd one, but another thing not to do in Portugal is to eat on the street. Grab and go isn't necessarily a thing here (as for beer, that's another story), as the Portuguese value sit-down time. Meals offer an opportunity to are a time to chat and relax, so best to respect that if you don't want to be looked at like you're a weirdo.

people sitting outside at a restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal on a sunny day

Top Trending Things to Do in Portugal

Portugal is a country well-known for its wine, and the Madeira Wine Festival is a great to sample of the best wine that the country has to offer. This festival goes all out with traditional dance performance live music shows, and so much more that will have you making this an annual thing.

If you want to continue your wine tour of Portugal, head to one of the scenic wineries in the Douro Valley just outside of Porto.

Another must-do in Portugal is explore all of the districts in Lisbon, Portugal's bustling and beautiful capital city. Explore the historic Alfama neighborhood by day and wander down to Bairro Alta by night for cafe and bar hopping.

Camilo Beach (Praia do Camilo) at Algarve, Portugal with turquoise sea in background. Wooden footbridge to beach Praia do Camilo, Portugal. Wonderful view of Camilo Beach in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal. (Camilo Beach (Praia do Camilo) at Algarve, Portuga

How Safe Is It in Portugal?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

According to the Global Peace Index, Portugal is actually one of the safest countries in the world. The 2022 report ranked Portugal at number 6 out of 163 countries.

While most travelers feel safe when visiting the country, one thing to note is to always keep an eye on your belongings when riding the train, because pickpockets aren't uncommon.

Safety for women and LGBTQ travelers in Portugal also rates high. In fact, Portugal is very progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights and it's one of the safest countries in the world for gay travelers. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Portugal in 1982 and same-sex marriage was officially legalized in 2010.

Travel Insurance Tips for Your Trip:

Travel insurance is always a good idea when going on any type of trip. Get yourself covered (at a super low cost) with the right health insurance in case you can really sick or if your belongings get stolen or lost at some point during your trip.

Local Eats and Drink

The culinary delights served up daily in Portugal is another big draw for travelers. Be prepared for lots of seafood, fruity spirits, spicy meats, veggie soups, and lots of delectable desserts.

One staple food throughout Portugal is bacalhau, a salted cod mixed with potatoes, eggs, and black olives. Another big one is caldo verde (soup with potatoes and collard greens topped with chourico, a spicy sausage).

Then there's port: know it, love it. Port wine is Portugal's sweet staple aperitif for a sunset cocktail or for an all-night festival. Local and flavorful liqueurs such as Ginja is also bound to make an appearance at any Portuguese party. Lots of these drinks are sweet but also deceivingly strong – don't say we didn't warn you!

What Are the Top Apps to Use in Portugal?

Here are a few handy apps that you should download before setting off on your adventure to Portugal:

Moovit: This app is beyond handy! Use Moovit to plan your travels in just about any city in Portugal. The app connects you with the available public transportation around, including the shared bike systems.

CP: Search and buy train tickets from Comboios de Portugal, the country's state-owned train company.

Gira: Lisbon's main bike-sharing service, so download this for your trip if you want to navigate the capital on two wheels.

OLX: This is the app for Portugal's main online marketplace, where you can get anything from sunscreen to used smartphones delivered.

Babbel and Duolingo: Probably the most popular language apps out there today. Start practicing your Portuguese with these apps for your trip (might be a good plane activity, too).

Table with view a wonderful view over the river in Porto, Portugal.

How's the WiFi?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The WiFi quality in major cities across Portugal rates pretty high, and you can expect an average speed of over 35 Mbps. The great WiFi is one of the reasons why Portugal is becoming a trendy destination for digital nomads and remote workers.

You can buy a SIM card with a month worth of data, SMS, and minutes for about 20 euros.

woman working on her laptop while sitting on a patio overlooking a city by the ocean in Portugal

What Are the Best Experiences?

From a sailing trip in Lisbon to surfing in The Algarve, there's so many popular experiences in Portugal.

If you find yourself in the capital city, one of the best things to do right now is to book a trip on a sailboat and you and your travel buddies can have an unforgettable day seeing Lisbon from a different perspective.

The southern region of The Algarve offers amazing experiences for just about every type of traveler, and with epic views to boot. Head here for a week-long getaway (or more!) to enjoy the stunning cliffs, caves, and beautiful beaches. Go surfing, adventure out on a hike along the coast (there's SO many to choose from!), and explore the historic castles that tell a story of this region's past.

cobblestone street on a narrow alleyway in the Algarve region of Portugal.

How Long Can I Stay?

Portugal is officially part of the EU and Schengen Zone, which means that travelers with a passport from outside of the Schengen Zone (so the US, UK, Canada, for instance) can stay in Portugal for a total of 90 days for tourism or business without needing a visa. Returning to Portugal is only possible after that if you've left the Schengen Zone for at least 90 days.

Young Couple Taking A Selfie In Porto, Portugal

Escape to Portugal and you won't regret it.

Of course, there's lots to know before visiting Portugal but we hope this post gives you the gist. Make sure your passport is renewed, bring a sweater (or two), a bathing suit, a sense of adventure, and a big appetite, and go see what Portugal has in store for you.

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19 For 2022

The Best Places in Portugal For Digital Nomads

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Tuesday 12th of July 2022

I like this beautiful country