Portugal Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Portugal travel guide

Welcome to Portugal, a country known for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you're a sun seeker, history enthusiast, or foodie, Portugal has something for everyone. In this comprehensive travel guide, we'll explore everything you need to know to make the most of your trip. 

In this article:

Lisbon, PortugalUnsplash

Best Time to Visit Portugal

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, with spring (March to early June) and fall (September to late November) being generally considered the best times to visit. The weather during these seasons is mild, with comfortable temperatures and less rainfall. Additionally, the shoulder seasons offer a good balance of fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months, allowing you to explore the country without feeling overcrowded.

It's important to note that the climate in Portugal can vary depending on the region. Coastal areas, such as the Algarve, Alentejo, and the capital city of Lisbon, tend to have milder winters and hotter summers. The Azores and Madeira, influenced by the Gulf Stream, have a subtropical climate, making them pleasant to visit year-round.

Top Attractions in Portugal

No matter what time of year you travel, you'll find plenty of once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences in Portugal. Here are some top attractions to add to your Portugal travel itinerary.

Lisbon, PortugalUnsplash


Portugal's vibrant capital city is a must-visit. Explore the charming neighborhood of Alfama, take in the panoramic views from the São Jorge Castle, and indulge in delicious pastries at the famous Pasteis de Belem.

The best to do in Lisbon:

  • Visit the iconic Torre de Belém: Explore this historical tower, a symbol of Portugal's maritime past.
  • Discover the historical Alfama district: Wander through narrow streets, admire colorful houses, and experience Lisbon's oldest neighborhood.
  • Explore the historic Jerónimos Monastery: Marvel at the impressive Manueline architecture and intricate details of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Take a tram ride on Tram 28: Enjoy a scenic journey on one of Lisbon's vintage trams, passing by major attractions in the city.
  • Enjoy the views from the Santa Justa Elevator: Ride this unique elevator and take in panoramic views of the city from the top.
  • Visit the vibrant Time Out Market: Explore a wide variety of food stalls offering traditional and international cuisine.
  • Relax in the beautiful gardens of Parque das Nações: Enjoy waterfront walks, modern architecture, and visit attractions like the Oceanarium.
  • Take a day trip to Sintra: Visit this enchanting town known for its fairytale-like palaces, gardens, and castles, such as the Pena Palace.

Porto, PortugalUnsplash


Known for its port wine, Porto is a city that boasts stunning architecture and a rich maritime history. Don't miss a visit to the Ribeira district, take a tour of the historic port wine cellars, and stroll across the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge.

The best things to do in Porto:

  • Explore the Ribeira District: Wander through the charming district of Ribeira, known for its colorful buildings, narrow streets, and riverside cafes.
  • Visit São Bento Railway Station: Admire the stunning interior covered with hand-painted azulejo tiles depicting historical scenes.
  • Discover Livraria Lello: Explore one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, known for its grand staircase and magnificent architecture.
  • Take a cruise on the Douro River: Enjoy a relaxing boat trip along the Douro River, passing by the famous Porto wine cellars and picturesque landscapes.
  • Climb the Clérigos Tower: Ascend to the top of this iconic tower for breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
  • Visit Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto): Explore the city's oldest surviving structure, featuring a mix of architectural styles and a beautiful rose window.
  • Explore Vila Nova de Gaia: Cross the river and visit the cellars of renowned Port wine producers for tastings and tours.
  • Relax at the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal: Enjoy a peaceful stroll through these beautiful gardens, offering stunning views of the Douro River and the city.

Sintra, PortugalUnsplash


Just a short drive from Lisbon, Sintra is a fairytale-like town filled with colorful palaces, lush gardens, and mystical forests. Visit the enchanting Pena Palace, explore the romantic Quinta da Regaleira, and hike up to the Moorish Castle for breathtaking views.

The best things to do in Sintra:

  • Visit Pena Palace: Explore the colorful and romantic Pena Palace, built on a mountaintop and featuring stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.
  • Explore Quinta da Regaleira: Wander through the charming gardens and intricate architecture of the Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Visit the Moorish Castle: Take in the sweeping views of Sintra and the surrounding landscape while exploring the ruins of the medieval Moorish Castle.
  • Hike through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: Experience the breathtaking natural beauty of the region by hiking through the stunning Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
  • Explore the National Palace of Sintra: Marvel at the opulent interiors and architecture of the National Palace, which dates back to the 14th century and has served as a royal residence for centuries.

Algarve, PortugalUnsplash

The Algarve

If you're a beach lover, the Algarve is a paradise for you. With picturesque cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and clear turquoise waters, it's the perfect spot for relaxation and water sports. Don't miss visiting the stunning beaches of Praia da Marinha and Ponta da Piedade.

The best things to do in the Algarve:

  • Relax on the stunning beaches: The Algarve is renowned for its breathtaking coastline and golden sand beaches. Whether you prefer the popular beaches of Lagos or the secluded coves of Carvoeiro, you'll find plenty of spots to unwind and soak up the sun.
  • Explore the caves of Benagil: Embark on a boat tour to witness the mesmerizing Benagil Caves. Marvel at the natural rock formations and the famous Benagil Sea Cave, often considered one of the most beautiful caves in the world. 
  • Visit the historic town of Faro: Faro, the capital of the Algarve, is a charming city with a rich history. Walk through the old town's cobbled streets, visit the magnificent Faro Cathedral, and take a stroll along the picturesque marina. 
  • Go hiking in the Ria Formosa Natural Park: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park. This protected area is home to a diverse range of plants and wildlife, and its network of trails offers breathtaking views of salt flats, lagoons, and sand dunes.

Aveiro, PortugalUnsplash

Hidden Gems

Azenhas do Mar

Tucked away on the Atlantic coast, this picturesque fishing village offers breathtaking views of the cliffside houses and the ocean. Explore the natural rock pool or enjoy a meal at one of the local seafood restaurants.


This medieval town is like a page out of a storybook. Walk through the cobbled streets, admire the colorful houses adorned with flowers, and make sure to try a glass of Ginja, a traditional cherry liqueur.


Home to one of the oldest universities in the world, Coimbra is a city with a rich cultural heritage. Explore the beautiful Coimbra University, visit the stunning Joanina Library, and enjoy the vibrant student atmosphere.

Faro Island

Escape the crowds and head to Faro Island, a hidden gem in the Algarve region. With its serene beaches, traditional fishing huts, and stunning sand dunes, it's a perfect spot for a peaceful retreat.


Step back in time in the historic city of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the well-preserved Roman Temple of Évora, visit the eerie Chapel of Bones, and stroll around the charming medieval streets of the city center.

Tiled wall in Porto, PortugalUnsplash

Bucket List Experiences

  • Visit one of Lisbon's many miradouros (viewpoints) at sunset.
  • Experience the soulful sounds of a Fado performance.
  • Embark on a river cruise in the Douro Valley.
  • Watch surfers ride some of the world's biggest waves in Nazaré.
  • Dig into local delicacies like pastel de nata and bacalhau.
  • Hike the Rota Vicentina, a stunning 400-kilometer coastal trail.
  • Visit the Berlengas Islands, a nature reserve off the Portuguese coast.
  • Take a road trip along the Alentejo Coast, stopping at secluded beaches along the way.
  • Attend a traditional festival such as the esta de São João in Porto or the Festival of Santo António in Lisbon.

Tram in Lisbon, PortugalUnsplash

Portugal Travel Tips

Here are some travel tips to keep in mind for your trip to Portugal:

  • Language: The official language in Portugal is Portuguese. Although English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning a few basic phrases in Portuguese will go a long way in connecting with the locals and enhancing your travel experience.
  • Currency: The currency used in Portugal is the Euro (EUR). It's advisable to carry some cash, but credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments.
  • Getting Around: Portugal has an excellent transportation system. For longer distances, consider taking the train or bus. Within cities, public transportation, taxis, and rental cars are easily accessible. Don't forget to download helpful apps like Google Maps or Moovit to navigate your way around.
  • Plugs and Adapters: Portugal uses Type F electrical outlets, which are the standard two-pin European plugs. Make sure to bring a universal travel adapter to charge your devices.

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Portugal eSIM: Stay Connected with Airalo

Stay connected during your trip to Portugal with an eSIM from Airalo. An eSIM is a tiny SIM that's embedded in your device and works 100% digitally. You can download an eSIM plan for your destination and instantly connect to a mobile network. There's no need to find a SIM card vendor, manage multiple SIMs, or worry about roaming fees. 

Here are just some of the benefits of using an Airalo eSIM:

  • Connect to a mobile network within minutes.
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  • Store multiple eSIM data plans on your device.
  • Need more data? Top up in the Airalo app.

You're all set to plan a trip to Portugal! Head to the Airalo store to browse eSIMs for Portugal and 200+ countries and regions worldwide.

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