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Portugal is a unique country with its distinct architecture, rich cuisine, and majestic nature. One of the most popular travel destinations, the country welcomes more than six million tourists each year. You can keep reading this guide we prepared for you to learn more about Portugal.

Portugal travel guide

Continent: Europe
Capital: Lisbon
Country Code: PT, 010
Official Language: Portuguese
Total Area: 92.230 km²
Time Zone: GMT (Mainland) GMT-1 (Azores)
Phone Code: +351
Domain Name: .pt
Currency: Euro €

Facts about Portugal

Language

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese (Português or língua portuguesa in Portuguese). It’s a Western Romance language closely related to other descendants of Latin, such as Spanish, French, Catalan, and Italian.

Portuguese speakers, no matter their ethnicities or nationalities, are all called “Lusophones” - or lusófonos in Portuguese.

Due to the colonization, Portuguese is the eighth most spoken language in the world, with over 250 million Lusophones.

Some phrases in Portugal that might help you are:

  • Oi/Olá: Hi/Hello
  • Bom Dia: Good Morning
  • Boa Noite: Good Night
  • Boa Tarde: Good Afternoon
  • Adeus: Goodbye
  • Por favor: Please
  • Obrigado/a: Thank you
  • Com licença: Excuse me
  • Não: No
  • Sim: Yes
  • Como chego ao (à)…: How do I get to…?
  • Restaurante: Restaurant
  • Quanto custa?: How much does this cost?
  • Estação de trem/metrô: Train/metro station
  • Onde fica a casa de banho?: Where is the bathroom?
  • Que horas são?: What time is it?

Location

Portugal is located in southern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. Next to it is Spain, which is Portugal's only neighbor. Due to its secluded location facing out into the Atlantic Ocean, the country developed a unique culture with a seafood-based cuisine. Portugal's time zone is GMT (UTC±00:00).

The capital of Portugal is Lisbon, usually abbreviated as "LX" or "Lx." Lisbon, one of the oldest settlements in Europe, has been inhabited by various civilizations for over three thousand years.

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and wet winters. The average daytime maxima in Portugal are around 16°C (61°F).

Portugal uses type F power plugs and sockets. So, if you're from a country that uses a different type, you might need to bring a travel adapter.

Government

Portugal has been a semi-presidential representative democratic republic for over 40 years. The prime minister heads the government, while the President of the Portuguese Republic, the highest office in Portugal, holds no executive power.

Economy

Portugal was one of the original members of the eurozone and changed its official currency from the Portuguese escudo to the euro in 2000. Today, the euro is the country’s sole legal tender. As a high-income country, Portugal is among the world’s wealthiest nations. Tourism and energy are among the country’s main sources of economy.

Architecture

An interesting aspect of Portugal is its unique architecture. Most cities in the country, especially Lisbon, boast an exotic, distinct architecture that makes the country stand out among other Western European countries.

Incorporating the architectural characteristics of ancient civilizations ruled over its territory, Portuguese architecture offers visitors a picturesque view.

Emergency Numbers

The Portuguese National Emergency Number is 112. In cases of emergency, if you don't remember this number, you can call 911, which redirects to the Portuguese National Emergency Number.

How to Get to Portugal

The easiest and most efficient way to get to Portugal is by air. As it's a major European city and the capital of Portugal, you can find cheap flight tickets to Portugal effortlessly. You can easily find direct flights to Lisbon from the capital city of Turkiye, Ankara. You can also get connecting flights to Ankara to reach Lisbon from many airports.

Since Portugal is connected to other European countries by land, you can also get there by land. However, if you're from a non-European country, traveling to Portugal by car might be a tad difficult due to its isolated location.  You might have to consider the proximity of your land journey’s starting point and take a direct flight to Spain, Portugal’s only land neighbor.

You can check our cheap flight to Portugal page to find affordable flight tickets to Portugal and book your seats now!

Public Transportation in Portugal

Since Portugal has a very convenient public transportation system, you can reach every part of the country by coach. Long-distance buses offer a comfortable and affordable means of transportation.

Portugal also has an old yet functional train network. Although the network covers only certain parts of the country, you can use it to travel between major cities, such as Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Faro, and Lagos.

Besides intercity traveling, you can also use local bus lines and metro systems to get around within major Portuguese cities. Lisbon, in particular, has a great public transportation system.

Accommodation in Portugal

From affordable one-star to luxury five-star hotels, Portugal offers many accommodation options suitable for any budget. The most popular types of accommodation in Portugal are low-budget hostels, affordable hotels, rental houses, and homestays.

BOOK A HOTEL

Best Time to Visit Portugal

The best time to visit Portugal is definitely in spring, between March and May. This season brings the country a jubilant, vivid atmosphere as the verdure wakes from the winter slumber.

Summer, on the other hand, is a great time to visit Portugal for beachgoers and romantic couples looking for a getaway. However, Portugal might be too crowded during summer, making it unsuitable for serenity-seekers.

So, if you want to visit the country without large crowds, fall might be a good choice too. You can pick a date between September and October when the weather is still warm.

Although Portuguese winters are cold and wet, they can still be a good time period to travel for those seeking a serene getaway.

Festivals

Portugal is known for its colorful festivals and celebrations held throughout the year.

  • Carnaval: A rejoicing event held in February or March, Carnaval is the biggest festival in Portugal, where people dress up in colorful costumes, dance in the streets, and indulge themselves with drinks and food.
  • Festas dos Santos Populares: In June, various celebrations and festivals for popular saints take place in Portugal. The nights of St. Anthony, St. John, and St. Peter are among the most popular ones.
  • Festival F: Festival F is the last big summer festival held in the historic center of Faro, near Lisbon, in September. The event focuses on various aspects of Portuguese culture, such as music, cinema, and art.
  • DocLisboa: A documentary film festival held in Lisbon, DocLisboa provides filmmakers a platform to showcase their visions and creations.

Holidays

Portugal has a truly festive culture. Portuguese celebrate their holidays and festivals, from Carnival to Christmas Day, with a great vibrancy.

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Carnival (February/March)
  • Festas dos Santos Populares (June)
  • Portugal Day (June 10)
  • Assumption of Mary (August 15)
  • Republic Day (October 5)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Where to Go in Portugal

Portugal has many magnificent cities with distinct cultures and rich histories. Below, you can find five of the most popular destinations in Portugal.

Lisbon

Lisbon is one of Europe's most vibrant and lively capitals. The city is home to various historical landmarks, demonstrating the history and national identity of the Portuguese nation.

Spreading across seven hills facing the Tagus River, Lisbon provides visitors with majestic scenery. The extraordinary alleyways of Alfama, the magnificent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and the must-see Museu do Fado are among the main highlights of Lisbon.

You can reach this iconic city of culture and art through direct and connecting flights provided by Pegasus Airlines!

Porto

Porto is the city of many bridges. During your journey to this majestic city, you can watch the sunset over its terra-cotta rooftops and sample local port wine.

Ribeira District and Jardim do Morro are the main attractions in the city. You can also visit the sea-facing promenade in Foz de Douro to marvel at the 15th-century São Francisco Church.

Évora

Capital of the Alentejo region, Évora is a historic city with a rich culture and unique architecture. The ancient Roman Temple of Diana is one of the most iconic attractions in the city. The nearby Cathedral of Évora is also a great place to admire the Gothic style and its influence on Portuguese architecture.

Coimbra

Lying on the banks of the Mondego River, Coimbra was once the capital of Portugal. The city's old town, which must be on every traveler's itinerary, has been one of the major centers of culture and commerce since Moorish rule.

Besides its historical significance, Coimbra is a vibrant university city home to one of Europe's oldest universities. The University of Coimbra, founded in 1290, is among Coimbra's main attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aveiro

Set along the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, Aveiro is known as the Portuguese Venice. The city has many canals navigated by colorful boats. These boats, also known as barcos moliceiros, are traditionally used for harvesting seaweed.

One of the distinguishing features of Aveire is its Art Deco buildings and colorful architecture. The blend of these unique features and historical landmarks creates a picturesque cityscape. The Cathedral of Aveiro and the Museu de Aveiro are two attractions that must be on your itinerary.

Portuguese Nightlife

Portugal is one of the best places to go for party! Especially the country's capital, Lisbon, is home to a myriad of nightclubs, pubs, and bars where you can have unforgettable nights. Porto, Lagos, and Albufeira are also known for their vibrant nightlife.

What to Buy from Portugal

Looking for the perfect memento from Portugal? Here are some Portuguese souvenirs you might want to buy:

  • Original Portuguese olive oil;
  • Delicious Portuguese cheese;
  • Iconic Pastel de Nata;
  • A bottle of local wine;
  • Traditional cherry liquor, ginja;
  • Cork products, such as handbags or wine corks;
  • Local soap;
  • Tea towels;
  • Ceramic Galo de Barcelos figurines.

Portuguese Cuisine

Although its neighbor Spain often overshadows Portugal's cuisine, the country boasts a rich culinary tradition.

Portuguese cuisine uses mostly fish, meat, olive oil, bread, and tomato. Spices and herbs are also used in most dishes to add flavor.

The Portuguese also love their wines. The most popular regional wines are Vinho Verde, Port Wine, and Vinho da Madeira. Besides wine, beer - cerveja in Portuguese - is also adored and consumed in Portugal.

Most Popular Dishes

Some of the most popular Portuguese dishes are:

  • Pastel de nata: An egg custard tart pastry, pastel de nata is among Portugal's most popular national dishes. You can try this delicious delicacy in various pastry shops in Lisbon.
  • Polvo à Lagareiro: This distinct dish is basically an octopus cooked in olive oil and served with potatoes, grelos, and garlic. Although it's typically served on Christmas Eve, you can find and eat it at any restaurant in Lisbon.
  • Arroz de pato: Portugal has various rice-based dishes, an influence of Muslim rule during the Middle Ages, and the most popular of them is definitely arroz de pato. This dish contains rice prepared like risotto and wild duck meat.
  • Sardinhas assadas: A simple yet delicious dish, sardinhas assadas is none other than grilled sardines. This dish is especially popular during summer festival.
  • Francesinha: Meaning "little French," francesinha is a type of sandwich. Originated in Porto, this delicious sandwich is made with layers of toasted bread, roast, steak, and melted cheese.

The Visa Process

Citizens of the EU, EEA, and member states of the Schengen area can enter Portugal freely. Also, citizens from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Israel, Japan, and Singapore can stay in Portugal for up to 90 days without a visa.

You can apply for a Portugal visa through Portuguese embassies, consulates, or different visa services.

Check our Portugal visa guide for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Portugal's phone code?

Portugal's country code is +351.

Is Portugal expensive?

Portugal is one of the most affordable Western European countries.

How much do Portugal flight tickets cost?

It depends on your departure point and travel time. You can book in advance and prefer shoulder season to catch cheaper flights. Also, using our cheap flight search tool might help you get the best deals.

What is Portugal's time zone?

Portugal uses Western European Standard Time, GMT. Only the Azores region uses Azores Standard Time, GMT-1.

How much money do I need per day in Portugal?

If you are not planning a luxury holiday, €50-80 per day should suffice. Typically, €500-600 should be enough for a whole week in Portugal.

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