Olá and welcome to Portugalist. 

I love Portugal, but it’s often hard to find good-quality information about Portugal. That’s why I started Portugalist. I wanted to create an online guidebook about Portugal, a website that was informative and helpful, and that allowed me to share my love of this great country. I wanted a place where people could ask questions about Portugal, and where they could learn about Portuguese food and wine, as well as Portugal’s history, culture, and language.  

Since launching Portugalist, the articles on here have been viewed millions of times and I’ve been very lucky to be featured in publications like the Culture Trip and on the BBC. 

I hope that you find Portugalist useful, and it really enriches your time here in Portugal. If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest articles, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter.

I’m also on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) as well. If you want to ask a question about Portugal, just get in touch with me. 


About Me (James)

James in Lisbon
Posing in Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio

I’ve spent a lot of time in Portugal. As a child, I spent several years living in the North of Portugal and I’ve since spent time living in Lisbon and in the Algarve. I’ve also travelled extensively throughout the country, and visited Portuguese communities around the world (like Little Portugal in London). 

james graduation
Graduating kindergarten in Penafiel in the North of Portugal

I travel a lot myself as well. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been able to travel throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, and also to live in parts of the world like Germany, Spain, Ireland, the UK, France, and South Africa. Yet, despite having been to so many places, Portugal always manages to draw me back. 

Besides writing Portugalist, I’ve also written a guidebook to German culture. It has a pretty awful title, but the content isn’t too bad. 


74 thoughts on “About”

Leave a comment or ask a question below. I try and answer all of them.
  1. You two are so young and I really love it. We,too, found Portugal in our 20’s, riding a Yamaha 650ES twin from the UK down to the coast, via France, Spain, etc.

    We prefer Portugal to Spain for many reasons. The warmth of these people is palpable.

    The food is terrific. The beauty is surprising. And the food and wine are affordable, and the Veg is clearly superior to anything we find in America, even California, where we spend part of our lives, as Full-time travelers/RV-ers.

    RV-ing here is not as good as America, but do-able. We have considered it.

  2. Hi, would like to ask your advice on a 10-day trip to Portugal in July starting with 3 days in Porto, driving north to Braga and Guiamares, then back to Aveiro for the 4th night. But trying to logically fit in Tomar, Coimbra, Alcobaca, Evora and Obidos has us stumped in 2 days as the last 3 days will be in Lisbon. Can you advise on logistics of time to see stuff and what is best to include if impractical? Would be grateful for your thought, thanks

    • Hi Cynthia,

      That’s a lot to try and cram in, and I don’t know that you have time to see it all unfortunately.

      I would probably cut out Évora. It’s a beautiful city, but it’s so far out of your way in comparison to the other cities that I think it’s the one that has to go. Normally I would recommend a day in each place, but this would only allow you half a day in each. With travel included, it’s going to be very tight and you’re only going to get a glimpse of each place.

      If it was me, I would either cut my list down further (1 place = 1 day) or I’d take a day off of Lisbon and try and do 4 places in 3 days. There’s a lot to see and do in Lisbon, but you will be able to cover the vast majority in 2 days.

      This doesn’t leave any time to relax, so I guess you’ll have to book another holiday to recover 🙂

  3. Hi!
    My husband and I are sincerely thinking about living part time in Portugal and part time in the USA after we retire. We have visited your beautiful country and traveled from the south to the north venturing inland to explore and know this is where we would like to live 3 months out of the year (or more depending on the difficulty of obtaining proper visas for a stay longer than the 3 months).
    But, we are concerned about healthcare and would greatly appreciate solid and specific advice on how USA citizens can acquire medical coverage and anything else you feel is helpful.
    Thank you for your help!


    • Hi James,
      Another Canadian here! My husband and I visited Portugal last year and fell in love; we plan to come back for a month in 2019 – just deciding which month that will be. Likely shoulder season, perhaps March. So grateful that my research led me to your website – it’s very helpful! I’m looking forward to our visit to Portugal next year and to receiving your newsletter. Keep up the great work, and thank you! -Liz

  4. Hi James, I will have to be in Lisbon tomorrow May 21 to catch a flight to Toronto but I am staying in Praia das macas. The problem is the trains are on strike that day. How do I get to Lisbon? Uber is out because my phone was stolen and I really don’t want to pay 60€ for a taxi. Sorry to ask again but the wifi’s not very good here.

    • Hi Christine,

      I had a look for you and I’m not sure what bus (if any) goes to Lisbon. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, but I couldn’t see anything. I would recommend asking in the tourist information for more info.

      Otherwise, Welcome Pickups will organise a taxi to pick you up from your hotel for around €32.

  5. James I just wanna say that I am so happy to stumble upon your site/blog! I am a flight attendant and so lucky to have the privilege of traveling the world. Lisbon is on my top ten cities in the world . I’ve been in Portugal few times and had made some friends , who I treasure so much. I still have so much places to visit in Portugal so although I have already been there few times and visited different towns and cities, I will be back to see more, as a matter of fact I will be there in July and August. I really appreciate your knowledge of the country and looking forward to learn more about Portugal from it. Just wanna say ” Obrigada!”

  6. Hi James.
    I’m Polish nationality, living in UK since 2004. Within 7 years will retired and just start thinking to move for last episode of my life to more sunny and pleasant contry (Portugal). Required a lot of informations about legal side of purchasing house, National Health System, Estate Agencies. I will apretiate any tips, English lanquage websites and would like meet you personally next year at my visit in Portugal.
    Kind Regards Kaz

  7. Hi,
    Do you have any suggestions for fun apps/websites to teach a toddler the european Portuguese language. There are a ton that teach Brazilian, but i prefer my son to learn the mainland Portuguese, as did I.

    • Hi Dianne,

      It depends on what you’re looking for.

      Both will be fairly quiet months, but March will be quieter than April as businesses that close for the winter normally re-open in April. Not everywhere closes. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafés open in March as well, but a few will be shut. Museums and attractions don’t really close for the winter.

      It can be difficult to predict which will have the better weather, though. It is known to rain in April here in Portugal, but that could happen in March either.

  8. Hi James,

    After a week in Spain we’ll be flying from Malaga to Porto on October 12 and spending about 3 or 4 days. Then we’ll go to Lisbon for 4 days. Your newsletter sounds intriguing.

    Looking forward to it!

    • Hi Susan,

      Hope you have a great time in Porto and Lisbon. They are both great cities.

      Newsletter is on its way. I am currently travelling around Portugal myself, so everything is a little behind schedule at the moment!

    • I honestly have no idea, Chrystal, as it’s not my industry. I would recommend trying to speak to someone who works in the same industry or something similar as they would be able to give you a better idea.

    • Hi Heather,

      It depends on what you like.

      The Algarve will have the best chance of good weather in mainland Portugal for that time of year, but it’s somewhere that does get touristy in the summer. Of course, that’s mainly along the coast. Inland regions of the Algarve, for example, don’t get as inundated with tourists.

      Of course, there are plenty of places that you can go that rarely get tourists. Avoid Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, Évora etc (basically the list of top places to visit in Portugal) and you’ll avoid the vast majority of tourists.

  9. Hello
    I am Aziza and I am from Tunisia , I’m about to take a life changing decision , looking for a fresh start , I am lucky enough to have an opportunity to work in portugal in a village called Fundao , Please I need to know about this village , life style activities, expenses, what is the average salary that can make me have a decent life and make me able to travel and see few places in Europe , activities , Gym classes music and dance schools if there are any .
    I know I am asking a lot but I am really excited and can not stop thinking about it , counting on your help and advice.
    Thank you so much in advance
    Peace and love from Tunisia

    • Hi Aziza,

      I can’t remember if I’ve been to Fundão, but I don’t think so. I have been to some places in that area, though, particularly Castelo Branco.

      I imagine Fundão is going to be quite a small town (population of around 30k) so you may find that you need to travel into Castelo Branco for things like dance classes (roughly 35 minutes by car), although it does look like it has a few gyms (e.g. Vivactivo Health Club and SHFIT).

      As for travel, you’ll be very close to the Spanish border so Spain should be top of your list of places to visit. There isn’t really a big airport nearby, so you’ll probably have to travel to Lisbon, Porto, or maybe somewhere in Spain if you want to fly anywhere.

      Hope that helps.

  10. We (my sister and adult son) will be there next week, second time. We are of Portuguese descent….starting in Lisboa working our way up to Porto and a day trip to Chaves area (where my grandmother was born). I hear the weather there is unusually warm. Last visit we did bike rides in both Lisbon and Porto–do you think it to warm for that this time around? Maybe a sailing trip instead? Also looking for a great Fado experience in Lisbon. Are you available to meet for a bite, drink or stroll? Would love too learn more about your experience as living there as an expat.

    • Hi Mandy,

      I’m travelling around the North of Portugal at the moment and the weather is mixed. Yesterday was quite hot (I got sunburnt) but today only got up to 24° which felt cooler. So, it varies from day to day. There’s quite a lot of cloud in the morning in the north, but it usually clears by around 11-12 o’ clock. You can get a pretty accurate idea of the weather roughly a week in advance.

      I’m not in Lisbon, unfortunately. I think I’ll be in the Azores then, but I hope you have a good time in Lisbon.

      As for fado, I need to put together a list of recommendations but Tasca do Chico in Alfama is a good option. You don’t need to order food there, just drinks, so you can have a nice meal somewhere beforehand.

  11. Planning to move f oi r retirement to Potugal. Seriously, looking for area that has xpats, lots to do but not extremely touristy.
    Main reason writing is to start getting your newsletter.

    • Hey Sandy,

      The Algarve is probably the most popular area for retired expats. It’s quite a wide area, so some bits are more touristy than others. If you stay inland a little or further to the West Coast, you can usually find a nook that’s not too touristy.

      I get a few comments from expats in other parts of Portugal like Cascais and Sintra, Coimbra, Madeira, and around Castelo Branco, but I think it’s fair to say the Algarve is definitely the most popular area.

      Newsletter will be becoming more regular over the next few months!

  12. 2 of us female seniors looking for quaint place with kitchen on southern coast of Portugal for 3 weeksish in November. With a view = ideal. Advice? Your life sounds beautiful!! Obrigada🌞

    • Hi Lynn,

      Sounds like a lovely trip. Airbnb.com is usually better than booking.com when you’re looking for places with a kitchen, so I would start by looking there.

      Will you have a car? If not, then you’ll want to be somewhere that has good train or bus connections if you’re there for 3 weeks. I wrote an article about visiting the Algarve without a car that should help here.

      Personally, for quaint and quiet places, I love the Western Algarve. It’s not as developed or even populated as the Central Algarve, and it has a big natural park: the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. The beaches here are also very beautiful. It’s not great if you don’t have a car though.

      Other places that you might want to consider are Ferragudo, Silves, Tavira, Loulé, and if you don’t mind driving up a big hill to get there, Monchique. These are all very beautiful towns, some on the coast and some inland.

  13. Hi James – We are flying into Lisbon but need to go to Porto upon arrival. We will spend 1.5 days in Porto and then go to Douro Valley for 3 nts. Then back to Lisbon. Do you think best idea is to train to Porto and rent car in Porto for the valley and them drive and drop off car in Lisbon? Or rent car in Lisbon for entire trip? What is most economical? And curious if there are Uber’s that would take us to Douro valley and from Douro valley to Lisbon? There are 8 of us. Thank you!

    • Hi Janis,

      I think the most economical option would be to rent the car in Lisbon and keep it for the entire trip.

      Taking the train between Lisbon and Porto will cost around €15 per person, so €120 total – so far more than you would pay to rent the car for that leg of the trip. Obviously you won’t use the car in Porto, but I think it still makes sense to rent it in Lisbon.

      Also, I don’t think Uber is an option. Currently, it’s only really available in cities (e.g. Porto and Lisbon) and not really the countryside.

  14. Thanks James! Are the car rental recommendations I saw in an earlier post still relevant? Any updates? Any concerns about the fuel shortage from strike? We are arriving mid September so I need to jump on this.

    • Hi Janis,

      Yes, car rental recommendations are still relevant.

      As for the fuel strike, I would be very surprised if it’s still going then. They typically last a few days, and it’s unlikely that they would strike again in September.

  15. Hi James ~
    I’m coming mid-September through the end of October and can hardly wait. I got an apartment, rented a car and fully intend on seeing/doing anything that appeals to me – I travel alone just so I don’t have to accommodate the wishes of anyone else (how spoiled is THAT????!!!) Any current and accurate toll info – say from Faro to Fatima?

    P.S. I read the article on Sandcity – thank you, it’s now on my list of to-see’s
    P.P.S. Anyone wanting to learn something of the language, whatever their age, I can highly recommend Duolingo.com – – it’s free, but you can do add-ons for minimal cost

    • Hey Kerneen,

      That’s so exciting! Your life sounds like the way to do it 🙂

      Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any toll pricing calculators online if that’s what you mean. I normally pay around €20 from the middle of the Algarve to Lisbon, so maybe €30-40 is an estimate for Faro to Fatima.

      A pricing calculator is definitely needed, but I have no idea if I’d be able to get a hold of the data.

  16. Hi James,

    Just wanted to say I came across your blog a week or so ago while researching for our upcoming trip – two families with two 6-year old children – and I have been obsessed with your articles ever since. They are fantastic and a wonderful introduction and resource. We arrive in Lisbon Saturday then driving straight down to Algarve, back to Lisbon a few days after that and then a flight to the Azores for 5 days. We are very excited. You paint such a beautiful picture!!

  17. Hi James,
    What a great blog! I don’t know that much about Portugal other than the great poets!
    I work for a book fair company in Boston MA and have a huge Portuguese speaking population. I’m looking for a way to get them popular American children’s books that have been translated into Portuguese (or any books really) but having a hard time! any suggestions on how to find a vendor for that in the US? I found your blog when looking for Amazon in Portuguese speaking counties but I don’t think it’s up and running yet??
    any advice for this book nerd?


  18. Hi James,
    So glad I found your blog & am signing up for newsletter. My husband & I are traveling to Portugal in October for our 30th anniversary & are so excited yet intimidated because it’s our first trip abroad and we feel clueless.
    Our plan is to fly into Porto & have booked a stay in Villa Nova de Gaia (taxi or Uber from airport??) Then fly to Faro to stay in Lagos a few days (again, taxi or public transport?) Lastly we’re thinking train to Lisbon for a couple of days? Hope to see Sintra (do we need a whole day for that?) Does all that sound reasonable/doable in 10 days?
    Thanks for any advice can share. Looking so forward to seeing your beautiful country.

    • Hi Phyllis,

      That does sound reasonable!

      Taxis and Ubers are available from Lisbon, Porto, and Faro airport. You can also book airport transfers at each, if you want something pre-booked but it’s usually not as cheap as an Uber anyway.

      I think a day is really needed for Sintra. You won’t be able to see it all in that time, but you could definitely make it to a few of the main spots. Don’t forget that you also need to factor in some time to get there and back – slightly less than an hour each way if you go by train.

      Hope the anniversary celebrations go well!

  19. Hi there James!

    Hope this e-mail finds you in good health and spirit!

    We are moving from Curaçao to Portugal as soon as our house here is sold. Could you maybe recommend a FB page that is equipped with longterm rentals in the Coimbra/Lisbon area, please? That would be grand!

    Wishing you many happy experiences ahead! :-)))

    Peter & Bärbel

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