40+ Portugal Travel Tips (That Are Actually Useful)

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James Cave / Last Updated: April 13, 2021 / Posted in: Travel in Portugal

Portugalist is packed with tips for travelling in Portugal, but this article puts all of the best tips in one place. 

Car rental & driving tips

Car rental

To find the best deal, I usually compare Rentalcars.com, Skyscanner, and maybe also Kayak.com as well. There isn’t much point checking many other sites: they mainly get their data from these sites. 

Car rental across the border

Many car rental companies charge you an extra fee for crossing the border into Spain or France (but some don’t). 

One-way car rental

The drop-off fee for a one-way car rental varies from around €50 to €200, but this list shows you which ones to go with. 

Child seats

Most airlines allow you to bring a baby or child seat with you. There’s no need to hire one from the car rental company. 

Take photos

Always take photos of any marks or scratches before leaving the car rental company’s premises. 

Driving in Portugal

Driving here can be a little challenging sometimes, especially in cities like Lisbon & Porto, and it’s worth reading up on the different rules and road mannerisms so you know what to expect.  

Toll roads

Some toll roads in Portugal are completely electronic, and there are several different ways that you can pay your toll payment. 

Accommodation tips


– Hotels.com has a loyalty program where you get 1 free night for every 10 nights that you book (on participating hotels). For example: book 10 nights with an average cost of €40, and you’ll get €40 credit to use against your next night. (Don’t worry if hotels.com aren’t the cheapest: they price match). 

Booking.com is normally the cheapest accommodation site

The majority of the time, booking.com is the cheapest (if you don’t take into account the free night from hotels.com). Of course, for the cheapest price, you can book through hotels.com and then request that they match booking.com’s price.  

Comparing hotel prices

Hotelscombined.com and Trivago allow you to compare the prices of a hotel across multiple agents (including Expedia, Agoda, etc). 


Airbnb.com is usually cheaper and usually has more choice of apartments than booking.com but I always check both. 

Short-term room rentals

You can also rent rooms in people’s apartments through Airbnb.com rather than an entire apartment and this can keep the travel costs low. 

Travelling alone

If you’re travelling alone, make sure to select “1 guest”  when using sites like booking.com as there are cheaper rates for solo travellers than couples.  

July & August

These two months are the most expensive (as well as the hottest and the busiest). If you can avoid them, come in September or June instead: the weather is still great and prices are a fraction of what they are in the peak summer months.   

If you’re staying in an Airbnb, remember other people live nearby

You’ve taken some time off to visit Portugal and found a great Airbnb in a real traditional Portuguese neighbourhood. That’s great, but remember that living like a local means that the people in your building are locals and they have jobs to get up and go to or children to look after. 

Portuguese walls can be quite thin, so don’t have any parties and try and keep the noise to a reasonable level.

If you camp, Don’t set fires in the countryside

Forest fires are a huge problem in Portugal, and have caused millions in damages over the past few years. Often forest fires are started by something small like a campfire and quickly become an inferno that tears through the countryside destroying the landscape, people’s homes, and killing people as well. In June 2017, for example, the wildfires across Central Portugal resulted in 66 deaths and a further 204 injuries.

Portugal, especially during the summer, can be like one big firelighter: the non-native eucalyptus trees in particular are extremely flammable, and are a big reason that the wildfires spread so quickly.

Note: Wildcamping, although it is sometimes ignored in the winter, is actually illegal in Portugal as fires are such a big problem.

Transportation tips


Trains can be booked through cp.pt and can be very affordable, especially when compared to other European countries. Some of the longer routes have discounts of around 40% if you book in advance. 


Long distance coaches can be booked through Rede Expressos. Local buses usually can’t be booked online and the company websites (which normally start with “Rodoviária” e.g. “Rodoviária do Alentejo”) aren’t always very easy to use. You’ll be able to find timetables online, but you’ll probably need to go into the bus station to buy your tickets. 

Buses are easier than trains for luggage

Some people have emailed in with concerns about travelling on public transport with luggage. It isn’t difficult, and everyone does it, but if you’re really concerned you might find travelling by bus easier than travelling by train. 

On a train, you often have to lift your suitcase or bag up into the compartment above the seat (about the same height as the overhead compartment on a plane). Often, you’re doing this while the train is moving. 

On a bus, in comparison, you put your luggage into the hold which is about knee-height. You do this before boarding the bus and, often, the bus driver will do it for you as well.  

Public transport etiquette

Etiquette is important on public transport, particularly if you’re travelling with a backpack or suitcase. These are cumbersome and can take up a lot of space, and it’s important to be conscious of the other people travelling with you.

If you’re travelling with a backpack, it’s best to take it off and keep it on the ground. When taking it off, don’t swing around unexpectedly as you’re liable to hit someone in the face.

Suitcases can cause plenty of problems as well, especially suitcases with wheels. Many people pull them behind them without realising how easy it would be to trip someone up.

Be willing to give up your seat

In Portugal, as in many other countries, it’s also normal etiquette to give up your seat for someone who’s older or pregnant. It’s good manners and good manners are an important part of being a good tourist.


I use Skyscanner a lot because you can see prices across a whole month rather than just specific dates. I look at Google Flights too. 


Uber is available in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Algarve. Other taxi apps like Kapten are worth trying out (especially as they all give you free credit) but may only be available in Lisbon. These apps are slightly cheaper than using a traditional taxi, but traditional taxis in Portugal are normally very affordable. 

Airport Taxis

These are more expensive than private transfers. If you’re not going to use public transport, it’s usually cheaper to book an airport transfer with a company like Welcome Pickups or failing that, use Uber. Hoppa.com is useful if you want to book a shuttle bus. 

Tours & activities tips


GetYourGuide and Viator are great for tours that need to be pre-booked. They don’t have everything, though, and the rest you’ll have to find on Google and book by e-mail. 

Walking tours

Most cities have free walking tour companies (tips are expected) and these are a great and affordable way to get your bearings and a quick overview of the city’s history. 

Food & drink tips

Booking restaurants

Booking restaurants over the phone can be intimidating if it’s in another country, but most accept bookings over Facebook. You can also book restaurants online using The Fork
Yes, you can drink the water in Portugal

Pastelarias/snack bars/cafés

As well as selling coffee and cakes, these often cheap menu do dia (multi-course meal often with wine) for less than €10 or a prato do dia (dish of the day) for around €5-6. They also sell snacks like bifanas or bowls of soup which you can order at anytime of the day. 

Supermarket restaurants

Large supermarkets like Pingo Doce or Continente offer canteen-style meals that are often as little as €3. 


At the start of a meal, the waiter will probably bring over bread, butter, and maybe cheese. This is known as the couvert. It’s normally quite affordable, but you don’t have to take it if you don’t want it. Tip: You can check the prices inside the menu before deciding. 


Tipping isn’t particularly common in non-touristy parts of Portugal but, as with anywhere, it’s always appreciated. 10% or less is standard. 

Customer service

Don’t judge a restaurant by its customer service unless it’s really bad. Customer service isn’t really a priority for most restaurants except in touristy places. 

Weather tips

July & August

July & August are extremely hot in Portugal with temperatures in the south reaching or going above 40°C. June or September are much more pleasant. 


April can be quite a wet month in Portugal so much so that there’s a saying: “en abril aguas mil” (in April, thousand waters). 

Algarve winters

– Winters in the Algarve can be very mild and it’s often warm enough to have Christmas dinner outside. Keep an eye on those cheap flights and come and get some winter sun!

The North has a different climate

Portugal is a long county and the north of Portugal has a very different climate to the south particularly much wetter and damper winters. Don’t expect the whole country to be the same. 

Temperatures drop at night

Nighttime temperatures drop quite a bit even in the summer months. Be sure to pack a few different layers and at least one sweater (a jacket is a good idea in winter). 

Inside temperatures

Houses in Portugal can be very cold in the winter, and often don’t have heating. Many also don’t have AC, which means they can get hot in the summer. 

Clothing tips

Practical footwear

Most Portuguese streets are cobbled and don’t lend themselves well to high heels. Wear comfortable and practical shoes. 

Speaking Portuguese tips

Learn a few basic phrases

A few basic words like please (por favor) and thank you (obigado for men or obrigada for women) go a long way. You never know, you might decide to learn Portuguese properly

Spanish and Portuguese are different

While Spanish is widely understood, it’s important to remember that Spanish and Portuguese are different languages. Spanish is widely spoken in Portugal so, if you’re a native Spanish speaker, you can get by in Spanish.

If you’re an English speaker, however, there’s no benefit to speaking Spanish over English.

Money tips

Carry cash

Although more and more places accept foreign bank cards, a lot still don’t. Some machines (on the toll roads even) don’t accept foreign bank cards. It’s always a good idea to have some on you. 

Euronet ATMS

These ATMs typically charge you between 7.5% and 20% of whatever you’re withdrawing, so avoid at all costs. They’re appearing all over Portugal, and are easily identifiable by their bright blue and yellow colouring. 

Transferring money (for expats)

Wise (previously Transferwise) is probably my favourite site, but Monito.com is useful for showing which company offers the very best rate. 

Credit & debit cards (for expats)

N26 offers a free Euro bank account, which is great for those living in Portugal as most Portuguese banks charge a monthly fee. Revolut is another good option that’s also free. I also have a Halifax Clarity credit card (UK) and a bank account with Metro bank (UK).  

Insurance tips

Travel insurance

I’ve used World Nomads a lot in the past but, thankfully, I’ve never had to claim. 

Car hire excess insurance

Rather than take out the car rental company’s insurance policy, I take out an annual car hire excess insurance policy

Luggage tips

Left luggage

If you don’t have somewhere to leave your bags for the day (i.e. your hotel), stasher.com is great for showing places nearby where you can pay to leave your stuff. Most hotels will allow you to leave your stuff there after checkout, though, and some Airbnb hosts will allow you to drop off your stuff early. 

Shopping tips


Sunscreen (and most branded or medical products) is really expensive in Portugal, but you can get a bottle of sunscreen for around €3 in Lidl. 

Online shopping

There is no Amazon Portugal, so the fastest Amazon site to use is Amazon Spain

Health tips

Visiting the doctor or dentist

Regardless of whether you are or aren’t living in Portugal, you can pay to go to visit a private doctor, dermatologist, dentist, etc. It’s generally not that expensive (around €60-80). 

Staying healthy

Vegetables can be hard to come by in Portugal. Main meals often don’t include them as people get their vegetables from the soup. Some dishes will also come with a side salad, and you can always try asking for vegetables instead of the multi-carb sides that the dish is likely to come with. Large cities like Lisbon and Porto also have lots of vegetarian buffets, which can be great for topping up those all-important vitamins. 

Internet & mobile phone tips

3g internet

You can now use a sim card from another EU country within Portugal and you will not pay roaming charges. Depending on the provider, you can keep doing this for several months. 

Free public wifi

Many government buildings in Portugal (e.g. the council or library) offer free wifi, and you can site outside and use it. 

Café wifi

Often (although less so these days) the wifi password in a café is the phone number of the café or the name of the network. 

Etiquette Tips

Ask permission to take a photograph

A lot of Portugal is incredibly photogenic, and many of the things that make a great photo are of Portuguese people going about their daily life for example shopping in the markets, sitting on benches, and sitting at cafés (yes, there’s a lot of sitting down in Portugal).

It’s polite to ask people before taking a photograph. Most people, if you ask them, are more than happy to oblige, and even more happy if you support their business in someway (for example buying something from their stall).

Step aside to read your map (or phone)

We all know what it’s like when the person in front of you stops suddenly and you have to avoid crashing into them.

If you do need to look at your map, or stop for any other reason, just step aside and then stop to read your map or do whatever you need to do. The streets can be very narrow in Portugal, but by thinking about others before you stop you can avoid getting in other people’s way.


  1. Hi James,
    My family are traveling to Lisbon over Christmas/New years. I noticed you said it will be grey and wet in Porto. Is that typically the weather in Lisbon as well? Also any suggestions what to do New years eve? Not looking for a big bash as we are not big partiers, but would like an enjoyable evening. Children are 19 and 21.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      It is impossible to predict whether or not the weather will be good, unfortunately, but Lisbon definitely gets much better weather than Porto. Last year was quite mild and didn't rain.

      As for things to do, I've written about NYE a little bit in this article: https://www.portugalist.com/new-years-eve-lisbon/

      I would suggest going out for dinner and then going to Praça do Comércio to see the fireworks.

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

  2. Hi James. Great website!!! very helpful for us, as first time travelers to Portugal.

    My boyfriend and i are going to Portugal in december, and we're not too sure about the weather... what kind of clothes to pack.

    Also we planning on staying in Porto for a few days... where is the best place/area to stay in?. looking for more of a vibe, party area thats central to the main spots as well as the train station.


    • Hi Sevania,

      For Porto, I would assume it would be cold and damp. You might get lucky and get a bit of winter sun, but it's normally quite grey and it can rain during December. Hope for the best but plan for the worst 🙂

      I really like Porto in December, but it's always good to be prepared.

      As for areas to stay in, Porto really isn't that big. The last time I was there, I stayed at Vibrant Porto Apartments which I really liked and it was roughly a 20-minute walk from most of the city centre.

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  3. Hi James - - thank you for the fantastically useful site! We will be in Lisbon the first week of October (staying right near Alfama) and are planning to visit Sintra as a day trip. Should we expect Sintra to still be super touristy/crowded? what would be the best travel strategy (train, bus) and should we plan this to be a full day? Thank you so much!

    • Hey Anna,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I was in Sintra recently and need to do a writeup about it. Yes, it's going to be touristy and it's quite possible that it'll be crowded also. It'll be quieter in October but it's always a popular place.

      I would say it's definitely a full day but I've seen some itineraries that do it in around 1/2 to 3/4 of a day. It actually took me nearly 2 days to see everything that I wanted to see.

      I would recommend getting there early. The train from Rossio is usually the easiest option for people. If you want to see Cabo da Rocha (which is very beautiful) as well you are best either going as part of a tour or renting a car as this is a good bit away from Sintra.

      If you take the train, have you Via Viagem card topped up and ready so you don't have to queue to get that at the train station.

      I'd also recommend going to Pena Palace first as that's the most popular. The other thing that can get a bit busy is the Quinta da Regaleira (well).

      Hope that helps.

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  4. Hi James,

    I just discovered your blog and it's been super helpful!

    I'm going to be in Porto the first week of October. I would be interested in doing some hiking while I'm there. Can you recommend any hiking trails near Porto?

  5. Hi James,

    Just read your site and glad to learn the travel tips. Three of us will travel to Portugal for a couple weeks on next Thursday. We will rent a car and visit Lisbon, Sintra, Evora, Algarve, Obidos, Alcobaca, Fatima, Coimbra, Guimaraes and Porto. Do you think our itinerary is too aggressive? After leaving Evora, we are debating if we should visit the coastal route of Atlantic Ocean to reach to Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente or just take N125 highway. Your help is greatly appreciated. Obrigada.


    • Hi Sonia,

      Glad I could provide some useful tips. I would say you need at least 2 days (but ideally 3-4) for Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, 2 days for Coimbra and Guimarães, and you could probably do each of the others in 1 day if you were stuck for time. This would mean a lot of moving about, of course, so you need to decide if you want to allow some downtime as well.

      I have driven down the coastal route to Sagres and it's beautiful. Driving down a road like that (as opposed to the motorway) does mean that you'll want to get out and stop and all of those stops add up. You can easily spend half a day or more doing a drive like that.

      If you do decide to drive it, be sure to stop off at Cabo Sardão. I think it's one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

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  6. hello
    we are flying into porto airport on sept 14, an have 3pcs of luggage with us, the hotel we are staying at is AC PORTO. how far away is the hotel from the airport, i heard uber taxis is the cheaper taxis to take,also we have a flight on sept 16th to barcelona an it is at 630am what time should we be at the aiport for this flight. thank you

    • Hi Don,

      It looks like the AC PORTO is in the city centre and around 13 km from the airport. Yes, Uber and the other taxi apps are cheaper than traditional taxis.

      For flights within the EU, I think it's 2 hours before takeoff so you would need to get there for 4.30 am.

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    • Hi Michael,

      Looks like a nice place to stay. The only thing is that you're a little outside of Albufeira, but you actually won't need to go in there all that much - the beach is close by along with plenty of bars and restaurants.

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  7. Hello:

    I just discovered this site today and am wishing I had known about it a while ago. I leave on the 5th of Sept., heading to Porto/Amarante and Lisbon for a day. First part of the trip is for Habitat for Humanity and I'll be in Amarante. Then my husband is joining afterwards for a week of sightseeing, around Porto, a train trip down to Lisbon for a long day, etc.

    Of course we plan on wine/port tasting, the more the merrier. I guess my main question is: Do you have any idea how much port or wine we are allowed to bring back to the States? It would be for personal use, not for sale.

    2nd question - where is the best place to exchange dollars for euros, as soon as I get there. (Am actually there 2 days early before joining Habitat people)
    Thanks for any input!! Really excited about this trip! Kristin

    • Hi Kristin,

      I am definitely not an expert on this, but it seems that you can bring up to 1 litre of alcohol in without declaring it. After that you have to declare it (and potentially pay 3% duty) but you can bring as much alcohol under 24 percent as you like as long as its for personal use.

      States may have their own additional rules, and this is for alcohol in checked luggage.

      That's my understanding of it anyway. I've never travelled to the US with alcohol, so I could easily be wrong.

      As for the dollars to Euros question, it's generally better to use credit cards where possible and ATMs (but avoid the Euronet ones), allowing your bank at home to do the conversion rather than accepting what's offered. Your bank may even have information on which ATMs to use in Portugal.

      I don't know if there's much different between the currency exchange services in Porto. Avoid the services in hotels and airports, though.

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  8. We are a family of 12 ages 5y to 75y that get together once a year and June 2020 it will be Portugal. My family of 4 plans to arrive in Lisbon then travel by train to Porto for 2 day then we will meet the rest of the crew somewhere in the southern region. There we are looking for a place (on AirBnB) we can get around to restaurants/sites without a car, is not "touristy," has access to a beaches, and where the grandparents and kids can then travel to Spain for a few weeks while my husband and I return to work. Any ideas of this perfect town to relax and enjoy our family - so far I have searched around Lagos, Alvor, Conceição de Tavira (this one seemed very remote), Santa Luiza. Thank you in advance - any help narrowing down the search would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Monica,

      I have just the article for you. It's all about visiting the Algarve without a car: https://www.portugalist.com/algarve-without-a-car/.

      Being honest, it's not possible to find somewhere that's by the beach and doesn't also have tourists - especially somewhere with good public transport. If you want to get away from the tourists, you have to go inland or go to the West Coast of the Algarve and that means having a car. Of course, there are scales of touristy with towns like Albufeira and Praia da Rocha at the extremer end.

      I would probably go with Lagos as it has both a train station and a bus station (which is good for getting around) and also a nice long beach. It will get a lot of tourists in June, esp in the town centre, but you could probably find a nice Airbnb closer to the beach that would mean you'd be away from it.

      You can also get a bus from there to Seville (or several places in Spain) and there are plenty of companies offering tours and activities like boat rides. The only downside to Lagos is that it's quite far west, which isn't ideal for daytrips to Faro or places on the Eastern Algarve.

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  9. Hello James

    We are a party of 6 visiting Portugal this October and are based in Albufiera for a couple of weeks. Can you suggest any 1 - 2 day trips in and around this area and possibly to Seville and/or Gibralter.

    • Hi Brian,

      Sure! Lisbon, Seville, Évora, Jerez, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Beja, are all possible within a day-trip. Obviously, there are also plenty of places on the Algarve that are worth visiting as well (e.g. Tavira, Loulé, Faro, Olhão).

      For 2-day trips, there are even more places. You could potentially go a bit further than Lisbon to places like Tomar and Coimbra.

      I think you'll be pretty busy!

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  10. Hi James,
    My wife and I will be traveling to Lisbon and Porto in October. We will be staying at Hotel Riverside Alfama in Lisbon and The House Ribeira Porto in Porto (walking distance from the Sao Bento station). Can you recommend train station from Lisbon closest to our hotel with the shortest travel time? Also, would reserving train tickets online save any money?

    • Hi Ed,

      Yes, there's normally a good discount if you book around a week in advance. See this article for details: https://www.portugalist.com/portugal-train-tickets/

      For the train from Lisbon to Porto, your nearest train station would be Lisboa - Santa Apolonia. You can take the metro from Terreiro do Paço or take a bus or taxi there either.

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  11. Many thanks James,

    Yes, mixed results from rental company. Standard quick reply pointing me to their FAQs page instead of giving an answer to my specific questions.

  12. I am 70 years old do I get the senior discount if I buy the ticket at the orients station in Lisbon on the day before I travel to Porto? I will be traveling there in late October.

    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, you get the senior discount if you buy your ticket the day before you travel. However, you may be able to get the ticket even cheaper if you book in advance (e.g. a week) online. See this article for details on train discounts: https://www.portugalist.com/portugal-train-tickets/

      Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

  13. Hi James ,

    I am flying with my family into Lisbon this Friday We are renting a car. Due to the petrol tanker strike have you or anyone heard of any difficulties vis a vis how the rental companies are dealing with this and how bad is the rationing(empty petrol pumps) is.
    Planning to drive to Colares.

    thanks Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      Good question! Unfortunately, I'm not sure. I'd recommend getting in contact with your car rental company to confirm that the vehicle you'll be picking up will be full.

      It's difficult to know how long the strike will go on for, but the last one only lasted a few days. If you are given a car with a full tank, the drive to Colares won't use up much of it and neither will a bit of sightseeing. Assuming it only lasts a few days again, I think you'll be okay.

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  14. Love your site! We are visiting Porto for a week in September. In much of Europe we were advised to dress conservatively and to wear pants, not shorts. What do you advise?

    Also I usually get euros at the airport atm on arrival. Good idea in Portugal or not?

    Thank you! We are so excited!

    • Hi L,

      People in Portugal can dress a bit conservatively, but you will have no problem wearing shorts here. I have been wearing shorts all summer, and it's not just tourists and non-Portuguese that wear them: quite a few locals will as well (although they may be moving towards pants by September).

      I would recommend that you bring at least one pair of pants, though, as the temperature in the evening can drop.

      Generally speaking, the ATM is one of the best ways to get euros. It's certainly better than the currency exchange services at the airport or in town.

      Of course, your bank may charge you some fees (these fees vary, depending on the bank). Even with those fees included, though, it's usually one of the best (if not the best) ways to get Euros.

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  15. We are keen to spend 5-6 days relaxing and visiting vineyards in the Douro Valley in August (staying in one or two places). We could either rent a car or use trains or busses from Porto. Any suggestions of areas to stay, vineyards to visit and how to get around would be welcome. Thank you

  16. I have medical condition concerning my eye. The treatment requires an injection into the eye every 6 weeks. How would I find a qualified Retina specialists to perform this procedure. I speak English only. I'm positive my specialists in the US would coordinate if I could point him in the right direction.

    • Hi Paul,

      Are you visiting Portugal or planning on living here?

      I think a good place to start your search would be the CUF hospitals. You can pay to visit a consultant and they also work with a lot of insurance companies. What I really like is that they also tell you the languages that the doctor speaks.

      https://www.saudecuf.pt/encontre-um-medico and the specialty to search for is Oftalmologia (I think).

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  17. Just discovered Portugalist. Love it. What's the weather like in September?- we are visiting Lisbon/Coimbra/Fatima/Porto. Any tips regarding the weather and choice of clothes?
    Will appreciate a reply when you can.

    • Hi Ms J Mascarenhas,

      So glad you like it. I will be writing a bit more about all of those places over the coming weeks. Hopefully there'll be something up by the time you come to Portugal.

      As for the weather, September is usually a good month. It's cooler than July and August, but you'll still find plenty of people on the beach and most tourists will still be wearing shorts and t-shirts. It depends where you're coming from: most people are coming from the North of Europe, so Portugal in September is an increase in temperature.

      Temperatures can drop a noticeable few degrees in the evening, and Porto will be a bit cooler than Lisbon, so I would bring at least one pair of trousers and a sweater. Usually the trick is to focus on layers that you can easily take on or off rather than carrying anything too big or heavy.

      Hope that helps.

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  18. Hi, We are 6 adults visiting Portugal in first week November.
    We have planned 4 nights each in Lisbon & Porto and 2 nights at serra de Estrela or Duoro valley. After this we push off to Seville.
    Since we are not self driving, can you please suggest the best way to travel from Estrela or Duoro to Seville (chauffered vehicle too expensive?). Or do you think we should spend 2 days in Lagos/Tavira (instead of Estrela) and onwards to Seville (better connections).
    Also, will the boat rides in Benagil caves be operational in mid November?

    • Hi Pooja,

      Getting from either Serra da Estrela or the Douro to Seville is definitely a little tricky as they're both very remote destinations.

      I would say that getting from Lagos/Tavira to Seville would be easier (there's a bus between Lagos and Seville), and the weather is likely to be better, but the Douro Valley and Serra da Estrela are more beautiful (in my opinion).

      The main issue is that the Spanish and Portuguese transport networks (especially rail) are every separate. If you wanted to get from the Serra da Estrella to Seville, for example, you might need to take a bus from Guarda to Salamanca and then go from Salamanca to Sevilla.

      For the Douro, you might be best going back to Porto to connect. There are a handful of flights to Sevilla, and you can also fly to Faro (or take the train/bus) and then take a bus onto Seville. Vigo also has a small airport with flights to Sevilla (more than Porto, I think) that would also be worth looking at.

      The overnight train between Lisbon and Madrid also goes past the Serra da Estrella. It stops at Celorico da Beira and Guarda, although quite late at night (around 1 am). You would arrive in Madrid at around 8 am, and then could get a fast train to Sevilla.

      Anyway, those are just a few options.

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  19. Ola, We will be a party of 5 adults traveling via train from CoimbraB to Lisboa Oriente and on to Sintra. Can you advise whether tis best to take Uber (would probably need 2 of them) rather than dealing with our suitcases on an urban train? Not a ton of luggage (3 of the 5 are carry on only, but still - could be stressful situation). Obrigada

    • Hi Maryann,

      Many of the other passengers will be travelling with suitcases as well. If you only have one each, this is pretty normal and you shouldn't have a problem.

      An Uber from Coimbra to Lisbon will cost you around €150, so 2 cars would be €300. I think the train costs around €16 per ticket, if it's booked a week in advance, so €80 total. There's a big price difference between the two.

      You could also consider taking the bus for the Coimbra to Lisbon part of the journey. Because the luggage is stored underneath, there's always plenty of room there. Tickets can be bought through https://www.rede-expressos.pt/

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  20. Hi. We would like to visit Portugal for New Years, is it a good idea for about 10 days? We’d like to start from the North...Porto, Douro, Algarve, Lagos, Lisbon, Sintra and Faro. Visiting the Bengali caves is high on the itinerary and may give Portugal a miss if it’s not possible. Need genuine advice and any other must-dos that you suggest. Which could include high adrenalin sports. TIA, all help is much appreciated.

    • Hi Anita,

      10 days is a good amount of time, although it sounds like you're planning a pretty busy trip.

      The Benagil Caves are good, but I wouldn't skip this trip if it's not possible. In the past few years, they've actually become incredibly touristic - there are now queues of boats in the summer waiting to go into the caves (although I don't think you'll have that problem in January).

      As for high adrenalin sports, I need to do a post on all of the options that you'll find in Portugal. One option is skydiving, which you can do in the Algarve (and several other places in Portugal).

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  21. Going to Portugal for the first time in October. Actually first trip to Europe ever. You mentioned to carry cash, but not everywhere takes foreign bank cards. What is the best way to get cash in Portugal?

    • Hi Kelly,

      Good question.

      Withdrawing cash from an ATM is usually the best option for travel as it means you don't have to carry lots of cash with you. However, quite a few readers from the US have been saying that they're been getting charged big fees for withdrawing cash in Portugal. I need to look into whether it's a case that their bank accounts aren't travel-friendly, or whether non-EU bank cards just get charged this fee. (Some banks have accounts that are more suited to overseas travel than others).

      The other option is to bring Euros with you. It's usually best to buy these from your local bank or credit union as airport exchange services rarely offer a decent rate.

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  22. Definitely need a lot of HELP!! How many questions am I allowed? Is 1000 too many just asking.!!! Selling everything , moving to Portugal. Either by myself or with my sweetheart. Sent question previously re: visit and then apply for visa awaiting reply. Thanks in advance.

  23. I am holidaying in Tavira 23rd August until 4th September to celebrate my 60th Birthday. I would like to know about any events,festivals during that time. Also I would like to have a lovely birthday dinner somewhere extra special,can you recommend somewhere.

    Kind Regards

  24. Just discovering your site and finding it so helpful. Great tip on not trying to use my Spanish (I def would have done that). On the same token- I read your article about pesticos and it really had me wondering if the Portuguese have a similar social culture to the Spanish- I love how common it is for people to go out for tapas w friends any time any day. We would also be traveling w our 1 year old and hoped it is culturally acceptable to bring with to bars and restaurants.

    Thanks for any insight!

    • Hi Annie,

      Babies in bars is definitely very common in Spain! I'm always amazed by how late they get to stay up there.

      In Portugal, it's not as common as the whole bar culture isn't quite the same but it's still common. If you find a petiscos bar, you wouldn't have any problem bringing your baby there. It's also normal for people to bring their kids to the restaurants and cafés as well, and you'll sometimes see people pushing them around in their pushchairs late at night too.

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  25. Hi
    Find your love of Portugal inspiring
    We are looking to get an apartment in Faro City ( maybe even the old town ) but don't seem to find much on traditional web sites even airbnb.any other ideas.please Katharine

    • Thanks for the kind words Katharine,

      Do you mean long or short-term? I've written about renting long-term in the Algarve and it has a list of websites that you should take a look at (if you haven't already).

      Airbnb and Booking.com tend to be the best for short-term rentals. There are a few other Airbnb alternatives that are worth looking at if you can't find anything at all, but Airbnb seems to be the best and cheapest.

      If you let me know how long you're planning on renting for, I can try to provide more specific information.

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  26. ok so on your "Don't speak Spanish" comment is it better to speak English? I am Spanish and traveling to Portugal and feel i can communicate better speaking Spanish as some of the words are similar. I don't know how to speak Portuguese only a few phrases and common words. Is speaking Spanigh frowned upon in Portugal?


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