Your full Wanderlust guide to

Portugal

Portugal
Praia do Camilo in Portugal’s Algarve region (Shutterstock)

With its cobblestoned and cultural cities, wild and rugged coastline and rich, storied history, Portugal is a special corner of Europe. Whether it’s admiring centuries-old architecture, learning about the story of fado music, hiking along dramatic coastal paths, relaxing in the mountains or tasting the delights of freshly sourced delicacies, Portugal is a beautiful place to see by train, car, bike or on foot.

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Capital
Lisbon
Language
Portuguese
Population
10.4 million
Int. dial code
+351
Visa
UK nationals can travel to Portugal for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Time zone
GMT
Plug Type
Type F
Currency
Euro (EUR)

When to go to Portugal

When to go to Portugal depends on where in the country you plan to visit. Cities such as Lisbon and Porto are great all year round, although less crowded in the winter months. The Alentejo can get uncomfortably hot in summer, so spring and autumn are ideal times to visit. Spring and autumn are also great for exploring the southern Algarve region and the Douro Valley. Keen birdwatchers should plan to visit the Algarve in winter.

International airports

Lisbon (LIS) 7km from Lisbon’s city centre; Porto (OPO) 12km from Porto; Faro (FAO) in the southern Algarve region is 8km from the city centre.

Getting around in Portugal

Portugal has a very efficient and cost-effective train system, which is a great way to see the country in a slower way while lowering your carbon footprint. Comboios de Portugal is a useful website for planning train journeys and buying tickets.

There are bus services connecting major cities and towns. Rede Nacional de Expressos is a national express coach network and is the preferred way to book and plan bus journeys around Portugal.

If you’re planning to hire a car and explore more remote areas, local companies are normally much cheaper than the international chains. Some also offer one-way rentals too. Road tripping around Portugal is another great way to see the country.

Where to stay in Portugal

Portugal offers beautiful accommodation, from plush contemporary hotels to renovated farmhouses and charming little guesthouses. Whether it’s a beach villa or a friendly, family-run boutique hotel or pousada, Portugal has a range of accommodation types to suit every budget.

What to eat in Portugal

Portugal has many delicacies worth trying, not least the world-famous pastel de nata or custard tart, a sweet treat to be enjoyed any time of day. Hearty, home cooked food is central to Portuguese life, whether it’s flavoursome frango (chicken), local sausages or freshly fished seafood. Farm-to-table cuisine is very easy to come by, whether in unassuming, smaller restaurants or high-end, elegant eateries.

Health and safety in Portugal

There are few major health hazards, but in summer months make sure to use insect repellent. Good healthcare is readily available throughout Portugal. EU citizens should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Tap water is safe to drink in most places; check with your accommodation.