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Portugal Travel Guide

With its vast rugged coastline, gorgeous beaches, and historic coastal towns, Portugal is a dream destination, especially in autumn and spring.

During our first trip to Portugal, we spent a week hopping between villages and beaches in Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region. We fell in love with Algarve’s seafood cuisine, Moorish architecture, and sandy beaches backed by dramatic limestone cliffs.

During our second trip, we traveled from Porto to Faro, visiting Lisbon, the Sintra Coast, and the Vicentine Coast along the way. This 2-Week Portugal Itinerary connects the most stunning coastal landscapes and coastal trails of Portugal, including the celebrated Fisherman’s Trail.

Porto, Portugal

Portugal Travel Map

PORTUGAL DESTINATIONS

Porto

Sintra Coast

Lisbon

Vicentine Coast

Algarve

Sintra Coast, Portugal

Best Things to Do in Portugal

Algarve Beach, Portugal

Beach Hop in Algarve

From small intimate coves to broad stretches of endless sand, exploring Algarve’s beaches is an ever-unfolding adventure. Algarve has 200 kilometers of coastline and nearly 100 beaches to choose from.

Over 80 beaches in Algarve are marked with the prestigious Blue Flag, which is an ecolabel award for beaches and marinas that demonstrate good practices with regards to water quality, environmental management, safety and services, and environmental education. Beaches awarded with the Blue Flag will fly the Blue Flag emblem during the official bathing season.

The most striking feature of many Algarve’s beaches are the limestone rock formations that stud the beaches. The contrast between the yellow rock and teal water is breathtaking.

Algarve Travel Guides:

Porto, Portugal

Visit Porto

Porto occupies the north bank of the Duoro River, the gateway to Portugal’s famous wine region. Porto may be synonymous with port wine, but it’s also known for its rebellious spirit, the steadfastness of its citizens, and its enduring charm.

Here are some things we loved doing in Porto:

  • Watch the sunset from Jardim do Morro park or Ponte Luis I bridge.
  • Eat tapas at Coupage 51 or Rua Tapas and Music Bar.
  • Eat a traditional francescinha at Brasão Cervejaria.
  • Eat fresh fish on Rua Heróis de França in Matosinhos, a city in northern Porto District.

Where to Stay in Porto:

You can learn more about these experiences in our 2-Week Portugal Itinerary.

Vicentine Coast, Portugal

Trek the Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail

The Fisherman’s Trail is a 4-day trek along Costa Vicentina. The trail starts in Porto Covo in the Alentejo region and ends in Odeceixe in the Algarve. Closely following the Vicentina Coast, this multi-day hike gives you access to Portugal’s most wild and remote coastal areas.

Hikers overnight in hostels and guesthouses in small fishing towns along the way. Here’s an overview of the trek:

Transit / Arrival Day: Lisbon to Porto Covo

Day 1 | Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes (20 km, 6.5 hrs)

Day 2 | Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve (15 km, 5.5 hrs)

Day 3 | Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar (22 km, 6 hrs)

Day 4 | Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe (18 km, 5.5 hrs)

Learn More: Fisherman’s Trail Hiking Guide

Vicentine Coast, Portugal

Portugal Facts

Official Name | República Portuguesa

Capital | Lisbon

Government | Parliamentary Partycracy – “A pseudo democracy where people do not elect representatives directly instead voting for a Party. The parties appoint its representatives via pre-formed lists usually consisting of party cronies, family, friends and favor-givers.” (Source: Portugal.com)

Regions | Portugal is divided into 18 districts and 2 autonomous regions (Azores and Madeira). The 18 districts are: Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu.

From a tourist’s perspective, Portugal’s main regions are: (1) Porto and the North, (2) Center, (3) Lisbon and Tagus Valley, (4) Alentejo, (5) Algarve, (6) Azores Islands, (7) Madeira Islands.

Population | 10.33 Million

Language | Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official, but locally used)

Currency | Euro

Tipping Etiquette | It’s customary to leave a tip of 10% on restaurant bills. Taxi drivers can be tipped by rounding the fare up to the nearest 5 Euro. 

Water Quality | Historically, Portugal has had a poor reputation in terms of its water quality control. However, between 1993 and 2004, the coverage of safe drinking water increased dramatically. CDC says, “Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions [in Portugal] beyond what they normally do at home.” (Source). That being said, when we stayed with some local families during our trip, they always filtered the tap water using a Brita water filter.

Something Interesting | Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe. The country’s borders have barely changed since 1139.

Portuguese Saying | A vida e o amor que criamos são a vida e o amor que vivemos. Translation: The life and love we create is the life and love we live.

Fisherman's Trail, Portugal

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Sabrina & Kati