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Portugal

Portugal Travel Guide

With its vast rugged coastline, beautiful beaches, and historical coastal towns, Portugal is a dream destination. Prices are lower than other Western European Countries, which makes traveling here much more affordable.

During our first trip to Portugal, we spent a week hopping from village to village and from beach to beach in Portugal’s southernmost region: Algarve. We were so impressed by the delicious seafood, the Moorish architecture, and the pristine sandy beaches. We’ve detailed all our recommendations in our Algarve Travel Guide.

During our second trip, we spent one month traveling from Porto to Faro. We took all our favorite experiences and condensed them into this 2 week Portugal itinerary.

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Portugal Travel Guide - Moon & Honey Travel

Portugal Travel Guide Overview

  • Portugal Travel Basics
  • Where to Go (Interactive Map)
  • What to Experience in Portugal
  • What to Eat & Drink in Portugal
Portugal Itinerary
Resources to help you plan an epic trip to Portugal:
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Porto, Portugal Travel Guide

Portugal Travel Basics

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 perpective, 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: 10.32 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.

 
Portugal Travel Guide

Where to Go in Portugal

Click the dots to explore specific destinations
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A vida e o amor que criamos são a vida e o amor que vivemos.

 

 

 

 

Portuguese Saying

The life and love we create is the life and love we live.

What to Experience in Portugal

Our favorite things to see and do
Portugal Travel Guide - Top Experiences - Algarve Beaches

Beach hopping 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.

Learn More: Algarve Travel Guide

 
Porto, Portugal Travel Guide

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.

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

Where to Stay in Porto:

 
Portugal Travel Guide - Rota Vicentina Top Experience

Hiking 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

 
Portugal Travel Guide / Costa Vicentina

What to Eat & Drink in Portugal

Portuguese Custom: Couvert

In restaurants, waiters/waitresses will bring you a choice of different meal starters (known as couvert) to your table without an explicit request. These starters typically include bread, butter, and olives. They may also include cheese, sliced sausage, and sardine spread. The couvert is not complimentary, so make sure the waiter/waitress removes what you don’t want to eat from your table. You are obliged to pay for what you try, and what’s left on your table. So, if you just want the olives, just say “Azeitonas.”

 

Algarve Regional Gastronomy

Arroz de Marisco – Razor Rice with seafood. The seafood generally consists of clams, prawns, mussels and other fish. It’s similar to paella, but a bit more brothy. This dish serves a minimum of two people and is prepared freshly when you order it. You may wait up to 30 minutes, but it’s worth it.

 

Cataplana de Peixes e MariscosCataplana of Fish and Shellfish is a regional dish served in a pot. The base consists of onions, peppers, potatoes, garlic, and coriander. Fish and shellfish are added afterward. This dish also serves a minimum of two people and is prepared freshly when you order it.

 

Frango Piri Piri (Chicken Piri Piri) – Piri Piri is a spicy pepper. Chicken Piri Piri is roasted/barbecued chicken that has been marinated in a flavorful sauce containing crushed piri piri, citrus peel, onion, paprika, oregano, basil, tarragon, and lemon juice. 

 
Algarve | Portugal Travel Guide - Top Experiences

Portugal Travel Resources

@moonhoneytravelers
  • Sunrise in the Karwendel Mountains.

The weather forecast predicted early afternoon thunderstorms, so we woke up extra early and started hiking at 5:30 am. Seeing the sunrise as we crested the Mandlscharte was like entering heaven.

After a long and difficult 9-hour stage, we arrived at @solsteinhaus in rain. Luckily, the thunder never came.

The highlight of this incredible day was meeting @clarazijlstra and @jaqi_sta - two brilliant and talented women who radiate passion and warmth! Hope to see you both again! 💛💛💛
  • Italian Dolomites Tip:

Skip Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) and Lago di Sorapiss and hike to Lago di Coldai instead for a crowd-free alpine lake experience.
  • The 6-stage Karwendel High Trail was one of the highlights of our summer. This hut-to-hut hiking trail traverses part of the Karwendel Mountain Range in Tirol, Austria.

Tips for hiking the Karwendel Höhenweg:

- Make reservations for huts 3-5 months in advance.

- Hike the trail east to west. It’s more common to hike in the other direction, but we think the trail unfolds more beautifully if you hike east to west.

- Hike to Speckkarspitze peak on Day 2 and Kleine Stempeljochspitze peak on Day 3.

- Bring climbing gloves for securely and comfortably grasping steel cables.

We’ll be publishing a Karwendel High Trail Trekking guide next week. Let us know if you have any questions about the route.
  • Kati and I decided to hop over the border to explore the Pala Group for a few days and we’re so grateful and overjoyed to be here.

This magnificent range has something for everyone: easy valley walks to alpine pastures, grueling peak climbs, via ferratas, and so much more. The Alta Via 2 traverses the range as well, which is making us miss our dear friends @susielambie and @jored7 who we met while hiking the AV1 last year.
  • On top of Slovenia. 

@feelslovenia @triglav.national.park
  • Eagle Walk Stage 22, Lechtal Alps, Austria.

The trail starts out gently, descending loamy terrain across grassy slopes.

After several water crossings, the grueling ascent to Grießlscharte commences. 

The hike up Langkar cirque is relentless and unforgiving! It feels like it’ll never end.

Luckily, the final stretch is semi-vertical and secured with cables, delivering you hastily to the Scharte.

As soon as we reached the ridge, we howled at the wind, feeling strong AF.

This trek was unforgettable! We hope more international hikers will discover the beauty and remoteness of the Lechtal Alps.