page-header

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.

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.  Next time we visit, we hope to explore the North.

Pin This!
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:
Get the Guide

This post links to products and services we love, which we may make a small commission from, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog!! – Sabrina and Kati

Burgau, Algarve, Portugal | Moon & Honey Travel

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. 

 

Where to Go in Portugal

Click the dots to explore specific destinations
background

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.

Read Next: Algarve Travel Guide

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)

Read Next: Fisherman’s Trail Hiking Guide

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 are 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 broth-y. 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 in afterwards. 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. 

 
Portugal Travel Guide - Moon and Honey Travel
@moonhoneytravelers
  • BEST TREKS IN EUROPE  We just summarized our absolute favorite multi-day hikes in Europe on our blog (link in bio). We promise that this isn’t your average roundup of top hikes in Europe.  Take a look 👀 
https://www.moonhoneytravel.com/best-treks-in-europe/
  • Best places to hike in Tenerife, Canary Islands.  There are hiking trails all over the island, but the most scenic places to hike are:  #1 Anaga Mountains 
#2 Teide National Park 
#3 Teno Mountains  If you have time, definitely explore all 3 areas. However, if your time is limited:  1. Hike in the Anaga mountains if you love solitude, remote areas, and rugged coastal scenery.  2. Hike in Teide National Park if you like otherworldly and barren landscapes and you want to hike Spain’s highest mountain - permit needed.  3. Hike in the Teno Mountains if you want to see towering cliffs, remote villages surrounded by terraced farmland, and crave steep ascents up barrancos.  @islascanariasoficial | @visit_tenerife
  • Tenerife is one of the most striking islands in the world. People come here for a variety of reasons. Some want to escape the Northern European winter. Others want a quintessential beach holiday. And a growing number are passionate about exploring Tenerife on foot.  We’ve been blown away by Tenerife’s diverse landscapes and extensive trails. We’ve spent the better part of 4 weeks uncovering the island’s hiking paths and we’re not even close to being done.  Can’t wait to share our favorite spots around the island in the upcoming weeks.  @hellocanaryislands | @visit_tenerife
  • 2019 Favorite Hikes  In our final post of 2019, we wanted to share with you our absolute favorite hikes (day and multi-day) from this year.  1. Seven Sisters Cliffs, England 
2. Fisherman’s Trail, Portugal 
3. Rätikon Circuit, Austria and Switzerland 
4. Col dala Piers, Italian Dolomites 
5. Roque de Taborno, Tenerife, Canary Islands
6. Berlin High Trail, Austria
7. Alta Via 1, Italian Dolomites 
8. Santner via Ferrata, Italian Dolomites
9. South West Coast Path (segments), England 
10. Trail of Headlands, Portugal (pictured)  Wishing everyone a very happy new year! See you in 2020.
  • 5 epic places to watch the sunset in Algarve, Portugal:  1. Armação de Pêra
2. Praia dos Arrifes
3. Ponta da Piedade 
4. Cabo de Sao Vicente
5. Praia dos Caneiros  @visitportugal | @algarvetourism
  • Merry Christmas everyone! Whether you celebrate, or not, we wish you a day full of peace and joy! The holidays can be the happiest time of the year for some, and the most dreadful and sad time for others. Whatever your situation is, know that you’re not alone and that you’re loved no matter what! Xoxo Sabrina & Kati