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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

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

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.

 
Dom Luís I Bridge, Porto, Portugal

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
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve Coast, Portugal

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

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.

 

 
Fisherman's Trail, Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal

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)

Find a place to stay along the Rota Vicentina.

Learn More: Fisherman’s Trail Hiking Guide

 
Costa Vicentina, Alentejo, Portugal

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 Beach, Portugal

Portugal Travel Resources

@moonhoneytravelers
  • Julian Alps, Slovenia.

Three years ago, we hiked hut-to-hut from Vršič Pass to Lake Bohinj, a trip which cemented our love for this region. We’ve revisited every year since, unable to resist the call of these gorgeous limestone mountains.

Have you hiked in the Julian Alps?
  • 5 things to do before going on a hut-to-hut hike:

1. Download a few books on your Kindle or preferred e-reader.

2. Download relevant maps on Map.me, so you can navigate offline.

3. Cut your toe nails.

4. Pack your passport and Alpine Club Membership Card.

5. Print train/transit tickets.

#hüttenleben #hüttentour #hüttenwanderung #weitwandern #weitwanderweg #hüttenrunde #huttohuthiking #huttohut #huthiking #hüttenzauber #hüttenurlaub #hüttenleben #hüttensommer #huttohuttrekking #huttohuthikes #hikingblog #hikingeurope #hikingthealps #alpshiking #rgphoto #afarmag #hikingtrip #hikingvacation
  • New Dolomites Trail Guides on www.moonhoneytravel.com:

🥾Lago di Braies to Hochalpenkopf

🥾Val di Funes to Tullen Summit

🥾 Gran Cir 

🥾Alpe di Siusi to Rifugio Bolzano and Rifugio Alpe di Tires

🥾Santa Maddalena Panorama Trail in Val di Funes

Happy hiking!
Sabrina & Kati
  • Sunrise walk on Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm, Mont Sëuc).

One of the luxuries of staying on the plateau is being able to easily experience sunrise. 

From @hotel_steger_dellai, we set out on an early morning walk, savoring the solitude and stillness of the plateau. It’s the most magical time of day. A few hours later, the same trails are overrun with e-bikes, cyclists, large groups, and even horse-drawn carriages.
  • Rätikon High Trail Circuit in Austria and Switzerland.

We‘d do this hike again in a heartbeat.

What’s the most beautiful hut to hut hike you’ve trekked?
  • Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) in South Tyrol, Italy, is the largest alpine pasture in Europe. The rolling plateau is home to wonderful huts, hotels, and of course hiking trails. Here are some places/trails we recommend: 

1. Rauchhütte is a gourmet hut well-known for their fine selection of wine and food. This is a great place to eat when hiking the Hans and Paula Steger Trail.

2. Alphorn concert. Each week, an ensemble of alphorn players casually gathers together at a hut on Alpe di Siusi to play. You can show up and listen (no fee/no registration needed). The destination changes each week. You can ask @alpedisiusi.seiseralm when and where the next concert is.

3. Gostner Schwaige (alpine pasture hut). They produce their own dairy products. If you visit, you have to try their Heublütensuppe (hay flower soup).

More tips in our Alpe di Siusi Guide (Link in bio).