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.

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.

Pin This!
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:
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

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
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
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
  • Heading to Val Gardena this summer?

These are our favorite hikes in the region:

1. Seceda Ridgeline to Rifugio Firenze – Easy-moderate circuit trail starting in Ortisei. 

2. Resciesa to Rifugio Brogles and Seceda Ridgeline – Moderately difficult circuit trail. The panascharte is still closed, so you must cross the Odle Group via the Mittagscharte

3. Rifugio Stevia and Col dala Pieres – Difficult circuit hike starting in Selva di Val Gardena.

4. Lake Pisciadù and Pisciadù Peak Hike – Difficult loop, or point-to-point hike starting at Gardena Pass.

5. Monte Pic Summit Hike – Moderately difficult circuit hike, starting at the Praplan car park, above Santa Cristina.

6. Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana – Easy hike starting at the Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi Ropeway mountain station and ending in Santa Cristina.

7. Sassolungo Loop Trail – Moderate day hike starting at Sella Pass.

More info: https://www.moonhoneytravel.com/best-hikes-val-gardena-dolomites-italy/
  • The charming fishing village of Port Isaac in Northern Cornwall, England.
  • A few reasons why we love coastal walking in Cornwall, England. 

🥾The whole Cornish coast is accessible to the public. There are no obstructions.

🍓Food is readily available. There are many casual take-away eateries, bakeries and pasty shops, tea rooms, and pubs along the coast.

👍Excellent trail etiquette. Locals are very friendly and courteous on the trail. People greet, let you pass, and smile. We’ve hiked in enough countries around the world to no longer take that for granted. 

🌳There’s no ugly infrastructure or crude developments along the coast. 

🪧Trails are well-maintained and signed. There’s no confusion about where to go. 

Have you been to Cornwall? What do you love most about hiking in England? 

📍Watergate Bay
  • The gorgeous Golden Bay to Ġnejna Bay coastal walk in Malta.
  • May is around the corner and we know some of you are traveling to the Dolomites.

Swipe right ➡️ to find out which huts are open. 

Full list on the blog:
https://www.moonhoneytravel.com/best-time-to-visit-the-dolomites/

📍Tre Cime di Lavaredo
  • Learn these words and phrases before you hike in Mallorca. ➡️ swipe right

💾 Save this post for future reference.

🥾Check out the blog for a guide to the best day hikes, where to stay for hiking, info on trail signage and more. 

📍Platja des Coll Baix