Portugal

Portugal has been a favourite holiday destination in Europe for many years & slowly international travellers are discovering the charms of this beautiful country too!

Portugal

Capital City: Lisbon

Portugal Key Facts

  • Flag

  • Size

    92, 212 km²
    111th largest

  • Population

    10, 427, 301

  • Portugal Location

    Southwest Europe

  • Travel Insurance

    For Portugal travel insurance, select Europe Region

  • International Calling Codes

    351

  • Cities

    Lisbon
    Braga
    Porto

  • Language

    Portuguese
    Mirandese

  • Religions

    81% Catholicism
    3.3% Other Christianity

  • Currency

    Euro

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  • Driving

    In Portugal they drive on the right side of the road

Tourism website: 

visitportugal.com/en

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to travel to mainland Portugal are spring (March until June) and autumn (September until November), while the best season in Madeira is during European winter (November until February).

Transport Information

Airports (27 domestic, 7 international), railways, bus, highways, ports and harbours.

World Heritage Sites

  1. Alto Douro Wine Region, a world famous port region that has been growing grapes for some 2,000 years.
  2. Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores, an important port city established in the 15th century.
  3. Convent of Christ in Tomar, a Convent of the Knights Templar that came to symbolize Portugal's opening to external civilizations.
  4. Cultural Landscapes of Sintra, the first center of European Romantic architecture.
  5. Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications, which is the largest bulwarked dry-ditch system in the world.
  6. Historic Centre of Évora, the finest example of a city of Portugal's golden age featuring a mix of architectural styles.
  7. Historic Centre of Guimarães, a stunning example of Portuguese architectural development between the 15th and 19th centuries.
  8. Historic Centre of Oporto, an outstanding 2,000 year old urban landscape.
  9. Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, which represents the establishing of viniculture on a small volcanic island in the 15th century.
  10. Monastery of Alcobaça, which is a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art built in the 12th century.
  11. Monastery of Batalha, which was built to commemorate Portugal's victory over the Castilians in 1385 .
  12. Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon, which are excellent examples of Portuguese art from the 16th century.
  13. Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde, unique sites of the prehistoric era featuring thousands of rock art panels.
  14. University of Coimbra - Alta and Sofia, which was first created in the 13th century and today is an outstanding example of an integrated university city.
  15. Laurisilva of Madeira, which is the largest surviving area of laurel forest.
  • Average Annual Temperature

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    15 degrees

  • Average Annual Rainfall

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    872 mm

Climate Information

Mainland Portugal enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate. It is one of Europe's warmest countries with annual average temperatures of 15 degrees. The north and center of Portugal get some snow in winter (November until February) and temperatures can drop to -10 degrees in this area. Summer (June until September) is usually hot with occasional rainfall. The Azores and Madeira have a subtropical climate and annual average temperatures are around 20 degrees. Summer tends to be drier on the islands while winter can bring rainfall.

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Official Holidays

  • January 1 - New Year's Day
  • March/April - Good Friday
  • March/April - Easter Day
  • April 25 - Liberty Day
  • May 1 - Labor Day
  • June 10 - Portugal Day
  • August 15 - Assumption of Mary
  • December 8 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • December 25 - Christmas Day
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Why Visit Portugal?

Portugal has been a popular destination in Europe for years, though less popular than Spain and Italy, making it a lot less crowded. The climate is also a major draw card, bringing travellers from Europe all year round. Finally, Portugal is not expensive, allowing budget travellers to visit as well.

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Things To Do In Portugal

  • Explore downtown Lisbon.
  • Enjoy a famous pasteis de Belem.
  • See the castles at Sintra and visit other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Eat delicious bacalho, relax on a beach on the Algarve.
  • Hike on the island of Madeira.
  • Go whale watching on the Azores.
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Travel Tips For Portugal

  • Portugal's Fado music is world famous and beautiful. While in Lisbon, make sure you catch a performance!
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Portugese Food

Portuguese cuisine has its humble beginnings in peasant food and once spices, sea faring, and cultural exchange happened it evolved into the cuisine it is today. It is largely based on using local, fresh ingredients and simple preparations that lead to one delicious meal. Probably the most favorite of all foods in Portugal is bacalhau, which is salted cod, and you will find hundreds of dishes using this delicacy. Sardines are also very popular and usually just grilled, with perhaps a bit of a salt crust - delicious! Caldeira is a potato based fish stew that is also well worth trying. While the Portuguese are famous for their spicy chicken, which is delicious, you will a lot of other meat based dishes that are also excellent such as feijoada (a hearty bean and pork stew) or carne de poroc à Alentejana, a rich pork and clam stew. The variety of pastries is noteworthy as well, so do make sure to try your way through the various pastéis (pastries) which are delicious and come with a wide variety of toppings and fillings. 

Portugal Travel Safety and Warnings

  • Portugal is very safe for travellers. In bigger cities, do watch out for pickpockets. Avoid riding in train carriages on your own. As a precaution, ensure you have good travel insurance for Portugal.
  • If you are planning to visit various museums in Lisbon, consider getting a museum pass that allows you to visit 26 museums in Lisbon as well as use public transport for free.
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About Portugal

Portugal has been a favorite holiday destination in Europe for many years, and slowly international travellers are discovering the charms of this beautiful country too. Offering a rich history, beautiful architecture, friendly people, amazing food, unspoilt beaches, and for those insisting on an island holiday, well, Portugal has those too!

Being quieter than Spain and Italy means you can still travel around without having to fight off crowds, making Portugal truly one of the best destinations in Europe. Grab your passport, ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for Portugal, and explore a true hidden gem of Europe.

What to do in Portugal:

The City of Seven Hills, as Lisbon is affectionately known, is Portugal's capital and one of its main tourist attractions. Lisbon's climate is probably the best of any European city with average annual temperatures of 15 degrees, making it perfect for a winter getaway.

The best place to start exploring Lisbon is its center, the famous Praça do Comércio. From here roads extend in all directions, but head towards the main square Rossio.

Around this area is downtown (baixa) which was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755 and features a very distinct style of architecture.

Other great places to visit in Lisbon include the city's oldest district, Alfama, as well as the spectacular and underrated Lisbon Botanical Gardens.

Food and Culture:

Tram in City Centre Lisbon Portugal

To combine a food and culture trip though, you need to head to Belem. Here you will find the:

  • Famous Belem Tower,
  • Jerónimos Monastery, and
  • Museu Colecção Berardo, which houses a fantastic collection of modern and contemporary art

Belem is also the most famous area in Portugal to have one of their favorite foods: pastéis. These are delicious pastries that come with any topping and filling imaginable with perhaps the national favorite being pastéis de nata, which is a flaky pastry topped with custard and sugar. 

UNESCO World Heritage sites:

Heading north from Lisbon you should make a point of stopping in Batalha.

This is the location of one of the greatest Gothic masterpieces in Europe - a UNESCO World Heritage monastery built in 1388.

If you happen to come here on a Monday, check out the local farmers market - eating is one of the favorite past times in Portugal after all!

 

UNESCO listed site Batalha Monastery Portugal

The city of Sintra is home to the Royal Palace and Gardens, which were used until the revolution in 1910, as well as the ruins of a castle built in the 9th century by Moors; this entire region is one big heritage site. Not only are the buildings themselves spectacular, but the surrounding scenery gives this area something magical that should not to be missed.

Beach in Algarve Portugal

 Beaches:

 The beaches of the Algarve are a great place to head if you need to    unwind and relax.

 Arguably Portugal's favorite holiday destination, here you will find over  100 beaches distributed over a coastline of approximately 200 kms.

 Before exploring the beaches though, buy travel insurance for Portugal.

 

Just in case you need some culture, you can also visit the city of Lagos and its charming old inner city, or check out the red stone castle at Silves. Obviously, make sure you try the local seafood!

Islands:

The best places for wild life observation are the remote islands of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. Madeira is known as 'Garden Island' and offers captivating nature views both on land and in the water.

There are some absolutely spectacular hiking routes around the island that can be done in a couple of hours and they are truly the best way to see this spectacular place. The Azores is a bit remoter still, but offer the unique chance of going whale and dolphin watching.

Portugal is generally very safe for travellers, it is advisable to have Portugal travel insurance sorted before you embark on your journey. In bigger cities be aware of pickpockets and the usual purse-snatchers, but otherwise there is little to worry about.

 

For more information on Portugal, visit the Portugal Tourism Website

 

 
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