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10 Portugal Travel Tips for First-Timers You Don't Wanna Miss!

Lisbon Tram

Alright folks, listen up! I just got back from an awesome trip to Portugal and wanna share some of the best Portugal travel tips I learned as a first time visitor. Portugal is such a rad country that doesn't get enough love compared to its neighbor Spain. But trust me when I say it's totally worth checking out. And with these essential tips, your first trip to Portugal will be smooth sailing.

Let's kick things off with some planning tips. When deciding where to go in Portugal, Lisbon and Porto are obvious top choices. Lisbon is super scenic with colorful buildings scattered across hilly neighborhoods, making it feel like a living postcard. Porto has a similar vibe but is a bit smaller and chill. Both cities have tons of history, great food, and are excellent bases for exploring nearby places like Sintra, Cascais, and the Douro Valley. If you want a more lowkey spot, consider Coimbra or Braga which are both beautiful university towns.

Another popular region is the Algarve along Portugal's southern coast. With miles of coastline and gorgeous beaches, it's a major destination for relaxing in the sun. Just be aware that it gets busier and pricier in the summer. For something more remote, check out Portugal's island territories of Madeira and the Azores which have amazingly lush landscapes.

Speaking of planning, you'll want to factor in how long to spend in Portugal. A long weekend is enough time for Lisbon or Porto on its own. For a fuller week-long trip, you can base in one city and do day trips. Two weeks allows hitting multiple regions like North and South Portugal. Just remember that traveling between islands/mainland Portugal involves flights, so allocate time accordingly.

Alright, now onto moving around Portugal - getting around is a breeze. The train network is super handy for travel between major cities like Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Faro. Check out for schedules. Buses are also reliable for smaller towns, look up In the islands, renting a car gives you more flexibility to explore. Flixbus also does cheap long-distance bus trips between countries.

Another top Portugal travel tip is that public transport is very affordable. A one-way train ride from Lisbon to Porto for example is only around 20 euros each way. You'll also find city metros, trams, and buses cost just a couple euros per trip max. Ridesharing apps like Uber also operate in main cities if you wanna splurge.

Speaking of saving moolah - Portugal is seriously budget-friendly in general. Compared to other western European countries, the cost of living is much lower. Accommodations, meals, attractions - it's all super reasonable. But do note that while credit cards are widely accepted, cash is still king here. Always have some euros on hand for smaller purchases or tipping.

Now let me tell you folks - the food in Portugal is insanely good. You gotta try the pastéis de nata aka custard tarts, francesinhas which are like gigantic cheeseburgers, bacalhau or salted cod dishes, chorizo, piri piri chicken - I could go on forever! Seafood is also amazing since Portugal has a long coastline. Make reservations at highly-rated spots in bigger cities. And be sure to pair your meals with Portuguese wine which is super tasty and affordable. Oh, and don't miss chewing on Tic Tacs - they're called pastilhas here and come in loads of flavors.

Speaking of fluids - let's chat power adapters and electricity. Portugal uses a different plug type than North America so bring a universal adapter. And their voltage is 230V compared to America's 110V, so use a converter too to protect your electronics. This is important safety info that'll save you hassle abroad. Check out Plug and Socket Types around the World: Why You Need a Universal Travel Adapter 

Now for getting around on foot - Portugal is very walkable overall. Especially historic centers of cities like Lisbon, Porto and Évora which are best explored by wandering narrow pedestrian streets and alleys. Just wear comfy shoes since there will be hills! You can also hop on public transport or an Uber if your feet get tired.

Alright last but not least - safety tips. Portugal is incredibly safe for travelers. Just use normal street smarts - avoid empty areas late at night, don't flash expensive stuff, etc. Petty theft is the most common issue but still quite rare. Violent crimes against tourists are almost unheard of. Relax and enjoy knowing you're in one of Europe's most peaceful countries!

Well folks, that about wraps it up for my top Portugal travel tips. Let me know if you have any other questions! I hope these insider nuggets help make your first trip to Portugal super seamless and memorable. Ciao for now - until next time!

Popular Portugal Activities:

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour (A great option for those wanting to easily explore Lisbon's top sights without hassle)

Sintra Day Trip (Visit iconic sites like Pena Palace and admire stunning landscapes on this full-day excursion from Lisbon)

Lisbon Walking Tours (Learn about the city's history and culture directly from knowledgeable local guides on these top-rated tours)

Lisbon Walking Tours

Algarve Beach Day (Relax on sandy shores and wander charming coastal towns in southern Portugal's sunny region)

Porto Wine Tour (Sample port wine straight from the Douro Valley source on this tasty tasting experience)

Azores Whale Watching (Keep an eye out for majestic seabirds and whales like pilot whales on a cruise in Sao Miguel)

Madeira Hiking (Take in Madeira Island's lush scenery on trails spanning steep cliffs and verdant forest)

Coimbra Walking Tour (Discover the "City of Students" on a stroll taking in its Baroque architecture and historic sites)

Lisbon Food Adventure (Indulge in authentic Portuguese dishes and drinks while learning about local flavors)

Fado Performance (Experience melancholic Portuguese music at an atmospheric tavern for an intimate cultural event)

Lisbon Food and Wine Walking Tour

Lisbon Food and Wine Walking Tour

Sao Miguel Island: Full-Day Sete Cidades

Sao Miguel Island

Castle of the Moors

Castle of the Moors


Lisbon City Card

Lisbon City Card


  • Discover the best with the amazing Lisbon Card!
  • Choose between a one, two, or three-day card that will let you access the public transportation networks of Lisbon
  • Enjoy free admissions to iconic destinations such as Jerónimos Monastery, Museums, Palaces and more!
  • Hop aboard the CP trains and have an exciting day trip to the beautiful Sintra and Cascais

Universal Adapter

eSIM Europe 43 Countries 5-30Days Daily 500MB/1GB/2GB Unlimited 4G Data

Kid-Friendly Portugal Hotels

Radisson Blu Hotel, Lisbon (Centrally located with spacious family rooms accommodating up to 6 guests and an indoor pool)

Blue Coast Hotel, Albufeira (Beachfront property with kid-friendly suites, multiple pools, and on-site kids club)

Martinhal Cascais Family Hotels & Resorts (All-inclusive resort near Lisbon offering family cottages and loads of activities for little ones)

Pestana CR7 Lisboa (Centrally situated with large rooms equipped with bunk beds, balconies, and gym/pool access)

PortoBay Flores Hotel, Porto (Ideally located downtown with family rooms and great amenities like breakfast buffet and outdoor pool)

Dom Pedro Marina Hotel, Lagos (Beachfront luxury with family suites offering separate living spaces, kitchenettes, and balcony)

Monte Santo Resort, Tavira (Spacious apartments along the coast offering full kitchens and outdoor spaces perfect for families)

Mare _ Hotel, Ericeira (Surf town charmer near Lisbon and Sintra with big rooms and balcony ocean views)

Memmo Alfama Hotel, Lisbon (Boutique property in old Lisbon with elegant family rooms and rooftop terrace/breakfast)

Herdade do Touril, Alentejo (Rural retreat featuring apartments for groups, swimming pools, hiking trails, and kids clubs)

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