Portugal sits at the edge of Europe and exudes traditional culture through salt cod and grilled fish dishes as well as rustic-style cooking techniques and Michelin star dining experiences. But don’t be misled – Portugal remains a vibrant modern nation!
Americans don’t require a visa to visit Portugal and English is widely spoken within cities; however, you will benefit from learning some basic Portuguese before venturing out into rural Portugal.
1. Get a local SIM card
Portugal as a travel destination offers much to attract tourists: warm climate, beautiful beaches, exotic architecture and vibrant culture – not to mention affordable prices and a vibrant urban scene.
But to stay connected while traveling, you will require a local SIM card – this will enable mobile internet usage as well as local phone calls at discounted rates.
At most airports and stores in Portugal, you can purchase a SIM card. There are various options available, including MEO, Vodafone and NOS prepay SIMs as well as an eSIM (a small microchip that connects your phone to the network and enables calls, texts and data use) at much more competitive prices than roaming charges – making them a must-have when visiting Portugal! Plus LycaMobile has European SIMs that will work across multiple countries like Portugal!
2. Get a G.P.S
Portugal is an ideal family travel destination, boasting rich culture, low prices and a bustling urban scene. However, Portugal also features windswept castles, exotic architecture and charming fishing villages along its beautiful beaches – ideal conditions for child travel!
Driving licenses from most countries are valid in Portugal. Police often levy fines for speeding, parking and other violations on-the-spot; so always act politely if approached by authorities. Furthermore, it would be prudent to carry red warning triangle and fluorescent yellow jacket (which rental cars provide).
Narrow streets with sharp turns and blind corners are common in Lisbon and other historical city centres, making large cars hard to maneuver through these confined streets. To maximize your road trip experience, be sure to rent one small enough – an aggregator website like Discover Cars can help you locate the best deals at reasonable rates.
3. Wear comfy footwear
Men and women traveling to Portugal should bring along multiple pairs of comfortable footwear. While pretty sandals may work for beach trips, cities require something more sturdy, like sneakers or espadrilles. A day backpack should also be included to allow easy access to electronics, food items and other essentials during sightseeing tours.
Bring light layers, especially for visits between late spring and early fall when temperatures fluctuate rapidly in Portugal. Even during hotter periods like August or September, temperatures can quickly change; sweaters or fleece are always useful as temperatures vary by the hour; scarf or shawl will come in handy on evening strolls along the beaches. Keep your photo ID with you at all times in case local authorities require identification purposes – be wary of baseball hats or money belts which signal to pickpockets that you are tourist.
4. Be prepared for getting lost
Although Portugal is generally safe, travelers should keep in mind a few details when visiting. Pickpocketing, purse snatching and other forms of theft do occur at beaches and tourist spots so it is wise to be vigilant with your belongings at all times and never leave anything unattended. Also drink spiking is a significant threat so always inspect water samples before drinking and obey posted warnings to stay safe.
Finding Your Way Around: State-owned Comboios de Portugal (CP; enquiries on 707 210 2220) offers an efficient, scenic train network throughout Portugal. Rural stations may be some distance away from their respective towns (Loule station is 6km from Loule town for instance). Buses and taxis may also provide convenient alternatives.
When traveling frequently, it is wise to reserve your accommodations early – particularly during the high season when options may become limited or entirely booked up. Also bring along a journal like Moleskine Classic Notebook to capture memories from this amazing journey.