A country that’s set on enchanting its visitors, its scenery and picturesque sights can easily make any person fall in love with Portugal – one of the finest countries in the world.
Its location on the Iberian Peninsula means that Portugal’s climate, as well as general feel, is absolutely stunning. There’s an interesting duality to this coastal country because the entirety of its geography is split into two parts – the Tagus River is the split between the northern rugged region and the southern rolling plains. With its many deep valleys, perfect beaches, craggy cliffs, and captivating forests, the landscape of Portugal is as beautiful as it gets.
Portugal’s cuisine is quite varied, and that’s mostly thanks to the many colonies it’s founded throughout the ages. Traditional meals usually consisted of fish and vegetables, but after the boom of the colonies, Portuguese cuisine expanded into a varied palette of dishes from all across the world. That, in turn, led to a culture that simply enjoys food, and that’s evidenced when lunch is served – it’s a leisurely affair that lasts for over an hour. Fish still remains one of the most used ingredients, and the many Portuguese delicacies still delight visitors to this very day.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Portuguese culture is the inherent politeness which is present in every interaction. Since the Portuguese have been world-renowned explorers, even going so far to finance Christopher Columbus’ expedition that eventually discovered the Americas, it’s a maritime culture that cherishes diversity but is also quite traditional as well. Deeply religious to their roots, Portuguese people are quite artistically gifted, especially when it comes to architecture, and many of more modern architects have either been of Portuguese descent or have been largely influenced by the country.
The Portuguese peoples have always been pioneers, and that is most evident in their cities. Old, lively, and incredibly charming, the cities of Portugal are absolutely stacked with scenic views, architecture that simply puts a person into a trance, and a welcoming dynamic that can put many other cities to shame. No city in Portugal is gigantic, but they’re all intrinsically cosmopolitan, and cities like its capital Lisbon, Porto, Braga, and many more beautiful examples, are all evidence of a culture and dynamic that are, simply put, magical.
Portugal is one of those countries whose visit will remain with you forever. Magical and enchanting, there’s something special about it, and everyone should make it a priority to visit this gorgeous country at least once.
Know Before You Go
Portugal is a cornucopia of culture, with pristine coastal beaches, vibrant cities and countryside bursting with unique historical sites.
The cobbled streets in Portugal's cities ooze colour and charm. Pack your comfiest shoes and take in the sites by foot, you won't want to miss a thing. Whether you're in Porto, Lisbon, or any of the magical cities, you're sure to wander across some divine architecture like the magnificent National Palace of Pena or the mysterious attraction of Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra.
However, It's not all pretty castles and colourful streets. Portugal is a topographical paradise. The volcanic archipelago of the Azores is a set of islands featuring some of the worlds most stunning waterfalls and dramatic landscapes.
Portugal is hailed the "grand dame" of gastronomy in Europe. So dipping into the delectable cuisine is a sure-fire way to experience the soul of Portugal. Francesinha is a favourite in Porto, a type of indulgent sandwich topped with melted cheese and a fried egg. If you're a sweet tooth, spend time hopping from place to place to find the perfect pastel de nata.
The transport system in Portugal is efficient and affordable. Grab a Lisboa Card or a Porto Card as soon as you land for free transport and access to a score of museums, tours and sites. The funicular system in Lisbon is particularly charming, providing engaging views around the city as you trundle up and down the cobblestones.
Best Time To Visit
The is no real bad time to visit Portugal. Though August tends to be busy with the European holidays.
The best time is in the shoulder seasons of Spring (March to early June) and Autumn (mid-September to mid-November). In spring, the already colourful cities get a floral makeover, and the harvest brings a celebration of some of the best wines in the world.
July to September are the warmest months in the holiday spots of the Algarve and Azores. As the water can be a bit chilly outside the summer months.
What To Expect
Thinking of a trip to Portugal? Here are a few tips to get your planning off to a great start.
Currency - The official currency of Portugal is the Euro
Language - The official language is Portuguese
ATMs - ATM's are commonly found around the cities, and be sure to stock up on cash as many restaurants don't accept cards.
Plugs & Sockets - Portugal uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. As well as the Type F plug with 2 round pins and 2 earth clips. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - Portugal is one of the safest countries in Europe and crime rates are low.
Climate - Portugal's rugged coast sees a maritime climate. Sporting warm summers and cooler, wet winters across most of the country. The Alentejo and Algarve regions enjoy beach happy temperatures of 35-40 degrees celsius over summer. Lisbon and the mountainous North are generally cooler than the Southern regions across the year.