Portugal is a perfect vacation place looking for some adventure time at the beach or to taste some of the best local cuisines. Not to mention this country is also home to the football genius and damn, hot stuff that is Cristiano Ronaldo.
It may be one of the oldest countries in Europe, but Portugal has kept its charm and is considered a magical place when you’re out there wanting something more than just the modern world could offer.
We know how exciting it is to explore new towns and cities, but you still have to be wary about specific rules that may not apply in your home country but are very evident in Portugal. Here are eleven travel tips that you should list down.
1. Travel during off-season
Like many other countries that are open to tourism, it gets a lot crowded during peak season. During this time, you’ll get the best kind of weather, sure. The only thing is that you have to fight your way through a crowd, and that’s not an ideal way to spend time if you want to take some rest.
In Portugal, you’ll witness large groups of tourists during the summer, between July and August. You might not believe it when we say it gets too crowded during this time that you can’t even pass through a street without having to push people away slightly.
The best months to visit Portugal are May, September, and October. It may not be the peak of summer, but the weather is warm enough. It’s a good thing because you won’t have to worry too much about getting your skin burned because of overheating.
2. Learn some Portuguese
We don’t know about you, but we love to learn a foreign language and be able to use it when you travel.
Since Portuguese sounds like a very sophisticated language, it’s exciting to learn a few words before you fly into Portugal. While some cities have accepted English as their second language, it’s still best to arm yourself with basic Portuguese phrases.
Besides, you can’t expect everyone to understand the English language. You have to be the one to adapt to Portugal’s culture and not the other way around.
3. Choose your mode of transportation wisely
Despite the continuous effort to improve its transportation system, Portugal still has troublesome roads that you should be keen on. If you do your research, it has one of Europe’s worst road safety records, which means a little more analysis on which type of transportation to use could be a lot helpful.
You can always rent a car when you’re visiting Portugal. Just make sure you read the fine print of the car rental conditions to avoid paying traffic violation fees, especially when passing through toll roads. They have a number plate recognition system, so you better clear this out with your rental company before you even take the steering wheel.
Their inter-city trains are also a good option as it is relatively cheap and has a charming vibe. Trains could be your best choice of transportation as it gives you the actual feel of being a local.
4. Remember the number 112
If we have 911 in the US, Portugal has 112. Don’t get these numbers mixed up, especially during an emergency. You can save this on your phone once you arrive at the airport so you can just easily dial it down without having to remember these three valuable numbers.
It’s also a free call service, so you won’t have to worry about paying ridiculous fees just to get help when you’re in trouble.
5. Wear your most comfortable footwear
While wearing footwear may be our default tip for every country because of all the walking you have to go through, this is an important one when traveling to Portugal.
You have to secure a place in your carry-on luggage for your trusty pair of comfortable footwear. You’ll need them when walking around the hill city of Lisbon, and you’d definitely thank us later once you experience it.
Some streets are made up of cobblestone, so that may be a bit of a challenge for your balance. Don’t get us wrong; it’s a treat to walk down a beautiful street such as that, but wearing a comfortable pair of footwear will only make the experience even greater.
6. Use sun protection
Portugal is one of the few countries in the western hemisphere that’s blessed with sunny days. That is first and foremost the reason why we recommend you to use plenty of sun protection.
Whether you’re just walking around streets or spending a day at the beach, a sunscreen is a must if you don’t want to bring home a toasted skin.
An additional tip: make sure to bring sun protection with the best coverage that you can find when visiting Algarve as it is the warmest region in the country.
7. Appetizers are not free
We know how tempting it is to pick up the first appetizer you find on your table at a restaurant, especially after a long day of wandering, but you must resist the temptation.
These appetizers mostly come with corresponding prices, so be careful what you munch on. They may look like they’re handed out on the table like free stuff for guests, but they aren’t. Check the menu for the appetizer price if you’re starving and couldn’t wait for the main dish to calm your growling stomach.
8. Vegetarians beware!
Despite the growing demand for more vegan restaurants across the globe, Portugal hasn’t kept up with that global trend that much.
For those upholding the vegan and the vegetarian lifestyle, you must be cautious when ordering at restaurants. There may be items on the menu that look like they’re made of plants completely, but they have meat components to add more flavor to the dish.
Opting to go to a supermarket chain for your plant-based diet may be your best option to make sure you get what you want and deserve.
9. Museums are usually free once a month
With historic cities like the ones in Portugal, museums are everywhere. Many of them are even free on the first Sunday of the month. So, if you’re planning to visit a couple of these establishments, make sure to schedule on the first Sunday to get a free entrance.
10. Be careful at the beach
No matter how fun it may seem to ride one of Portugal’s massive waves, it might not be wise to go for it, especially if you are not a good swimmer.
You may enjoy the small swells, but be sure to look after your kids when you travel with them. Supervision is a must around Nazare, Peniche, and Ericeira because of the spots made for surfing.
11. Steer clear of tourist traps and inflated prices
We consider Portugal to be a budget-friendly destination, but you must be aware of some restaurants that offer augmented prices for tourists. Overpricing items for tourists and visitors is a common trap around the world; now, you should be well aware of this trick.
Be sure to check out places where the locals eat. That’s where you’ll make the most out of your pocket money, and you’ll get a lot of authentic flavors, too!
Over to You
Portugal is a charming country to explore. It’s about time we give it the attention that it deserves.
If you’re looking for your next travel destination that isn’t overrated, you already know where to head next.