Have you been dreaming about warm weather, beautiful places, and friendly people? It is a good thing, then, that you chose Portugal as your next destination. However, if you have never been there before, you should know some things that might make your holiday more enjoyable. Here are our top tips for traveling to Portugal for the first time!
Pack Comfortable Footwear
This one might not be news for you, but it is still worth emphasizing. And it is not only that you will be walking a lot, so you have to make sure your feet do not get tired; many cities in Portugal have unsteady grounding. Cobblestone streets are built quite unevenly so to avoid looking at the ground every step of the way, just put on some sneakers or sturdy sandals so that you feel steady on your feet. In case of rain, the streets get very slippery as well, so that adds to the fun!
Prepare Some Phrases
Knowing a few keywords and expressions is always extremely helpful when going to a foreign country. It also makes the locals feel very happy; they feel like you have put effort into learning their language and that you respect their traditions. So why not try just a little bit? First, learn some basics in Portuguese, such as bom dia (good morning), obrigada (thank you), or ajude-me (help me). It will help you to communicate and put a smile on the face of any Portuguese!
Use Sun Protection
The sun in Portugal can be scorching, especially from noon until 3 PM. Therefore, put on sunscreen even if you plan on spending most of the day indoors, visiting different establishments; most likely, you will still be walking on foot to get there. Additionally, the sun is highly aggressive near water, so if you plan on spending the day tanning, do not forget to use all measures available to prevent sunburning!
Visit Portugal Off-Season
At the peak of the season, from June to August, Portugal gets super crowded, so that might make your trip less enjoyable. Therefore, our advice is to go during the off-season when the streets are not as packed. If you go at the end of spring or early autumn, the weather is still just as lovely, but fewer people brush your shoulder when walking around. Also, going off-season is proved to be cheaper. Everything regarding sightseeing, accommodations, and public transport tickets cost less, so you will save some money if you manage to avoid the summer heat of people.
Visit Less Popular Places
Most of the recommendations on visiting Portugal that you can find online are usually full of the most popular tourist attractions, and there is nothing wrong with that, of course. Still, we suggest investing some time to find places just as interesting, even if they are less famous. For example, visit fortified towns such as Marvao or Estremoz, or travel north to see the little bit less-known Douro vineyards. Give a chance to these remote places; they are oozing Portuguese culture and are way less crowded.
Choose The Transport Wisely
If you stay in approximately one place in Portugal and want to explore the area as thoroughly as possible, you should probably be okay with simply walking or, maybe, taking the bus or tram. However, if you plan on touring more cities, visiting as many places as you can, you might want to look up rental cars or trains. There are many rental car shops, where you can get one and travel as freely as possible, without schedules and timetables. As for trains, the railway system is very well-developed here, so do not hesitate to use them, they are usually quick, clean, and comfortable. Also, the prices are adequate, keeping in mind that there are many routes. For example, you could check the Faro to Lisbon train.
Visit The Capital City
Visiting Lisbon while traveling to Portugal is a must! This is the city that has everything! As the heart of Portuguese culture and history, Lisbon is famous for its mixture of medieval, renaissance, and modern architecture. You will be able to visit the most important landmarks of the country, try out the traditional cuisine, and party until dawn. Honestly, you simply have to spend some time in Lisbon – there is no other city like it.
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful in your trip planning. Portugal is a great city with beautiful culture and friendly people. This might be your first time, but, indeed, it will not be the last!