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Portugal

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HF Ipanema Park
HF Ipanema Park - dream vacation

Rua de Serralves, 124, Porto

Moov Hotel Porto Centro
Moov Hotel Porto Centro - dream vacation

Praça da Batalha nº. 32/34, Porto

Eva Hotel Faro
Eva Hotel Faro - dream vacation

Avenida Da Republica, 1, Faro

Tivoli Lagos Hotel
Tivoli Lagos Hotel - dream vacation

Rua Antonio Crisogono Dos Santos, Lagos

HF Fenix Porto
HF Fenix Porto - dream vacation

Rua Goncalo Sampaio, 282, Porto

Portugal, in Southern Europe, shares the Iberian peninsula at the western tip of Europe with Spain. Geographically and culturally somewhat isolated from its neighbour, Portugal has a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside. Although it was once one of the poorest countries in Western Europe, the end of dictatorship and introduction of democracy in 1974, as well as its incorporation into the European Union in 1986, has meant significantly increased prosperity. In fact, it may be one of the best value destinations on the continent. This is because the country offers outstanding landscape diversity, due to its north-south disposition along the western shore of the Iberian peninsula. You can travel in a single day from green mountains in the North, covered with vines and all varieties of trees, to rocky mountains, with spectacular slopes and falls in the Centre, to a near-desert landscape in the Alentejo region and finally to the Algarve, a glamorous beach holiday destination. The climate, combined with investments in the golfing infrastructure in recent years, has also turned the country into a golfing haven: Portugal was named the "Best Golf Destination 2008" by readers of Golfers Today, a British publication, and fourteen of Portugal's courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. If you want a condensed view of European landscapes, culture and way of life, Portugal might very well fit the bill.

Regions

Cities

  • Lisbon (Lisboa) - national capital, city of the seven hills
  • Aveiro - the "Venice" of Portugal
  • Braga - city of Archbishops
  • Coimbra - home of the ninth oldest university in the world.
  • Évora - "Museum City", Alentejo regional capital
  • Funchal - the capital of Madeira
  • Guimarães - the founding place of the nation
  • Porto - the northern capital, "Invincible City", along the river Douro and the Atlantic Ocean
  • Viana do Castelo - famous for the Nossa Senhora da Agonia Festival

Other destinations

  • Óbidos
  • Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • Douro & Coa - river valleys
  • Cabo da Roca - the westernmost point of mainland Portugal and European continent, near Cascais
  • Serra da Estrela
  • Coa Valley a registered World Heritage Site

Understand

History

Portugal is 900 years old, and even though it has a relatively small area, it played a crucial role in world history. As of today, it is the oldest country in Europe with the same borders. During the 15th and 16th centuries Portugal started a major chapter in world history with the New World Discoveries ("Descobrimentos"). It established the Cape Route to India, and colonized areas in Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe, Guinea Bissau...), South America (Brazil, parts of Uruguay), Asia (Goa, Macau, Sri Lanka, Malacca...), and Oceania (East Timor...), creating an empire. The Portuguese language continues to be the biggest connection between these countries, and Roman Catholicism continues to be the dominant religion throughout much of the former Portuguese empire.

In 1910, the Republic was established, abolishing the Monarchy. However, this Republic was fragile and a military dictatorship was implemented, which lasted for 40 years, plunging the country into a marked stagnation. In 1974, Portugal became a free democracy, and in 1986 it joined the current European Union, quickly approaching European standards of development.

Climate

Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, yearly temperature averages are about 15°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south. Madeira and Azores have a narrower temperature range as expected given their insularity, with the former having low precipitation in most of the archipelago and the latter being wet and rainy. Spring and Summer months are usually sunny and temperature maximum are very high during July and August, with maximums averaging between 35°C and 40°C (86°F - 95°F) in the interior of the country, 30°C and 35°C in the north. Autumn and winter are typically rainy and windy, yet sunny days are not rare either. Temperatures rarely fall below 5°C (41°F) nearer to the sea, averaging 10°C (50°F), but can reach several degrees below 0°C (32°F) further inland. Snow is common in winter in the mountainous areas of the north, especially in Serra da Estrela but melts quickly once the season is over. Portugal's climate can be classified as Mediterranean (particularly the southern parts of the Algarve and Alentejo, though technically on Atlantic shore).

Time zone

Portugal is regulated by the Western European Time Zone (WET), the same time as in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Get in

Portugal is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

  • There are normally no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most of the European Union and a few other countries.
  • There are usually identity checks before boarding international flights or boats. Sometimes there are temporary border controls at land borders.
  • Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
  • Please see Travelling around the Schengen Area for more information on how the scheme works, which countries are members and what the requirements are for your nationality.

By plane

Portugal has five airports with scheduled international passenger traffic:

  • Lisbon Portela Airport (IATA: LIS) is the main aviation hub, with many intercontinental connections with the Americas and Africa (mainly operated by flag carrier TAP Portugal and their Star Alliance partners), as well as a dense network of connections within Europe operated by both full-service and low-fare airlines
  • Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (IATA: OPO), serving Portugal's second-largest city and the entire northern part of the country, also has some intercontinental connections with Americas and Africa, and has a comparably dense network of connections within Europe, with a sizeable presence of low-fare carriers
  • Faro Airport (IATA: FAO) serves Algarve in the south of the country, one of Europe's favourite holiday regions. Therefore, it sees the most traffic in the warmer months, mainly from charter carriers carrying package holiday customers, as well as low-fare flights from many European cities. A limited number of flights to major European destinations are operated year-round.
  • Madeira Airport in Funchal (IATA: FNC) serves the green island in the Atlantic, and is notable for its spectacular runway extending into the ocean and a scenic approach requiring much skill from the pilots. Like Faro, the airport is dominated by holiday flights and sees high seasonality.
  • João Paulo II Airport in Ponta Delgada (IATA: PDL) serves the Azores archipelago, and has a surprisingly wide network of connections operated mainly by local carrier Sata International and from 2014. also low-cost flights from Ryanair and Easyjet. Some holiday flights also reach Ponta Delgada from Europe.

While arriving in Portugal from Europe or from across the Atlantic one can choose between a variety of options, there are no direct connection with Asia or Oceania. One needs to either rely on one of the European majors and their Asian partners to find a connection via one of the major European hubs, or take advantage of the daily Emirates flight to Dubai, where one can connect with their network of flights across the Indian Ocean.

By train

Trains reach most larger cities from Lisbon to Porto,Braga,Aveiro,Coimbra,Evora,Faro. Lisbon is connected to Madrid, Spain; Porto to Vigo, Spain; Vilar Formoso to Spain, France and the rest of Europe. In the South it is not possible to enter Portugal from Spain. There are no train connections from i.e. Sevilla to Faro. The only option is to use buses, there are many. Southeast Portugal is connected by international train (linha do Leste and linha de Caceres) [Elvas/Caia, Portugal & Badajoz, Spain] or [Marvão-Beira, Portugal & Valencia de Alcantara, Spain.] For more information, contact: CP, Portuguese Railways.

By bus

  • Spain/Portugal: ALSA [1] and Avanza Grupo [2]
  • Oporto/Portugal: Porto Airport Taxi
  • Lisbon/Portugal: Lisbon Airport Taxi
  • Also from Madrid/Paris: Aníbal [3]

By boat

The country is served by numerous sea ports that receive a lot of foreign traffic, mostly merchant but also passengers boats (mainly cruisers).

Get around

By train

Rail travel in Portugal is usually slightly faster than travel by bus, but services are less frequent and cost more. The immediate areas surrounding Lisbon and Porto are reasonably well-served by suburban rail services.

The rail connections between the main line of Portugal, i.e. between Braga and Faro are good. The Alfa-Pendular (fast) trains are comfortable, first class is excellent. The Alfa-Pendular train stops only at main cities stations and often requires advance reservations,(recommended) between BragaPorto, Gaia, AveiroCoimbraLisbon and Faro.

Intercity trains will take you to further destinations, specially in the interior, such as Évora, Beja and Guarda.

Timetables can be found and tickets can be purchased online at Comboios de Portugal.

You get 40% off the regular ticket price for Alfa Pendular and Intercidades trains if you book five days or more in advance. There are only a limited number of these advance tickets per train. The earliest advance purchase is 60 days before the day of travel.

If you book a long distance ticket to or from Oporto-Campanhã, you can travel between that station and Oporto São Bento (city centre) on urban trains for free.

By bus

Unfortunately the rail network is limited, so you may find yourself busing about to get anywhere off the beaten path. Rede Expresso [4] is one of the largest inter-city bus companies.

Lisbon and Porto, the two largest urban cities, have a clean modern and air-conditioned metro systems (underground/subway and light railway).

Road traffic in Lisbon and Porto is pretty congested all day round and gets completely stuck in the rush hours, at least in the main roads to exit or enter the city. Car travel is the most convenient or only method to reach areas outside the main cities, however (car rental is not too expensive, but the associated insurance is - unless you book the total package abroad). Heed the advice about the quality of some people's driving skills mentioned below.

Generally speaking, Portugal is not a good country for hitchhiking. In the deserted country roads in the South, you might wait for many hours before you are offered a ride. Try to speak with people on gas stations or parking lots etc. Drivers tend to be suspicious, but when you show them that they should not be afraid, they will probably accept you and mostly also show their generosity. Try to look neat and clean. The hippy style will get you nowhere. As with everywhere in the world, two males hitchhiking together will not get a ride from anyone.

By car

You can reach almost all major cities in Portugal with ease, either by motorway or by good, modern roads. The biggest cities are well served by modern highways (most have tolls), and you can travel the full North-South length of the country without ever leaving the highway, if you choose to.

However, some secondary roads are poorly maintained and care is required. Also, Portuguese driving can seem erratic and, frankly, scary to the uninitiated. The country shares with most southern European countries something that the successive Portuguese governments have been trying to fight: terrible road behaviour from some drivers. In order to fight this, road laws changed recently in order to punish with great severity speeding, driving without license, driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, etc.

The motorways with the most reckless driving are those surrounding Lisbon and Porto, the A1 and A2 and the Algarve. You can be on a 2-lane toll highway and be unable to see any other traffic except the car you're overtaking at 30 kph over the speed limit and the car about 6 feet from your back end flashing its headlights to get past you. Merging manners when slip roads come on to fast roads are also pretty poor. On other roads, you'll get used to two classic Portuguese experiences: suicidal overtaking attempts and the resultant absurdly overdone signs indicating when you can and can't overtake - sometimes all of 5 yards apart, and the "penalty stop" traffic light as you enter the 50 kph zone in each small town, with camera to decide whether you're over the speed limit. Rather absurdly, once you're through this, your speed isn't checked again.

It is probably unwise for those unfamiliar with Portuguese driving to try to drive in Lisbon or Porto - be aware if you do that city drivers give no quarter and have limited respect for lane markings (where lane markings exists!). If you do want to try, choose a weekend or an hour outside the rush hour periods. These are early mornings (8AM - 9.30AM) and late afternoons (5PM - 7.30PM). Other Portuguese cities are much better, but often have very narrow roads.

Toll highways

Portugal has a system of electronic tolls, and you need to make arrangements to register you licence plate or to obtain a tag for tolling if you are going to use the main motorway system. Arrangements can be made to register your licence plate at the border, if entering by car. If hiring a car in Portugal, it is likely the rental car company has an arrangement for the payment of tolls.

Drunk driving

Drunk driving is a controversial issue and still rather common. The tolerated limit is 0.49 g/L in blood (0.05% BAC); being above this limit is thus illegal and can result in a fine of up to €1250 and licence suspension for one to twelve months. If you are tested and found with between 0.8 and 1.2 g/L, the fine may reach €2500 and you'll be facing licence suspension between two months and two years. Driving with levels above 1.2 g/L is a criminal offence punished with up to one year in prison and a three year driving ban.

Talk

See also Portuguese phrasebook

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese (português). Portuguese is today one of the world's major languages, ranked 6th according to number of native speakers (approximately 240 million). It is the language with the largest number of speakers in South America, spoken by almost all of Brazil's population. It is also an official language in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor and Macau.

Portuguese is a Romance language. Although it may be mutually intelligible with Spanish to a wide extent, with about 90% of lexical similarity (both in vocabulary and grammar), it is far from identical. Portuguese are a proud people and are uneasy when foreigners from non-Spanish-speaking countries speak that language when travelling in Portugal. While many words may be spelled almost the same as in Spanish (or Italian), the pronunciation differs considerably. This is because Portuguese has several sounds not present in those languages.

It is also worth mentioning that the Portuguese spoken in Portugal differs significantly from that in Brazil. The difference is in pronunciation and a few vocabulary differences, which makes it tricky for Brazilians to understand the European Portuguese accent, although not vice versa because Brazilian pop culture is popular in Portugal.

English is spoken in many tourist areas, but it is far from ubiquitous. The Portuguese are taught English in school, and are also exposed to American and British films and television shows with the original English soundtrack and Portuguese subtitles. In the main tourist areas you will almost always find someone who can speak the main European languages. Hotel personnel are required to speak English, even if sketchily. French has almost disappeared as a second language, except possibly among older people. German or Italian speakers are rare. Approximately 32% of Portuguese people can speak and understand English, while 24% can speak and understand French. Despite Spanish being mutually intelligible in a sense that most Portuguese understand it written and/or spoken, only 9% of the Portuguese population can speak it fluently. If you're a Spanish speaker, chances are you'll understand each other very well without an interpreter for the most part.

Portuguese people are of generally excellent humour when they are talking with someone who cannot speak their language. This means that all types of shop owners, salespeople, and people curious about you will take time to try to carve out any means of communication. Helping a foreigner is considered a pleasant and rewarding occasion and experience. If you attempt to speak correct Portuguese, especially if slightly beyond the trivial, with locals, you will be treated with respect. This might encourage travellers to learn the very basics of Portuguese, such as daily greetings.

In Miranda do Douro, a town in the North East, and its vicinity some people speak a regional language called Mirandese, in addition to Portuguese, although rarely in public.

Foreign television programmes are almost always shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Portuguese.

See

Historic towns & architecture

Once a mighty colonial nation, many of Portugal's lively cities still have an atmosphere reminding of those Old World times. They're packed with remarkable monuments and with just a little bit of effort, you'll discover traditional cafés and craftsmen who's families have run their businesses for generations.

Head to the delightful harbour town of Porto to linger along the picture-perfect Cais da Ribeira. Recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site, this beautiful riverfront area is characterized by ancient buildings and streets and of course the views of the Rabelo boat filled harbour. The country's scenic capital, Lisbon, is bustling with contemporary culture but also boasts countless monumental limestone buildings. Don't miss the gorgeous cloisters of Jeronimus Monastery and make sure to climb up the battlements of St George's Castle for some excellent panoramic views of the city. For a royal daytrip from Lisbon, head to the surroundings of Sintra and its famous castles, including the Romanticist Pena National Palace. Then there's the enchanting medieval university town of Coimbra, considered by many to be the most romantic city in Portugal. Get lost in its labyrinth of ancient alleys and don't skip the university building and its fine views over the river. For a more intimate experience, head to the romantic and very well-preserved village of Óbidos, once a traditional personal gift from Portuguese kings to their beloved wives. Go to monument-heavy Tomar or follow tens of thousands of religious travellers to Fátima, the most-visited pilgrimage site in Iberia. The 12th century Portuguese capital Évora is an excellent place for ancient architecture, combining Roman ruins with Moorish and Portuguese architecture, or head to Guimarães, the cradle of Portugal. If you can't get enough of Portugal's towns, the list of places worth visiting continues. Try Viana do CasteloBragaAveiroAmarante, Bragança, ChavesLamegoViseuVila RealLagosSilves, or Angra.

Natural beauty and beaches

The most popular beaches are in the Algarve, which has stunning coastlines and gobs of natural beauty. For decades, it's been a major holiday destination. The water along the southern coast tends to be warmer and calmer than the water along the west coast, which is definitely Atlantic and doesn't benefit of the Gulf Stream. For surfing, or just playing in the surf there are great beaches all along the west coast, near Lisbon and Peniche. Don't forget also some of the almost deserted beaches along the Costa Vicentina, in Alentejo.

If you want to spend your holidays in the countryside, you might want to visit Viana do CasteloChavesMiranda do Douro, Douro Valley, LamegoTomarLeiriaCastelo BrancoGuardaPortalegre, Évora, Elvas or even Viseu.

And even if you wish to observe wild life in its natural state, Madeira and Azores Islands are places to remember, not forgetting of course the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the Douro Valley and Serra da Estrela Natural Park.

Museums

Portugal has a rich cultural tradition, and gained fame for its art in the country's Golden Age, the late 15th and early 16th centuries. A number of world-class museums offer an insight in both domestic and foreign riches, and not only in the form of paintings. The best ones can be found in Lisbon. The Museu da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian holds an impressive collection of both Asian and European sculptures, paintings, carpets and more. The Museu Nacional dos Coches showcases wonderfully decorated state carriages and the Museu de Marinha, nicely housed in a wing of the Jeronimus Monastery, is considered one of the most prominent maritime museums in the world. Sintra is home to the Museo de Brinquedo, a remarkable toy museum, and the Sintra Museum of Modern Art. For religious treasures, try the museum about those in Evora, or head to Coimbra for another excellent arts collection, in the Museu Nacional Machado de Castro.

Do

Beaches: Surrounded by sea in almost its entirety, the Portuguese beaches are well worth visiting. A lot of activities are offered, from surfing, to kite-surfing, and during the summer months the most frequented beaches offer sand based activities such as aerobics. If you're not the type of breaking into a sweat during holidays, almost every single public beach will have a bar where locals sit. Some of the most popular beaches are (from north to south):

  • Espinho, near Oporto, in Costa Verde/Green Coast, northern region.
  • Figueira da Foz, near Coimbra, in Silver Coast/Costa de Prata, central region.
  • Peniche
  • Praia das Maçãs and Praia Grande[Sintra], Carcavelos and Estoril[Cascais], near Lisbon, in the Costa de Lisboa.
  • Zambujeira do Mar, in the Alentejo region/Costa Alentejana e Vicentina.
  • Salema, Praia da Rocha, in the Algarve.

Golf: The climate, combined with investments in the golfing infrastructure in recent years, has turned the country into a golfing haven. Portugal was recently named "Best Golf Destination 2006" by readers of Golfers Today, a British publication. Fourteen of Portugal's courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. Portugal is also a great location to learn the game and perfect technique. Many resorts offer classes with the pros. Courses can satisfy the most demanding golfer, while newcomers won't be intimidated, unless they find the beautiful landscapes and stunning vistas distracting to their game. Locals have mixed feelings about golf courses, namely due to the huge amounts of water required to maintain them and their apparent pointlessness.

The countryside also offers a great deal of possibilities, although you will have to incite the travel agent's advice a little more than usual, as they tend to just sell beach holidays. Cycling through the mountainous terrain of Geres or white-water rafting in the affluents of river Douro is an exhilirating experience.

Events

There are several Fairs, specially in the Summer months, particularly in Northern Portugal. During the summer, music festivals are also very common. In the north of the country two of the oldest festivals such as Paredes de Coura and Vilar de Mouros. The regions chosen for the festivals are most of the time surrounded by beautiful landscapes and pleasant villages. In the south, the most famous one is Festival do Sudoeste, in the west part of the south cost with a summer landscape and never ending beaches.

Major events of the year are listed at tourist board's official site, [5].

Buy

Money

Portugal uses the euro. It is one of several European countries that uses this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender within all the countries.

One euro is divided into 100 cents.

The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

  • Banknotes: Euro banknotes have the same design in all the countries.
  • Normal coins: All eurozone countries have coins issued with a distinctive national design on one side, and a standard common design on the other side. Coins can be used in any eurozone country, regardless of the design used (e.g. a one-euro coin from Finland can be used in Portugal).
  • Commemorative two euro coins: These differ from normal two euro coins only in their "national" side and circulate freely as legal tender. Each country may produce a certain amount of them as part of their normal coin production and sometimes "Europe-wide" two euro coins are produced to commemorate special events (e.g. the anniversary of important treaties).
  • Other commemorative coins: Commemorative coins of other amounts (e.g. ten euros or more) are much rarer, and have entirely special designs and often contain non-negligible amounts of gold, silver or platinum. While they are technically legal tender at face value, their material or collector value is usually much higher and, as such, you will most likely not find them in actual circulation.

ATMs accepting international cards can be found everywhere, and currency conversion booths spring up wherever there is a steady flow of tourists (although typically, the closer they are to tourist attractions, the worse the rates they offer).

Haggling

In smaller (non-high-street) shops you can try some haggling, especially if you offer to buy multiple items. You might want to check your change, though: although not a widespread practice, some shopkeepers might "accidentally" overcharge tourists.

Tipping

Tipping in restaurants is optional. Waiters earn wages in Portugal and a 'tip' is considered a note of appreciation, not a means to make up for a tiny salary - if you are not too happy with the service, don't tip. Keep in mind that whilst tipping, most people in Portugal would just round up the total bill to the next euro. Even in expensive restaurants more than 2 to 3 euro would be hardly justified.

Tipping taxi drivers and daily tips for hotel staff are not customary in Portugal.

What to buy

Designer clothes Although not widely known internationally, Portugal has several independent fashion designers. The list includes: Fátima Lopes , Maria Gambina. Some of them have dedicated shops in Lisbon. There is an amazing number of other things you can buy, either at sophisticated commercial facilities or at fairs and more popular places. Handicraft is a good example. Handmade leather purses or clothes, toys, home utensils, glass items, decoration, etc. You can find them at popular touristic places or at better prices in fairs and popular parties in small towns. Almost all major brands can be bought in major cities, all luxury articles are available, but there is not a clear advantage in buying them here as prices are equivalent to all other places.

Regional specials Dolls in Nazaré, also the Galo de Barcelos.

Eat

This is potentially the most varied experience to have in the country and is clearly a favorite local hobby.

Portuguese cuisine evolved from hearty peasant food drawn from the land, the seafood of the country's abundant coast and the cows, pigs and goats raised on the limited grazing land of its interior. From these humble origins, spices brought back to the country during the exploration and colonisation of the East Indies and the Far East helped shape what is regarded as 'typical' Portuguese cuisine which, conversely, also helped shape the cuisine in the regions under Portuguese influence, from Cape Verde to Japan.

Soup is the essential first course of any Portuguese meal. The most popular is the Minho specialty, caldo verde, made from kale, potatoes and spiced, smoked sausage. It's here in the Minho that you can sample the best vinho verde, which rarely is bottled. In many places, especially near the seashore, you can have a delightful and always varied fish soup, sometimes so thick it has to be eaten with the help of a fork.

You will see another Portuguese staple bacalhau (salt cod) everywhere. Locals will tell you that there are as many ways to cook this revered dish as there are days in the year, or even more.

The most common of Portugal's delicious fish (peixe) dishes revolve around sole (linguado) and sardines (sardinha) although salmon (salmão) and trout (truta) are also featured heavily, not mentioning the more traditional mackerel (carapau), whiting (pescada), rock bass (robalo), frog fish (tamboril) and a variety of turbot (cherne). These are boiled, fried, grilled or served in a variety of sauces.

There are many varieties of rice-based specialties, such as frog fish rice, octopus rice, duck rice and seafood rice.

In most places you will easily find fresh seafood: lobster (lagosta), lavagante, mussel (mexilhão), oysters (ostras), clam (amêijoas), goose barnacle (perceves).

Depending on how touristic the area you are in, you'll see grills, thick with the smoke of charring meat, in front of many restaurants during your stay. Other than traditional sardines, Portuguese grilled chicken -- marinated in chilli, garlic and olive oil -- is world famous, although people tired of tasteless industrial poultry farm produce might opt for a tasty veal cutlet (costeleta de novilho) instead, or simply grilled pork.

In the North, you can find many manners of kid, and in the Alentejo, lamb ensopado and many types of pork meat, including the tastier black pork; the best considered parts of pork being the secretos and the plumas. In the Alentejo, you are likely to be served pork instead of veal if you ask for the ubiquitous bitoque (small fried beef, fried potatoes, egg). A widely found traditional dish is pork and clam, Carne de Porco à Alentejana, as well as fried, bread-covered cuttlefish slices (tiras de choco frito). Sometimes you can also find wild boar dishes.

Definitely a major specialty is Mealhada's (near Coimbra) suckling pig roast (leitão) with the local sparkling wine and bread. Much like the pastel de nata, you shouldn't miss it.

Vegetarians may have a tough time of it in Portugal, at least in traditional Portuguese restaurants. In most restaurants, vegetables (usually boiled or fried potatoes) are simply a garnish to the main meat dish. Even 'vegetarian' salads and dishes may just substitute tuna (which locals don't seem to regard as a 'meat') for ham or sausage. Usually, a salad is just lettuce and tomato with salt, vinegar and olive oil. However, the Portuguese really like their choose-5-items salad bars, and restaurants serving Indian, Chinese, Mexican, or Italian fare can be found in most cities. At any rate, just mention you're vegetarian, and something can be found that meets your preference although in the long run you might be unable to thrive on it.

In many Portuguese restaurants, if you order a salad it will come sprinkled with salt - if you are watching your salt intake, or just do not like this idea, you can ask for it "sem sal" (without salt) or more radically "sem tempero" (no seasoning).

A few restaurants, particularly in non-tourist areas, do not have a menu; you have to go in and ask and they will list a few items for you to choose from. It is wise to get the price written down when you do this so as to avoid any nasty surprises when the bill comes. However, in this type of restaurants, the price for each one of the options is very similar, varying around from €5 to €10 per person.

Most restaurants bring you a selection of snacks at the start of your meal - bread, butter, cheese, olives and other small bites - invariably there is a cover charge on these items, around €5. Do not be afraid to ask how much the cover charge is, and get them to take the items away if it is too much or if you are not planning to eat as much. It can be quite reasonable, but occasionally you will get ripped off. If you send them away, still, you should check your bill at the end. Better restaurants can bring you more surprising, nicely prepared and delicious small dishes and bites and charge you more than €5 for each of them; you can usually choose those you want or want not, as in these cases the list is longer; and if the price is this high and you make an acceptable expense, opt for not ordering a main course.

If you have kitchen facilities, Portuguese grocery stores are surprisingly well-stocked with items such as lentils, veggie burgers, couscous, and inexpensive fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. If you like hard cheese, try "Queijo da Serra", if you prefer soft cheese, try requeijão. Unfortunately, the success of the "Queijo da Serra" also allowed the proliferation of industrial and taste-devoid varieties, unrelated to the real thing. On larger shops mostly found in the principal cities, you can also find many unusual items such as exotic fruits or drinks.

In some grocery stores and most supermarkets the scales are in the produce section, not at the checkout. If you don't weigh your produce and go to the checkout, you will probably be told Tem que os pesar or Tem que pesar,"tem que ser pesado" ("You have to weigh them"/it(they) must be weighed).

Portugal is famous for its wide variety of amazing pastries, or pastéis(singular: pastel). The best-loved pastry, pastéis de nata (called just natas further north), is a flaky pastry with custard filling topped with powdered sugar (açúcar) and cinnamon (canela). Make sure you try them, in any "pastelaria". The best place is still the old Confeitaria dos 'Pastéis de Belém' in Belém, although most "pastelarias" make a point of excelling at their "pastéis". For once, all the guide books are right. You may have to queue for a short time, but it'll be worth it. Some people like them piping hot and some don't.

Also nice, if dryish, are the bolo de arroz (literally, "rice cake") and the orange or carrot cakes.

From the more egg-oriented North to almond-ruled South, Portuguese pastry and sweet desserts are excellent and often surprising, even after many years.

On October/November, roasted chestnuts (castanhas) are sold on the streets of cities from vendors sporting fingerless gloves tending their motorcycle driven stoves: a treat!

The Portuguese love madly their thick, black espresso coffee (bica, in Lisbon), and miss it sorely when abroad.

Specials found in individual regions

  • Aveiro: special cake from the town: "Ovos Moles"
  • Porto: "Francesinha", a special sandwich; "Tripas", pig guts.
  • Sintra: queijadas de Sintra or the travesseiros
  • Mafra: specialty bread, Pão de Mafra; special cake from the town: "Fradinhos"

Drink

When travelling in Portugal, the drink of choice is wine. Red wine is the favorite among the locals, but white wine is also popular. Also Portugal along with Spain have a variation of the white wine that is actually green (Vinho Verde). It's a very crisp wine served cold and goes best with many of the fish dishes. Drinking wine during a meal is very common in Portugal, and also after the meal is finished people will tend to drink and talk while letting their food digest.

Port wine may be an aperetif or dessert. Alentejo wine may not be worldwide known as Porto, but is quite as good. Portugal has also other defined wine regions (regiões vinhateiras) which make also some of the very best of wines like Madeira, Sado or Douro.

Folks might find it a bit difficult to refrain from drinking, even if there are very good reasons to do so (such as the above mentioned driving). Nowadays the "I have to drive" excuse works ok. The easiest way is to explain that one can't for health reasons. The Portuguese aren't as easily insulted as others when it comes to refusing the obvious hospitality of a drink, but a lie such as "I'm allergic" might make clear a situation where one would have to otherwise repeatedly explain a preference in some regions of Portugal; but it won't work in other regions where obviously made-up excuses will tag you as unreliable ("I don't want to, thanks" might then work). Drinking is considered almost socially intimate.

Be careful of 1920 and Aguardente (burning water), both pack a mighty punch.

The legal drinking age in Portugal is 16. For nightlife LisbonPorto and Albufeira, Algarve are the best choices as they have major places of entertainment.

Port Wine

Porto is famous for the eponymous port wine, a fortified wine (20%) made by adding brandy to the wine before fermentation is complete. According to EU laws, port wine can only be named as such if the grapes are grown in the Douro valley, and the wine is brewed in Porto. The end product is strong, sweet, complex in taste and if properly stored will last 40 years or more.

There are many, many grades of port, but the basic varieties are:

  • Vintage, the real deal, kept in the bottle for 5-15 years, can be very expensive for good years. It is, nevertheless, worth it.
  • Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV), simulated vintage kept in barrel longer, ready to drink. Nice if you are on a budget.
  • Tawny, aged for 10-40 years before bottling, which distinguishes itself by a more brownish red color and a slightly smoother bouquet and flavor. As with any wine, the older it gets, the more rounded and refined it will be.
  • Ruby, the youngest and cheapest, with a deep red "ruby" color.
  • White port is a not-so-well-known variety, and it is a shame. You will find a sweet and a dry varietal, the latter of which mixes well with tonic water and should be served chilled (if drunk alone) or with lots of ice (with tonic), commonly used as an aperitif.

Vinho Verde

  • Another good choice is the ubiquitous vinho verde (green wine), which is made mostly in the region to the north of Porto (the Minho.) It's a light, dry and refreshing wine (approx. 9% -9.5% in volume), made from region specific grapes with relatively low sugar content. Mostly white, and sometimes slightly sparkling. Very nice, and very affordable.

Sleep

The youth hostel network has a great number of hostels around the country [6]. There are also many camping places. 'Wild camping' (camping outside camping parks) is not allowed, unless you have the land owner's agreement. Holiday Villas are another option to investigate.

There's a wide and abundant hotel offering all through Portugal.

If budget is a concern, and you want a true 'typically Portuguese' experience, gather your courage and try a residencial, the home-like hostels ubiquitous in cities and most towns. In most places you can get a double room for €25-€35 (Oct 2006). Be sure, however, of the quality of the rooms.

On the luxury side, you might try the 'Pousadas de Portugal', a network of hotels managed by the Pestana Group remarkable for using very beautiful ancient buildings like Palaces and Castles and also for having excellent service, consistent all over the country. You will do well in eating out eventually, as the cuisine of Pousadas is frequently both expensive and boring, although it appears the trend is changing for the better (mid-2008).

The "Casas de Campo" (Turismo de Habitação, Turismo Rural, Agro-Turismo), when travelling through the countryside, are also an affordable, picturesque and comfortable B&Bs. Don't expect them to be open all year round, and try to contact them beforehand if your itinerary depends on them.

Stay safe

Portugal is a relatively safe country to visit, and some basic common sense will go a long way. There are no internal conflicts, no terrorism-related danger and violent crime is not a serious problem, as it is generally confined to particular neighbourhoods and is rarely a random crime.

There are, however, some areas of Lisbon and Porto that you might want to avoid, like in any big city, especially at night. Also, you might want to have in mind that pickpockets do tend to target tourists and tourist-frequented areas more frequently. Wear a money belt or keep your documents and money in an inside pocket. Metro and large rail stations, shopping areas, queues and crowded buses are the most usual places for pickpockets. Many are under 18 and take advantage of the non-harsh laws on minors. If you try to run them down, a fight may be necessary to get your items back.

On the subway or on trains try to sit with other people and avoid empty carriages. Non-violent pickpocket is the most common crime so always watch any bags (purses, luggage, shopping bags, etc.) you may have with you. A voice message reminding that is played in most of the metro and train stations.

Since the disappearance of Madeline McCann, many families have become wary of taking their children to Portugal, especially if they are very young. However, as long as they have a basic understanding of stranger danger and you keep them with you at all times, then you have nothing to worry about.

Illicit drug use

On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized the recreational use of drugs. Note that drug possession for personal use and drug usage (up to 2.5 grams of cannabis for instance) itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. In some locations, like Bairro Alto you might be offered drugs on the streets. You will want to avoid buying like this because the drugs are often fake and the sellers are sometimes undercover policemen.

Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

Driving while impaired by drugs is a criminal code offense and is treated in the same way as driving under the influence of more than 1,2 g/l of alcohol, with severe penalties.

Stay healthy

Major cities are well served with medical and emergency facilities and public hospitals are at European standards. The national emergency number is 112.

Bottled/spring water (água mineral) is recommended as per use but the network's water is perfectly safe.

Citizens of the European Union are covered by Portugal's National Healthcare System as long as they carry the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), obtainable from their own national healthcare authority.

Respect

Language

Portuguese people feel a sincere happiness when helping tourists so don't feel ashamed to ask for help. If you make an effort to speak some Portuguese with the people there, it can go a long way. A large percentage of the younger population speaks English and many Portuguese understand basic Spanish.

However, although Portuguese people do understand some basic Spanish vocabulary, try to use it only in emergencies, since it is generally seen as disrespectful if you are a not a native Spanish speaker. If you do use Spanish, be prepared to hear something like "In Portugal, people speak Portuguese, not Spanish", or they may simply tell you that they don't understand you even if they do. Most probably they will not say anything and will still help you, but they will not appreciate it, due to the historical rivalry between Spain and Portugal. It is best to speak in English or your native language with the resource of hand signs or at the very least starting a conversation with Portuguese, then switching to English can be a successful technique to obtain this type of help.

Morality and social issues

It is not unusual for women to sunbathe topless on the beaches of Portugal, and there are several nudist beaches too. Thong bikinis are acceptable throughout the country's beaches.

There are no serious political or social issues to be avoided.

Religion

Although nominally a Catholic country, since almost 90% of Portuguese consider themselves to be Roman Catholic, only about 19% actively practice this faith. As a result, when discussing religion with a Portuguese person don't expect much knowledge about church practices or support towards some of their beliefs and opinions (e.g. Use of condoms, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, etc.). In Portugal, religion is not seen as a valid argument when discussing politics. Abortion in Portugal was legalised in 2007 and same sex marriage in 2010.

Although there are no strict rules, when visiting churches or other religious monuments, try to wear appropriate clothes. That means shoulders and knees should be covered.

Sexuality

Portugal in general is a gay-friendly country, but don't expect the same openness in rural areas and small towns that you get in the bigger cities like Lisbon or Porto. Public displays of affection between gay couples can be seen as a curiosity and in some cases as inappropriate depending on the place and the kind of display. Gays and lesbians in Lisbon are respected as the city itself has a big gay scene with lots of bars, night clubs, restaurants, cafes, saunas and beaches. Most of the “gay-friendly” places are located in the quarters of Bairro Alto, Chiado and Princípe Real.

Since September 2007, the legal age of consent in Portugal is 14 years old, regardless of sexual behaviour, gender and/or sexual orientation. Although the age of consent is stipulated at 14, the legality of a sexual act with a minor between 14 and 16 is open to legal interpretation since the law states that it is illegal for an adult to perform a sexual act with an adolescent between 14 and 16 years old "by taking advantage of their inexperience".

Smoking

Smoking in public enclosed places (taxis and transport, shops and malls, cafés and hotels, etc.) is illegal and is subject to a fine, unless in places showing the appropriate blue sign.

Bullfighting

Some cities in Portugal still stage bullfighting events. In Portugal it is illegal, contrary to what happens in Spain, to kill the bull during the bullfight. However, it is totally wrong to assume that all Portuguese people support or even faintly like bullfights. Many Portuguese are indifferent to bullfighting or are offended by acts of cruelty. You might also end up offending someone if you make generalisations or insist that bullfighting is part of today's Portuguese culture. The Municipality of Barrancos (a border town with Spain) actively defies the law and law enforcement agents and kills the bull in the arena.

A special live episode of the Amateur Traveler with three guests, Aaron Saunders, Jonathan Souza and Mary Quincy talking about the recent VikingSocial, Viking River Cruise on the Douro River in Portugal.

It’s a tight race for runner-up when America is first, and the contenders are going all out to prove their superiority to Donald Trump with video pitches.

Portugal still feels like a dream. As I made my way across the country earlier this year, the image of dark green hills dotted with castles and whitewashed villages flowing into glittering seaside communities cemented itself into my memory. Its variety in landscape never ceases to amaze. One day, I would dive into the Atlantic Ocean on the Algarve Coast and drive through fresh snow at 2000m at Serra de Estrela just a few hours later. 1

Lisbon

The capital was an obvious starting point. In 1755, a devastating earthquake, tsunami, and a week-long fire shattered the city. Today, it is one of Europe's cultural highlights with an intriguing coexistence of sleepy, postcard-perfect old towns and pulsating nightlife only to be interrupted by the awakening sun. After a few days in the city, I was also introduced to the notion of saudade – a reoccurring theme in Portuguese life and literature. Saudade is an almost untranslatable word referring to nostalgia and intense longing for someone loved.

2

Sintra

I highly recommend a day trip to Sintra with its bright castles, medieval ruins, and piercing blue sea. Public transport is the most convenient and cost-effective option and will you get there within one hour. If you have a car, it’s an easy 30-minute drive once you’ve left the city. The Portuguese learned the art of building fortifications from the Romans and the Moors, with the most impressive examples being dotted around Lisbon and Sintra.

3

Palácio da Pena

The brightly painted Palácio da Pena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. In its early days in the 15th century, it housed just over a dozen of monks and served as a tranquil place for meditation and shelter. During the 19th century, King Ferdinand then began to transform the remains of the earthquake-damaged monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.

Intermission 182

35 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

by Hal Amen
30

10 reasons you should never date a Portuguese man

by Sandra Guedes
182

35 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

by Hal Amen
4

Cabo Da Roca

The westernmost extent of mainland Portugal is just a few kilometres off Sintra and offers dramatic cliff side views. Bring your walking shoes and take one of the many short walks along the cape.

5

Porto

Azulejo-splashed architecture and wine-stained taverns pretty much sum up the town of Porto. I spent my days walking aimlessly through its web of cobblestoned alleys, watching the locals do their thing and contemplating life in general. Did you know that this kind of ceramic tilework serves as both a natural insulator and heat repellent in Portuguese housing?

6

Algarve

It was here that, in the 15th century, the Portuguese set off on the epic journey that led them to discover other peoples and cultures. And it is here that Portugal sees most of its visitors flocking to. Faro, the gateway to the region, has a beautiful historic centre, while Silves preserves traces of its Arab past.

7

Stormy Algarve

One of the downsides of travelling coastal regions in low season (winter and early spring) is their temperamental climate. A dear friend joined me for this leg of the trip, which let the storms go by a lot faster. Whenever we saw a gap in the clouds, we'd jump into the car and drive to one of the many beaches in the Algarve. Finally, our patience paid off and ravishing skies with a side of zero crowds awaited us.

8

Stairs to the beach

There are more than 150 beaches to choose from on the Algarve coast.

9

Algarve coast

Among my favourite beaches are Praia da Marinha in Lagoa, Praia da Falésia in Albufeira, Praia da Amoreira in Aljezur.

Intermission 445

10 volunteer opportunities for free travel

by Matt Scott

13 signs you grew up celebrating the holidays in Portugal

by Sandra Guedes

17 gorgeous views that define The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

by Matador Team
10

Madeira

Madeira is an archipelago south-west of Portugal and has received more than ten nominations for the 2016 World Travel Awards. Flying in, you'll want to be in a window seat. Once headed out of the main town of Funchal, the island begins to feel wild. Waterfalls cross roads (literally), greenery is plentiful and - best of all - island time calls for an even more laid-back way of life. In the mornings, I would grab my hiking boots and explore. In the afternoons, I would go to the seaside for long lunches, some local wine, and a good book. Madeira introduced me to a new, more adventurous side of Portugal. Smiles felt genuine and, after listening to the local Fado band most nights, its landscape did certainly feel lyrical.

11

Madeira mountains

Must-see spots on Madeira include Cabo Girão, Balcões, Bica da Cana, and a walk along one of the levadas (self-regulating reservoirs). Given the size of its national park, come with lots of time on your hands, especially if you’re into mountain biking or trekking. The fantastic team at ‘Extra Mile Madeira’ showed me around the island. They led me to secret spots I wouldn’t have found otherwise and helped me to see the island through the eyes of a local.

12

Costa Nova

Life on the road means choosing whenever one wants to stop. En-route to Porto, Costa Nova sounded like a good enough pit stop on the highway. It sure didn't disappoint; just look at these colours! These traditional structures were used by fishermen to store their fishing materials since the early 19th century and have also been used as beach houses throughout the years.

13

Aveiro

Known as the “Portuguese Venice”, the city is quietly dominated by the Ria de Aveiro, described by Saramago as “a living body that connects the land to the sea like a huge heart.”

14

Braga

A trip throughout Portugal wouldn’t be complete without a few days in the countryside. A little village near Braga in Portugal's north saw a lovely renovated homestead called Quinta Pedra De Baixo. It rained most days, which I didn't mind at all. In fact, the rain painted the perfect picture of the Portuguese rhythm of daily life: subtle, thrilling, and full of saudade for the days I won’t spend in this country.

Photo by Frank McKenna

IN AN INCREASINGLY BUSY world, going for a surf is a chance to get back to nature, test yourself against the ocean, have fun and get some exercise. And these days learning to surf doesn’t have to be the fearful, difficult proposition it once was. Forgiving foam surfboards and qualified surf instructors mean standing up and riding a wave in your first session is very likely — and then you’re hooked.

Read on for Matador’s list of the best surf spots to start your new addiction…

Byron Bay, Australia

This one-time sleepy dairy town turned hippie-surfer-stockbroker enclave is quite possibly the best place in the country, maybe the world, to learn to surf. There’s a variety of waves to suit different levels, from gentle rollers off Watego Beach to the beach breaks of Tallows and The Wreck (in small swells).

Byron Bay Surf School offers both lessons and accommodation. Or stay at the Byron Bay YHA (formerly J’s Bay), complete with pool.

Best time to go: March to May for warm weather and consistent swell .

Kuta, Bali

On an island famous for its grinding left-hand reef breaks, Bali still offers great options for learners. The long sandy stretch of beach in front of the famous Kuta and Legian tourist strip can turn on fun waves for beginners in small swells — but watch the currents when it’s bigger.

Various beach huts rent old surfboards for about 20,000 rupiah per hour. When the wind picks up in the afternoon there’s a bunch of options to keep you busy, from practising yoga in Ubud to partying late at Ku De Ta in Seminyak.

Best time to go: May to September for offshore winds and a party atmosphere.

Lagos, Portugal

While there are rarely waves in Lagos itself, this picturesque Algarve town is the base for many surf schools in the region, and it’s not hard to see why. A variety of great waves are within a 30-minute drive, including the protected break at Arrifana — a favourite for learners at low tide.

Among the surf schools based in Lagos, Surf Experience is the longest established and one of the best.

After a day spent learning to surf, refuel at one of Lagos’ cheap but delicious restaurants. After 10 PM, the clubs come alive, the clientèle spurred on by cheap cocktails and refreshing bottles of Sagres beer for just €2.

Best time to go: Northern hemisphere spring and autumn to avoid the summer crowds and higher prices.

Photo by Trevor Cleveland

Surfer’s Point, Barbados

Located on Barbados’s more protected southern coast, Surfer’s Point in Inch Marlowe is the perfect location to learn to surf in an idyllic, tropical setting. Former competitive surfer and Barbadian local Zed Layson runs the popular Zed’s Surfing Adventures. Zed offers two-hour lessons on easy-to-ride foam surfboards, plus a range of accommodation options near the point.

Best time to go: Anytime, although the rainy season from June to October may limit your tanning time.

Waikiki, Hawaii

What better place to learn to surf than the home of surfing itself? Hawaii’s ancient kings rode the surf on crude wooden boards before missionaries in the 19th century frowned on the sport for being a godless activity.

Thankfully, surfing is back bigger than ever. The gentle rolling waves of Waikiki are perfect for beginners, offering long rides and a (mostly) fun, easy going atmosphere. Canoe’s is the most popular, and consequently most crowded, break but you’ll be among beginners so catching waves is relatively easy.

Boards can be rented from the shacks on the beach by the hour or take a lesson from one of the many surf schools in the area.

Best time to go: There are waves year round although the Hawaiian summer from June to August sees consistent south swells.

Taghazoute, Morocco

Thanks to its long, righthand point breaks, Morocco has been a popular winter destination for European surfers since the 1970s, with convoys of VW campervans parked beside the various breaks.

These days, you don’t need to be a hardcore surfer to enjoy the waves, with a variety of surf schools to choose from.

In the south, Taghazoute almost has more surf camps than surf spots, so you’re bound to find one that suits your budget. Hash Point and the beaches around Agadir can throw up an easy wave for learners. If it’s flat, the chilled port town of Essaouira is just three hours north by bus and makes a great day trip.

Best time to go: The big swells roll in from November to February, but early autumn has smaller waves and warmer weather.

Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky

Newquay, UK

For a country known for its crap weather, the British sure love their surfing. Newquay’s Fistral Beach is surfing ground zero in Britain, with a variety of backpacker hostels, surf cafes, and surf schools in and around the town.

Newquay’s headlands mean there are surfable waves in most conditions, from the swell-exposed Fistral to the protected Watergate Bay just around the corner. If you have access to a car, the crystal clear peaks at Sennen Cove an hour south are worth the drive in clean swells.

Best time to go: September to October are the most consistent months. You’ll need a 4/3 or even a thick 5/4 wetsuit to brave the chilly water in winter and spring.

Bundoran, Ireland

Ireland is the new surfing hot spot in Europe; its world class, uncrowded waves now lure surfers from around the world.

Bundoran in County Donegal on Ireland’s west coast is a great place to learn the basics, with a variety of beach breaks on offer. If the swell is small, try Tullan Beach in town. If it’s too big, head 10 km north to the more mellow Rossnowlagh Beach. The respected Bundoran Surf Co. offers lessons as well surf-and-stay packages.

And five places to avoid

  • North Shore, Hawaii: With waves regularly reaching above 10 feet in winter, this coast is no place for the novice. Hell, even experienced surfers regularly come to grief here.
  • Coolangatta, Australia: Home of the Superbank. When it’s on it’s so crowded you can almost walk out to the surf on the back of paddling surfers.
  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa: Would you surf in the same waters where tourists flock to go swimming in shark-proof cages?
  • Fuerte Ventura, Canary Islands: Sharp lava reefs, sea urchins, strong winds, localism and thumping Atlantic swells. Experienced surfers only.
  • Puerto Escondido, Mexico: Has a reputation as one of the heaviest beach breaks in the world. The waves here are consistently above head high and routinely snap surfboards like twigs.
More like this: Arctic swells: Surfing the end of the Earth

North of Lisbon you’ll find three monasteries which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are called the Convent of Christ in Tomar and the monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaça. It’s possible to visit all three [...]

The post PORTUGAL – Tomar, Batalha and Alcobaça monastery as a day trip from Lisbon appeared first on Chris Travel Blog.

The Paiva Walkways offer a stunning excursion into nature, and the photographer Daniel Rodrigues was there to capture the beauty.

Lonely Planet Portugal (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Portugal is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Stand at Europe's southwestern edge on the barren cliffs of Cabo de Sao Vicente, stretch a towel on the golden sands of Algarve and hear soulful fado in Lisbon; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Portugal and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Portugal Travel Guide: Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - architecture, arts, music, religion, history, wine, cuisine Over 70 maps Covers Lisbon, the Algarve, Porto, the Douro valley, FaroSintra,  Evora, the Alentejo, the Beiras, Coimbra, the Minho, Estremadura and more.

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Portugal, our most comprehensive guide to Portugal, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for a guide focused on Lisbon? Check out Lonely Planet's Pocket Lisbon a handy-sized guide focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick trip.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

Rick Steves Portugal

Rick Steves

You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling in Portugal.With this guide, you'll explore this relaxed country at the western edge of Europe. Tour Lisbon's cobbled lanes and grand squares, reminders of Portugal's seafaring glory days. Step back into history at the palaces in Sintra and the bone chapel of Évora. Soak up the sun at the Algarve beach of your dreams. When evening comes, enjoy a dinner of fresh seafood stew, and raise a glass of port wine in a toast.Rick's candid, humorous advice will guide you to good-value hotels and restaurants. He'll help you plan where to go and what to see, depending on the length of your trip. You'll get up-to-date recommendations about what is worth your time and money. More than just reviews and directions, a Rick Steves guidebook is a tour guide in your pocket.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Portugal

DK

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Portugal is your in-depth guide to this beautiful country. Explore the magnificent Jerónimos Monastery, sample some wine in Porto, and discover the best beaches, scenic routes, markets, and festivals the country has to offer.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Portugal.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps include street finder indexes for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Portugal truly shows you this country as no one else can.

Recommended: For a pocket guidebook to Lisbon, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Lisbon, which is packed with dozens of top 10 lists, ensuring you make the most of your time in the city.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

Rick Steves Portugal

Rick Steves

You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling in Portugal.With this guide, you'll explore this relaxed country at the western edge of Europe. Tour Lisbon's cobbled lanes and grand squares, reminders of Portugal's seafaring glory days. Step back into history at the palaces in Sintra and the bone chapel of Évora. Soak up the sun at the Algarve beach of your dreams. When evening comes, enjoy a dinner of fresh seafood stew, and raise a glass of port wine in a toast.Rick's candid, humorous advice will guide you to good-value hotels and restaurants. He'll help you plan where to go and what to see, depending on the length of your trip. You'll get up-to-date recommendations about what is worth your time and money. More than just reviews and directions, a Rick Steves guidebook is a tour guide in your pocket.

The Rough Guide to Portugal

Rough Guides

The Rough Guide to Portugal is the ultimate travel guide to this beautiful country.

Taking you to the fashionable cities of Lisbon and Porto, to hikes in the central and northern hills, and to every beach along the Algarve, this updated guide is the ideal companion whether you're on a city break, beach vacation, or road trip.

The locally based Rough Guides author team introduces the best vineyards, country taverns, and fado clubs, and provides reliable insider tips on topics such as driving Portugal's roads, surfing at Peniche, and shopping for linen and lace. You'll find special coverage of Portuguese history, art, architecture, and literature, and detailed information on the best markets and shopping for each region.

The Rough Guide to Portugal also unearths the best restaurants, nightlife, and places to stay, from backpacker hostels to beachfront villas and boutique hotels, and color-coded maps feature every sight and listing.

Make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Portugal.

Series Overview: For more than thirty years, adventurous travelers have turned to Rough Guides for up-to-date and intuitive information from expert authors. With opinionated and lively writing, honest reviews, and a strong cultural background, Rough Guides travel books bring more than 200 destinations to life. Visit RoughGuides.com to learn more.

Fodor's Essential Portugal (Travel Guide)

Fodor's Travel Guides

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for more than 80 years. With its medieval hilltop towns, magnificent beaches, traditional Fado music, and excellent food and wine, Portugal is Western Europe's most exotic destination. Fodor's Essential Portugal puts the best the country has to offer at your fingertips. This travel guide includes:· Dozens of maps · An 8-page color insert with a brief introduction and spectacular photos that capture the top experiences and attractions throughout Prague· Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor's Choice designating our top picks· Multiple itineraries to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path· Major sights such as Sintra, Queluz National Palace and Lisbon· Side Trips from Evora including Guadalupe, Montemor-O-Novo and Monsaraz· Side Trips from Funchal including Monte, Porto Santo and Calheta· Coverage of Lisbon and environs; Estremadura and the Ribatejo; Evora and the Alentejo; The Algarve; Coimbra and the Beiras; Porto and the North; Madeira

Fodor's Portugal (Travel Guide)

Fodor's Travel Guides

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years. With its medieval hilltop towns, magnificent beaches, traditional Fado music, and excellent food and wine, Portugal is Western Europe's most exotic destination. This comprehensive new Fodor's guide captures the best this country has to offer, from its ever-popular café and bar scene to its lush vineyards and picturesque, mountainous landscapes dotted with castles. This travel guide includes:· Dozens of maps · An 8-page color insert with a brief introduction and spectacular photos that capture the top experiences and attractions throughout Portugal· Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor's Choice designating our top picks· Multiple itineraries to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path· Major sights such as SintraLisbon, and Queluz National Palace  · Side Trips from Evora and Funchal· Coverage of Lisbon, Estremadura and the Ribatejo, Evora and the Alentejo, The Algarve, Coimbra and the Beiras, Porto and the North, Madeira

Porto Bucket List 55 Secrets 2017 - The Locals Guide to Make The Most Out of Your Trip to Porto ( Oporto - Portugal ): Skip the tourist traps and explore like a local : Where to Go, Eat & Party

António Araújo

55 Secrets you would never find out about the city of PORTOWelcome to the most Complete Porto Travel Guide for Tourists made by locals! * * *FREE GIFT INSIDE – The last and Best Traditional Taverns in Porto * * * If you are heading to the wonderful city of Porto anytime soon this book will give you an insight of the best places and most unique places in town where you will mingle with the locals and get to see and do the activities as one of them.We have prepared a unique BUCKET LIST with the 55 most unique experiences you can have in the City of Porto (Portugal). Most people don't even take the time to prepare themselves in advance, and just wish for the best once they have arrived! Most people aren't aware of some of the most amazing places Porto can offer... And it'd be such a pity to miss them! That's precisely why we desperately need the RIGHT travel guide first. Don’t arrive to Porto and follow the crowds of Tourists. With this exclusive travel guide made by locals you will be finding about the places that don’t come on Lonely Planets or are listed on Trip Advisor where thousands of tourists head daily. It took lots of time to incorporate the tips and hacks that ended up shaping this travel guide! And now, I'm willing to share those secrets with you! We will tell you where you should go, eat, sleep, and of course, party! We know you won't just settle for average boring travel guides! We know you are looking for something better; something unique that will truly help you down the road: a book with real life tips, recommendations, useful travel hacks and data... everything you may need in your trip. You've just found what you were looking for! Our goal is simple. we will give you a complete and detailed Bucket list with MAPS to all the locations to make sure you won’t get lost in the city of Porto (Portugal) transforming your trip into absolutely amazing experience. We will help you simplify your path, showing you exactly where the best places are. Here Is a Preview of What You'll Learn Inside...♥Introduction: The city of Porto♥55 Unique activities to do when you are in town♥Best places to eat in town♥Best local Markets♥Top Gay friendly Bars, Clubs and Saunas♥Top Festivals ( Traditional and Music Events)♥Top Coffee Shops♥Best Vegetarian Restaurants♥Best Bars and clubs♥Best Hostels♥Best Places for a fancy dinner♥Best Views in town♥Best Port Wine cellars♥Best Francesinha Restaurants♥ Complete list of the best Traditional Taverns and their specialties♥ Much, much more! Download Your Copy Right Now!

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Petty crime

Violent crimes toward tourists are rare in Portugal. However, non-violent petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, are on the rise. These thieves are very skilled, and often work in groups. Be cautious in public areas, all tourist attractions, beaches, restaurants, hotel lobbies, bus stations, train stations and airports.

In Lisbon, exercise caution at all train and underground stations, particularly on electric tram number E28 to Castelo de São Jorge, number E25 to Prazeres and number E15 to Belém.

Exercise caution when travelling to Queluz and Sintra, to visit the castles and palaces, as well as to the Costa da Caparica beach, south of Lisbon. If visiting the Estoril coast and the village of Cascais, be especially careful at Guincho Beach, Cabo da Roca and Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell). 

In Porto, do not walk alone after dark, especially along the waterfront of the Douro River.

Do not let your guard down outside of the main cities, as thieves may be watching and can strike anywhere. Be especially careful in the Algarve region in such towns as Lagos and Albufeira, as well as in small coastal towns along and up to the north side of the country, such as Aljezur, Nazaré, Ericeira and Peniche, where petty crimes have been reported.

If you are robbed, go to the nearest police station to report the crime and obtain a police report. There are tourist police stations in LisbonPorto, Portimão and Cascais.

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave your food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. Drugs may be present that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Road travel

Rental cars and vehicles with foreign licence plates are frequently targeted for break-ins. Avoid leaving personal items and documents (including passports) in plain sight in a vehicle.

If you experience car trouble, stop at a gas station or rest stop if possible. If you must stop unexpectedly, be aware of your immediate surroundings and keep a careful watch on bystanders, including those who offer to help.

Be suspicious of anyone signalling you to stop on roads or highways. Thieves have been known to use this tactic to steal valuables, unattended bags and even the vehicle.

Incidents of thieves on motorcycles slashing rental car tires when the car is stopped at an intersection have been reported. This forces the vehicle to stop on the side of the road and allows for the thieves to approach and distract the passengers by offering assistance, while another steals belongings that are within reach. If this occurs, when possible, lock your doors and call your rental car agency or emergency services from within the car. Avoid opening your window, unlocking the car or stepping out of the vehicle. Official assistance and road monitoring vehicles are present on Portuguese highways and will come to your assistance. When possible, wait for the police to arrive.

Do not open the trunk before you finish parking when you arrive at your destination to avoid thieves knowing what is hidden in the trunk.

Whenever possible, use secure parking facilities, especially overnight. Do not leave your vehicle unattended and ensure that windows are closed and doors are locked at all times.

Excessive speeds, unpredictable driving habits and reckless motorcyclists create hazards. Be aware that slow-moving machinery may be found travelling on rural and national roads.

Public transportation

Local and inter-city train and bus services are good.

Taxis are widely available. Confirm the fare prior to getting into the taxi or ensure that the meter is used.

A ferry runs between Madeira and Porto Santo.

Daily domestic flights link the mainland to the islands of the Azores, as well as to Madeira.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur frequently in larger urban centres and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Beaches and water activities

While beaches are generally considered safe, do not leave your personal belongings unattended.

During the summer months, deaths by drowning have occurred on beaches and in swimming pools. Take warning flags on beaches seriously. The Maritime Police have the authority to fine bathers who disobey the lifeguard’s warning flags. Don’t swim at beaches that link to/from rivers, as the water currents can be very strong. Don’t dive into unknown water as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death.

In the fall and winter months, be cautious when walking along beaches close to the water’s edge as waves can be very unpredictable in size and come onto shore further than expected with strong undertows. Do not visit beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings.  Exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion. Falling rocks are a hazard and the authorities can fine those who ignore warning signs.

In marine areas, coral, jellyfish and other ocean life found along reefs can poison, sting, or cause infection if touched or stepped on. Ask local authorities about the presence of such species and whether they are dangerous. 

General safety information

Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings and passport and other travel documents are secure at all times. Pay attention to your surroundings, avoid showing signs of affluence and do not carry large sums of cash. If possible, carry only the documents, cash and belongings you will need for the day, and leave all other items in a hotel safe.

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are generally good in major centres, but may be limited in rural areas. Many private hospitals and clinics exist throughout the country. Advance payment is required. Keep all receipts of payment to reclaim expenses if you have travel insurance.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Canada and Portugal are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Portugal to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Portuguese authorities.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Identification

You must carry identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.

Driving laws

You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in Portugal.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and a jail sentence.

The use of mobile telephones while driving is illegal, unless fitted with a hands-free device.

A reflective vest and warning triangle are mandatory in all vehicles. They must be used immediately if you are in an accident or stop your car by the side of the road.

Use of low-beam headlights is obligatory at all times.

Fines for traffic violations are substantial and must be paid on the spot, or the vehicle can be impounded until the fine is paid.

As in many European countries, toll stations are set up on highways.

Money

The currency of Portugal is the euro (EUR).

Credit cards are widely accepted and automated banking machines widely available.

Traveller’s cheques are no longer commonly used but can be exchanged in local banks. A processing fee may be applied. The euro is the recommended currency for traveller’s cheques.

If you are carrying at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs upon your entry or exit to the EU. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible asset. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU country sites, see the European Commission’s Cash Controls.

Climate

Forest fires are common during summer months, and heavy rain and wind storms may occur in the fall and winter months with the extreme weather changes. Seismic activity is rare but can be devastating. For up-to-date information on the situation, visit the Portuguese Civil Protection Agency website.