Portugal, or the Portuguese Republic (República Portuguesa), is the westernmost state of continental Europe, occupying the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, whose coast is washed by the Atlantic Ocean. In the north and east, the country has borders with Spain. The area of the state is 92,212 km2, the population is 10,291,027 people for 2022.
Portugal includes the Azores and the Madeira Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Portugal is the city of Lisbon. The population speaks a single official state language — Portuguese.
- Capital: Lisbon
- Area: 92,212 km2
- Population: 10,291,027 (2022)
- Language: Portuguese
- Official website: https://www.visitportugal.com/
The presence of ancient historical monuments, a large number of nature protection zones, an impressive coastline makes Portugal a popular tourist destination, in demand among lovers of a wide variety of recreation — educational, beach, active.
The history of Portugal for the tourist
In the IV — III centuries BC, the territory of modern Portugal was inhabited by ancient Lusitanian tribes, whom the current Portuguese consider their ancestors. Since 136 BC, the Romans conquered the land, forming the province of Lusitania in 15 BC. The name of the Roman settlement of Portus Cale at the mouth of the Douro River gave the modern name to the country.
In the V–VI centuries Portugal survived the invasion of the Visigoths, and from the beginning of the VIII century belonged to the Arabs. In 1095, the County of Portugal was created, which soon (in 1143) became an independent kingdom under the rule of the first king of Portugal — Afonso I. In 1179, the Pope recognized the independence of Portugal. Over the next two centuries, the kingdom waged wars with the Moors, eventually expelling the latter from the country.
In the XV century, the colonial expansion of Portugal began: in 1418 — 1427, Portuguese navigators discovered Madeira and the Azores. In 1581-1640, Portugal belonged to Spain. In 1640, King Juan IV came to power in the country, who soon established the dominance of Portugal in Brazil.
At the beginning of the XVIII century, Portugal participated in the War of the Spanish Succession, which resulted in the Treaty of Methuen (Tratado de Methuen) of 1703, which led to the economic and political dependence of Portugal on England. In 1807, Napoleon’s army invaded Portugal, which was expelled in 1808 by English troops with the assistance of Portuguese patriots. At the same time, the royal family, fleeing, went to Brazil, from where they ruled the country from 1807 to 1820.
The XIX century was marked for Portugal by a number of revolutions (1820, 1836) and civil wars. In the XX century, as a result of the Portuguese Revolution of 1910, the country became a republic. During the Second World War, the state took the side of the Entente.
In 1932, as a result of a military coup, power passed to dictator Prime Minister Antonio Salazar. On April 25, 1974, rebel troops led by the Armed Forces Movement carried out the April Portuguese Revolution and overthrew the dictatorship, after which Portugal embarked on the path of democratic reforms.
Today Portugal is a steadily developing country, a member of the UN, the IMF, WHO, NATO, the EU, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Weather in Portugal
Throughout Portugal, there is a mild subtropical Mediterranean climate, largely determined by the Gulf Stream. In the north, summers are dry and sunny, but not hot (the average temperature is about +20 °C, in the mountains — about +18 °C), winters are wet and cool (+4°C — +10 °C). It is warmer and drier in the south of the country: the average temperature in January is +5°C — +10°C, in July — +20°C — +27°C.
Precipitation falls on the plains 400 — 800 mm, in the mountains — 1000 — 2500 mm per year. The water temperature on almost the entire coast of Portugal is kept at 18 °C degrees throughout the year. The exception is the south — Algarve province, where the water temperature in summer is higher — +20°C — +23°C.
Cities and regions of Portugal
The administrative division of Portugal is currently under reorganization, since the 1974 Constitution prescribed the formation of new administrative units — autonomous regions. However, the process dragged on, autonomous regions were never created. Until 2003, the country’s territory was divided into 18 districts (distrito), 308 municipalities (municípios) and 4261 communities (freguesia). Today, the districts have lost their administrative functions, and all continental municipalities have been merged into groups.
Depending on the number of people in the country , the following groups are distinguished:
- intermunicipal communities (comunidades intermunicipais/ComInter) with a population of less than 150 thousand people.
- urban agglomerations (areas metropolitanas), which, in turn, are divided into 2 types — urban communities (comunidades urbanas/ComUrb) with a population of over 150 thousand people and large urban agglomerations (grandes áreas metropolitanas/GAM) with a population of over 350 thousand people.
There are two island territories in the country — the Azores and the Madeira Archipelago, which have the status of autonomous regions (regiões autónomas), divided into municipalities and communities.
It is assumed that as such groups form, the division of the territory of Portugal into districts will fall out of use.
Sights of Portugal
Despite its relatively small size, Portugal is very rich in attractions. And not only in big cities — interesting places are scattered all over the country. You can see photos and descriptions of the sights of Portugal, or rather its large cities, in the relevant sections, links to which are given below (the first two). And by clicking on the links to the attractions themselves, you will find detailed information about them — a description, the cost of tickets, if any, the layout and opportunities to get by public transport, photos, tourist reviews, hotels nearby and much more.
- Sights of Lisbon
- Porto attractions
Sights of other cities in Portugal:
- Pena National Palace (Sintra)
- Castle of the Moors (Sintra)
- Battaglia Monastery (Battaglia)
- Monastery of Alcobas (Alcobas)
- Guimaraes Castle (Guimaraes)
- Mafra National Palace (Mafra)
- Regaleira Palace (Sintra)
- National Palace of Kelush (Kelush)
- Monastery of the Order of Christ (Tomar)
- Cape Roca (18 km from Sintra)
- Nature Park at the mouth of the Sadu River (Setubal)
- Fort of St. Philip (Setubal)
- The Monastery of Jesus (Setubal)
- Church of the Third Order of St. Francis (Faro)
- Carmo Church (Faro)
- Faro Cathedral (Faro)
- Dolmens (Evora)
- St. Francis Church (Evora)
- Cathedral (Evora)
- Cathedral of Braga (Braga)
- Church of Christ on Golgotha (Braga)
- Coimbra (Coimbra)
- Old Cathedral (Coimbra)
- Monastery of the Holy Cross (Coimbra)
- University of Coimbra (Coimbra)
- Holiday “Burning of ribbons” (Coimbra)
- International Chocolate Festival (Obidush)
- Medieval Festival (Obidush)
- Church of the Theotokos (Obidush)
- The Castle of Obidush (Obidush)
- The Basilica of the Virgin in Fatima (Fatima)
What to do for a tourist in Portugal
Beaches of Portugal
Portugal has almost 1800 km of excellent beaches – both sandy and pebble or rocky. So, on the Lisbon Riviera, in the Algarve and the Azores – fine white sand, on Madeira beaches are pebbly or artificial.
Almost all the beaches of the country are equipped with everything necessary for a beach holiday. There are also completely wild, secluded stretches of coastline. Portugal’s beaches are municipal. A set of sunbed + umbrella costs 8-10 euros. The flags that mark the beaches warn about the state of the ocean: red – a storm, swimming is prohibited; yellow – it is worth being vigilant; green – the ocean is calm, you can swim.
Beaches of the Southern coast (Algarve)
It is believed that in the south of Portugal, in the province of Algarve, the best beaches of the country are located. This area is the main resort area of the country, famous for a multi-kilometer strip of beaches stretching from east to west from Monte Gordo to Lagos. The western part of the coast is known for its beautiful rocky beaches, the eastern part is known for its wide sandy beaches. In addition, the Algarve is an ideal place for active recreation, where all conditions for water sports are created.
- Praia de Rocha
- Praia dos Barcos
- Praia Porto de Mos
- Praia de Dona Ana
- Praia da Vilamoura
- Praia da Ilha de Tavira
Beaches of the Lisbon Riviera
- Portinho da Arrabida
Beaches of Madeira
- Paul do Mar
- Praia do Garajau
- Praia da Faja do Cabo Girao
- Piscinas das Salinas
- Praia da Laje
- Praia da Lagoa Porto da Cruz
Beaches of the Azores
The coastline of the Azores is famous for its sandy beaches. The best of them are on the islands of Santa Maria, Fayal and San Miguel. The island of Pico was chosen by divers. In addition to whales and dolphins, in the waters of this island you can meet parrot fish, gray triggers and groupers, barracudas, octopuses, needle fish.
Diving in Portugal
Diving is a popular pastime in Portugal. Conditions for diving in the waters of the country exist all year round, the water temperature does not fall below 16 degrees. Local diving is interesting with underwater landscapes, teeming with grottos and caves. Among the representatives of the underwater fauna, you can meet octopuses, moray eels, barracudas, sea bream, swallow fish, blue marlin, sailboats, mackerel, sharks.
The coast of the country boasts excellent dive zones, among which the Berlenga Islands stand out – a small archipelago 10 km from the coast of Portugal, washed by the cold waters of the Atlantic; the Peniche Peninsula (90 km north of Lisbon); the coastal waters of Sesimbra near Setubal; the picturesque coast of Alentejo; the coastal waters of the Algarve resorts and, of course, the islands – Madeira with the Garagiau Nature Reserve, Porto Santo Island, the Azores Archipelago.
In addition, Portugal has been an influential maritime power since the XV century, so its coast is replete with wrecks – wrecks visited by divers. So, the attention of divers is used by a ship from the Second World War, which sank near the village of Sagres at a depth of 35 m; a fishing schooner resting in the Praia do Burgao area at a depth of 10 m on a clean sandy bottom; the British steamer “Tiber”, which sank in 1847 near Porto.
Most dive centers operate under the auspices of PADI, but there are several schools that conduct training on the CMAS system. So, the standard Open Water Diver course with a depth tolerance of up to 18 m and the issuance of a certificate lasts 3-4 days, and includes theoretical classes, diving in the pool, diving in the open sea.
Fishing in Portugal
The coast of Portugal is famous for its excellent opportunities for classic ocean deep-sea fishing, which has repeatedly hosted world championships in local waters. The giant blue marlin is a favorite among local possible trophies, but sailfish, tuna, sarg, sea flounder, sea bass, sea eel, golden mackerel and even a shark are also common.
Particularly suitable places for this sport are the southern regions of Portugal – the historical land of fishermen, in particular, the environs of Tavira and Vilamora, as well as the island of Madeira and the Azores. It is worth remembering that the peak of biting giant blue marlin falls in July – October. Fishing for it takes place by trolling method at a distance of 30-100 km from the shore.
In all resorts of Portugal, there are many offices that organize access to the sea on modern boats equipped with everything necessary. You can get more information at the reception of your hotel, in the administration of a yacht marina or a marine club.
Torada – Portuguese bullfight
Torada (tourada) is a traditional action, a Portuguese kind of bullfighting, taking place in many cities of the country on national holidays. Torada differs radically from Spanish bullfighting. Firstly, the participants of the show are not called bullfighters, but fourcadouches. Fourkadush has been preparing for bullfights since he was 5 years old, and he can enter the arena from the age of 10. In addition, in Portugal, torada is not only a male occupation, since women can also participate in battles since the XVIII century.
The second difference between torada and bullfighting is more humane rules, because the bull is not killed here. The bull enters the arena once in his life: it is believed that after the first fight he begins to understand the tactics of the fight and can fatally injure fourcade. Bulls that have performed in the arena are sent to farms, where they are used for breeding purposes.
Some time ago, animal rights activists tried to ban the holding of torada in Portugal, but they failed: torada is a significant part of the local culture, without which the Portuguese cannot imagine their existence.
The schedule of the torada on the territory of Portugal can be seen on a special website.
Surfing in Portugal
Portugal can be called the center of European surfing without exaggeration — the entire coast of the country is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, so the beaches of Portugal are great for surfing, and you can find spots for both beginners and professionals, where the waves reach more than 10 meters in height. Sandy beaches with beach breaks are perfect for beginners. The southern coast of the country is famous for rather weak waves, while the western coast, open to the ocean, often pleases with large swells.
Peniche and Baleal
These two small peninsulas are located about 90 kilometers north of Lisbon and due to the fact that the coast here is directed in different directions, they are open to winds from different directions. Due to the presence of sandy beaches in Peniche, beginners can try their hand, but there is also the legendary spot Supertubos, which hosts the international surfing championship for real pros every year, so Peniche can be called a place that embodies surfing in Portugal. The coastline of this area has a length of 15 kilometers, and good conditions for skiing are observed virtually every day. You can get to Peniche and Baleal by car. The only unpleasant moment is connected with the water temperature — the maximum marks even in summer do not exceed 20-22 degrees.
On the other hand, the local spots have many advantages — the absence of sharks, a safe and fairly developed European country, low prices and tourist attractiveness. In addition, there is a developed system of schools in Peniche that teach surfing at several spots at once — about 15 surf schools and camps in total.
This is a region in the very south of Portugal, washed by the waters of the Atlantic, which is why its coast is also famous for beautiful surf spots – there is an excellent northwest swell to the west of the region, and in the south large waves appear mainly in winter. Thanks to such a difference of coasts in the Algarve, you can always find good waves, and a lot of spots and a more or less developed infrastructure of the region will surely please surfers. The main spot of the region is Sagres, and waves can also be caught on spots to the north of it. Spring and autumn are considered the best time to surf in the Algarve, when you can avoid crowds and high prices.
You can learn more about the best places in the world to practice this fascinating sport in the article “Riding on a board: what is surfing and where is the best place to conquer the waves”.
Transport in Portugal
There are a total of 66 airports in Portugal. International flights are accepted by the air ports of Lisbon, Porto and Faro, as well as airports in Madeira and the Azores. Domestic flights in Portugal are served by the national companies TAR Air Portugal, SATA and Portugal Airlines. All tickets can be found on sale using our ticket selection service.
The most popular mode of transport in Portugal is considered to be the bus. The bus network covers the entire territory of the country. There are several major carrier companies: Rede-Expressos, Rodotejo and Rodonorte. All buses are comfortable and run clearly on schedule, which makes it possible to plan your movement around the country in advance.
There are four types of buses in Portugal: intercity express trains (expressos), luxury intercity express trains (alta qualidade), local express trains (rapidas) and city buses (carreiras, CR). To get an idea of the order of prices, here are some examples of distances and ticket prices: the Lisbon — Faro express bus covers the route in 4 hours, the ticket price is about 15 euros; the Lisbon – Porto route takes 3.5 hours, the ticket price starts from 13.5 euros. It is better to book tickets for intercity routes in advance, especially in high season. In Lisbon itself, the city bus fare is 1.8 euros.
In Porto and Lisbon, there are tourist buses — double-decker sightseeing buses operating on the hop-on hop-off type, allowing you to enter and exit at any stop. The buses provide an audio guide in 7 languages, including English. There are two routes of such a bus (blue and red line), covering all the main attractions. The ticket price starts from 13 euros.
The Portuguese railway network (Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses) is very extensive, and covers all the cities of the country. The main railway carrier is CP (Comboios de Portugal).
There are two types of trains in the country: regional, stopping at all stops, and fairly fast interregional express trains. Long-distance express trains consist of Class I and Class II cars, in suburban and local trains all cars are of the same class.
There are special discounts and reduced prices from Monday to Thursday and on the so-called “blue days”, when a significant discount is provided for a round-trip ticket or for a distance of more than 100 km. Special “tourist tickets” (Bilhetes Touristicos) are provided for tourists for all city transport, which can be purchased at train stations and metro stations.
Train tickets can be purchased 30 days before the trip online.
In Portugal, there is a small “light metro” line: the Tua line (Linha do Tua) is a narrow—gauge railway in the district of Braganza, connecting the rural settlement of Tua and the city of Braganza. The branch line, which has a length of 133.8 km, is operated by the Mirandela Light Metro Company, and is a panoramic route replete with picturesque views.
Metro (Metropolitano) in Portugal exists in the capital of the country, Lisbon, and in the city of Porto. The metro is an efficient and fast means of transport, it operates from 06:30 to 01:00. The metro fare starts from 1.4 euros per trip. There is a system of travel tickets. At the entrance to the subway, the ticket should be marked in the turnstile.
Taxis in Portugal are black-green or beige cars with a glowing taxi sign equipped with meters. The green light means that the taxi is already occupied. A fee of 3.5 euros is charged for boarding a taxi, every 15 seconds of the journey costs 0.15 euros. A trip out of town is counted by mileage. From the airport to the center of Lisbon can be reached in 15-20 euros.
All taxis have a price list in Portuguese and English. It is customary to leave a tip to the driver in the amount of 10% of the fare.
Renting a car is profitable and quite simple. The rental price depends on the season and the class of the car. To rent a car in Portugal, you need to have an identity card, an international driver’s license, a payment card, a cash deposit. At the same time, the driver’s age must be more than 22 years, driving experience — at least 3 years.
In Portugal, right-hand traffic. The quality of highways is average: there is often no marking, and the lighting is insufficient, the coating is often uneven, repair work may not be marked with appropriate signs. Travel on new and high-quality expressways is more often paid.
There is a speed limit of 50 km/h in cities, 120 km/h on expressways, 100 km/h on highways of national importance, and 90 km/h on all other roads. It is mandatory to use seat belts, children under 12 years of age must be in the back seat while driving the car. The use of a sound signal is prohibited in populated areas.
In resort towns, parking is free, but in megacities, as well as in Madeira, in places where tourists gather during the day, parking is paid.
Portugal is a maritime power. The main ports where the majority of foreign ships (cruise liners and cargo ships) arrive are Lisbon, Setubal, Sinis, Porto, and Funchal (Madeira).
There is a ferry service between the Portuguese port of Porto and the Canary Islands. The line is served by the Naviera Armas shipping company. The same company operates flights within the country: from the port of Porto, you can get to the capital of Madeira, Funchal. Ferries depart once a week, the journey time is 22 hours. You can view the schedule and book tickets on the company’s website.
The national cuisine of Portugal is a simple and hearty cooking, which is based on dishes of fish, meat and vegetables.
As an appetizer (entrada), olives and olives are served, caviar from olives — tapinade, meat and fish croquettes and dumplings with shrimp “risoish”, fish pate, as well as excellent local cheeses (for example, goat cheese “keyjo da serra” or similar to parmesan “keyjo-yes-ilha”).
In Portugal, as in our region, it is customary to use the first hot liquid dish — for example, soups. The favorites of the Portuguese table are fish soups and “green” soups made from fresh vegetables, among which it is worth mentioning a thick potato and cabbage soup “caldo verde” (caldo verde), pumpkin soup with beaten egg, broccoli soup, soup with eel (ensopada de enguias).
Fish and seafood are the main local product, which is not surprising, since Portugal is washed by the waters of the ocean. The most popular fish on the Portuguese table is robalo — wolf perch, as well as cod, which local chefs can cook in more than 300 ways. In addition, the menu includes tuna, sardine, mackerel, trout, etc. Of the Portuguese specialties, it is worth trying “caldeirada” — thick fish soup from different types of fish and seafood, “bakalau” — cod stewed with peas, “lapas” — fried clams, crab croquettes, etc. The side dish for fish is rice, boiled vegetables or a salad of fresh vegetables.
Meat appears on the Portuguese table less often than fish. Meat specialties are “tripesh, a moda do Porto” made of beef giblets, “befe” and “fevrash” — cutlets and schnitzels made of beef or pork, “borrego” — roast lamb; “frangu” — fried chicken, “leitau” — baked suckling pig, “kabritu” — baked goat. French fries, rice, vegetables are served as a side dish to meat.
Portugal is famous for its desserts, among which it is worth trying the almond cake bolo de amendoa, sweet cream tijolada, ovos moles — a popular dessert from Aveiro, made from sugar, eggs and cinnamon, various cookies, almond balls, almond nougat, cakes and sweets from figs. In addition, rice is used as desserts — with milk and eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest.
It is customary to finish the meal with juices or fruits, among which the most delicious pineapples from the Azores and bananas from Madeira stand out. Coffee is also very popular in Portugal, in particular “cafezinho” — espresso coffee.
In Portuguese restaurants, you will be served a menu in which the main dishes are divided into two categories: sagpe (“carne”, meat) and peixe (“peixe”, fish). The side dish is usually not specified, but it is always included. To save money, while getting no less pleasure from Portuguese cuisine, you can choose a set lunch called “menu” (menu). It includes a main course to choose from with a side dish and a drink, in some cases soup, dessert or coffee may be included — you need to specify on the spot. Remember that the portions in Portuguese restaurants are large, often it is enough to take one dish and two soups for two.
The cafes are open from 6:00-7:00 until late in the evening. It is customary to have breakfast and a snack in the cafe while waiting for lunch or dinner. Restaurants are open from 12:00-13:00 to 14:30 — 15:00 and then from 19:00-19:30 to 22:00-23:00. Dinner in Portugal takes place quite early by European standards: at 21:30 — 22:00 many restaurants are already closed.
Restaurants in Portugal with Michelin stars in 2022
2 Michelin stars:
- Casa de Cha da Boa Nova (Leca da Palmeira), Rui Paula
- Alma (Lisboa), Henrique Sa Pessoa
- Belcanto (Lisboa), Jose Avillez
- Il Gallo d’Oro (Funchal), Benoit Sinthon
- Ocean (Alporchinhos), Hans Neuner
- The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia), Ricardo Costa
- Vila Joya (Albufeira), Dieter Koschina
1 Michelin stars:
- Fifty Seconds, Martin Berasategui
- Vistas (Monte Rei Golf & Country Club), Rui Silvestre
- Epur (Lisboa), Vincent Farges
- Mesa de Lemos (Viseu), Diogo Rocha
- G Pousada (Braganca), Oscar e Antonio Geadas
- A Cozinha (Guimaraes) Antonio Loureiro
- Midori (Sintra), Pedro Almeida
- Pedro Lemos (Porto), Pedro Lemos
- Antiqvvm (Porto), Vitor Matos
- Largo do Paco (Amarante), Tiago Bonito
- Loco (Lisboa), Alexandre Silva
- Feitoria (Lisboa),Joao Rodrigues
- LAB by Sergi Arola (Sintra), Sergi Arola
- Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais) Gil Fernandes
- Eleven (Lisboa), Joachim Koerper
- Sao Gabriel (Almancil) Leonel Pereira
- Gusto By Heinz Beck (Almancil), Heinz Beck
- Vista do Bela Vista Hotel & Spa (Portimao), Joao Oliveira
- William (Funchal), Luis Pestana
- Bon Bon (Carvoeiro), Louis Anjos
Portuguese wines are famous all over the world for their exquisite taste. The country produces a huge amount of red and white wines, but the port wine produced in the valley of the Douro River remains the symbol and hallmark of Portugal.
Vinho do Porto (Vinho do Porto) — actually port wine, sweet fortified wine, maturing in barrels or in bottles. Port wine can be white (branco, “branco”), pink (towny, “tawny”) and red (ruby, “ruby”), and also differs by category: Reserva, LBV, Vintage, Garrafeira, Colheita, Crusted. In Portugal, you can find both collectible copies of long-aged port wine, and quite democratic types of it, served in cafes and on supermarket shelves at a price of 5 euros per bottle.
Moscatel, or Muscatel, is a wine produced on the Setubal peninsula in the western part of Portugal, sweet and strong (17-18 degrees). As a rule, it is white (more precisely, a bright orange color — branco, “branco”) and very rarely burgundy (roxo, “roche”), thick, with the aroma of real nutmeg. The most famous manufacturer is Jose Maria da Fonseca. The cost is from 2 euros per bottle.
Vinho de Madeira (Vinho de Madeira), or Madeira, is a fine natural dry or dessert wine produced on the island of Madeira, amber in color and with caramel—nutty shades in taste and aroma, often called “women’s cognac”. The “noble” madeira is made from the grape varieties Verdelo, Boil, Malvasia and Sercial, which grow on the island of Madeira.
One of the types of madeira is malvasia, or sweet, liqueur madeira, aged for 5-6 or more years.
Vinho tinto (Vinho tinto) and Vinho branco (vinho branco) are dry red wine and dry white wine produced in various regions of Portugal. The cost is from 1.5 euros per bottle.
Vinho rose (Vinho rose) is a rose wine that tastes rather semi—dry. The range of pink wines presented in Portugal is not too large, the most famous producer is the Mateus winery. The price is about 2 euros per bottle.
Vinho verde (Vinho verde) — the so-called green wine is a unique young dry wine produced in the province of Minho in northern Portugal. The term “green” refers to the age of the wine, but not to the color. Pleasant, slightly sour slightly sparkling wine quenches thirst well in the summer heat. The most famous producer is the Gatão winery. The alcohol content is 9-13%. The cost of a bottle is from 1.5 euros.
Other alcoholic beverages
Ginja (Ginja) is a liqueur made from a ginji berry that tastes like a cherry, a business card of the city of Obidush, where it is produced. Liqueur is traditionally served in chocolate mini-glasses, which become an elegant snack.
Aguardente (Aguardente) — several varieties of ordinary vodka based on grape alcohol. The drink is very strong, almost without color, taste and smell, it can resemble moonshine, grappa or chacha. Aged in barrels for several years, it softens and acquires a more noble taste. The cost is from 10 euros per liter bottle.
Sangria is a traditional Portuguese drink made from both white and red wine with the addition of fruits and spices. Available on the menu of any cafe and restaurant.
Serveja (Servezha) — beer. The history of brewing in Portugal goes back centuries. Today, the country is among the 11 largest beer producers in Europe, and is the 7th largest European exporter of this product. The main beer producers in Portugal are Sagres, Super Bock and Tagus. Beer can be both light and dark varieties. The cost is 0.33—0.5 euros for a bottle of 0.33 liters in a supermarket, or 1.2–2 euros in a restaurant. Draft beer is called Imperial.
Shopping in Portugal
Shops in Portugal are open on weekdays from 9:00 to 19:00 with a mandatory siesta from 13:00 to 15:00. On Saturdays, shops close early — around 13:00 (in December, on pre—holidays, the work schedule on Saturday is usual – until 19:00). Some shopping centers in the resorts are open from 10:00 to 23:00. Only grocery supermarkets are not closed for siesta. The currency in Portugal is the Euro.
Discounts and sales in Portugal
According to Portuguese law, large seasonal sales in the country take place 2 times a year: from January 7 to February 28 (winter sale) and from August 7 to September 30 (summer sale). Sales are held on the same dates.
Seasonal discounts in Portugal are called Saldos. The amount of discounts on clothing and footwear during this period is 20%-90%, depending on the company’s policy, the type of product and the format of the outlet.
In addition, there are sales called Promocao or Liquidacao, which is announced by posters placed in store windows. Liquidacao — liquidation, full sale, carried out in case of conversion, closure or repair of a retail outlet, lasting no more than 60 days. Promocao is an advertising sale for the purpose of promoting a new product or studying customer demand.
What to buy in Portugal
Portugal is famous for its high-quality shoes. The country ranks second in Europe in shoe production and first in quality. The best shoes are made in the north of Portugal in Porto. There you can buy shoes that will serve you until you get bored, but in no case will they tear. As a rule, shoes can be either piece-made, handmade, or mass-produced, which does not affect, however, their excellent quality. Portuguese shoes can be both trendy and classic, thus satisfying the taste and needs of any buyer. The average cost of shoes varies between 50-80 euros, but during seasonal sales prices drop by 50-70%.
For a pair of excellent shoes in Portugal, it is quite possible to pick up a high-quality leather bag or gloves, the production of which the country is also famous for.
As for fashionable clothes, you can buy them here in numerous boutiques, shops and shopping centers. Prices are comparable to prices for similar items throughout Europe, so it makes sense to buy clothes in Portugal only during sales.
Among the souvenirs and handmade products that should be brought from Portugal, the “azulejos” stands out — traditional tiles for walls that have their history since the time of Arab rule. Local ceramics, handmade embroidery and lace, and wicker products may seem no less interesting.
Among the “delicious” souvenirs, the famous Portuguese wines — port and madeira – are in the lead.
Tax Free in Portugal
Guests of the country who are not EU residents can refund VAT (currently 21%) on purchases purchased in Portugal and transported in personal luggage. To return the tax paid, the minimum purchase amount must be 60.35 euros. When buying goods in a store participating in the Tax Free system, you should ask the seller to issue a special form (Isencao de IVA), which will indicate the name and value of the goods, as well as the amount due for refund. By presenting this form, a receipt for the purchase and the purchased goods unopened at customs, you can receive the refunded amount in cash at Lisbon International Airport, by bank transfer upon return home or to a credit card.
The validity period of the Tax Free receipt from the moment of purchase is 90 days. During this time, the receipt must be stamped by customs at the exit from the EU countries. The deadline for payment of the receipt from the moment of sale of the goods is 5 months.
More information can be found on the website of the Global Blue Group company, which manages the Tax Free system in Portugal.
You can make a call in Portugal from pay phones, which are located in many large cities of the country. The call is paid for with a Creditofone phone card, which is sold in communication offices and newsstands. You can also call from the hotel room, but the cost of the call will be 3-4 times higher. Tariffs for telephone communication are reduced after 22:00, for international negotiations — after 20:00.
To make a call from a landline (landline) phone:
- to Portugal: 8 — 10 — 351 — area code — subscriber’s number
To make a call from a mobile phone:
- to Portugal: +351 — subscriber number
Portugal’s international telephone code is 351, all domestic telephone numbers consist of nine digits starting with the digit “2”.
- The Lisbon code is 21
- The Port code is 22
The main mobile operators in Portugal are Vodafone, TMN and Optimus, whose tariffs are approximately the same. A call to Russia will cost about 0.38 euros per minute of conversation, there is no charge for incoming calls, the cost of sending one message is 0.06 euros.
Emergency phone numbers in Portugal
Emergency Service 115
In case of an accident 308
Ambulance, police, fire department 112
Reference service 118
There are a lot of Wi-Fi access points on the territory of Portugal, including in hotels, shopping malls and catering establishments (in particular, McDonalds). Some post offices also provide internet access.
Since 2006, so—called “digital gardens” have also appeared in Lisbon – free Wi-Fi has been installed in 21 parks of the capital.
Portugal is quite a comfortable and safe country for tourism. The criminal situation is calm, cars are not stolen, outbreaks of dangerous diseases do not happen. In Portuguese cities, it’s not scary to walk in the dark, but you still shouldn’t forget the basic rules of personal safety. So, it is better to leave valuables, documents and cash in the hotel safe. It is advisable to closely monitor personal belongings and photo and video equipment at airports, train stations, public transport, museums and tourist areas.
In case of danger, the Portuguese shout: “Socorro!” (“help!”)
Medical care in the country is paid. Medical insurance is required to enter Portugal.
Tap water, in principle, can be drunk, except in some areas (for example, the Algarve), where the water contains a high percentage of salt, and even locals prefer to buy bottled drinking water.
The men’s toilet is designated by the letter “H” (from homem — man), the female — “S” (from senhora — senhora).
In Portugal, it is considered impolite to yawn and stretch in public places. In conversation, it is not customary to mention problems related to the family and especially with children.
It is extremely painful for the Portuguese to perceive their comparison with the Spaniards, as well as the belittling of the country’s historical past — especially given the modest political place occupied by Portugal today.
Punctuality is not a national trait of the Portuguese: against the background of general unhurriedness, many events do not happen on schedule, and you should be prepared for this. The traditional siesta, which lasts from 12:00 to 15:00, is strictly observed — at this time most shops and catering outlets are closed, life freezes, and it is not even accepted to answer a phone call.
Where to stay
Hotels in Portugal, as well as throughout Europe, are represented by hotels of various stars. They are located everywhere — in cities and resorts, often a modest 2* private boarding house peacefully adjoins a fashionable 5* hotel of a well-known hotel chain. 4-5* hotels mainly operate on the basis of breakfast, half—board is rare, all inclusive – not at all. This is due to the fact that the country has a very tasty and diverse cuisine, and tourists prefer to eat in national cafes and restaurants.
The peculiarity of accommodation in the country is the presence of authentic hotels, which are called posada (pousadas). They are located in old houses and castles, and correspond to 4-5* hotels. There are no more than 50 such historical plantations in the whole of Portugal. A night in Posada in Lisbon will cost from 130 euros, in the provinces — from 77 euros. Posadami are also called traditional hotels in the outback, which are a manor house or a house in a characteristic architectural style for this area, where guests are fed local cuisine.
- Posada de Portugal (Pousadas de Portugal)
- Portugal Youth Gardens (Pousada da Juventude)
Portuguese hostels are considered the best in Europe. So, in 2010, the resource Hostelworld.com 5 Lisbon hostels were recognized as the best in the world. The best of the best were Travelers House Hostel and Rossio Hostel with room rates of 15-60 euros per night.