Portugal — The Basics
On the western shores of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is an idyllic land with a wealth of attractions. Beachgoers, nature lovers, history buffs, and everyone in between can enjoy themselves on their European tour to Portugal. One of the best places to travel for surfers, there is no better place to catch some killer waves in Europe. With its diverse appeal, a European tour to Portugal won’t leave any visitors wishing for more!
Sights and Attractions
Blending modern infrastructure with traditional designs and antique relics, Lisbon , the capital, is a 21st-century city who hasn’t forgotten its history! Ascend to the top of the city on the Elevador de Santa Justa . Built in 1899, this neo-Gothic public lift is a relic of the days when such municipal elevator towers were commonplace among urban centers. Standing at 143 feet, visitors have an excellent view of the city, making it easier to conceptualize just how vast the capitol really is. Interested in Catholic monuments?
The National Sanctuary of Christ the King is a massive, 361-foot tall depiction of Jesus Christ, located right by the Tagus River. Right by the mega-sized Christ monument is the 25 de Abril bridge, rivaling the Golden Gate Bridge in sheer impressiveness. When traveling to Portugal, you can’t miss out on the capitol’s Praca do Comercio . This impressive plaza is like no other, and it is a must-see destination for any European tour!
The party is always on in Portugal! Open until daybreak, numerous clubs and bars are scattered throughout the capitol. With over a dozen shimmering disco balls hanging from the ceiling, the Incognito in Lisbon is one of the premier clubs for dancers, bass junkies, and hard partiers. There’s no better place to grab a finely crafted cocktail than the Cinco Lounge. It doesn’t matter how obscure your cocktail request may be, the bartender will almost always know what you want to drink! The Plan B club in Porto should really be your plan A. With hip, glowing colored lights and trendy décor, the Plan B club is among the most modern, cutting edge dance locales in all of Europe.
Like any quality European destination, when you’re traveling to Portugal, you’re going to see castles! The Castle of Almourol by the Tagus River dates back all the way to the 1100s. Once a Knights Templar stronghold, the castle lay untouched for centuries after the dissolution of the military order. Because of this, it has remained in pretty good condition, well worth a visit.
Built over a millennium ago, Castelo de Guimaraes is a multi-towered behemoth that has withstood the test of time. Having seen many battles over the centuries, and having repelled scores of invaders, Castelo de Guimaraes proved itself a valuable asset to the Portuguese time and time again. Its menacing design is genuinely awe-inspiring for visitors who stand before it. If your itinerary brings you around the northwestern part of the country, you absolutely have to check out this formidable fortress.
Traveling to Portugal, you won’t miss out on the fresh air and lush greenery! Portugal is among the best places to travel if you want to see several unique caves, coves, forests, and valleys. The Mira D’Aire Caves are rich in spiderlike stalagmites and stalactites; any spelunker would regret missing the beauty that this cave structure has to offer.
Sete Cidades Lake is a supremely serene body of water, nestled in a dormant volcano crater, these twin lakes are amazingly picturesque. Any hiker will have one heck of a view on one of the nearby ridges overlooking these jaw-dropping bodies of water.
Portugal Travel Tips
Portugal Currency Considerations
Since 2002, Portugal has exclusively used the Euro. Dollars and pounds won’t be accepted in Portugal, so you’d better trade in for some Euros. The best time to do this is while you’re still in your home country! An online currency exchange site is an excellent option for exchanging your currency at a relatively low rate. If you wait until you arrive in Portugal, chances are that you will end up getting a lousy rate.
Airport kiosks are the worst, but most tourist hotspots are notorious for their horrible rates as well. By getting a reasonable exchange rate, you will have more euros to spend on the things you came to Portugal for. Furthermore, look up the best deals to travel around Portugal at a great price! Museums and tours can often be found at discounted rates on the right sites at the right dates!
No exchange is free. Some value is always lost in a currency exchange , so it is vital to minimize this loss. If you have an excess of drams, you’ll lose even more money exchanging them back to your local currency. It mAlways look after your money, no matter what country you visit. Portugal is a very safe place, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few opportunists running about. If you carry a wallet, consider keeping it in your front pocket. In a highly congested area, pickpocketers target those who seem to have a bulge in their back pocket. As the typical person’s head is facing the opposite direction of their butt, it’s pretty easy for a skilled snatcher to swipe your hard-earned cash! That’s a real damper on anyone’s trip. Stay vigilant, and always watch your valuables.ay feel nice to walk around with a fat wallet, but you’ll go broke paying for your own money twice.
Hotels, hostels, and homestays can be very affordable if you shop around. Look up the best deals to travel to Portugal. After all, you want to get the most out of your trip. More money in your pocket means more money to spend on the local cuisine, museums, and attractions. Frequently, great deals can be found on homestays outside of the typical tourist season. Take advantage of this if you’re not traveling to Portugal in the summer.
Flights and Transportation
Portugal has four international airports, so book whichever option is affordable and fits your itinerary best. Do your research and find the best deals to travel to Portugal. The country has a highly modern transportation infrastructure. An extensive network of rails, metros, and bus routes can take you pretty much anywhere you need to go in Portugal! If at all possible, avoid taxis. They’re expensive, and there are better options.
The primary language of Portugal is continental Portuguese. In the northeast, a small population of Mirandese speakers can be found in a few of the areas municipalities. A bit over a quarter of the population can speak English. In most tourist rich areas and urban centers, you should be able to get by just fine with English. Outside the big hotspots, you may run into some difficulty communicating.
Don’t let this dissuade you from checking out one of the best places to travel in Europe. A translation app and a phrasebook can go a long way in bridging the gap. Wild gesticulation and pictures help too. Just remember, if someone doesn’t speak English, speaking slowly, loudly, and condescendingly to them won’t get the point across. Well, it will get the point that you’re a jerk across. Be patient with these people who have welcomed you into their country with open arms!
Portugal Considerations and Etiquette
Between the hilly landscapes and the cobblestone streets, neither cheap flip flops nor fancy leather dress shoes will cut it. Wear something comfortable and functional as you walk around the country. You can find plenty of comfortable shoes that still look good, so you don’t have to worry about committing any fashion faux-pas,
Portugal is an excellent place for tourists of all varieties. If there’s something you want to see on your trip to Europe, chances are, you’ll find it in Portugal! Find your deals, book that flight, and get a move on! Portugal is too great to wait!
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