Portuguese have a rich cultural heritage and are known for being friendly and welcoming to travelers. Portugal is one of Europe’s oldest countries and offers exquisite cuisine, delectable wines, and breathtaking coastlines. To give you a little background and to help you have the most enjoyable trip possible, check out a few factors that are useful to know before you go:
Portugal Travel Tips:
Languages Spoken in Portugal
Portuguese is the official language and is the most widely spoken language throughout the country. Though English is the second most common language spoken, you might want to brush up on a few key phrases in Portuguese. Check out our tips on how to travel to a country where you don’t know the language.
Portugal’s currency is the Euro, like most of Western Europe.
Portugal Travel Requirements
If you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you will need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay. This is more than other countries in Europe so you’ll definitely want to check your passport! A visa is not required unless you plan on staying longer than 90 days.
Weather in Portugal
Being a coastal country, Portugal’s weather is mostly dictated by the ocean, usually not too cold and not too hot. For the mainland/Lisbon area, the average temperatures range from 50s – 70s throughout the year. You can then either add ten degrees for the southern Algarve region or subtract 10 degrees for the northern and central regions of the country. It stays fairly dry during the summer months but can rain quite a bit during the other months so you’ll most likely want to pack your rain gear just in case. For weather information specific to a certain area, check out weatherbase.com.
How to Arrive
If you’re looking for direct flights from the U.S. to Portugal, you’ll fly out of New York City, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. or San Francisco and most likely into Lisbon though there are some direct flights into Porto. There are many other options but they porbably won’t be direct. If you are flying in for our Portugal Food & Wine Tour, you’ll most likely want to fly into Porto and out of Lisbon.
Food to Eat
Portugal has a rich history of introducing iconic foods to a variety of countries. For instance, the Portuguese introduced tempura to Japan, tea to England, and hot chilis to Asia. But don’t worry, they’ve kept a multitude of incredible dishes for themselves. When in Portugal, we recommend trying pastéis de nata (the famous egg-custard tarts), any kind of seafood (Portugal is one of the top consumers of seafood in the world), chouriço (a sausage that’s similar to Spanish chorizo), olive oil, cheese, and of course, wine!
Wines to Drink
Portugal is most famous for its Port wine (and for good reason!) but there are so many incredible wine varieties to taste. Because Portugal’s wine culture developed in relative isolation, there are many grape varieties that do not grow anywhere else in the world. We recommend starting with Vinho Verde, Alentejo, and Madeira. If you join us on our Portugal Food & Wine Tour, you’ll have the chance to explore the wines of over 8 different Portuguese wine regions.
Culture & Customs of Portugal
Portugal’s rich culture has been defined by many influences over many centuries including Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician, Germanic, Visigoth, Viking, Sephardic Jewish, and Moorish influences. The family is central to the Portuguese way of life, and takes precedence over all other relationships, including in business.
Music is very important to Portuguese culture – especially their folk music called Fado. In fact, Fado is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. It is characterized by mournful melodies and lyrics, often about the sea, and is linked to the concept of Saudade, a word signifying homesickness, longing, and nostalgia. You’ll want to make sure to catch a local Fado performance during your visit.