Portugal Travel Guide

Whether you're looking for history, nature, culture, or simply a relaxing beach getaway, there are plenty of things to do and places to visit in Portugal.

Located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. The country also contains the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The country has a population of 10 million, its capital and largest city is Lisbon, and the official language is Portuguese. 

Sun seekers will be delighted with the Algarve region as it boasts superb beaches with quaint villages dotting the coastline. In the cosmopolitan capital of Lisbon, history buffs can learn more about the country’s significant maritime history at the Belem Tower, a fortress used by Portuguese explorers and a symbol for Europe's Age of Discoveries. Visitors to Porto can enjoy the city's famous port wine, tour its wine cellars, explore its historic centre, a UNSECO World Heritage Site, and take a stroll along the charming Douro riverfront. The enchanting island of Madeira offers incredible natural landscapes, picturesque villages and a superb climate all year round.

We've outlined some top tips and recommendations below that may help you plan for your next holiday to Portugal.

Time Zone & Currency

Mainland Portugal and Madeira is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year. The currency in Portugal is the Euro.  

Weather In Portugal

Portugal experiences a typical Mediterranean climate with warm summers and wet winters. The summer heat is cooled by sea breezes making the conditions extremely pleasant. Maximum temperatures reach approximately 25°C and the country experiences about 11 to 12 hours of daylight per day during this season. 

Reading For Your Trip To Portugal

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Port and the Douro by Richard Mayson

The Unknown Islands by Raul Brandão

Best time to go to Portugal


September to November are the most popular times for Portugal holidays, as well as March to June.

Book your Portugal holiday

Top Tourist Attractions In Portugal

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Sintra Palace

A beautiful 16th century palace that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is where the Portuguese Royal Family formerly spent their summers, and the fairytale town is located in the hills of the Sintra Mountains.

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Algarve Beaches

On the Algarve's coast there are over 100 impressive beaches with incredible backdrops of dramatic cliffs and rock formations. Swimming in the sea is a pleasant experience as the temperature is surprisingly warm due to the maritime shelf. Also, dolphins and whales can often be spotted on this coast.

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Sao Jorge Castle

Set at the top of the Moorish quarters of Alfama, St George's Castle provides a perfect panoramic view of the city. From here you can see the Santuario do Cristo Rei, a 110ft replica of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. You can also view the remains of the city cathedral which was destroyed, along with a great part of the rest of the city, in an earthquake in 1755.

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Dom Luís I bridge

A feat of 19th century engineering and an icon of Porto, this double decker bride was originally conceived by Gustave Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower. It’s also one of the best places to see incredible views of Porto. 

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Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte

A Catholic shrine whose name means ‘Good Jesus of the Mount’, it has been a key pilgrimage site since the 1800s. It’s also one of the most popular photo opportunities in Portugal due to its impressive zig zag baroque staircase and from the top it offers impressive views of Braga.

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Madeira Botanical Gardens

Located in Funchal, the Botanical Gardens provides spectacular panoramic views over the mountainous backdrop, the city below and its bay with the deep blue waters of the Atlantic. The Botanical Gardens also offers a cable car ride that crosses the breath-taking Joao Gomes Stream Valley and travels high above the city of Funchal to the historical village of Monte.

Why you need to visit Lisbon

The capital of Portugal, Lisbon is a colourful city which offer the perfect combination of history, culture and cuisine. From seeing the iconic landmark of Belem Tower to sampling tasty Pastel de nata, which were invented in Lisbon. 

Discover why you need to visit Lisbon

5 Things to do in Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese island located over 600 miles away from the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean. It's known as the 'Pearl of the Atlantic' due to its majestic scenery and natural landscapes. 

Discover the top things to do in Madeira

Virtual Tour of Portugal

Our expert guide Paula Moreira takes us on a tour of her favourite places from Lisbon to Sintra and more.

Food and drink in Portugal


While in Portugal you can enjoy delicious food matched with excellent local wines at very reasonable prices. Alongside famous dishes like Piri Piri chicken, you’ll find local favourites such as fresh sardines cooked on an open air grill, bacalhau (salted cod, cooked in several ways), caldo verde soup (the ultimate comfort food, involving potatoes,  kale and local  sausage), slow-cooked  Alentejano  pork and the soft  sheep's-milk cheese Queijoda Serra. Vinho  Verde is a refreshing, slightly sparkling white wine  which is light in alcohol and a perfect match for grilled fish, while wines from Portugal’s Douro Valley as well as the Dão and Alentejo regions are world-renowned.  Don’t miss the famous little custard tarts called Pasteis de Nata. These deliciously soft, sweet tarts are practically a cult in Lisbon, where they originated in the Monastery of Jerónimos and are baked to this day in the legendary Pastéis de Belém bakery and café, using a recipe that has been a secret since 1837. 

Portugal Travel Guide FAQs

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