Travel to Portugal

Building on a hilly street painted with bright colors and lined intricately-decorated tiles in Lisbon, Portugal.
Building on a hilly street painted with bright colors and lined intricately-decorated tiles in Lisbon, Portugal.

Portugal, upgraded

With its cultural and breathtaking nature escapes, Portugal is Western Europe’s hidden gem.

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Our expert advisors will customize your trip itinerary so your travel experience is as unique as you. Whether you need a hotel booking or full itinerary planning, we got you.

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Still have questions? We got you.

When planning to travel to Portugal, you want intel on the best Portugal vacation spots, right? Lisbon, Porto, Douro Valley, the Algarve and the Azores are some of the best places to visit in Portugal

Lisbon will likely be part of your itinerary since it's a hub for international flights. Wander through the cobblestone streets, absorbing the magnificent views, beautiful architecture and delicious Portuguese cuisine. The top hotels in Lisbon are among the most luxurious in the country, too.

Porto, located along the banks of the Douro River, is a picturesque city known for its port wine, produced in the nearby Douro Valley. One of the world’s oldest wine regions, the valley is tucked within a beautiful mountain range dotted with lush vineyards. 

The Algarve is where you’ll find some of the best Portugal beach resorts. It’s beloved by sun-chasers for its golden beaches, rugged coastline and fresh seafood. 

Then there’s one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets: the Azores. An Azores vacation will leave you speechless — and obsessed — thanks to its remote location and untouched natural beauty.

From listening to live Fado to enjoying Portuguese gastronomy and wine, cultural exploration in Portugal is supremely rewarding. Historic cities like Lisbon and Porto are among the oldest in Europe, offering a stunning architectural profile that backdrops Portugal's vibrant contemporary culture.

You can also hike the mountain trails of the Azores and unwind on picturesque beaches in the Algarve. Plus, the coast of Portugal is one of the best surfing destinations in Europe, particularly during colder months, when the beaches are less crowded and the waves are more consistent. 

Our guides to what to do in Lisbon and what to do in Porto, for example, offer a snapshot of some of the coolest things to do here. But working with a Portugal travel planner (a.k.a. Fora Advisor) to build an itinerary that incorporates your interests can go a long way in ensuring your travel to Portugal is an amazing experience.

It depends! If you don’t mind some crowds, June through September may be the best time to visit Portugal. The weather is glorious virtually anywhere you visit and the cities are at their most lively. 

March through May, and October through November offer only slightly less consistent weather, comfy temperatures and more affordable rates across the board. The trade-off is that the country adopts a more laid-back vibe, which some travelers may prefer anyway.

Finally, December through February can still be excellent times to travel to Portugal, especially if you’re mostly interested in urban exploration or surfing.

Portugal enjoys a tropical Atlantic climate, which means it’s warm and sunny in summer and temperate and rainy in winter (especially in the northern regions). Some areas, like the Azores, get notably colder in winter, but otherwise, Portugal’s only real hang-up, weather-wise, is the increasing rainfall from November to February.

Early summer — June and July — is definitely the busiest time to travel to Portugal. But it’s worth noting that Portugal doesn’t attract the same type of attention as other Southern European destinations such as Italy, Spain or Greece. 

There’s no easy answer to this question. If you’re only interested in visiting the major cities, you could potentially split a week between Lisbon and Porto. The Algarve and Azores both warrant a couple days each, too. 

On the other hand, you could spend months in Portugal and not see all the highlights. Ultimately, the better question is, “How much time do you want to spend in Portugal?” You’ll have a much easier time building an itinerary within your budget and time constraints if you plan this way. And as always, this is totally something we can help you with.

Portugal is part of the European Union, so it uses the Euro, which has a comparable value to the US dollar. Urban areas in Portugal widely accept card payments, but you may want to carry cash (Euros) in more rural areas to avoid any awkward conversations.

If you’re looking to save money on your Portugal vacation, you’re in luck. Portugal travel is fairly budget-friendly compared to other countries in Europe. 

For example, luxury hotels in Lisbon tend to cost around 10 percent less than luxury hotels in Rome almost any time of year — and casual and boutique hotels in Lisbon and Rome have an even larger gap. 

Prices on flights and accommodations increase during peak travel season (from June to September), of course. But again, Portugal is one of the more affordable destinations in Europe, and the average, one-week trip from the United States costs around $2,100 per person compared to $3,550 and $2,500 for one-week trips to France and Italy, respectively.

Regardless, if you’re looking to save money, consider traveling during winter, spring or autumn to stretch your dollars.

Helpful tip: Portugal is the westernmost country in mainland Europe, making flights here slightly less expensive than flights to other European destinations.

Your Fora Advisor can alert you to Portugal’s specific entry and exit requirements, and you can also check out official government websites for more information. But we always recommend ensuring your passport is valid for at least six months from your date of return.

Portuguese, English and Spanish are the three most widely spoken languages in Portugal. 

English is commonly taught in schools across the country, too. Outside of remote areas that see limited tourism, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding English speakers. That said, learning even basic phrases in Portuguese can be helpful.

Portugal is actually one of the safest countries in the world, with minimal violent crime and a friendly community. As with any new place, those traveling to Portugal should still exercise caution.

Lisbon and Porto have excellent public transportation systems, in addition to being fairly walkable. Trains tend to be the best ways to travel between major destinations (e.g. traveling from Lisbon to Porto or Lisbon to the Algarve), but bus travel and car rentals can make sense in specific situations. 

Flights are also an option, but minimal time saved rarely justifies the high cost of airline tickets.

There are exceptions to every rule, but generally, it takes just as long (if not longer), is less convenient and costs significantly more than any other means of travel to fly between cities in Portugal.

The one exception: traveling between the Algarve and Porto.

Portugal’s cities are very well connected by bus routes and railways. However, there are plenty of reasons to rent a car in Portugal. Most notably, if you want to road-trip your way through the country, it totally makes sense to rent a car. You’ll be able to travel around Portugal at your own pace and see areas that might have otherwise been inconvenient or even inaccessible. 

That being said, if you’re renting a car exclusively for the purpose of traveling directly between cities (without sightseeing), you’ll save a lot of money by taking a train or bus. Portugal’s transportation system is so efficient that the time lost is often minimal, too.

You bet we do. Whether you’re looking for the top hotels in Porto, the best area to stay in Lisbon or the most lavish Portugal all-inclusive resorts, we have your back.

Or you can always reach out to us with specific questions.

We’re glad you asked! For far too long, Portugal has flown under the radar, especially as a destination for US travelers. Thankfully, it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. 

Between its rugged coastline, medieval villages, flourishing wine region and the small-town feel of its cities, Portugal travel charms even the most discerning jetsetters. A Portugal vacation can take many forms: island hopping in the Azores, a Portugal road trip along the coast, a sun-kissed beach vacation, a week at a Portugal all-inclusive resort or a Portugal tour along the Douro River. 

Once you decide the type of experience you want to have, your Fora Advisor can recommend the best Portugal vacation spots based on your travel style and preferences. Our Portugal travel planners are experts with insider intel to level up your trip.

Plus, when you book with us, we'll unlock tons of awesome extras for you, from complimentary meals and property credits at the best hotels in Portugal to rental car perks and beyond. Best of all, booking with Fora costs no more than it does to book directly.