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A First-time Traveller’s Guide to Exploring Portugal

Portugal is one of the top destination travellers are choosing for their vacations. From the cities to beaches, to the wine regions; this country has it all. To help plan your trip, here is a guide on how to travel to Portugal.


Portugal: Europe’s charming oldest city

Set between Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is a small country rich in history, culture, and charming scenery. Portugal also gets roughly 3,000 hours of sunshine every year and is full of beaches which is just one of the many reasons to travel to Portugal. Portugal is also the oldest country in Europe filled with medieval castles and towns with cobblestone streets.

All Up/Down Hill in the Alfama

Meet the locals

The official language in Portugal is Portuguese, although English is common in main tourist areas and hotels. Before you travel, learning a few phrases like hello (olá) and thank you (obrigado/obrigada) can help to navigate the country and communicate with the locals when you travel to Portugal.

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What currency is used in Portugal?

The euro (€) is the official currency in Portugal. Travellers can withdraw money from ATMs scattered throughout main cities and use their credit cards at mid- and high-range establishments. The practice of tipping exists at many restaurants, typically 10% to 15%. You’re not expected to tip cab drivers, but it’s courteous to round up to the nearest five euro (if your fare is 12 euros, round up to 15 euros).

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What’s the best way to get to Portugal?

Most travellers fly into Lisbon (LIS), the capital of Portugal. Flights from Canada also take travel to Porto (OPO), Faro (FAO), and Ponta Delgada Airport in the Azores (PDL). Flight times vary depending on the departure city. For instance, direct flights to Portugal from Toronto would take roughly seven hours.

However, some airports in Canada may not operate direct flights to Lisbon or its surrounding airports, so travellers may need to include a stop in Toronto when they travel to Portugal


What are some things to do in Portugal?

There are many sights and things to do in Portugal. Lisbon’s Alfama District is best known for its romantic alleyways, small grocers, and Terracotta-roofed houses. From Lisbon, take a one-hour train ride to Sintra to explore medieval castles. Porto, in the north, is Portugal’s second largest city and the home of the world’s best port wine. Located along the south coast are the beaches of The Algarve and one of the most popular spots to travel to in Portugal.

Palácio Nacional da Pena

When to travel to Portugal

Due to its proximity to the sea, the climate throughout Portugal varies. The most popular times to travel to Portugal is in July and August when the weather is warm and you can swim in the ocean.

To avoid the crowds, travelling during shoulder season (April-June and September-November) is still warm enough for hiking and other outdoor activities. The prices for hotels and flights are also lower in the shoulder season and winter months.


Looking to travel to Portugal? Now that you know where and when to go, all that’s left is finding a flight deal to check this beautiful country off your bucket list. From Lisbon to the Algarve, fly somewhere warm with sunshine and bright blue skies all year long.