Portugal is a country blessed with excellent sandy beaches, rugged coastline, cosmopolitan and architecturally-stunning cities, and incredible weather. Throw in great food, lots of wine, and cheap prices, and it makes for a perfect holiday spot. When we first visited Portugal, we fell absolutely in love. The food. The people. The culture. The inexpensiveness! It is one of the most underrated countries in the world.
Because it’s on the tip of Europe and isn’t as centrally-connected as other countries not a lot of people visit Portugal. Sure, Lisbon has become a hub for digital nomads, expats, and retirees thanks to its low cost of living. But, in the rest of the country, not much has changed. And fewer crowds means a better, more local experience for you. This Portugal travel guide can help you plan a trip that you’ll remember for a lifetime! Be sure to have an extra glass of port for us though!
“Rua Augusta Arch”
Accommodation – A double room in a hotel begins at 35 EUR (40 USD) for a cheap, 2-star hotel. Shared rooms through Airbnb cost around 15 EUR (17 USD) per night, while entire homes average about 40 EUR (45 USD) per night. You also could couchsurf or stay at a pensão (family-run inns) to save money.
Food – You can find snacks in bakeries for around 2 EUR (3 USD), light meals and sandwiches for around 7 EUR (8 USD), and fast food for around the same price. If you want sit-down meal with drinks, you’re looking at spending closer to around 18-20 EUR (20-25 USD) per meal. After that, the sky is the limit. However, you can find some great bargains. If you’re cooking, groceries will cost around 30-35 EUR (35-40 USD) for a week’s worth of food that includes items like pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic food stuffs.
Transportation – The larger cities like Porto and Lisbon have great public transit options, including trains, trams, and buses. Tickets start around 1.50 EUR (1.70 USD). In smaller communities, people generally use the public bus, and fares are about the same. Taxis are affordable for short distances, and are metered. Fares start at 3.25 EUR (4 USD) plus about 1 EUR (less than 2 USD) per kilometer. A taxi trip shouldn’t cost you more than 12 EUR (14 USD)! Locals like to get around by bike, and bike rentals are available in all the major cities. You can rent a basic one for 15 EUR (17 USD) per day.
Suggested daily budget – 15-50 EUR / 16-67 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number.)
Here are a selection of our travel essentials !
Peak season in Portugal is during the summer months of June – August, where temperatures are around 33ºC (92ºF), and popular destinations like Porto and Lisbon experience a huge influx of visitors. Prices increase during this time as well. But the overall atmosphere and weather is great, so it’s still worth visiting during peak season. However, we think the best time to visit Portugal is shoulder season in the spring and fall (March to May and September to October, respectively). It’s still warm during this time but there aren’t as many crowds and prices are cheaper. It’s also easier to meet locals! Winter is from November to February. It gets cold, and tourist crowds have thinned out considerably. Temperatures vary quite a bit from place to place, but overall the temperature averages around 17 °C (53 °F).
Portugal is very safe for backpacking and solo travel. Violent attacks are uncommon. Petty crime is about the worst that will happen to you. Pickpocketing is the most common crime. Be aware of your surroundings when you’re in markets, on busy streets, or when using the metro. You won’t find a lot of travel scams in the country. And again, if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it in Portugal!