HomeEuropean ToursPortugal ToursPortugal Guide

How to Plan a Trip to Portugal: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 25, 2022

Ratings of Zicasso's Service
Medieval Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon, Portugal

Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal is a land of cobblestone villages, medieval castles, golden beaches, and emerald vineyards, and these are the most frequently asked questions from travelers eager to experience the country’s culture, art, cuisine, and history.

From ancient ruins to secluded villages, misty woodlands to soulful music, Portugal surpasses expectations and offers timeless surprises. Here, find the information you need to plan your perfect trip.

Overview
  1. Can I travel to Portugal?
  2. When is the best time to visit Portugal?
  3. How many days should I spend in Portugal?
  4. What are the most popular destinations in Portugal?
  5. What should I do on my trip to Portugal?
  6. Is Portugal a good place for wine?
  7. What are the wine regions of Portugal?
  8. Are there castles in Portugal?
  9. Does Portugal have good beaches?
  10. Does Portugal have islands?
  11. Is Portugal a good destination for families?
  12. Is Portugal suitable for senior travelers?
  13. Is Portugal suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  14. What food should I try in Portugal?
  15. Is Portugal safe for travel?
  16. What language do they speak in Portugal?
  17. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Portugal?
  18. Which airports should I plan for?
  19. Do I need a visa for Portugal?
  20. What currency does Portugal use?
  21. How can Zicasso help me to plan my trip to Portugal?
  22. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Can I travel to Portugal?

Portugal is open to American travelers.

There are few requirements and no restrictions for American travelers. Conditions depend on the Portuguese government and can change, but a Zicasso travel specialist can give you the latest information should an adjustment be required between planning and departure.

For more ideas on where you can visit with limited or no restrictions, browse Where Americans Can Travel Right Now.

Learn more: Plan Your Trip to Portugal

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

The best time to visit is between April and May and again in October. These months offer mild weather around spring, the edge of summer, and fall. During April, May, and October there are also fewer crowds.

June, July, and September are very busy in Portugal because of an influx of cruise ships to Lisbon and around the Algarve. Summer has the best weather for Algarve beaches, but also sees the largest crowds.

There are different climates in the southern, central, and northern regions, with the Algarve being too cold for the beach outside of summer and at the beginning of fall.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Portugal

How many days should I spend in Portugal?

For the most rewarding trip, plan for at least 10 days.

While you can visit the highlights in seven days, spending at least 10 days gives you the opportunity to explore the country’s diverse beauty. This amount of time lets you discover Lisbon and Porto, while also taking you to the Algarve, Sintra, the Douro Valley, or other areas in which you can uncover the country’s cultures, histories, landscapes, and communities.

With so many places to visit and things to do, the more time you spend in Portugal, the more rewarding experiences you can have. Whether for wine lovers, honeymooners, families, or adventurers, Portugal embodies the best of Europe and beyond.

Learn more: 1 Week Portugal Itineraries8 Day Portugal Itineraries10 Day Portugal Itineraries2 Week Portugal Itineraries

What are the most popular destinations in Portugal?

Here is a list of the eight most popular places to visit, including cities, towns, and national parks:

  • Lisbon
  • Porto
  • Algarve
  • Alentejo
  • Vinho Verde
  • Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • Óbidos
  • Aveiro

The 8 Best Places to Visit in Portugal captures the experiences available in Portugal’s diverse landscapes and cultures, offering sightseeing, gourmet dining, colorful seaside architecture, and remote hiking routes. Our list gives you the chance to find the places right for you.

What should I do on my trip to Portugal?

We have worked with our Portugal travel experts to provide you with recommendations for any length of trip. Below is a specially chosen list of the best places to visit, with some of the things to do there.

  • Discover Lisbon’s history on guided tours through antique neighborhoods
  • Indulge in authentic cuisine to find traditional recipes in preserved ambiances
  • Explore the museum galleries and extensive gardens at Serralves
  • Witness the marvels of Porto when wandering the cobbled lanes along the riverbanks
  • Delight in gorgeous views across Coimbra at Penedo da Saudade
  • Bask in the remarkable culture of Coimbra during a visit to Portugal’s oldest university

The previous list highlights some of the best things to do, but you can learn how much more there is on offer with our Top 8 Things to Do in Portugal.

Is Portugal a good place for wine?

From port to vinho verde, Portugal is a powerhouse of wine production with a long heritage steeped in cultivation, creation, and enjoyment.

Whether visiting a larger producer in a celebrated valley or cycling along trails that connect smaller vintners, each wine-producing destination possesses breathtaking views of the countryside or an immersion into the urban culture of a local cafe. Wine is an essential part of Portuguese culture, pairing with traditional foods and demonstrating the versatility of grapes that have adapted to the soil, climate, and tastes of local wine enthusiasts.

Enjoy a casual tasting in a hidden cellar, sample a glass paired with a customary dish, or visit award-winning wineries to experience Portugal’s connection to wine with our Portugal Wine Tours.

What are the wine regions of Portugal?

Portugal’s diverse landscape and Mediterranean climate create dynamic micro-regions for growing a variety of grapes that produce a vast selection of vintages. Whether near Lisbon or outside Porto, the regions include:

  • Douro Valley
  • Alentejo
  • Lisbon
  • Minho
  • Bairrada
  • Dao
  • Madeira

Learn more: 7 Best Wine Regions in Portugal

Are there castles in Portugal?

Portugal has an exceptional collection of castles that span centuries.

The strongholds reflect the architectural grandeur and strategic goals of the time. Based on the location and century of the castle’s architecture, you can find fairytale designs or fortified medieval stone structures.

The intention for each castle may have informed its design and function while under construction and as its use changed over time. Portugal’s offerings demonstrate the long and important history of castle culture.

Learn more: 11 Best Castles to Visit in Portugal

Does Portugal have good beaches?

With nearly 600 miles of Atlantic coastline, Portugal has some of the best beaches in Europe. The mild Mediterranean climate and soft sands help create a captivating ambiance no matter the stretch of shoreline. Five of the most popular beaches are:

  • Camilo Beach
  • Falesia Beach
  • Amando Beach
  • Quinta do Lago Beach
  • Martinhal Beach

Does Portugal have islands?

Portugal has 23 inhabited. With distinct cultures and ambiances, each offers opportunities for discovery, adventure, and exploration. Whether looking for colonial towns in the Atlantic or interested in hikes with sea views, these are seven of the best islands to visit:

  • Sao Miguel Island
  • Cape Verde
  • Ilha de Armona
  • Madeira Island
  • Pico
  • Flores
  • Porto Santo

Is Portugal a good destination for families?

Portugal is a great destination for families and there are many reasons to consider visiting the country. You and your children can bring history to life while enjoying food the entire family will love.

Wander cobblestone streets and fortresses in Lisbon. Visit pristine beaches in the Algarve. Find fairytale castles in Sintra. Whether looking for adventure along the coastline or a cultural excursion to traditional villages, Portugal celebrates families of all kinds and you can explore sample trips in our Portugal Family Vacations & Tours.

Is Portugal suitable for senior travelers?

Portugal is a comfortable, contemporary, and safe destination for all kinds of senior travelers. With a history that highlights art and exploration, visiting Portugal is an eye-opening experience where seniors can trade in the hustle of home life to focus on simple pleasures.

There is historical architecture, Roman ruins, easy hikes, casual beaches, thriving wine regions, and exceptional cuisine to discover on our Portugal Tours for Seniors.

As a senior traveler, you can enjoy the best of Portugal at your pace, with guides who are attentive to your interests. Knowledgeable drivers will help handle your luggage and tour or accommodation representatives will focus on your needs for the duration of your trip.

Is Portugal suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Portugal’s artisan charms, classic architecture, and gorgeous panoramas create the perfect romantic ambiance. With the added layers of exploration and history, it is a destination that begs you to indulge in little pleasures that shape big moments.

The wine regions, islands, colorful seaside towns, fairytale architecture, and sun-kissed beaches only add to the allure, making the country a great place for couples celebrating anniversaries and honeymoons, or simply looking for a fabulous getaway. You can explore your options in our Portugal Tours for Couples or our Portugal Honeymoon Packages.

What food should I try in Portugal?

Portugal’s culinary tradition revolves around Mediterranean flavors and the spices, recipes, and other ingredients other cultures contributed over the centuries. The following list features some of the best foods to try:

  • Octopus with olive oil and potatoes
  • Iberian black pork
  • Duck rice
  • Caldo verde, a soup made with potatoes, chorizo, and leafy greens
  • Torricado, which consists of slices of bread toasted over charcoal, soaked in olive oil, and brushed with garlic and salt
  • Grilled sardines
  • Seafood rice

Is Portugal safe for travel?

Portugal is extremely safe. Petty theft such as pickpocketing can occur in crowded tourist areas, but your overall safety is never a concern. The country has a reputation for getting rowdy during soccer matches, but is otherwise quiet, safe, and easy to navigate.

What language do they speak in Portugal?

Portugal’s official language is Portuguese.

Most locals speak it, but other languages, including English, are widely spoken in major cities. Spanish may be spoken near the border with Spain. You should have little trouble communicating in popular tourist areas, but even towns and villages are easy to navigate. However, your guide can generally help with any language barriers that may arise.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Portugal?

Vaccination requirements depend on the government’s rules. The CDC Portugal Vaccination Information can clarify these.

Your Zicasso travel specialist is available to provide further insight if you have any concerns or additional questions.

Which airports should I plan for?

For most travelers the most convenient airport is Lisbon. The top three are:

  • Lisbon Airport (LIS)
  • Porto Airport (OPO)
  • Faro (FAO)

Do I need a visa for Portugal?

As an American citizen, you do not need a visa to enter Portugal for up to 90 days, in accordance with the Schengen Visa applicable to European Union countries. You do need to have a valid passport and a departure ticket out of the EU within the 90-day period.

Your Zicasso travel specialist will inform you of any changes to requirements when helping you plan your trip.

What currency does Portugal use?

The official currency of Portugal is the Euro (€).

You should carry euros when traveling in Portugal as you will need them to pay for items not accounted for in your tour, such as meals, additional accommodations, or tours. That said, electronic banking makes payments in Portugal easy as most establishments in major cities accept international credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard.

In case of emergencies and for tours to rural towns or villages, it is best to carry euros. This also helps with tipping guides.

How can Zicasso help me to plan my trip to Portugal?

Our Portugal Tours & Vacations are a collection of curated trips from which you can get a better idea of what your itinerary may look like.

You can select a sample trip that aligns with your ideal vacation, be it a family trip, honeymoon, adventure tour, or something else. These sample trips are often a stepping stone from which our travelers create unique itineraries.

When you are ready, you can complete a Trip Request to begin planning your vacation. We ask for more information on where you would like to go, how long you would like to spend in Portugal, the size of your party, and traveler ages to help streamline your planning.

You can also provide additional ideas and set a travel budget, after which our Travel Care team will contact you to match you with a top Portugal travel specialist. These experts  will use their expertise and understanding of your preferences to curate your dream vacation.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Couple enjoying the view of Santa Luzia Dam in Portugal

Santa Luzia Dam, Portugal

Portugal captures the best of the Iberian Peninsula, from captivating art to delectable cuisine, a perfect coastal sunset, and a fairytale ambiance accentuated by a historic castle.

Whether you are eager to discover Moorish neighborhoods in Lisbon or sample port at a riverside cellar in Porto, you can find the right inspiration for your trip with Portugal Tours & Vacation sample itineraries. Zicasso’s Portugal Travel Guide also has information and tips for your next trip.

Your Dream Vacation

in 3 simple steps

  1. 1

    Describe your dream trip

  2. 2

    Get matched with top travel specialists

  3. 3

    Book the trip

Free service - no credit card required

Get Top Travel Specialists to Help Plan Your Trip