Traveling in Portugal: 7 Things You Should Know in Advance

Traveling through Portugal is delightful. The sun shines there almost always, you can spend days exploring the charming cities of Lisbon or Porto, and the coastline of the Algarve is one of the most beautiful in Europe. If you’re thinking about a road trip through Portugal or planning a city break to Lisbon or Porto, be sure to check out these 7 things you should know before traveling in Portugal before hopping on the plane.

#1 Never use the Euronet ATM

You can pay with your debit card almost everywhere in Portugal, but it’s always wise to carry some cash with you. When withdrawing money, you should never use the first ATM you come across. Euronet ATMs are found at all tourist spots in Portugal. However, Euronet is not very honest, and it’s better to avoid them. When you insert your debit card into the Euronet machine, it checks whether you have a foreign debit card or a local one. If you don’t have a local debit card, you go through a completely different menu than a local cardholder. With a foreign debit card, you can be charged up to 15% in commission at Euronet. Therefore, it’s best to withdraw money at Multibanco ATMs in Portugal. These ATMs don’t charge anything extra for foreign debit cards.

#2 Renting a car is ideal in Portugal

In cities like Lisbon or Porto, a rental car is completely unnecessary and not convenient because you’ll end up paying a lot for parking. However, outside of the cities, a rental car is ideal in Portugal. We picked up our rental car after our stay in Lisbon and headed straight to Cascais to explore the unique surroundings for a few days. After that, we continued our journey to the Algarve, where a rental car is even more convenient because the attractions are a bit far apart. With a rental car, you have the freedom to explore these places at your own pace. Check out our tips for renting a car in Portugal beforehand.

#3 Bring warm clothing even in summer

Even if you’re going to Portugal in the middle of summer, it’s still a good idea to pack a sweater and long pants. The evenings can sometimes be much cooler than during the day. In some coastal areas, there can be a brisk breeze around sunset, and even in Porto, the evenings are not always warm.

#4 Sundays are much quieter in Portugal

During our trip, we discovered that many stores are closed on Sundays in Portugal. Some stores are open, but it’s definitely quieter on Sundays compared to the rest of the week. Additionally, keep in mind that most museums are closed on Mondays. Some museums also remain closed on Tuesdays. Always double-check this before you go.

#5 Portuguese Basics

Most people in Portugal speak English well, but of course, it’s fun to speak a few words of Portuguese. Here’s a little Portuguese lesson:

    • Hello – Olá
    • Good morning – Bom dia
    • Good afternoon – Boa tarde
    • Good evening – Boa noite
  • Thank you (for men) – Obrigado
  • Thank you (for women) – Obrigada
  • How are you? – Como está?
  • I’m doing well – está indo bem

#6 Best Time to Visit Portugal

Portugal experiences different seasons, and temperatures vary by region. For instance, the Algarve is always warmer than the northern part of Portugal. July and August are the peak tourist season in Portugal, and it can get very hot in the Algarve and Lisbon. When we were there in July, it didn’t get hotter than 33 degrees, but sometimes it can reach up to 40 degrees. In Porto, temperatures during these months are around 25 degrees. Spring and fall are also great times to visit Portugal, especially because it’s less crowded. Temperatures from May to October typically range between 22 and 27 degrees. Winter months are cooler and have a higher chance of rain. In the south, temperatures average around 13 degrees, while in the north, it’s around 10 degrees.

#7 Traveling through Portugal is a delightful blend of city and nature

We had a fantastic two-week trip through Portugal, and it was incredibly enjoyable. The best part of this journey was its diversity. You start in the city and end up on the beautiful Algarve coast. There’s plenty to do and see here if you’re into an active vacation, but it’s also perfect if you prefer to relax on the beach. There are plenty of paradisiacal beaches here! Curious about the trip we took? Check out our two-week travel itinerary for Portugal.