Everything you Want to Know about Visiting Portugal

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Portugal is often overlooked on the tourist destination list, seeing as most people tend to think it’s just an extension of Spain. But while Spain is undoubtedly one of the top three tourist destinations in the world, as anyone who’s been to Portugal can tell you, the latter is nothing like the former.

Portugal is a country in and of its own self, bringing a unique character and culture to the world that is unparalleled. This is why Portugal ranks in the world’s top 20 most visited countries — it just doesn’t get the publicity that its bigger next door neighbour does.

Portugal, Atlantic ocean
Portugal, Atlantic ocean by ddzphoto

Perhaps that’s because people want to keep Portugal to themselves. Spain has become overrun with tourists in some of the bigger cities and one of the charms that Portugal has going for it is that it’s a perfect vacation destination, without being overly touristy or crowded.

Why You Need to Visit Portugal on Your Next Trip to Spain

Whether you’re going to Spain or looking for someplace in the same climate area to visit independently, there are tons of reasons to make Portugal a stop — or final destination — on your next holiday:

Convenient Location

Whether you’re in North or South America, Portugal is closer by plane than Spain. It also has the same time zone as the British Isles which means less jet lag. Additionally, the coast of Portugal is on the Atlantic, giving it a very different and mysterious feel than Spain’s mostly Mediterranean coastlines.

In fact, Portugal brags the westernmost point in Europe, rife with tons of capes and inlets.

Portugal Plane
Portugal Plane by BriYYZ

More Affordable

Out of all of the western countries in Europe, Portugal is the most affordable, with 5-star hotels consistently 25% to 50% cheaper than its larger neighbour country. Plus, the restaurants are cheaper, even in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.

Sintra, Portugal
Sintra, Portugal by Pedro Szekely

Amazing Food

Portuguese cuisine stands out in the region as one of the best — even better than Spanish food, according to most. The main concepts here are simplicity and freshness mixed with unique spices that represent what a historical maritime centre the country played during the Age of Exploration.

Look for Cozido à Portuguesa, Caldo Verde, Feijoada, Bacalhau a Bras and others traditional Portugese meals!

Cozido à Portuguesa, Portugal
Cozido à Portuguesa, Portugal by Uxbona

English is Spoken More Often

In Portugal, the majority of young people speak basic English, at least a lot more than in Spain. Plus, the accent is a little easier to understand so if you’re not quite up on your foreign language skills, Portugal makes a great travel destination.

UK flag
UK flag by CAPTAIN ROGER FENTON

Portugal is Compact

While Spain is certainly the most diverse country in Europe, it’s also four times the size of Portugal which means you’ll have to spend quite a lengthy amount of time — or make multiple trips — if you want to take it all in.

With Portugal, you can get just about everything you need into one trip, from landscape destinations to cultural events to amazing art and lifestyles. You’ll be able to wake up on a beach in Algarve and by mid-day, be exploring the wine countries of Douro Valley. This also allows you to spend more time doing, and less time travelling between destinations.

Portugal map
Portugal map by patricia m

Weather is Ideal

For most cities in Europe that aren’t near the coast, the summers are scorching hot and the winters are freezing cold. But in Portugal, the weather is not extreme due to its location.

Even in the northern areas where it is a bit colder and rainier, the extreme weather just doesn’t exist because it is cooled off in the summertime by the Atlantic and warmed by southern winds during the winter. This makes Portugal ideal for year-round travel.

Algarve, Portugal - 2
Algarve, Portugal by LauraRinke

Charming Cities

Even in the capital city of Lisbon, one of Portugal’s largest, there is still a sense of old world charm rather than new world overwhelming. The historic city is built in a manner that keeps everything compact and accessible.

After Athens, Lisbon is the oldest capital city in Europe. Additionally, it’s one of the top natural harbours in the world, meaning that the trade and cultural influence over the centuries have left the city in a state that can best be described as eclectic, unique and fascinating. The fact is that there really is no other city in the world like Lisbon.

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal by LauraRinke

Algarve

If you’re after some sunshine and warmth typical of southern Europe and want to enjoy it in charming resorts, look no further than Algarve. Similar to Spain’s famous Costa del Sol, the Algarve has one major advantage over its Spanish counterpart — it hasn’t been completely commercialized.

Plus, the unique mix of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean cultures in this region make for a flavorful vacation destination that won’t soon be forgotten.

Algarve, Portugal
Algarve, Portugal by Julius_Silver

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