Portugal is experiencing a surge in popularity right now, and for good reason. This small country bordered by Spain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west is known for its great weather, cool cities, stunning natural scenery, and relatively inexpensive prices compared to the rest of Western Europe.
Portugal quick facts
- Population: 10.3 million
- Language: Portuguese
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Capital city: Lisbon
- Country size: 35,600 square miles
- High season: Summer (June through September)
Top 10 things to do in Portugal
- Walk the steep streets of Lisbon's Alfama neighborhood
- Explore Porto’s lively and historic Ribeira District
- Take a day trip to Sintra to explore its famous palaces
- Explore the Jerónimos Monastery in Belem
- Sample local port in the Douro Valley
- Hit the beach in Ereceira and learn how to surf!
- Explore Algarve’s hidden caves and stunning beaches
- Climb the steps at Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga
- Attend a traditional Portuguese Fado show
- Enjoy Portuguese specialties like pastel de nata (egg tarts) or the Francesinha (meat, egg, and cheese sandwich)
Portugal is a relatively small country (it’s about the size of the state of Indiana), and getting around is extremely easy.
The best way to get around is by train. All trains in Portugal are run by the national train line, Comboios de Portugal. To get between major cities like Lisbon and Porto, you can take the Alfa Pendular (fast train) or other intercity trains.
Slower regional trains connect smaller cities and towns throughout the country. The Alfa Pendular and intercity trains require advanced reservations, while regional trains do not.
Portugal also has a robust network of buses that follow the same routes as the trains. One of the best options for bus travel is the Redes Expressos bus line, which connects most major destinations around the country.
Most of Portugal’s cities and towns (even more rural destinations) have good public transportation options, from trams and funiculars to buses.
And renting a car is always an option in Portugal, too, especially if you want a little more flexibility in your trip. Search for rental cars here.
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