My husband and I recently came back from a 9 day Portugal trip for our 2nd wedding anniversary. I’ve never gotten so many questions before about how and why we chose that very place to travel to. Portugal isn’t the most common destination so people were curious.
We had multiple reasons for choosing Portugal:
- It’s super affordable. Like the most affordable western European country we’ve been to, hands down.
- There’s a good mix of city and beach which is something we always love.
- We love seeing things like castles, limestones, beautiful architecture and Portugal is full of all of these things.
- Because why not Portugal?
We were unfortunately only able to go for 9 days because otherwise we would have definitely made this a full two-week vacation, if not more. What’s even more unfortunate is because of flight delays and cancellations, we only got to actually truly enjoy 6 days in Portugal out of the 9 planned. But all that aside, from our 6 days there, I gathered some insight and some tips for those planning to travel to this magnificent country. So, let’s talk about it.
- Bring cash! Portugal is very full of little independent shops and mom and pop type restaurants so don’t expect your Visa to be taken everywhere. Hence, why I highly recommend that you bring quite a bit of Euros with you. Scott and I always bring cash for all our trips and only use card when necessary. It helps us stay within budget and helps you keep track of how much you’re spending.
- Tipping at restaurants. This is something that I have to look up before traveling to any foreign country since everyone handles this differently. In case you’re wondering, in Portugal, tipping is not expected. If you had nice service, you can tip 5-10% max but even that will be seen as very generous. Out of habit and because everything was so cheap, we always tipped but like I said, more of a habit and feeling weird about not tipping.
- Bring lots of sunscreen! If you go during May – September time, expect to have constant sunshine and the need for lots of sunscreen.
- You better be prepared to walk up and down lots of stairs. Both Lisbon and Porto are basically built on hills so you will literally be walking up and down cobblestone stairs all day long. I am pretty sure I lost weight during this vacation because of how much I was sweating since heat + stairs are a brutal combination.
- If you have any type of dietary restrictions (vegetarian/vegan, gluten free, etc), do your research ahead of time. Most restaurants there offer mostly Portuguese options which are very meat and dairy heavy. This is the least I’ve ever seen another country have different types of cuisine. I would say it was 90% Portuguese kitchen only.
Those are the main points I wanted to make about traveling to Portugal from my own experience. Let me know if you have been to Portugal and have other tips and if you have any questions!