Portugal Independent Vacation 2023/2024
Save up to 40% on Portugal Independent Vacation 2023/2024Portugal Travel Guide
Long stretches of golden sand, medieval hilltop castles, sunbaked cobblestone villages, and lively cities – Portugal is a lot of things. Add to this a dash of mouth-watering food and wine and some of the friendliest people in the world, and you have the recipe for the perfect vacation. With tour operator volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 40% versus assembling the same itinerary on your own! Book your Portugal tour today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted tour headquarters. View Portugal Tour Deals and DiscountsPortugal Travel Guide
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Portugal Travel Guide
Portugal Tours Highlights
- Experience Lisbon, Portugal's buzzing capital city, a picture-perfect sea of pastel buildings draped over seven hills.
- Marvel at the enormous Praça do Comércio, one of the largest squares in Europe and entrance to the city of Lisbon.
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sintra-Vila with historic palaces and villas folded into hillsides that roll down to meet the Atlantic.
- Relax on the golden beaches of the Algarve surrounded by soaring cliffs, scalloped lagoons, and enchanting fishing villages.
- Enjoy delicious Portuguese cuisine, heavily influenced by the Mediterranean, and famous for Atlantic-fresh seafood slathered in olive oil.
- Admire the striking scenery of the Sagres Peninsula with its sea-carved cliffs towering over frothing ocean waves.
- Delve into medieval history in the beautifully preserved city of Évora with its elaborate cathedral and picturesque town square.
- Discover the cobbled alleyways and quaint plazas of Viseu, a charming city located in one of Portugal's top wine-producing regions.
- Explore the maze of narrow cobbled streets in Porto, home to beautiful homes with colorful tiled facades.
Portugal Tours Travel Tips
- Food and drinks in Portugal are excellent quality and very good value for money, so ditch the international brands and eat and drink like the locals. Fresh seafood is everywhere and local house wines are almost certain to be delicious.
- Some of the roads can be in poor condition and inter-city rail routes are cheap but slow. The best way to explore Portugal is by luxury coach. Join a Portugal tour if you don't want to bother with booking transportation and accommodation in every town.
- Many museums are free on one day of the week or the first Sunday of the month. Check the websites and try to time your visit to save some money.
- The Lisbon Card and Porto Card offer tourists unlimited access to public transport, free admission to top attractions, and tons of other discounts and benefits.
- It's always good to have some local currency on you (Euros) when you land in Portugal. However, there are ATMs at all international airports and in major tourist areas. Some smaller establishments do not accept cards, only cash.
- Bring comfortable shoes or sandals with thick soles. After walking on cobblestone streets for a few hours, you'll understand why.
- Most people in Portugal speak at least a bit of English, but it can't hurt to know a few greetings and phrases in Portuguese, such as Ola (hello), por favor (please), obrigado (thank you), sim (yes), and nao (no).
Portugal Tours Things To Do
- Explore Lively Lisbon
Ancient cathedrals, cobbled alleyways, and historic monuments give Lisbon a unique character. But this vibrant city, set over a series of hills near the River Tagus, has a captivating contemporary vibe as well. Visit world-class museums, stroll on the riverside promenade, or discover hidden treasures in the narrow streets of the old quarter. With its strategic location at Europe's doorstep, fresh seafood is aplenty in Lisbon. And boy, does this city know how to party. Come nightfall and the narrow, cobbled streets transform into a merry drinking scene with everything from classy nightclubs to rowdy bars.
You Should KnowThe VivaViagem card is a quick and easy way to use Lisbon's public transport system. It's good for travel on the metro, tram, bus, ferry, and funicular. The embedded chip makes it easy to pay for journeys, and it's cheaper than buying single fare tickets. Each person using public transport needs their own card.
- Take a Day Trip to Sintra
Located just a short drive from the capital Lisbon, Sintra is a magical place of incredible natural beauty and historical significance. A scenic drive along the Atlantic coast will bring you to a spectacular mountainous landscape carpeted with ferns and lichen, sloping gently toward the Atlantic. The highlight of the region is the amazing palaces, including the beautifully preserved medieval palace, the Palacio Nacional de Sintra. Also unmissable is the vivid Palacio da Pena, perched atop a rocky peak with its turrets piercing the clouds.
You Should KnowPack a picnic and enjoy it in the forested grounds and shaded woodlands of the 200-hectare Parque da Pena (Pena Park), which has a maze of romantic paths, lush fern gardens, and wonderful views of the palace. You can buy a combined ticket to the palace and gardens.
- Catch Some Sun on The Algarve
It's a magnet for visitors, 4 million of whom come to the Algarve each year. This surfers' paradise on Portugal's southern coast is a tourist hotspot, jam-packed with resorts and vacation homes. Splashy water parks and a sizzling nightlife make the Algarve popular with families and couples alike. But if a crowded beach is not your thing, the protected islands and lagoons of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa are a treasure-trove of natural beauty waiting to be explored. Venture into the hilly hinterland of the Algarve and you'll discover tranquil whitewashed villages, historic castles, and charming farmhouse restaurants amidst citrus orchards.
Best Time To VisitThe summer season in the Algarve is very busy. You're virtually guaranteed long, sunny days, but be prepared to spend some time looking for a spot on the beach. Winters in the Algarve are mild, so if you want to avoid the crowds and catch some winter sun, this could be a good time to visit. Average winter temperatures are in the 50s and 60s, and while it's not exactly beach weather, it's a great time for an active vacation (kayaking, hiking, golfing) which can be punishing in the summer heat.
- Indulge in Delicious Portuguese Cuisine
Bacalhau, a dried, salted cod, is a staple of Portuguese cuisine and omnipresent on restaurant menus. You can eat it fried, baked, boiled, or grilled – you'll love the smoky, earthy flavors with a delicate zing of citrus. Other dishes worth trying include cataplana, a robust seafood stew made with whatever's fresh at the fish market that day. And if you have a sweet tooth, try the rich, eggy, custard tarts called pastel de nata, preferably at the shop in Belém that uses a centuries-old recipe to make them.
You Should KnowAs soon as you sit down, your server will likely place a bread basket or some sort of "entradas" like a small plate of marinated olives on your table. Don't assume the appetizers are free. In Portugal, you will pay for everything. However, this should not add more than a couple of Euros to your bill. Otherwise, you can ask your server to take away anything you didn't order.
- Go Wine Tasting in the Douro Valley
The wine industry in Portugal has undergone a quiet revolution and emerged from the shadows of its more famous neighbors, Spain, France, and Italy. Portugal today produces a wide variety of wines with distinctive personalities, grown in the two main wine-producing regions, the Douro Valley and Pico Island. A winery tour in Portugal is a treat for the senses, with magnificent views of vineyard-covered hillsides and a chance to taste some of the best Portuguese wines paired with artisanal cheese and chocolates.
You Should KnowDon't be intimidated if you're not a wine connoisseur. Everyone can enjoy the experience in Portugal's world-renowned wine country. The farm owners and guides are more than happy to answer your questions. Pro Tip: Don't try to cram too many wineries into your day. Wine tasting is fun when it's not rushed.
- Marvel at the Castle of Tomar
Built by the Knights Templar, an organization of devout Christians, in the 12th-century, the Castle of Tomar is an imposing edifice that stands on top of a hill. Enclosed within its walls is the Convento de Cristo (Convent of Christ), a magnificent monument built over 500 years in diverging styles. Particularly arresting is the central rotunda, designed by the grandmaster Gualdim Pais and decorated with frescos depicting biblical scenes. Continue from Tomar to Fatima, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world where three shepherd children saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917.
You Should KnowTomar is a pretty little town with a typically Portuguese laidback vibe. Walking around the narrow, cobbled walkways will make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Strike up a conversation with the friendly locals to learn more about their culture.
- Visit the Magnificent Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra
Named after King João V, the 18th-century baroque library, Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra has an awe-inspiring central hall with elaborate ceiling frescos, decorated arches, massive rosewood and ebony tables, and two-storied gilded shelves that hold some 200,000 volumes on theology, philosophy, law, medicine, and geography, a collection dating back to the 16th-century. This grand national monument of priceless historical value is a sumptuous space that's well worth a visit.
You Should KnowThe library is home to a colony of bats that protects the books from insects by eating them during the night.
- Venture into the Idyllic Portuguese Countryside
Big cities like Lisbon and Porto have pulsating energy but venture away from the main tourist attractions and Portugal will reward you with charming coastal villages and enchanting hilltop towns brimming with history and culture. Get off the beaten path and head to the idyllic Portuguese countryside, where you'll discover whitewashed walled cities with ancient castles and historic lighthouses with sweeping views of the Atlantic.
You Should KnowYou can do day trips to the countryside from larger cities. For example, visit Aveiro, just 75 km from Porto; or Tavira, 30 km from Faro; or Nazare, which is a two-hour bus ride from Lisbon.
Portugal Tour Packages
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, with cooler temperatures to the north and dry and warm temperatures in southern regions.
- Summer - June to August
Summer is the hottest, busiest, and most expensive season to visit Portugal. Lisbon and the beaches of the Algarve, in particular, can get very busy during these months. The shoulder months of June and September are better bets because the weather, although still hot, is not unbearably so, and there are fewer crowds.
- September to October
Autumn is a great time to visit Portugal with water temperatures still warm at around 21C and plenty of sunshine. This is also the perfect time to visit the Douro vineyards where some estates will let you join the harvesting and grape-stomping activities.
- Winter - December to February
If you're looking for a quiet holiday with mild weather, a winter Portugal tour might be just right for you. There's still a good amount of sun, but it can get chilly and rainy. Some of the beach resorts wind down for the season. However, winter is a great time to explore inland or enjoy a city break in Portugal.
- Spring - March to May
Spring in Portugal has mild temperatures (warm but not scorching hot), verdant landscapes, thinner crowds, and easier availability of accommodation. This weather is ideal for active holidays like hiking and other outdoor activities.
Portugal Tours Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I join a Portugal tour from the US?
There are direct flights from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS). Most Portugal tours start and end in Lisbon, making it easy for you to join the group.
- What’s included on a Portugal tour?
The price of your Portugal tour includes accommodation in comfortable hotels, all transportation, many meals, and guided sightseeing and activities. Your tour director will be on hand to answer questions and ensure your safety and comfort. You'll also enjoy the company of like-minded travelers.
- How much time do I need to see Portugal in-depth?
If you're headed only to Portugal, we suggest 10-12 days to experience the country's amazing diversity. If you're joining a combined Spain, Morocco, and Portugal tour, then we recommend a 15-17 days' vacation.
- How much do Portugal tours cost?
Portugal tours start at around $175 per person per day. We offer personalized services to help you find the Portugal vacation of your dreams at an unbeatable price. Call us today to save money with our biggest discounts on Portugal tours.
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Reviews for Portugal Tours and Vacations
Outstanding trip to Portugal. One of the best tour directors. The sights were beautiful, and the history provided by the tour director and local guides made the tour better than if we did it on our own. The Globus App kept us updated on each day events and of our flight plans. Wonderful to have everything at our fingertips. No need for paper. I highly recommend Globus\' Portugal in Depth.
Excellent trip to Portugal! Our tour director was outstanding and we felt safe and relaxed throughout the trip.
The Travel director was a pleasure to tour with.
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