Porto, Portugal - Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

By Gleb Gaiduk

Portugal is a top destination for most European travelers, though having beautiful tourist attractions can sidetrack the uninformed first-time traveler. To begin, it is advisable to use the train. And, to make a more budget-friendly and fun-filled plan, use online trip planners as they allow you to choose the best locations for your budget.

Portugal is the most sought after destination for tourists, being a rather unique country. First, care must be taken to investigate its weather and then its topography. One thing to bear in mind is the culture of the natives, reflected particularly in modes of transportation; it is advised to skip the airports. Obtaining Portugal train tickets is usually feasible online. 

This culturally rich country has its peculiarities and definite attractions. For the first time visitor, arming yourself with the right information enables you to make informed decisions. Here are 15 tips to guide you.

15 Handy Tips For First Time Visitors

1. Visit Portugal Off-Season

The month of July and August are considered Portugal’s tourist seasons, and they are the hottest and busiest months for tourists. For maximum enjoyment on a budget, consider traveling to Portugal during the “off-seasons”. This is basically to avoid a price hike of food and accommodation.

2. Choose your Wardrobe Wisely

Loose and lightweight natural fiber materials are the best picks for summer. Conversely, heavy clothes will be useful in winter. Also, don’t forget to pack an insect repellent. It will come in handy. 

3. Choose a Suitable Sunscreen

Always bear in mind that the sun sits directly over Portugal. To protect yourself, you will need sunglasses, a sunscreen, umbrella, and a hat. And don’t think you will get all these at an affordable price in Portugal.

4. Go with Cash

Portugal natives prefer cash transactions. Should you choose to go with cash, do not carry a bulk sum, but only what is sufficient for you.

5. The Locals Love Kids 

While you may feel overwhelmed having kids with you, it is the surest way to make friends with the natives. Assuredly, Portugal is a safe place and the locals would love to entertain your children. They understand that you may need an alone moment and this they do for free. Please don’t feel harassed when they protest that your kids are poorly dressed though.

6. Think Cobblestones and Comfortable Shoes

Okay, so Portugal builds cobblestones that absorb the heat. Unfortunately, the floor gets slippery when it rains. While you will look good in heels, it is better to get flats. Or better yet, a pair of sneakers. Hitting the floor really wouldn’t look good on you. 

7. For Tea Lovers

Do you love tea? Then pack a tea kettle and some tea bags. It would be of great help to you as they may be harder to come by over there. And this is specifically for persons who take tea without milk. 

8. Vegetarians Beware

Eating soup at the local food store is a risk. A huge gamble if you are strict on your diet. And the restaurants do not make provisions for vegetarians. Best advice? Make your own meals. It’s cheaper too.

9. Don’t Forget to Bring Your Documents

Travelers from EU countries bearing EU passports don’t need visas. But they need the European health insurance card. Non-EU travelers require an International Drivers Passport if they intend to drive.

10. Car Park Helpers

Although they are helpful, they need tips. To avoid confrontations you have to give them a few greens for their efforts. And good luck if you want to figure it out on your own or find a parking lot!

11. Going to the Beach? Watch out!

Portugal lives up to its reputation as the surfer’s destination. Beaches around the various regions like the Nazare and Peniche in Portugual always produce big waves. If there are kids with you keep them away from the water.

12. Would you Need a Car? 

Definitely. Yes. Especially if you intend to visit other regions. In case you do not know how to plan an itinerary, you can achieve a fun schedule with Triptile.

13. How About Meals?

Thinking about meals? Try the Tascas. These are local food stores. Of course, the fresh food meals promise to be appetizing. And you can get a bottle of wine for a low sum too.

14. More than the Meal

Beyond the meal is knowing how much an item on the menu costs. So insist on an itemized bill. This enables you to do away with an unnecessary dish and save costs. Always remember that an average Portuguese restaurant always serves a three-course meal.

15. Think Festivities, Think Toilet Paper

Yes, you wouldn’t want to be without extra toilet paper if you are in a festival. Please do your due diligence and bring a little extra with you when going to a festival – better to be safe than sorry.

 

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