Portugal - The Best Way To Travel The West Coast Of Europe
How to Travel Around Portugal
Portugal is still a bit neglected among tourists, at least compared to Spain and Italy. Big mistake! Portugal offers a wide range of tourist attractions, whether you like to spend time on a beach or visit monuments, go out at night, try surfing, or taste exquisite local cuisine.
Time your journey.Portugal is fairly small in terms of area. However, because of its shape (the coastline is 1,214 km (754 mi) long), distances to travel are substantial. Major points of interest (Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve) lie along the coast. Plan at least a week to visit the most interesting spots; two weeks will be optimal!
Find an optimal time of year.The summers in Portugal can be really hot. In July and August, the average temperature is around 28 °C (82 °F), often exceeding 35 degrees. Moreover, most tourists come in the summer, which makes the beaches as well as the monuments really crowded. Consider coming in Spring (April-May) or in Fall (September-October). The temperatures are optimal for both beach vacation as well as city tours, and you will not have to stumble upon thousands of tourists.
Find a cheap flight to get there.The three major airports are located in Lisbon, Porto and Faro. You can easily fly to one of them with one of the low cost airlines: Lisbon is operated by Easyjet and Germanwings, Porto and Faro by Ryanair. A one-way ticket from London to Porto will cost you only around 35 Euro!
Decide how you will travel through the country.There are train and coach connections across the main cities and the Algarve. For both trains as well as coaches the price of a one way long distance ticket (e.g. Lisbon to the Algarve) is around 20 Euro. If you wish to travel more independently, rent a campervan, which will allow you to travel without having to think about tourist infrastructure or timetables. The price of such a camper van is around 60 Euro for four people per day.
- Another option is rent a private car. Particularly the south of Portugal is a great place to go on a roadtrip with countless wild Atlantic beach coastline.
Plan your overnight stays.Lisbon is well-known for its high quality/low price hostels. An overnight stay in the center of the city will cost you as little as 10 Euro. Another fair price option is an apartment. You can easily find them on AirBNB and Housetrip. If you opt for the campervan, you can stay in more secluded places such as directly at the beaches.
- The southern region of Portugal, the Algarve, is in fact located at two coasts: the southern and the western. The western coast offers great conditions for surfers, but the water in the ocean is cool, whereas the southern is not too wavy, but the water is warm. You can visit the town of Sagres in the southwest of Portugal. That way, you can enjoy both features depending on your mood.
- Portugal is great for an ecological vacation. You can stay in one of the communities and they will teach everything about ecological food and lifestyle.
- One of the most underestimated locations in Portugal is Alentejo: the region southern from Lisbon, northern from the Algarve. It is full of lonely beaches, beautiful coastline and small fishermen villages. The thing is: it is difficult to reach, as public transportation won't get you there. The optimal choice to visit Alentejo is campervan rental.
- If you dream about a stay in a hippie community, Portugal is the place to go. Alentejo and Algarve are full of them, especially in the summer. Not unimportantly, the use of drugs is decriminalised there...
- Camping in a tent is illegal (e.g. on a beach), except for designated camping areas. On the other hand, you can legally park a car or a camper nearly everywhere!
- In big cities you will meet a lot of 'salesmen' trying to sell you drugs. Never buy anything from them, neither let them take you to their 'shops'!
Video: What to do in Portugal - 10 days travel guide
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