Thanks to its location right by the Atlantic Ocean, many of Portugal's top attractions are related to the ocean, from seafood-inspired local food to the picturesque beaches of the Algarve region. Its major cities like Porto and Lisbon are also hubs for culture, art, cuisine and architecture, with many historic town centers being UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Wine lovers also flock here to go wine tasting in bucolic wine regions like the Douro Valley (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) and try local specialties such as port wine. Whether you want to experience food, art, history, culture or the great outdoors, Portugal has a bit of everything.
It's not necessary to learn Portuguese before your trip to Portugal. If you're traveling as part of a guided tour, your tour guide will speak both English and Portuguese and can assist with any necessary translations.
However, if you're traveling alone, it can be a good idea to learn some basic phrases and words. In big cities and major tourist destinations like the Douro Valley, most locals you encounter will likely speak or understand English. But if you plan on traveling to off-the-beaten-path areas or are exploring the country on your own, speaking some of the local languages will ease your travels around this amazing country. Even if you're on a guided tour, picking up some beginner Portuguese phrases helps you better connect with the local culture.
Five days to a week is usually enough to do all the highlights, plus have some free time, in a particular region or city. But if you plan to explore multiple regions in one trip, you'll likely want to plan for up to two weeks of travel.
Luckily, you don't need to get a visa to visit Portugal if you're planning to visit for under 90 days. This is the same as with many other European countries that are part of the European Union. You will, however, need to have a valid passport if you are traveling from America.
As a small country, Portugal is easy to get around without needing to rent a car. Train routes and buses connect most of the country, and its compact size also means you can thoroughly explore entire regions by foot or bike on a walking tour or a cycling tour.
A bus tour is another easy and convenient way to explore many of Portugal's top attractions, whether you want to visit historic sites or go on a winery tour.
Of course, if you travel with Explore to Portugal, all of your local transportation is included in the trip price.
As a safe, well-connected country, it can be easy to explore Portugal on your own. But traveling as part of a small-group tour with a designated tour director gives you even more background and information about the places you're traveling through. You also have the benefit of having all your accommodations, activities and transportation pre-arranged for you, making travel smooth and seamless.
Portugal’s safety record has made it an extremely popular destination for travelers - solo and otherwise. Crime rates are low, and locals are very friendly and welcoming. You'll want to be wary of pickpockets and petty theft in major cities.
Currently, you don't need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to travel to Portugal.
Walking and Cycling Tours:
• Comfortable hiking or cycling shoes
• Activity-appropriate clothing (cycling kit, hiking pants, etc.)
• Clothing layers
• Waterproof jacket
• Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.)
Cultural and Food Tours:
• Season-appropriate clothing (warm layers for winter, cool lightweight clothing for summer>
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Layers (jackets, fleeces, etc.)
• Waterproof jacket
• Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.)
For summer visits, you should also pack beach gear like swimsuits and flip-flops to enjoy Portugal's many lovely beaches.
The specifics of what is included vary from tour to tour, but accommodations and some private transport options are included across the board. On guided tours, one of Explore's expert guides will be with you every step of the way, offering guided activities and information. Included meals vary by itinerary.
Our Portugal walking and cycling tours range in difficulty from easy to moderate, requiring a good level of health and fitness. Some hikes and cycling routes will have elevation gains, but nothing too strenuous. For cycling tours, you also have the option to choose an e-bike for a power assist.