Things to Know Before You Visit Portugal-The Dos, Don’ts and Everything In Between
Portugal is a beautiful country where romantic medieval architecture meets modern graffiti style street art, where traditional family recipes are guarded with a burning passion, where friendly locals go out of their way to help tourists. It is where warmth, beauty, passion, art, architecture, food, music come together to offer its travellers an experience of a lifetime. Take a stroll around the winding historic neighbourhoods, marvel at the stunning architecture, take pictures of the stunning street art, join a food tour to discover all the wonders of the local cuisine, take a ride on the romantic trams and soak in the essence of the beautiful culture every single second. Here are some tips to help you make the best out of your Portugal trip.
Have a translation app handy
The language of Portugal is Portuguese. While it is not very difficult for an English-speaking person to navigate through life in Lisbon or other big cities, outside those, the situation might be slightly different as not many people speak fluent English. What they lack in their English-speaking skills they definitely try to make up with their excellent hospitality, and thus, a translation app can come handy if you are stuck in a situation where it becomes difficult to convey your needs. Download an app which translates in real time to help you navigate through your travels in those regions where English is not commonly spoken or understood.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen
Portugal has a fine Mediterranean climate, with long sunny days and balmy soothing nights which makes it important to apply sunscreen during the day time, especially around noon to early evening to avoid sunburn. Apply a sunscreen with a higher SPF, ideally over 50SPF when you are visiting the beaches and don’t forget your body as well. If you are planning on visiting Algarve which is the hottest area of the country, and where most of the fun happens outdoor, higher SPF, anywhere between 70-80 is highly recommended as the sun can be scorching. Carry your favourite sunscreen on this trip and on beaches and outdoors try to use hats for extra protection.
Choose accommodations with a good location
When it comes to accommodation, give extra preference to location. There are tons of good hotels, hostels and other accommodations for every budget available in every city, but make sure that the location is more or less centrally placed, close to some dining options and easily reachable by public transport. This will help you reduce your travelling costs by a lot as you would not have to rent private vehicle to reach your hotel or spend extra money on transport every time you want to go out for a meal or a snack. Make sure you can reach your accommodation by minimal change of transport to save up most on travelling. The best way to do this is to plan an estimated itinerary in advance, and thus, determine the accommodation location accordingly.
Wear comfortable shoes with grip
Lisbon is built on hills which means that you will always have to climb up and down slopes, wherever you go. Some of these are quite steep, some are smooth cobbled which means it is absolutely essential to wear shoes which are comfortable and offer good arch support to help you walk up the streets. There are also plenty of places where you might have to climb a flight of stairs or hike up a steep hills road to reach. It is also important to ensure that the shoes have good grips on their soles to avoid slipping as the cobblestones, especially after a rain can get a bit slippery to walk on. Expect tons of walking specially around the old neighbourhood of Alfama, Ajuda etc. Go for good hiking shoes or fit your current shoes with gel insoles for additional support while walking.
Eat and drink safe
The country is a heaven for foodies as there is such amazing food everywhere, starting from Lisbon to the less known smaller hamlets even. While you are enjoying the local food, make sure you ensure that everything that you are eating is clean and hygienic. The country has extremely high standards of hygiene, especially in the big cities so most of the restaurants and street food places are quite safe. If you are eating fresh fruits or veggies from the market, wash them thoroughly before consuming. Tap water is mostly fine to drink but to be extra safe, opt for bottled water. When ordering at a restaurant let them know your food allergies and use your translator app to check for allergens in your restaurant menu or composition of any readymade food you buy. Don’t let language barrier come in the way. Surely though, if you wish to go for the safest option, a Lisbon food tour may help you to get two birds with one stone: good food, safe venues, and a local on your side.
Get a Lisboa card
Lisboa Card is the official tourist card which offers you free public transport as well as free entry to a number of tourist spots in Lisbon along with discounts at several attractions and local businesses. With the Lisboa Card you can save up to about €50 per day if you plan your sightseeing accordingly. And with free transport you don’t even have to pay anything to reach these spots. You can buy a card for 24, 48 or 72 hours and since it is valid by hours, and not days you can make the best use of every hour, as per your travel plans.
Portugal is a beautiful country with a lot to see and do and the best part is that everything here is quite affordable as well. Take your time in this country and try to explore some of the less visited offbeat places for an out of the world experience.