English is widely spoken, foreigners are welcome, and it’s one of the most affordable countries in Europe…
What are you waiting for to start planning your trip to Portugal?
Let’s look at the places to visit while traveling here.
Lisbon is blessed with warm, sunny weather year-round. There are few places in the world with its diverse qualities, from traditional sophistication to lively beaches, elegant apartments to new luxury condos. Lisbon has lifestyle options for all tastes and budgets. It’s also the city with one of Europe’s lowest crime rates and renowned for offering a high quality of life in a safe environment.
Living in Lisbon you benefit from being within two to three hours by plane from all the major cities in Europe. Depending on the time of the year, the lowest prices you will find for direct flights to and from the United States usually run at about 850 euros.
The city is equipped with a fantastic metro network. This is undoubtedly the fastest and most tension-free way to get across the city.
Lisbon’s cultural life is rich and busy. As a European capital, the city offers a diverse selection of concerts, theatre, art museums (with collections spanning several centuries), music festivals, and just about any other cultural activity you could think of.
If you’re considering retiring (or just moving) to Portugal, and Lisbon is on your tops list, these are some neighborhoods we suggest you consider…
The capital’s oldest and most typical neighborhoods. Famous for their narrow streets filled with restaurants.
These are the most vibrant residential districts. With a range of shops, grocery stores, and small markets, these two neighborhoods are great if you want a real community feeling.
Perfect for students, this area is highly accessible with lots of affordable housing options. There are numerous public transportation outlets available nearby, as well as several small, modern buildings offering affordable apartment opportunities.
This is the most sophisticated neighborhood in Lisbon and a wonderful place for walking and biking. Overlooking the Tagus River, this neighborhood is full of bars, restaurants, recreational areas, and a large shopping center.
The most emblematic neighborhoods in town, Chiado and Príncipe Real are the liveliest districts and unquestionably the most highly sought neighborhoods to live in Lisbon.
Cascais is a Portuguese fishing town located close to Lisbon, and the most popular tourist spot on the coast. It was once a popular retreat for the Portuguese royals, and it retains a certain historic charm.
The beaches in Cascais are popular among travelers. The rocky coastline is home to miles of white sand beaches. The waves are popular with surfers who travel here from across the world, but there are plenty of sheltered bays where you can enjoy a swim or paddle.
Although Cascais is technically a city, it has the feel of a slow-paced beach town. If you like photography, this is a great destination. The buildings along the waterside are painted and well maintained, making it an ideal place to practice street photography. There are parks, forts, and statues everywhere. At the center of Cascais you’ll find outdoor cafés, restaurants, and shops selling local produce and things made by local artists.
There is a strong expat presence in Portugal, and Cascais is a popular destination. You will find more British than American expats. However, the numbers of North Americans making the move here is increasing every year.
Cascais is a pioneer of sustainable energy, and nearly three-quarters of the energy consumed here comes from sustainable sources. Public transportation is reliable and clean. You won’t need a car in Cascais. Plus, this is very pedestrian friendly city, and the walkways are well maintained.
Even though Porto is smaller than Lisbon, it’s packed with services, it has solid infrastructure, and it offers never-ending things to do, see, and enjoy. Art, impressive architecture, historical neighborhoods, beaches, parks, and gardens are some of the perks of this city—and port, of course. Don’t forget about port wine.
Porto has been put on the map to tourists and expats, thanks to numerous awards for tourism, infrastructure, and expat living.
Here are a few things to do (or places to visit) in Porto during your trip to Portugal…
One of Porto’s most popular tourist attractions, the campanile offers some of the best views of the city. After ascending the 225 tower steps, you are greeted with a panoramic view of Porto, which can be enjoyed through the day, until 11pm.
The church was built by Nicolau Nasoni, an Italian, who began construction in 1732. It was built for Brotherhood of Clerics and was one Portugal’s first buildings in the Baroque style.
While many choose to take day-long, or even week-long cruises on the Douro River, you can have a great experience on a short one- or two-hour river cruise. Unlike the big cruise ships, the short tours are held aboard traditional rabelo boats.
The best tours start in the Pinhão region, in the Douro Valley. This is where most of Porto’s best port vineyards are located and combining the cruise with a wine tasting is a popular option.
If during your trip to Portugal, specifically Porto, you feel like this may be a great place to move to, consider visiting these areas…
This is a land of cobblestoned streets and whitewashed houses. With lace-patterned chimneys, surrounded everywhere by fig, olive, almond, and carob trees. The Algarve also offers great weather, with 3,300 hours of sunshine per year––more sunny days than almost anywhere else in Europe.
The Algarve’s 100 miles of Atlantic coastline is full of jagged rock formations, lagoons, and extensive sandy beaches. It also has several awarded Blue Flag Beaches from the European Blue Flag Association.
The region boasts 42 golf courses in less than 100 miles. It’s generally recognized as a top golfing destination in continental Europe… and the world.
The Algarve has a reputation as a top summer destination among European sun-seekers. It’s also a top winter retreat for those looking to escape Northern Europe’s coldest months.
Health care in the Algarve is international standard. Medical tourism is a growing industry here.
Algarve is the chosen retirement destination for more than 100,000 resident expats from around the world.
The central Algarve, between Faro and Lagos has become popular in the last few years. Eastern Algarve, however, remains unspoiled. Prices are lower and the life here is more traditional and authentic.
While not as lively as the central Algarve, it is ideal for anyone who enjoys the simple pleasures of good food, fantastic scenery, and a relaxed pace of life. Artists and small business owners love it here. They have been opening boutique businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and craft stores for years.
Tavira is a historic town which bridges both banks of the River Gilao. The town dates back to pre-Roman times. It’s located in eastern Algarve, about halfway between Faro, the region’s administrative capital, and Ayamonte, a town in southwestern Spain.
Tavira is bordered to the south by the blue-green waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where row upon row of striped umbrellas and colorful cabanas dot the sandy shores of Tavira Island.
The beaches in this part of the Algarve are unique… They remain undeveloped by mass tourism because of their proximity to Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, a sprawling protected zone of environmental importance. Not accessible on foot or by car, you reach Tavira’s best beaches with a 20-minute ferry ride from the center of town.
Architectural influences here include Islamic and Phoenician alongside Roman and traditional Portuguese. The whitewashed buildings from these different styles give the town a unique feel. Once you step away from the waterfront, where fishermen sell their catch and boats come and go, the feel of the town is slow and sleepy.
No matter where you go in Tavira, you hear people speaking different languages, though Portuguese and English are the most spoken. Home to a flourishing population of Germans, Irish, French, Spanish, Brits, Swedes, Canadians, and Americans, Tavira’s expat community is diverse and growing.
July and August are high season, especially in the Algarve and other coastal areas. Expect to pay at least a 30% premium on accommodation and encounter warm weather across the country, so bear that in mind when considering what to pack clothes-wise.
The December-March low season can see mild winter temperatures in the inland areas and shorter opening hours for most attractions, but much smaller crowds and lower prices all around.
The springtime and autumn in Portugal’s interior bring on beautiful weather, perfect for traveling and sightseeing the blossoming trees and autumn harvests.
When deciding what to bring on your trip to Portugal, it is important to consider the region and time of year you will be traveling. Make sure to pack clothes according to the weather forecast.
If your Portugal travel plans include the coast, don’t leave home without a swimsuit, sunglasses, hat, or sun lotion. As with any beach destination, sandals are a must-have.
When traveling in the mountainous regions of Portugal you will experience cooler temperatures and having a light jacket will come in handy. Athletic shoes and hiking boots are the best options when you are venturing out on the trails. If you travels include camping, insect repellent will prove useful and can help to ward off bugs.
You will also want to be sure to have an electrical converter, as electricity is supplied via a 230V / 50 Hz, type C/F plug.
It’s also ideal to have a credit card, an ATM/debit card, and low denominations of the local currency (Euros).
Bring comfortable clothes and shoes with you as you’ll likely be walking a lot or grabbing public transportation to get around.
Learn some basic Portuguese. Most people in Portugal speak English however, we always suggest you learn enough of the local language to be conversational. This’ll avoid any hiccups during your trip.
Keep an eye on your personal items at all times. Portugal is a very safe country, but like any other country in the world there are neighborhoods where petty crime exists.
March to May are the best months to plan your trip to Portugal. These months are spring here, and in full bloom.
September and October are also good months to visit.
Most places in Portugal accept credit cards and debit cards. However, if you plan to travel to smaller towns, cash is always a good idea. You may find a few stores and cafés there that only handle cash.