travel

Things to Know Before You Go to Portugal

I’m back! Things have been super crazy on the non-blog end (there will be a post soon!), but long story short I started a new job and things have been very exciting but very busy! I have a ton of posts lined up, including all of my Portugal posts from our trip last month! 

I know it’s taken forever, but I am finally ready to dive into all my photos from our trip. Before I get into travel guides/photo diaries/etc., I wanted to share a few things to know before you go to Portugal. Since it hasn’t become too touristy yet (but I know it is slowly starting to rise to the top of everyone’s must-see list!), I wanted to share a few tips that I learned the first and second time around, and things I wish I knew/want everyone to know before you go! 

  • Learn basic Portuguese. Just simple phrases (that you should know in every country you visit!), like “Hello,” “Thank you,” “How much?,” etc. It will go a long way, especially since you will find that many people don’t speak English very well. Offering up a few phrases will endear you to servers/cab drivers, etc. 
  • Bring. Comfy. Shoes. Everyone knows that you need comfortable shoes for all-day trekking in Europe, but Portugal is especially tricky. The entire country is cobblestoned, uneven, and full. of. hills. You will constantly be going up and down incredibly steep, ancient streets, so be prepared. 
  • Most things are very, very cheap. Beer, wine, food, cabs, clothing- everything. Portugal is a budget traveler’s dream, but you can still get great quality meals/alcohol/souvenirs without breaking the bank. 
  • Service will be slow. Europeans aren’t in a hurry- they take things slowly and enjoy life. It is something I wish we did more of, but alas. Just know that this slow-living philosophy translates to service. Meals – especially dinner – are meant to last at least two hours. Order a bottle of wine, relax, and don’t expect your waiter to come by every 5 minutes. 
  • Be wary of where you eat. Don’t eat anywhere where someone is standing outside with a menu with pictures or English descriptions. It will be touristy, expensive, and probably terrible. Try to head away from touristy spots and head to somewhere local. I will have more specific restaurant tips in my travel guide!
  • Bairro Alto. This is the district you always read about. It has all the bars/clubs/etc., but don’t spend too much time there. It is very touristy, but there are a few gems. You can usually tell if a place is going to be good based on how many tourists vs. Portuguese people are inside. 
  • Things to know. We always felt safe in Portugal, but there is a chance you will be offered things on the street. Obviously, do not buy anything that someone offers you. Just ignore it and keep walking if someone offers you anything or asks for money. 
  • Foods to know. Bacalhau=cod. The Portuguese love cod. You will see cod in every form, but the best kind is a little fried cod cake (trust me on this one) that looks and tastes a bit like a hush puppy. Even if you think you don’t like cod, try it! 

Overall, Portugal is one of my favorite countries. This was my second trip to the country and I truly hope that it’s not my last! If you have any questions about traveling to Portugal or you want to see anything specific in my travel guides, comment below! 

Things to Know Before You Go to Portugal

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