Portugal is the late developer of the western European countries. It is still very traditional, and the cheapest country in western Europe. The Algarve is the warmest place in western Europe during winter, and a great place to visit or stay during that time. The Portuguese are friendly, helpful, happy people, and many speak good English.

The capital city of Lisbon is one of the most vibrant in Europe. With a great city centre, and a choice of beautiful beach side suburbs, Lisbon is worthy of a stop, even in winter when it is still warm.

Regions

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Recommended Portugal

  • The Algarve - beautiful beaches, good nightlife in Lagos and Faro.
  • Lisbon - one of Europe's finest cities.
  • Alentejo - undeveloped, warm and beautiful beaches.

Campsites and free camping in Portugal

Portugal has a good choice of campsites. Some are as little as €4 per night, for two people and a camper van or motorhome, off-season. Free camping is also very popular. Read more.

Vehicle ferries to and from Portugal

There are no ferries from the UK to Portugal. The most common choice is to take a ferry to France, or normally Spain, and then drive to Portugal. See the ferry section.

Driving in Portugal

Portugal has the highest accident rate in western Europe. However, if you take care you should not have any problems. Read more.

Crime

Portugal is a relatively crime free country. Vehicle break-ins are amongst the biggest problems, so always secure your vehicle, and leave nothing on display. Sensible parking can also reduce you risk of a break-in. Pickpockets and petty criminals operate in the big city centers, so be careful and avoid gangs of kids at night.

Costs

Portugal is the cheapest country in western Europe. You funds will go further in Portugal than elsewhere, much further than France or the UK. Generally vehicle fuel is the only thing you're likely to find more expensive than neighboring countries. See the country cost comparison .

Information

Currency Euro (€)
Capital city Lisbon
Time zone GMT
Religion Roman Catholic and Muslim
Emergency numbers Police 115 / 112
Electricity 220v continental dual pin
Border crossings Portugal is a Schengen state

Geography

Portuguese food and drink

The Portuguese Language

Portuguese is spoken throughout. The Portuguese are very good at languages. English is spoken well by a large percentage of the population. Spanish is understood by almost all. Italian and French are understood by a good number of people. Always ask if it is ok to speak in a language other than Portuguese. Knowing some basic Portuguese will help you.

Health

There are many stray dogs and cats in Portugal. If travelling with your own pets take care, and never leave them unattended. Be cautious of stray animals, they might not be as nice as they seem, they may be carrying diseases, such as Rabies. If you feed the stray animals they probably wont leave you alone.

Sports in Portugal

Portugal has some of the best surfing in Europe, and the ideal place to spend a winter surfing. Sailing is popular on the south coast, in particular in Vilamoura.

Campervan rental in Portugal

Camping, camper van and motorhome stores in Portugal

See the list of motorhome and camper van dealers, and camping supply shops in Portugal.

Comments (4)

  • Jack's picture

    It all sounds idyllic, but there are one or two things to be aware of in Portugal, and particularly the Algarve.

    On our last trip to the Algarve a chap jumped into the back of our VW as we waited at a roundabout and asked us to follow a car in front since it was involved in stealing children. I politely asked him to leave (in Anglo Saxon, with an accompanying tyre wrench)which he did. As an ex Para I was not too worried but an elderly or infirm couple might have been frightened, or worse. The Police told us (reluctantly)this is common and is an attempt to get you to drive to an isolated area and be robbed. So keep the doors locked.

    Also, tourist spots can be overpopulated with single, usually middle aged men, who appear to be there for reasons other than the scenic. If you have children, please be aware that although the Portuguese are, in general, a lovely people, not all are either Portuguese or lovely. There are now many itinerants and illagal immigrants from the Middle East in Portugal and they have no way of earning money other than illegal, so please be careful.

    Jack

    Apr 30, 2011
  • Kam's picture
    Kam (not verified)

    The main benefit of staying in vacation rental cottages is the
    freedom to make the food of your own choice. Whether you are looking
    for a home to move to yourself or a holiday home for renting to tourists,
    there are many reasons to purchase a home in the Caribbean.
    We participated in excursions at each scheduled stop.

    Apr 17, 2014
  • Jorge's picture
    Jorge (not verified)

    Interesting testimony of Jack. It is true that one must be careful but it happens in all countries. Anyway if we are prevented is always easier to deal with situations.
    Cheers!

    Dec 08, 2012

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