Portugal is located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula on Atlantic ocean. The eastern neighbor of Portugal is Spain. Portugal is one of the oldest states in Europe. Independence was achieved in 1143, today’s national borders have existed since 1297.
One of the attractions of Portugal is the 850 km long Atlantic coast with numerous great beaches. The most famous part of this coast is certainly the Algarve in the south. Further north, Portugal is characterized by mountain ranges, in the Serra de Estrela an altitude of 2,000 meters is reached.
The mountainous region of the Montanhas region is only sparsely populated, relatively original to this day, and is particularly suitable for hikers and anglers.
For a city break in Portugal, Porto with the city center Baixa and the Ribeira district as well as the capital Lisbon at the mouth of the Tejo are particularly suitable.
Like many Mediterranean countries, tourism is an important industry for Portugal and represents an important source of income for the population. Statistics show that in Portugal eight percent of the gross domestic product currently comes from tourism. This percentage has been increasing for years.
Most holidaymakers flock to Portugal in the summer months. Many of the travelers who want to experience Portugal are from Spain or the UK. But the number of vacationers from Germany is also increasing.
The most popular destination in Portugal is currently the Algarve. Madeira, the famous Atlantic island, is the cradle of tourism, so to speak. The first travel and vacation traffic began there in the 19th century. While the wealthy British upper class used to vacation there on Madeira, the Portuguese Atlantic island is now accessible to everyone and offers an excellent tourist infrastructure for every type of vacation.
But not only Madeira and the Algarve, but also all other Portuguese coastal regions are booked more and more frequently. Because especially the old towns of the fishing villages on the coasts are extremely romantic and offer a unique sight.
Best travel time for Portugal
The high season in Portugal is between mid-June and mid-September. During this time the temperatures around 27 ° C on average across the country. In July and August it is hot, especially in the Algarve, the Alentejo and the upper Douro Valley, where values of more than 45 ° C can be reached. Visit petwithsupplies for Portugal Travel Guide.
To avoid the tourist crowds and heat, one should travel in spring when the landscape is green, or in autumn when it is still warm but the summer vacationers have already left. In the winter months (November to March) it is rainy, especially in the north, but hardly in the south. The Algarve has sunshine practically all year round. Accommodation in Portugal is cheapest in winter.
Portuguese festivals are well worth attending, especially Carnival in February or March and Holy Week (the week before Easter) in March or April.
Portugal – how to get there
Airplane: Portugal’s major international airline is TAP Air Portugal. The main domestic airline, with a growing number of European connections, is PGA Portugalia Airlines. A number of other companies also offer flights to and from Portugal. These include Lufthansa (LH), KLM (KL),British Airways(BA), Tunisair (TU), Air Luxor (LK), Air Berlin (AB), Finair (AY), Air Lingus (EI), Air France (AF), Alitalia (AZ), British Midland / BMIbaby (BD), Iberia (IB) and Swiss International Air Lines (LX). There are direct flights, primarily to Lisbon, for example from Bordeaux, Paris, Bilbao, Madrid, Nice, Lyon, Malaga, Valencia, Barcelona and La Coruna. There is alsoFlightsfrom Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart as well as from Dublin, Londonand Manchester and Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Airports: Portugal has international airportsin Lisbon (LIS), Porto (OPO), and Faro (FAO).
Ship: there are no regular ferry connections to Portugal, but there are many to Spain. The shortest ferry connection between Africa and Spain is from Morocco to Spain. More information is available from Transmediterranea, Euro Ferrys and FerriMaroc. Car ferries also run between Tangier and Gibraltar and cross the Rio Guadiana, the border between Ayamonte (Spain) and Vila Real de Santo António in the Algarve, about every hour.
Train: There are two main routes for arriving by train. Both start with the TGV Atlantique from Paris to Irún in Spain, where travelers have to change trains. The Sud-Expresso departs from there and crosses the border to Portugal at Vila Formosa / Fuentes de Oñoro. From there it goes on to Coimbra and Lisbon. Travelers on their way to Porto will change trains again in Pampilhosa. Stations in Spain are Vitória, Burgos, Valladolid and Salamanca.
The second route leads with the Talgo Lusitânia from Irún to Madrid. The border to Portugal is crossed at Marvão-Beirã before continuing to Lisbon. This route (Madrid-Lisbon) is the main railway line between Spain and Portugal.
Tickets for these routes should always be booked well in advance. Two other important railway lines between Portugal and Spain cross the border at Valença do Minho and at Caia near Elvas.
Car: more than 30 roads cross the border between Portugal and Spain. The largest and best developed roads are near Valença do Minho (E01 / A3), Bragança (E82 / IP4), Elvas (E90 / A6 / IP7), Chaves (N532), Vila Real de Santo António (E1 / IP1), Guarda / Vilar Formosa (E80 / IP5) and Serpa (N260). There are no border controls when entering Portugal.
If you want to travel to Portugal with your own car, you need a driver’s license, the relevant vehicle documents and liability insurance (green insurance certificate).
Bus: Traveling to Portugal by bus is more time-consuming and less comfortable than by train, but it is much cheaper. Discounts are available to travelers under the age of 26, students and seniors.
The most important companies for long-distance travel by bus are Eurolines and Busabaout. However, neither of them offer direct travel to Portugal. All connections go through Spain. The Eurolines connections Great Britain – Portugal and France- Portugal, for example, run through the north-west of Spain, where other buses are used.
Only Eurohop offers trips to two Portuguese cities – Lagos and Lisbon. The company connects nine Spanish cities and these two Portuguese cities with its buses from June to September. However, those who are not afraid to change trains can travel from numerous European cities, such as London, Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam with the Eurolines bus to Lisbon, Lagos, Porto or Coimbra, among others.