Things to know before going to Portugal
Portugal was forged at the confluence of land and ocean. It deploys its arsenal of preserved beauties as few territories keep and gives us the immediate desire to take a flight to spend a holiday in this beautiful country.
For only a few nights in a hotel or for a long stay, Portugal is an endearing and charming country.
Here is a short but complete list of considerations to help you get ready for your trip if you’re planning to go there soon.
Things to be aware of before visiting Portugal
1. Don't expect to eat at the same time as your country of residence
Restaurants that provide breakfast items other than the standard coffee and croissant are only open from 9 to 10 a.m. After 7 o’clock in the evening, the majority of eateries will serve supper.
You become used to it since there is always food available, but it’s still useful to know. The same is true for nights, which at bars do not open until 11 p.m.
They claim that the holiday spirit increases as you travel further south. You may get an impression of the mood via the proverb “In Porto we work, in Lisbon we have fun”.
2. Expect to eat a lot of calories
Trust me on this, it’s impossible to resist being lured by the countless cuisine alternatives that exist in the towns and back alleyways.
Along with handcrafted breads and pastries, beers, red, white, and green wines, ports, Ginjinha, etc. Dieting is very hard in Portugal. You will have to spend the entire day moving and exercising to atone for all these excesses!
3. Avoid American food
Forget about your Mc Donald’s and Coca-Cola bad habits. In Portugal, you have the opportunity to Eat regional cuisine, visit the eateries frequented by locals, and order their specialties. It is not only a hundred times better, but it also costs just a fraction of the cost of a fast food meal.
In Portugal, I have noticed how local beer is less expensive than water and a glass of Porto costs the same as a Coca-Cola glass. It is something to consider.
Here is yet another extra list of Portuguese food you really must try:
- Pasteis de Nata/de Belèm are miniature traditional pies that go well with coffee as a treat, a snack, or for dessert. There are quite a few “de Nata” products out there, however they are copies of “de Belèm” products that are solely produced in the plant in the same-named town.)
- Pâo de Deus (Portuguese bred), a tiny coconut-flavored brioche bread
- Bola de Berlim, a donut-like sweet pastry with cream within
- Ginjinha is an alcoholic cherry liqueur that was once used as a medicine to relieve headaches and toothaches.
- Bifana is a typical pork sandwich that is sometimes grilled and other times stewed in sauce. eaten with regional yellow mustard that has been mildly sweetened and, if you like a stronger flavour, piri-piri sauce)
- The Pastel de Bacalhau is a snack that pairs nicely with a port beverage. Delicious potato and cod combined. I recommend to choose the dish that includes house cheese.
- Portuguese sardines are known as sardinha. You’ll likely find them everywhere, even in canned goods.)
- Caldo Verde is a thick, sometimes silky vegetable soup that may be found in Portuguese restaurants in a variety of flavours.
- Salsicha is a rather acidic chorizo that is often used to season food. However, in some establishments, you may prepare it yourself. It’s an enjoyable experience.)
Allow Portugal’s wide variety of possibilities to enchant you if you enjoy fish and shellfish.
4- Use public transport instead of renting a car
Public transport is not only very economical, but also quite clean. There are discoveries and locations that can only be discovered on foot, making renting a car in town a great hassle due to parking lots and steep slopes (You will find it hard to find automatic transmission cars to rent).
I would have missed many amazing discoveries if I had been driving. Be advised that certain highways will charge a fee for using even in the absence of toll gates. Everything is automated with detecting chips, and the automobile rental provider will bill your credit card.
5- You will damage your shoes quickly
In Portugal, You will walk a lot. The streets and sidewalks are uneven, stone paved and above all, it is very slippery. I let you imagine when it rains or snows. So expect to buy new shoes after visiting Portugal.
6- Wear several layers of clothing
The climate in Portugal changes very quickly. In a single day, I went from a coat, to a long-sleeved sweater, to wearing a tank top in the space of a few hours. The weather is hot, but the morning or late afternoon breeze can be chilly.
7 - Avoid taking offence at smokers
In Portugal, smoking is widespread. Ashtrays are frequently found on the tables on restaurant patios.
8 - Learn a little bit about its history
The history of Portugal is amazing and wealthy, and being there this is something that you will notice first. Portugal’s streets serve as living museums for historical events, whether through monuments, statues, structures, or architecture.
9. Don't postpone an activity because of rain
The average rain doesn’t last very long. They are frequently carried away by the breezes, and the sun always shines at some time during the day. Nevertheless, the views of the land are still stunning even when there is an overcast sky.
10 - Be mindful of customs in restaurants
Please be aware that a basket of fresh breads, butter, and olives may occasionally be placed on your table at the restaurant. Simply say “no obrigado/obrigada!” to your waitress to indicate that you won’t be eating it.
Few restaurants will automatically ask for tips when you pay with a credit card. To add it, you need to request it. Usually, 10% is much appreciated for good service, but it is not required.
11 - Water is chilly for swimmers
Even in the summer, the Atlantic seas off the coast of Portugal may be extremely chilly. Regional and seasonal factors might affect the sea’s temperature. In general, the southern Algarve region’s water is warmer, with summertime highs of 20–22°C (68–72°F).
However, the temperatures tend to be lower as you head north towards Lisbon and Porto, with the same period’s range being between 16 and 18 °C (61 and 64 °F).
Swimmers who want to take advantage of the Atlantic should dress for a chilly, invigorating experience and may find wetsuits useful if they aren’t used to colder water temperatures.
Before embarking on a journey to Portugal, there are several essential aspects to consider for a truly memorable experience. Familiarize yourself with the country’s rich cultural heritage, characterized by stunning architecture, mouthwatering cuisine, and heartfelt Fado music.
This article is based on my experience when I visited Portugal a few years ago. Thanks for reading this article and I hope you have learned something that you will keep in mind to better prepare your trip to this beautiful country of the Iberian Peninsula.