Top tips for The Modern-Day Traveller to Portugal
Holidays can get pretty expensive. So with plenty of bargain flights, matched with near year-round sunshine, its no wonder Portugal is one of Europe’s top holiday destinations. However, budget flights aside, once you enter Portugal you can find yourself being hit with inflated prices on accommodation and restaurants that are popular with other tourists.
Instead, use some of the following tips to ensure you get the best prices for your holiday. You might just find yourself with some extra cash for souvenirs.
The Algarve is a popular tourist destination, and you’ll find purpose-built resorts offering golf and other entertainment for its visitors. If you head to western Algarve, which lies just west of Lagos, the cost of living is much lower and the beaches are quieter. The landscape is largely unspoilt and full of beautiful beaches, craggy coastlines, and sleepy villages that are great fun to explore. This area is ideal for surf lovers due to the Atlantic winds.
Time of Year
Portugal has spectacular weather nearly all year round, but its busiest times are during the holiday months of July and August. Not only can these months be uncomfortably warm and busy, but also the prices tend to rocket. Instead, try to plan your holiday for the spring months (February to May) or early autumn (October), as the weather and crowds will be far more pleasant and the prices cheaper.
There’s nothing more exciting than receiving that plastic wallet full of fresh foreign notes from the Post Office, but aren’t you fed up of the fees and rubbish exchange rate – that feeling of uncertainty of whether you’re actually getting a good deal? Today, there is the Revolut card, which is available with no fees and will give you the best exchange rate available at the time of purchase. It works just like a normal debit card and is accepted anywhere that Mastercard is. However, you are limited to £200 a month for cash withdrawals.
You used to get the best deals via package holidays, however, it often works out cheaper booking everything yourself. You’ll also find much nicer places to stay than what is offered. Hotel prices are fairly reasonable, but are obviously more expensive in the vibrant capital of Lisbon. Alternatively, you’ll get far more for your money in Lagos, and be situated close to Portugal’s most famous beaches – it’s apparently where the “cosmopolitan Lisbon” goes for their short beach weekends!
For that ultimate home-away-from-home experience that so many of us modern-day travellers look for, private home rentals are the way to go. These have real reviews from former guests, so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to cook when you want, eat where you please, and perhaps have a private pool all to yourself – all for the same cost as a hotel room!
Taxis abroad can get pretty expensive – and you’re never quite sure whether you’re getting ripped off or not. When you’re in Portugal, try to use Uber where possible. Nowadays, you can use your phone to search for an Uber without charges – thanks to the new EU data roaming laws. For an extra bonus, use a friend’s invite code for a free ride!
If you’re travelling longer distances across Portugal, you might want to get a rail pass that will give you unlimited travel for three to eight days over the month. This way you have the freedom to truly explore most of Portugal’s highlights.
These are my top tips for travelling around Portugal in today’s modern-day world. Now that the EU roaming surcharges have ended, there’s no more hunting around for free WIFI and getting suckered into bad deals. Take advantage of technology, do your research, travel smarter and save a penny or two.
feature post – you might also like my post on things to do in Gale Portugal