Five Things You Will Love & Hate On A Portugal Vacation


Love #1: Prices in Portugal

Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Europe to visit. It’s not just affordable, it’s cheap. Whether it’s shopping, eating or accommodation in Portugal, your money goes a long way. If you have been traveling around Europe and you come from a country like Germany, you’ll have sticker shock in Portugal because it’s so cheap. For what you’d spend on one night in a London hotel, you can get three nights in a Portugal hotel.

Hate #1: Eating in Portugal

This isn’t a complaint about the food in Portugal, but about the time when meals are eaten. If you are used to eating a late lunch or an early dinner, you may be frustrated with trying to go out to eat in Portugal. From about 3:00 to after 7:00, most restaurants are closed. You can get snacks and fast food, but if you want a proper meal, then remember that lunch is served from about 12:30-3:00 and dinner starts around 7:00 or 7:30.

Love #2: Food & Wine in Portugal

Portugal has amazing food and wine. When it comes to wine, there’s red, white and even green wine, all of which are really good. Port wine originates in Porto, so you definitely have to give that a try when you visit Portugal. Not only is the wine in Portugal delicious, but it’s also cheap! The food is also fantastic. Wherever you go in Portugal, make sure you ask your server what the local specialty is so you can try different foods in Portugal.

Portugal: a Top Food and Wine Destination

Hate #2: Restaurant Antipasto

When you sit down at a restaurant, the server will often place bread, cheese, butter, olives, and other types of antipasto on the table. You would assume since they automatically bring it to your table that it is complimentary. But it’s not! They will actually charge you for the bread and other items, individually. It can even add up to more than your meal if you partake of everything they bring you! If you don’t want them, you can refuse it or ask them to take it away.

Love #3: Portuguese Locals

Despite the poor service standards, the people in Portugal are really nice. They are so helpful about giving tips on where to eat, what to see and pretty much anything you want to know about Portugal. The people are just amazing; after living in Portugal for several years, I made some really fantastic life-long friends from Portugal.

Hate #3: D.r.u.g Dealers

This mostly applies to Lisbon, but since most people visit Lisbon, I include it here. It seems that nearly everywhere you go in Lisbon, some guy will be pestering you to buy h.a.s.h.i.s.h or c.o.c.a.i.n.e or other d.r.u.g.s. It’s a well-known problem and even the locals are bothered by it. They don’t profile, either. They’ll approach parents with young children, seniors traveling, just about anyone. Just keep walking and don’t engage with them. Don’t bother telling the cops, though, as they couldn’t care less.

Love #4: English is Widely Spoken

Most people in Portugal speak English, which is perfect for travelers who don’t speak Portuguese. The younger people in Portugal tend to speak English really well, so there’s rarely an issue with language barriers in Portugal. If you want to learn a bit of Portuguese, we have videos for that!

Hate #4: Portugal Drivers

Whether you are driving or just trying to cross the street, you will quickly come to hate Portugal drivers. It seems like they are out to kill anyone who gets in their way. Whether it’s in the city or out in the country, Portuguese drivers are always in a hurry for some reason. Portugal has one of the highest mortality rates in Europe for driving accidents.

Love #5: Portugal Sightseeing

There are so many amazing things to see in Portugal. Porto has a bridge built by Gustave Eiffel, of the Eiffel Tower. There are ruins, history, castles, beaches and so many cool things to do in Portugal. From the beaches of the Algarve to some of the best cities to visit in Portugal, this country is full of great things to see and do.

How to Experience Portugal Like a Local

Hate #5: Service in Portugal

If you are used to attentive service in the UK or the US, you will notice very quickly that Portugal’s service standards are very different. This applies to shops and in restaurants. The service seems worse at the chain restaurants as it’s very impersonal. Smaller, family-run shops and restaurants tend to have better service.

Portugal is a fantastic country and a really great place for exploring beaches and cities, as well as amazing food and wine. The “hates” are really just things to have a heads up on, rather than a reason not to visit Portugal.