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8 Things That Travelers Should Know Before Visiting Portugal

Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Street photography of Lisbon, two trams between old buildings and local people taking a walk

If you get bored in Portugal, you only have yourself to blame. There are things to know about places to visit in Portugal and things to do there. In fact, take a moment to kick yourself real hard. Want to know why? Because you are wasting valuable hours doing nothing.   

You see, this wonderful southern European country has a lot to offer to travelers. We are talking about good food, architecture, port wine, and amazing beach destinations. 

And that's not all, there is the amazing fado music, historical cities, and centuries-old architecture. 

But, there is a lot more you should know before visiting Portugal! Let’s run down some of them below.  

Portugal Visa Requirements 

Citizens from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and some European countries do not need to apply for a visa. These countries have a visa-free agreement with Portugal. But, do note, this only covers 90 days.  

If you wish to stay longer, there are some steps you will need to follow. 

  • The first is to apply for a residency visa that covers 3 to 4 months. 
  • The next step is to register at the immigration and border services (SEF).
  • The third step is to apply for a residence permit. It allows you to stay in Portugal for up to 3 years. You will need to renew it every year though.
  • You can get a permanent resident permit after living in the country for 5 years.
Travel photography of passport full of visa stamps laying on the table

Portuguese Citizenship by Investment Opportunities 

You may be seeking permanent citizenship in Portugal. As we have stated above, after living there for 5 years, you can apply for a permanent resident permit.  

The country also allows for investments by non-EU citizens in specific areas. These include property, investment funds, or capital transfer. In this case, you will qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa, a residency permit. Minimum investment levels range from around €250,000 upwards. 

Do seek professional advice to know everything there is to know about citizenship by investment or second passport by investment programs. 

Other ways of getting citizenship include marriage to a citizen or adoption.  

Best Time to Travel to Portugal

If you want to enjoy Portugal, plan your visit from March to May, it’s the best time to travel to Portugal. This is spring, and the country will be in full bloom.  

You can visit during summer which falls from June to August. Carry plenty of sunscreen and light clothing, because it can get very hot. But, what better time to while away the hours at the sandy beaches.

Do note though, these seasons attract a lot of visitors. So, it is a good idea to book accommodation well in advance.  

If you have to travel during winter, visit the south. It gets quite a bit of sunshine during this time.  

Nature photography bird's eye view of wild islands near the beach cliffs in Portugal

What to Do in Portugal 

There is so much to do in Portugal. Outdoor lovers will have their fill of natural parks. If you are in the northern part, take time to visit Peneda-Gerês National Park. Wear comfortable shoes because there are some perfect hiking trails.  

Charge your camera for some fantastic photos at the natural pools and waterfalls. Other places to visit are Algarve and Douro Valley.  

Other activities like kayaking, hot air ballooning, and snorkeling will make your days so enjoyable.  Do consider leasing a car for road trips. Douro Valley is a popular destination with fantastic vistas.   

What You Need To Know About The Portuguese People

Portuguese are pretty friendly and do make wonderful hosts. They love to entertain and will take hours to whip up delicious meals. 

Their friendliness extends to conversations.The Portuguese love to talk, and it doesn't matter who they are doing it with.  

Do not forget to carry a gift when visiting. A good present is coffee. It is their favorite beverage, which they consume at any time.    

Get ready for plenty of talk around football. Your best bet is to just listen. Some of the banter can get a bit loud or heated.  

The national language is Portuguese, which sounds a lot like Spanish. But, your Spanish knowledge may not necessarily help you. They do have a tough time understanding it. 

Most of the locals speak English. It is a mandatory subject in schools. Some of the older people speak French. It was the first language they had to learn. 

Street photography of girls talking and having fun on an outdoor gathering

Moving Help You Need

Job Opportunities in Portugal 

There is a great demand for expatriates in Portugal. The country is very welcoming to immigrants. This is attributable to the fact that it has a low birth rate and an aging population. 

As of 2020, the population stood at slightly over 10 million. A large number of the workforce also emigrated to other countries. The government is taking strategic steps to bring in more people. These include tax cuts for anyone who left the country for over three years. 

With so many companies relocating to Portugal, the demand for native English speakers is high. You increase your chances even more if you know some Portuguese. Lisbon is especially attractive to foreigners seeking job opportunities.    

Safety in Portugal 

City photography, panoramic view of city of Lisbon after sunset with colorful sky and lights on

One of the biggest concerns you should have is pickpocketing. Overall the country is pretty safe, with low crime rates. By the global peace index Portugal is ranked at number three in terms of safety in 2020.  

Here are some simple things you can do to stay safe. Be alert and vigilant of your surroundings at all times. Do seek the services of local guides. They will be in a good position to advise on areas to avoid. You should, for example, not enter empty trams.  

You also want to avoid dark, deserted streets. Be watchful for scam artists who target foreigners. 

Carry around small money and avoid showing large wads of cash. Think about it like traveling to any other country. Your security starts with you.  

Covid-19 Concerns when Visiting Portugal 

With the ongoing Corona pandemic, it is a good idea to get your vaccination shot. But, you can gain entry even if you don't.   

The authorities will need you to show a negative PCR. It should, however, be less than 3 days old. An antigen test is also sufficient, but it should not be more than 2 days old. 

Final Thought: Go to Portugal 

Pack your bags and head out to Portugal. It is a fantastic destination with lots to see. The citizens are friendly and the food is fantastic. 

The government welcomes non-EU members to invest in the country. In return, you can qualify for citizenship by investment. The other alternative is to live in Portugal for five years. You can then apply for a permanent residency permit. One thing for sure, it is a country worth visiting.