Portugal is almost completely encircled by Spain, which is the reason I personally believe the country gets neglected by foreign tourists. To be fair, Portuguese and European officials alike are doing their best to combat Portugal’s low-profile — the previously unheard-of city of Guimarães has been named Europe’s official “2012 Capital of Culture” — but I would still definitely consider Portugal an underrated destination.


This is not to say that there is anything wrong with Portugal. To be sure, Lisbon is one of the most elegant, picturesque cities I’ve ever visited, a superlative I can also bestow among Porto, the largest city in the northern part of Portugal. My opinion of Portugal is further bolstered by its modern infrastructure, low cost for travelers and how generally sophisticated Portuguese people are.


Whether you’ve heard great things or nothing about Portugal, plan your trip to Portugal with my Portugal travel guide.

Places to Travel in Portugal

Although it is roughly equal in size to the U.S. state of Indiana, Portugal is home to some of the most cosmopolitan cities, epic landscapes and significant regional culture in Europe. Portugal’s capital (and largest city) Lisbon is the crown jewel of awesome urban destinations in Portugal, although Porto, hub of northern Portugal’s port wine producing region, place a close second.


Other Portuguese destinations popular among travelers include the historic town of Sintra and Guimarães, which as I just mentioned is Europe’s “Capital of Culture” this year.


Is Portugal Expensive?

I’m happy to report that Portugal is not only sophisticated, fabulous and beautiful, but it’s also extremely cheap. Dorm beds in hostels (even at Traveller’s House in Lisbon, the top-rated hostel in the world) are unlikely to run you more than 15 euros a piece, and Portuguese food and transport is likewise cheap. Overall, you shouldn’t expect to pay anymore than 50 euro per day to live and travel well in Portugal — and if my experiences mean anything, you may actually pay less!

Transportation in Portugal

Portugal is well-connected by a high-speed rail network, whose hub is not surprisingly located at Lisbon’s architecturally-stunning Oriente station. Both Lisbon and Porto are served by sophisticated underground metro systems, Porto’s the product of the largest single-project expenditure of government funds in Portugal’s history.


It’s also possible to take domestic flights within Portugal, although its small size lessens the advantageousness of doing so. I also wouldn’t recommend renting a car within Portugal, due to the cost of petrol there.

Portugal Visas

Portugal is a European Union member nation, which means that the only people who need to obtain a visa for ordinary travel to Portugal are those who need a visa to be admitted to the E.U. Obviously, you’ll need a visa if you plan to work or study in Portugal.