Portugal is my favorite country. To begin with, it was love at first sight or, shall we say, after the first cup of coffee.
You see, after becoming too familiar with Spanish rare and less-than-perfect rest areas, entering Southern Portugal was a relief. The very first Área de Serviço had an excellent (and much needed) strong coffee which was served in a cute tiny cup with a saucer. How cool is that! In other words, this was the art of making the first impression in action.
Like the perfect dish, Portugal has the magic mix of ingredients that makes it irresistible. Hospitable unassuming people. Fascinating, albeit controversial at times, history. Rich and intricate culture. Yummy food and great wines. Above all, it is the land that would make any aspiring photographer swoon and go into overdrive. It is also surprisingly affordable. In brief, Portugal is the ideal country for slow travel.
Lisbon or Porto come to mind first. However, smaller locales are worthy competitors. Did you know that Sines is the birthplace of Vasco da Gama? On the other hand, would you prefer Portuguese Hobbitat?
Why Portugal Travel Resources Is The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Coming to any new place is a bit intimidating. Staying there for a prolonged period of time could be challenging. Ideally, your host acts as a conduit for any local information. Sometimes, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work. Meanwhile, life happens. You may get sick and need a doctor. Your hair gets out of control and needs a trim. Even trash collection may present a problem. Don’t laugh, it happens more often than you think.
I was clueless about how things worked in Portugal when we came there. Back then, I wish I could have some kind of guide for quick reference. I appreciated any help and advice I could get from locals. I also turned every digital stone so to speak in search of any relevant information. Ultimately, I ended up with a list of Portugal travel resources. It helped us survive and enjoy the country. Today, I am sharing it with you hoping that it would allow you to save precious time.
In truth, this Portugal Travel Resources list is not about what to see and do in Lisbon or Portugal. Indeed, this is not a visitor guide. You need to look somewhere else for this kind of recommendations. There are plenty of websites and blogs offering this information. That said, Portugal Travel Resources includes a small section where I provide links to local tourism authorities websites.
Since we stayed near Lisbon, the majority of links are about the capital area. The Portugal Travel Resources is a work in progress. If you have a useful link that is missing, send it my way. I’ll be happy to review and add it to the appropriate section (or create a new one).
Enough talk, let’s get down to business
Portugal Travel Resources » General Information
- Life in Portugal: Online Resources (from Gail At Large) – resources for foreigners living in Portugal – tons of links covering all topics
- Expat Guide to Living in Portugal
- The InterNations Expat Guide for working and living in Portugal
- Portugal Forum – hosted and moderated by ExpatExchange.com
- Portuguese phrases for travelers
- Tipping in Portugal: How much should I give? (from Portugalist)
- ATMs in Portugal (from Portugalist)
Portugal Travel Resources » Visa Information
- United States Citizens Moving to Portugal: Demystifying the Paper Trail
- Portugal Schengen Visa Application Requirements
- Golden Residence Permit Programme (Residence Permit for Investment Activity ARI/Golden Visa)
Portugal Travel Resources » Government
- The Portuguese Government website
- SEF – Serviço De Estrangeiros E Fronteiras (Immigration and Borders Service)
- Câmara Municipal de Lisboa – Lisbon City Hall
Portugal Travel Resources » Health & Medical
- National Health Service website (in Portuguese)
- SNS 24 – 24 hours health line in Portuguese
- Emergency numbers in Portugal
- Healthcare in Portugal (from Expatica) – basic explanation of Healthcare infrastructure and services
- Portuguese Healthcare (from Living in Portugal) – general explanation about Healthcare services in Portugal
- Healthcare in Portugal (from Wikipedia)
- HPA – Hospital Particular de Almada, private hospital in Almada. Urgent care without appointment Mon-Fri 8am-9pm. This was the closest hospital to our home in Sexal, but, ultimately, we decided not to use it
- Walk-in Healthcare Clinic – for general and specialized care including dentistry. Health plans available. English speaking. Locations: Praça de Alvalade, Telheiras, Odivelas, Sintra. From personal experience: perhaps, the cheapest private option. However, the doctor there managed to misdiagnose me. I guess proves that you get what you pay for
- Hospital da Luz – chain of private hospitals
- Hospital da Lus Clínica de Oeiras – used this one after the unsatisfactory visit to Walk-in clinic. From personal experience: modern facility with the ability to perform tests onsite. Experience with doctors vary – one was excellent, the other was so-so
- List of hospitals and clinics in Lisbon (from AngloInfo)
- List of medical facilities/practitioners in Lisbon area prepared by British Consular Service, Portugal (pdf)
- Medical assistance in Portugal – list of hospitals and physicians provided by the US Embassy in Portugal
- List of hospitals in Portugal and explanation of how they they operate from Expatica
- Sick in Lisbon – my personal experience. I explain how to find an English speaking doctor and where to go when you are not well in the Portuguese capital
Portugal Travel Resources » Transportation
- Carris – operates buses, trams, funiculars and lifts in Lisbon
- 7 Colinas and Viva Viagem cards (from Carris)
- Lisbon Metro – official website
- Lisbon Metro explained (from PortugalVisitor.com)
- Viva Viagem Card explained (from PortugalVisitor.com) – where to buy, how to use, etc…
- Transtejo – operates ferries in Lisbon area (website is in Portuguese only)
- Comboios de Portugal – operates Portuguese trains
- Rest Areas in Portugal (from Rest Stop Finder)
Portugal Travel Resources » Communications
- Information about prepaid data SIM cards
- MEO – we use it and recommend it
- Vodafone – we used it once. Then, we run into problem with their app. We couldn’t top up sim card and switched to MEO
Portugal Travel Resources » Accommodations
- Airbnb remains the best option for mid-term housing (i.e., 1-6 months). However, Lisbon is a trendy destination. Hence, in the middle of the city, the prices are high. The quality of accommodations is subpar in touristy neighborhoods. Granted that in popular areas a place looks worn out, questionably clean(to put it mildly) with some appliances in need of repair. While this may be true, we found a reliable solution to this problem. Going outside of the center of the city does the trick. Lisbon has a reliable public transportation, so getting around is not a problem. Furthermore, living across the river saves tons of money. In fact, life is much cheaper in Setúbal area. Look for housing in Almada, Seixal, Montijo.
- Uniplaces – an interesting alternative to Airbnb. It is a Lisbon-based online marketplace for booking student accommodation. However, Uniplaces is not just for students. Anyone can look for a room or house there, even though the majority of their users are students. TB Note: we haven’t used their services
- CasaSapo – the leading Real Estate Portal in Portugal. If you are looking for long-term rent in Portugal (6+ months), renting privately is the best option
- CustoJusto – Craigslist or Gumtree counterpart. As with all other classifieds websites around the world, be careful with scams.
- Imovirtual – real estate aggregator. Search for long-term places for rent is one of the services
- Idealista – real estate aggregator. Among other options, you can search for long-term places for rent
- Something you should be ware of, when booking hotels online in Portugal (from Travelling Claus)
Portugal Travel Resources » Utilities and such
- ERSE – the Energy Services Regulatory Authority
- ERSAR – the Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority
- Drinking water quality (from ERSAR)
- Energy Tariffs and Prices (from ERSE)
- Electricity suppliers in Portugal and how to get connected (from Angloinfo)
- Utilities in Portugal: Connecting your water, gas and electricity in Portugal (from Expatica) – this guide explains how to connect to basic utilities in Portugal including:
- Electricity in Portugal
- Portuguese electrical outlets
- Voltage in Portugal
- Electricity providers in Portugal
- Can you drink the tap water in Portugal?
- Gas in Portugal
- Recycling and rubbish collection in Portugal
- Water in Portugal (from Anfloinfo) – understanding the Portuguese water supply system and how to get connected
- Portugal power adapters – what plugs are used in Portugal?
Portugal Travel Resources » Coworking Spaces
- Avila Spaces
- COWORK (espaço partilhado)
- WIP Lisboa
- Find a Coworking Space in Lisbon via Coworker.com
Portugal Travel Resources » News & Culture
- The Portugal News (in English)
- Portugal Resident (in English)
Portugal Travel Resources » Shopping
- CustoJusto – classifieds marketplace similar to Craigslist in the US or Gumtree in the UK and Australia
- OLX – classifieds marketplace similar to Craigslist in the US or Gumtree in the UK and Australia
- Feira da Ladra – Lisbon Flea Market
- Radio Popular – online consumer electronics store
- Seaside – online shoe store
Portugal Travel Resources » Tourism
- EZPortugal – step right in, take a seat and enjoy the view. Run by a group of locals to discover everything that is to discover in and around Portugal
- Visitportugal.com – the official website for Portugal as a tourist destination. It was developed by Turismo de Portugal, I.P., the national tourist board
- The Lisbon Tourism Association
- GoLisbon.com – is not associated with Lisbon’s official tourism website, but offers tons of useful information
- Tips and advice about cycling in Portugal (from Travelling Claus)
- Lisbon Audio Tours (from VoiceMap)
Portugal Travel Resources » Blogs
- Emma’s House In Portugal – buying a ruin, building a house and eating a lot of pastries
- Gail At Large, a Canadian in Portugal
- Me ‘N’ You in Portugal – Margaret’s take on the lives, culture, food, music etc. of Portugal and the Portuguese
- Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal – discovering and sharing the delights and surprises of living and traveling in Portugal (by Julie Dawn Fox)
- Salt of Portugal – their motto is all that is glorious about Portugal
- All about Portugal from Backpack Me – Zara is a Portuguese native, so she has some sound advice about food, history, culture etc… Equally important, are you a foodie? You may want to check her e-book Lisbon in 100 bites
- List of blogs by expatriates living and working in Portugal
More posts about Portugal
- Porto Walkabout
- Photo Essay: Unseen Cacilhas
- Lisbon Happy Eats
- Almourol Castle: Totally Dragonless… Or Is It?
- Ericeira Happy Eats
- Beauty, Simplicity, and Imperfection
- Livraria Lello, A Beautiful Casualty Of Mass Tourism
- Sagres Fortress (Fortaleza De Sagres)
… and some travel tips too
- Medical Insurance for Travelers and Health Resources
- Long-Distance Gifts
- The Quest For Staying Fit On The Road
- International Driving Permit: What Is It And How To Get It
A few words about us and how our nomadic slow travel journey had started.
Published: November 2017. Last update: April 2019
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28 thoughts on “Portugal Travel Resources, Boa Viagem”
What an excellent list of resources! Thanks for putting it together 🙂
Thank you, Lesley. Glad that you found it helpful.
Loved your post! Cool Photos!!
This is first time I am visiting your website and I find this post very very useful thanks for giving such a great information..
Thank you, Patty. Greatly appreciate your kind words 🙂
Its very interesting to read it 🙂
Such a great list of resources, Elena. Thanks for providing such exceptional and practical post which everyone should read before going to Portugal.
Thank you, Agness. It is surprisingly difficult to find some practical information about a place never been before or even a new country in general. It is even more challenging for the places where locals speak languages I do not know. Hopefully, these resources would save time for someone who is planning to come to Portugal.
Thanks for all the tips! All these looks are super useful when planning a trip. Hope to go to Portugal soon. It’s one of the places I regret not going to when I lived in Belgium.
This is amazing list of helpful resources! Im impressed! And thanks for this guide. Hopefully we’ll make it in Portugal next year!
Thank you for putting together a list of resources! I love how you included links to important things from SIM cards, ATMs, to useful Portuguese phrases!
I’m hoping to get to Portugal next year. Great post, never thought to move there
This is fantastic and the timing is perfect. I’ll be in Portugal in about 2 months and this comprehensive list of resources is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for compiling it together on one place.
Have a great trip to Portugal :). The list os growing, so check back before you go for more resources. Cheers!
You’ve put together a super helpful article for visiting Lisbon and Portugal. It’s a small country, but packed with so much to see and experience. I love the fact that a shot of strong coffee won you over too – the power of a good cuppa!
Thank you, Claudia 🙂
Whoa, what a comprehensive compendium of links. Portugal is one of my favorite countries to travel too, so these will come in handy.
Thank you, Peter 🙂 The list is growing, so, hopefully, it would have even more resources before your next trip. Cheers!
Thanks for compiling literally everything I could think to wonder about Portugal, and then some! This is an amazing tool not only for travelers, but for expats as well! I’m so excited to experience the “perfect dish” that is Portugal as soon as possible!
Thank you, Paige 🙂 Portugal is an amazing country. I am glad that it is on your radar.
This is a great roundup of online resources. I wish more bloggers would come up with posts like this, especially listing the health and medical ones. Accidents happen, and you never really know. Great post!
Thank you, Aleah 🙂 I greatly appreciate your kind words.
So much great information here for anyone thinking of making the move to Portugal. I have a similar one for Berlin as well. You’ve also made me miss Portugal. 🙂
Great to hear from you, Cheryl :). Thanks for the tip about your Berlin resources. I was there once on a short visit more than a year ago. Perhaps, it’s time to plan another trip using your insights 😉
What a resource Elena, as always. Well done.
So neat how you noted the shift from Spain to Portugal was invited, and much needed. I spoke to a well known travel buddy of mine – a big name brand ambassador on Twitter – who noted the same thing. He actually went as far to say he was not a fan of Spain as it was not travel friendly, all things considered, but how Portugal was fabulous. Travel friendly, inviting, much English spoken and a change up from its neighbor.
Great to hear from you, Ryan 🙂 Thank you very much for your comment. I, actually, like Andalucia’s rugged nature and colorful culture, but it’s better to have magic carpet as a way of travel there.
Great idea for a post! Moving to a foreign country – even where the first language is yours – can be so confusing what with all the different laws and policies for the bigger things (like medical issues) and smaller things (like trash collection!)
Thank you, Shannon :). I agree. Every new place we’d been to brought up some puzzles. Some were just funny like coming back from my first outing in Tbilisi and realizing that without knowing the Georgian language I had no clue which button to push to get to my place. Needing to communicate with a doctor in Sicily to take care of my unfortunate bout of ear infection was much more serious. The doctor didn’t speak English, I do not know Italian, so we ended up communicating in Spanish. Speaking of trash collection, in Taiwan garbage trucks play music just like good old ice cream vans.
That’s so funny! Great way to make sorting/collecting trash more appealing I guess…