Portugal Food Travel Guide

Portugal, has increasingly become one of the hottest destinations in Europe, and for good reason. In 2018, Portugal was elected the World’s Best Destination, for the second year in a row. 

Portugal is a unique gem in Southern Europe. The country has over eight centuries of history, marvelous castles and architecture and several UNESCO monuments and historic centers.

The beaches, all along the Atlantic Ocean, are ideal for surfing and outdoor activities. Paths of Faith, namely the Portuguese Road to Santiago and the Paths of Fátima are increasingly sought out by those who like walking a purpose.

The country’s rich gastronomy is one of the main attractions that must be experienced. 

In this food and travel guide, you’ll find resources to help you have the best authentic local food experiences in Portugal.

THE FOOD IN PORTUGAL

The pleasures of good food permeate all aspects of life in Portugal.

Even though the food is often overshadowed by its famous neighbor Spain, Portugal has a rich gastronomic tradition. 

Portuguese food is just simple ingredients that are impeccably prepared.

Find a Mediterranean diet and many regional specialties, emphasizing fish, meat, olive oil, tomato, and spices. 

Read: 10 Surprising Facts You Need to Know About The Food in Portugal

Read: The 10 Most Popular Portuguese Dishes You Want to Enjoy 

Read: 5 Authentic Ways You Want to Eat Bacalhau in Portugal

Read: The Joy of Food – What It’s Like Eating With a Portuguese Family

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PORTUGAL FACTS: QUICK TIPS

Food and Restaurants Prices

Compared to other European countries, Portugal is a real bargain for travelers.

When it comes to the food, the local fare is reasonably priced.

Our focus and recommendation is to go for the local and traditional options which are tasty and affordably priced.

One thing to note is nothing on the table is complimentary.

The basket of bread, butter, cheese or olives, called “couvert” is not free.

If you don’t want it, simply ask the waiter to take it back. If you do choose to have it, expect to pay between €1 to € 2.50 depending on what you consume.

If you get the menu for the day, you can expect to pay between €5 and €10.

A bica (espresso) can cost as little as €0.50. And a small beer or a glass of wine can both cost as little as €1.

Useful Food Phrases to Help You Order Like a Local

One of the first things you notice in Portugal is the warm hospitality and friendliness of the people.

While English is spoken in the major cities and tourist areas, it does help to speak a few local words, particularly at local restaurants.

Você tem uma mesa para duas (2) pessoas?          O menu, por favor

Do you have a table for two people?                                   The menu, please

Qual é o prato especial do dia?                                      O que você recomenda?

What is the daily special?                                                        What can you recommend?

A conta, por favor.                                                                Gostoso/a

The check, please.                                                                         Delicious

Bom appetite!

Bon appetit!

A Note about Tipping

It is not really expected to tip in Portuguese restaurant, as service is already included in the bill. 

However, if you liked the service and want to show your appreciation a tip of 10% of your meal or more, is appreciated. 

The word for tip is…Gorjeta.

Best Time to Visit Portugal

It’s always a good time to visit Portugal. Though the Spring and Fall when the crowds have died down are the most pleasant.

Accommodations are also cheaper and the temperatures cooler and more comfortable than the scorching summer heat.

In June, Lisbon hosts the The Sardine Festival or the Feast of Saint Anthony. This would be a good time to attend the lively festival and enjoy grilled sardines, beer and sangria on the streets.

Visiting the Douro Valley, in the Fall for harvest is another good time. At some vineyards, you can participate in the winemaking process and smash freshly picked grapes with your feet.

View from Quinta Tedo in the Douro Valley Portugal Travel Guide

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PORTUGAL FOR FOOD LOVERS

Where to Eat In Lisbon

Lisbon has an ever evolving and exciting food scene. You’ll find a wide range of restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes. From traditional Portuguese eateries to more expensive Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find it all.

Most Portuguese dine at around 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm, so to guarantee a table at the restaurant of your choice, arrive early or book in advance.

More:  10 authentic restaurants to eat like a local in Lisbon

Food Tours in Lisbon

Taking a food tour or cooking class is a great way to “taste” the local culture. If you are short on time or quickly want to get an overview of the food in Lisbon, consider taking a food tour.

Read: Lisbon Food Tour – The Best Way to Taste Portugal Iconic Foods

Read: The Best Way to Taste Lisbon Off The Beaten Path with Taste of Lisboa

Cooking Classes in Lisbon

Cooking classes are a fantastic way to immerse yourself into the local food culture. You can take a hands-on approach and learn to make some of Portugal’s most famous foods. Some cooking classes also offer market visits. 

Learn to make famous foods like pasteis de nata. Click below and choose any of the cooking classes in Lisbon.

COOKING CLASSES IN LISBON
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Where to Eat In Porto

Porto’s dining scene features regional delicacies such as francesinha, succulent local meats and bacalhau, codfish, taking center stage. 

Fresh produce from nearby farms, famous cheeses and the Douro Valley vineyards provide diverse menu options full of local ingredients.

For what and where to eat in Porto, see the articles below:

Read: Top 10 Authentic Foods You Want to Delight in Porto

Food Tours In Porto

Porto, a charming and historic city is easy to navigate by foot. We recommend taking a walking food tour to discover the city and the cultural sites.

Read More: How to Taste Delightful Porto with a City Walking Tour

Cooking Classes in Porto

Like in Lisbon, you can enjoy learning to make authentic Portuguese dishes notably the iconic Porto food like francesinha. 

You can also choose a cooking class with a market visit to learn more about local Portuguese products. 

Click below and choose any of the cooking classes in Porto.

COOKING CLASSES IN PORTO
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Where to Eat in Evora and the Alentejo Region

The Alentejo region of Portugal is known as the country’s breadbasket. Visiting this region is a must for food lovers.

 Alentejo food is one of the richest and most original in Portugal. This unique cuisine has developed from the creativity of rural farmers and the natural ingredients from the land.

Evora, the capital is a great place to start your Alentejo culinary experience.

Read about the surprising food and things to eat and do in Evora.

Read: 10 Reasons Why You Want to Indulge in The Food in Evora

Read: Cafe Alentejo: Spotlight on the Best Authentic Restaurant in Evora

Recommended Tour: From Lisbon, you can join a day tour with wine tasting and spend a full day in Evora. Visit the historic sites such as the Temple of Diana, the Chapel of Bones and Évora Cathedral. Spend the afternoon stop at a vineyard for wine tasting.

THINGS TO DO IN PORTUGAL FOR FOOD LOVERS

Things to Do in Lisbon

One of Europe’s sunniest capital cities, Lisbon offers a myriad of activities.

Discover the most important landmarks, sample traditional Portuguese food and uncover hidden gems in the city. 

Take the opportunity to go on a day trip from Lisbon to explore nearby regions and local specialties.

Read: The Best Things to Do In Lisbon for Food Lovers

Read: The Best Day Trips from Lisbon for Food & Wine Lovers

Things to Do in Porto

Porto, Portugal’s second largest city is full of surprises.

Get lost amongst the narrow streets and colorful houses, catch breathtaking views of the city and enjoy delectable Port Wines and traditional foods. 

To explore northern Portugal, Porto is a great place to base yourself.

Take day trips from Porto and discover medieval towns, and regional food and wine specialties.

Read: Best Things To Do in Porto for Food Lovers

Read: The Best Day Trips From Porto For Food and Wine Lovers

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WHERE TO STAY IN PORTUGAL FOR FOOD LOVERS

Where to Stay in Lisbon

The vibrant city of Lisbon is a mix of historical architecture and modern living.

To get the most out of your visit, you want to stay  in a central area, close to city attractions, amazing food options and well served by public transportation.

Read: Where to Stay in Lisbon for Food Lovers

Where to Stay in Porto

Porto, though smaller than Lisbon is one of the main tourist destinations in the country. 

You’ll find hotels and accommodations at very price level. Here is our guide to the best places to stay in Porto for food and wine lovers.

Read: Where to Stay in Porto for Food Lovers

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR FOOD LOVERS

How to Get to Portugal

Portugal has three major airports.

Lisbon Airport (LIS) is Portugal’s largest airport with flights from across Europe as well as international destinations like the United States and Canada.

In the North, Porto Airport (OPO) is Portugal’s second largest airport. You will find direct flights to major European cities and smaller airports.

In the South of Portugal, Faro Airport (FAO) is the main transportation hub.  

Most of these airports are served by international airlines as well as low cost airlines such as Ryanair, Vueling, or EasyJet. 

Make sure you plan for plenty of time ahead of your flights especially if traveling during the busy high season.

Find the best deals on Skyscanner.

SEARCH FLIGHTS

Transportation in Portugal

Train

The train is one of the most convenient ways to travel across Portugal. It is particularly convenient when traveling from and to the major cities like Lisbon to Porto or Lisbon to Evora.

Taking the train is a relatively inexpensive way to travel while being safe and relatively comfortable. 

To get more information on the train tickets and schedule, we recommend going directly to the  train station in the city you are visiting. 

More than likely, you’ll find English speakers particularly at the large train stations in Lisbon or Porto.

You can also check the schedule and prices on Portugal’s train company website here.

Car Rental

Renting a car in Portugal is quite inexpensive and pretty straight forward. It’s a great way to explore regional destinations beyond Lisbon or Porto.

One thing to be aware of is that, the majority of rental cars are manual transmission. If you want a car with automatic transmission, reserve one in advance. 

Bridges and highways charge tolls. At the car rental station, get a transponder and pre-pay €10 euros for toll charges.

Car rental rates can be as low as 5 € euros per day. Bring the necessary paperwork including your passport and driver’s license.

For the best rates on rental cars, we recommend checking RentalCars.com which aggregates the best deals across multiple providers.

Uber and Local Transportation

When it comes to local transportation from the airport or train station to your hotel or Airbnb, Uber is a great way to get a ride in the city.

Rates are very reasonable and drivers are dependable.

Local transportation such as metro, buses or tramways are a great way to move around in major cities like Lisbon and Porto. 

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Safety and Travel Insurance

While Portugal has become a popular destination in Europe, it remains relatively safe. 

Be attentive of your surroundings in large cities, especially Lisbon, where pickpocketing is common especially in touristic zones.

It is advised to use typical caution at night particularly when alone. Watch your belongings in non-lit or less trafficked areas.

We recommend making sure you are covered with travel insurance to cover you in case of a health emergency, equipment theft, luggage loss or delay.

Here are the two travel insurance we’ve used and recommend.

Allianz Travel Insurance

We use and recommend Allianz Travel Insurance which provides great coverage at affordable rates for U.S. residents.

The annual multi-trip plan from Allianz Travel Insurance gets you covered when visiting several countries.

World Nomad Travel Insurance

Another great option we also recommend is World Nomads Travel Insurance which covers residents from all over the world. World Nomads is a solid and reputable company with  affordable rates.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. That means at no extra charge to you, we earn a small commission when you purchase using these links. Please note we only link to products and services that we personally use or trust. Thank you for your support. 

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