With history, scenic landscapes, and sandy beaches along the Atlantic, Portugal has much to offer. From its interesting past to its cosmopolitan present, Portugal has earned its place as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
The nation has reinvented itself quite nicely on the back of its fame as a soccer superpower. The sunny weather draws tourists who wish to enjoy a destination that can be less crowded than Spain, and more economical than the south of France. Another attractive aspect of Portugal is its size. No destination is more than half a day's drive away, making it ideal to explore by renting a car.
Whatever you plan to experience in Portugal, it's important to be a prepared traveler. With
travel medical insurance or
you can enjoy your vacation in Portugal with less worry about unexpected expenses.
Best Places to Visit in Portugal
Lisbon is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, and you are certain to receive a warm welcome whenever you go. If you're up for it, you can walk through this hilly city. However, cabs, buses, and trams are also plentiful. The bridges along River Tejo, especially Ponte 25 de Abril (25th April Bridge), are major tourist draws. Enjoy a Portuguese brunch and head out to visit the Cascais and Estoril beaches. Wherever you go, ask for Ginjinha de Óbidos, a cherry-flavored liqueur poured into coffee. Drop-in at Museo do Fado for an introduction to the history of the Fado music of the region. The grand Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) is also a must-see site offering a peek into various aspects of modern Portugal.
Porto was known as a football city until Harry Potter came along. JK Rowling lived here for some time and regularly visited the famed Livraria Lello bookstore, which is over a century old. From then onwards, Potter fans have made it a point to visit the city that inspired the fictional wizard. Porto is also famous for port, the red wine that is so popular among wine connoisseurs everywhere. You can also find an exquisite display of Azulejo tiles at almost every public building. The most popular tourist district is Ribeira, with views of the Douro River from the numerous cafes and bars along the water.
Aveiro is known as the Venice of Portugal. It is a short distance away from Porto and is full of brightly colored boats known as moliceiros, which offer splendid tours of the city by water. Don't miss the Museu de Arte Nova that contains marvelous art pieces from the Art Nouveau phase. A few kilometers away are two beautiful beaches at Barra and Costa Nova. The local fishermen's cottages are striped in multicolor, giving the place a dramatic look.
The city of Braga was built in Roman times. One of the furthest outposts of the huge empire, it was known as Bracara Augusta. Modern Braga does not disappoint. The Braga Cathedral is grand and a mix of Baroque and Gothic architecture. The Biscainhos Museum was a palace in the 16th century that's used to display artwork now. The garden adjoining it is impressive. Avenida da Liberdade is the main shopping street in the city center and adequately glitzy to spend an evening or two.
Faro is the capital of the Algarve region. If you want to spend time on exotic beaches and get away from the more crowded areas, you have to visit Algarve. The cliffs form cozy caves at spots such as Arcos de Marinha and Benagil. There are at least a dozen beaches and small towns; all a half-hour's drive away from Faro. The region is known for a spicy chicken dish called Frango Assado, and grilled fish. After you have sunbathed enough, take time out at the numerous nightclubs where parties through the night are the norm.
Key Guidelines for Travelers in Portugal
The Portuguese sun can be harsh. If you are sunbathing, carry sunscreen with a high SPF factor, and apply as recommended to prevent sunburns.
Walking is the preferred way to explore many Portuguese towns. Wear comfortable walking shoes that you can sightsee in all day.
Beware the currents
The Atlantic is known for producing treacherous currents. The sea might look calm, but there are riptides that could take you out to sea. Be aware of any warnings and know what to do if you were to end up in a riptide. The lifeguards can advise and give some good information on safety.
Travel Medical Insurance for Travelers in Portugal – FAQs
Portugal has an excellent public healthcare system. However, the system can sometimes be crowded. If you need medical attention in a hurry, it may be necessary to seek treatment at a private facility, which can be costly. To avoid being saddled with a large out-of-pocket bill for necessarily medical care in Portugal, be sure to have travel medical insurance.
Why buy travel medical insurance before traveling to Portugal?
Portugal is a part of the Schengen Area. Visitors from certain countries do not require a visa if they stay for less than 90 days. For those who don't need a visa to enter Portugal, travel medical insurance is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended due to the high potential costs of private medical care.
If you do require a Schengen visa to visit Portugal, you will be required to get compliant health insurance.
What should I look for in my Portugal travel medical insurance?
If you get injured or sick in Portugal, do not assume that you'll be able to receive immediate treatment at a public healthcare facility, or that your domestic insurance will be accepted at a private facility. There is a very real possibility that neither will be the case. Because of this, it's important to have travel medical insurance that provides sufficient benefits to suit your needs, as well as coverage for any adventurous activities you plan to participate in while you're there.
If you're visiting Portugal on a Schengen visa, your insurance must meet specific requirements. It needs to provide a minimum of €30,000 in medical coverage, as well as coverage for repatriation of remains and emergency medical evacuation.
Portugal Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Sometimes you have no choice but to cancel your trip. An unexpected health issue crops up, a family member passes away, or a natural disaster cancels your flights. It's disappointing, but it can't always be avoided. Don't compound that disappointment by also losing out on all of your prepaid travel expenses. Get trip cancellation insurance so you have coverage.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Portugal?
Booking flights, reserving hotel rooms and purchasing event tickets cannot usually be done at the last minute for an international trip. You often have to book and pay for a large portion of your vacation far in advance. If you suddenly find that you can't go on your trip, you'll want to get your money back for these expenses. The trouble is, many of them are not refundable, or they charge significant fees for cancellation. When your trip can't go forward as planned, trip cancellation insurance can provide you with a way to be refunded for many of your prepaid travel expenses, lessening the sting of missing your vacation.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Portugal?
Travel insurance can cover a broad range of situations you may encounter with an international trip, including trip cancellation. You're encouraged to explore all the coverage options offered by various travel insurance plans. Some of these can include:
Before You Travel to Portugal - Do This
Enjoy the sun and sand in Portugal but, but keep this advice in mind:
Do your research. Create an itinerary and familiarize yourself with the area you're visiting. It's a lot easier to enjoy yourself when you can spend less time asking for directions or figuring out where to go next.
Secure your valuables. Keep expensive items locked away in your hotel during the day, and carry your wallet in your front pocket to discourage pickpocketing.
Buy insurance. Do your research, and purchase
travel medical insurance or
with the right coverage to suit your needs.