Backpacking Portugal

Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and is exceptionally remarkable for its coastal regions. Lively cities, secluded bays, romantic fishing villages, fascinating beaches, and great surf spots – Portugal has something for every backpacker!

We hope you enjoy discovering our ideal backpacking route for Portugal.


Important Basics

Official Language ( Portuguese )
EnglishPortuguese
HelloOlá
GoodbyeTchau
Thank youObrigado
YesSim
NoNão
Capital City

Lisbon

Form of Government

Semi-presidential system

Best Time to Visit

June to September

Fun Facts
  • Portugal has the largest bridge in Europe, with an astounding 17.2 kilometers long.
  • In Lisbon, you’ll find the oldest bookstore in the world. Livraria Bertrand has been open since 1732!
  • The largest wave in the world was surfed in Portugal in 2015.

Cities

Porto

Porto is considered the most beautiful city in the country due to its location on the river Douro, its unique architecture, and its historic old town. Ribeira is one of the most beautiful districts of the city and has a very special charm with its labyrinthine alleys, old buildings and traditional restaurants and cafes. The Sao Bento train station and the Lello bookshop are popular attractions; it was opened already in 1906 and is even said to have inspired J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter novels because of its impressive bookshelves, playful wooden railings, antique busts, and paintings.

Another highlight in Porto is the port wine, named after the city. The bridge Ponte de Dom Luis I leads from Porto Ribeira to the opposite bank of the Douro. There lies the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, the center of the port wine production. The spicy sweet wine is produced exclusively in the northern Portuguese Douro valley and matures in so-called port wine cellars over several decades. Wine lovers can explore the area on a day tour – wine tasting included. Also visit the garden Jardins do Palácio de Cristal do Porto. From there you will have the best view over Porto, especially at sunset with a glass of port wine.

Stay in one of Porto’s hostels and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €18 a night.

Ericeira

For approximately €30 we’ll continue by bus to Ericeira. The small city at the Atlantic coast is the ultimate surfer's paradise. The coast of Ericeiras has even been declared a wave protection zone, which attracts surfers from all over the world. Those who have never stood on a board before should definitely take the chance and learn surfing here.

From the local surf schools you can hire a board and book individual or group lessons. Relax on the endless beaches and watch the pros surf. The charming old town with its narrow alleys, traditional shops and white-blue houses is also worth a visit.

You can get a bed in a 6-person dorm at a local hostel for €17 a night.

Lisbon

Continue your trip and head to Lisbon for about €8. The Portuguese capital is located on the banks of the Tagus River and is particularly popular among travellers. The old town equals a maze of labyrinthine alleys and historic tram lines, surprising you at every corner with hidden squares, charming cafes and traditional stores.

There are numerous shopping opportunities in the Rossio district and if you want to get to know the lively nightlife of Lisbon, the Bairro Alto is the place to be. Well known sights are the cathedral Sé Patriarcal, the Basílica da Estrela and the Jardím de Estrela. In the Alfama district, the historic centre of the city, you will also find the historic fortress complex Castelo de Sao Jorge. A must-see is of course the impressive bridge Ponte 25 de Abril and the Cristo Rei statue, which was built after the famous Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro.

From there you also have a magnificent view over the city. The historic monument Torre de Belém was built to welcome arriving ships and is located slightly outside Lisbon. Here you'll find what is probably the best photo motif for backpackers – a huge world map made up of thousands of mosaic stones on which you can walk around. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can go on a day trip to the historic villages of Cascais, Sintra or Obidos.

You can get a bed in a 10-person dorm for €15 a night.

Sagres

From Lisbon, the trip continues to the south of Portugal to Sagres for approximately 22 euro. The city is less known for its sights but more for its surf spots. However, for many backpackers, the main reason to travel to Sagres is the Cabo de Sao Vicente within a distance of 5 kilometers. Before its discovery, the south-western tip of the European mainland was considered "the end of the world".

There are legends about the Cabo de Sao Vicente, and in different cultures it is regarded as a holy place where the Gods live and where the sun sinks into the sea. With its impressive steep coast and cliffs that plunge up to 70 meters into the Atlantic Ocean, the place definitely has something magical about it. So you shouldn't miss the chance to let the wind blow around your ears at the most south-western point of Europe. Furthermore, from the lighthouse Cabo de São Vicente you have a fantastic view over the Algarve.

It is recommended to rent a bike in Sagres and to stop at one of the idyllic beaches along the route of the mountain ranges of Cabo de Sao Vicente.

You’ll get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €20 a night at one of Sagres’ hostels.

Lagos

A bus will take you to Lagos for about €5. The historic city offers not only numerous historical sites and buildings, but also a picturesque center with narrow cobbled streets, pretty houses and a beautiful harbor promenade that invites you to stroll. Popular sights are the Bandeira Fort, the church of Santo Antonio and Europe's first slave market Mercado dos Escravos.

Explore the region around Lagos and get to know the fascinating landscape of the Algarve. Visit the Ponta da Piedade, a formation of golden sandstone cliffs with grottos, sea arches and caves. Relax on the kilometre-long beach Meia Praia or visit the beaches Praia do Pinhaó and Praia da Batata, which count to the most beautiful ones of the Algarve and are only a stone's throw away from Lagos.

We also recommend an excursion to the grottos of Lagos, which you can explore for example during a kayak tour. Whether surfing, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking or climbing – Lagos offers the ideal conditions for outdoor activities of all kinds. You can also undertake a day trip to the historic trading city of Silves.

Stay at one of the local hostels and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €18 a night.

Faro

We’ll continue by bus for about €5 to Faro. As the capital of the region of Algarve is overrun by the more popular holiday resorts along the coast, you will find here the typical Portuguese flair instead of mass tourism and hotel chains. The town gate Arco da Vila forms the entrance to the old town of Cidade Velha, which is situated within the medieval walls.

Worth seeing historical buildings are the cathedral of Faro and the Igreja do Carmo, a baroque church built in the 18th century. The somewhat macabre highlight of the church is the leg chapel, whose interior walls are decorated with bones and skulls of monks from the 19th century. It served on the one hand to honour the dead and on the other hand as a reminder of the transience of earthly life.

A special highlight is the southern Ria Formosa, one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Europe. It consists of a coastal strip of the mainland, a lagoon and a chain of islands that separates the lagoon from the sea. The Ilhas Desertas, the desert island, can be reached by ferry in 45 minutes from Faro's port. Walk along the idyllic, deserted beaches and discover the desert-like flora and unique fauna.

You can stay at a hostel by the beach and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €18 a night.


Porto

Porto

Porto is considered the most beautiful city in the country due to its location on the river Douro, its unique architecture, and its historic old town. Ribeira is one of the most beautiful districts of the city and has a very special charm with its labyrinthine alleys, old buildings and traditional restaurants and cafes. The Sao Bento train station and the Lello bookshop are popular attractions; it was opened already in 1906 and is even said to have inspired J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter novels because of its impressive bookshelves, playful wooden railings, antique busts, and paintings.

Another highlight in Porto is the port wine, named after the city. The bridge Ponte de Dom Luis I leads from Porto Ribeira to the opposite bank of the Douro. There lies the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, the center of the port wine production. The spicy sweet wine is produced exclusively in the northern Portuguese Douro valley and matures in so-called port wine cellars over several decades. Wine lovers can explore the area on a day tour – wine tasting included. Also visit the garden Jardins do Palácio de Cristal do Porto. From there you will have the best view over Porto, especially at sunset with a glass of port wine.

Stay in one of Porto’s hostels and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €18 a night.

Ericeira

Ericeira

For approximately €30 we’ll continue by bus to Ericeira. The small city at the Atlantic coast is the ultimate surfer's paradise. The coast of Ericeiras has even been declared a wave protection zone, which attracts surfers from all over the world. Those who have never stood on a board before should definitely take the chance and learn surfing here.

From the local surf schools you can hire a board and book individual or group lessons. Relax on the endless beaches and watch the pros surf. The charming old town with its narrow alleys, traditional shops and white-blue houses is also worth a visit.

You can get a bed in a 6-person dorm at a local hostel for €17 a night.

Lisbon

Lisbon

Continue your trip and head to Lisbon for about €8. The Portuguese capital is located on the banks of the Tagus River and is particularly popular among travellers. The old town equals a maze of labyrinthine alleys and historic tram lines, surprising you at every corner with hidden squares, charming cafes and traditional stores.

There are numerous shopping opportunities in the Rossio district and if you want to get to know the lively nightlife of Lisbon, the Bairro Alto is the place to be. Well known sights are the cathedral Sé Patriarcal, the Basílica da Estrela and the Jardím de Estrela. In the Alfama district, the historic centre of the city, you will also find the historic fortress complex Castelo de Sao Jorge. A must-see is of course the impressive bridge Ponte 25 de Abril and the Cristo Rei statue, which was built after the famous Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro.

From there you also have a magnificent view over the city. The historic monument Torre de Belém was built to welcome arriving ships and is located slightly outside Lisbon. Here you'll find what is probably the best photo motif for backpackers – a huge world map made up of thousands of mosaic stones on which you can walk around. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can go on a day trip to the historic villages of Cascais, Sintra or Obidos.

You can get a bed in a 10-person dorm for €15 a night.

Sagres

Sagres

From Lisbon, the trip continues to the south of Portugal to Sagres for approximately 22 euro. The city is less known for its sights but more for its surf spots. However, for many backpackers, the main reason to travel to Sagres is the Cabo de Sao Vicente within a distance of 5 kilometers. Before its discovery, the south-western tip of the European mainland was considered "the end of the world".

There are legends about the Cabo de Sao Vicente, and in different cultures it is regarded as a holy place where the Gods live and where the sun sinks into the sea. With its impressive steep coast and cliffs that plunge up to 70 meters into the Atlantic Ocean, the place definitely has something magical about it. So you shouldn't miss the chance to let the wind blow around your ears at the most south-western point of Europe. Furthermore, from the lighthouse Cabo de São Vicente you have a fantastic view over the Algarve.

It is recommended to rent a bike in Sagres and to stop at one of the idyllic beaches along the route of the mountain ranges of Cabo de Sao Vicente.

You’ll get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €20 a night at one of Sagres’ hostels.

Lagos

Lagos

A bus will take you to Lagos for about €5. The historic city offers not only numerous historical sites and buildings, but also a picturesque center with narrow cobbled streets, pretty houses and a beautiful harbor promenade that invites you to stroll. Popular sights are the Bandeira Fort, the church of Santo Antonio and Europe's first slave market Mercado dos Escravos.

Explore the region around Lagos and get to know the fascinating landscape of the Algarve. Visit the Ponta da Piedade, a formation of golden sandstone cliffs with grottos, sea arches and caves. Relax on the kilometre-long beach Meia Praia or visit the beaches Praia do Pinhaó and Praia da Batata, which count to the most beautiful ones of the Algarve and are only a stone's throw away from Lagos.

We also recommend an excursion to the grottos of Lagos, which you can explore for example during a kayak tour. Whether surfing, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking or climbing – Lagos offers the ideal conditions for outdoor activities of all kinds. You can also undertake a day trip to the historic trading city of Silves.

Stay at one of the local hostels and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €18 a night.

Faro

Faro

We’ll continue by bus for about €5 to Faro. As the capital of the region of Algarve is overrun by the more popular holiday resorts along the coast, you will find here the typical Portuguese flair instead of mass tourism and hotel chains. The town gate Arco da Vila forms the entrance to the old town of Cidade Velha, which is situated within the medieval walls.

Worth seeing historical buildings are the cathedral of Faro and the Igreja do Carmo, a baroque church built in the 18th century. The somewhat macabre highlight of the church is the leg chapel, whose interior walls are decorated with bones and skulls of monks from the 19th century. It served on the one hand to honour the dead and on the other hand as a reminder of the transience of earthly life.

A special highlight is the southern Ria Formosa, one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Europe. It consists of a coastal strip of the mainland, a lagoon and a chain of islands that separates the lagoon from the sea. The Ilhas Desertas, the desert island, can be reached by ferry in 45 minutes from Faro's port. Walk along the idyllic, deserted beaches and discover the desert-like flora and unique fauna.

You can stay at a hostel by the beach and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €18 a night.

Portugal Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Porto
Home - Porto
Flight
70
6-person dorm
18
2. Porto
Porto
-
6-person dorm
18
3. Porto
Porto
-
6-person dorm
18
4. Porto - Ericeira
Porto - Ericeira
Bus
30
6-person dorm
17
5. Ericeira
Ericeira
-
6-person dorm
17
6. Ericeira
Ericeira
-
6-person dorm
17
7. Ericeira - Lisbon
Ericeira - Lisbon
Bus
8
10-person dorm
15
8. Lisbon
Lisbon
-
10-person dorm
15
9. Lisbon
Lisbon
-
10-person dorm
15
10. Lisbon
Lisbon
-
10-person dorm
15
11. Lisbon - Sagres
Lisbon - Sagres
Bus
22
6-person dorm
20
12. Sagres
Sagres
-
6-person dorm
20
13. Sagres
Sagres
-
6-person dorm
20
14. Sagres - Lagos
Sagres - Lagos
Bus
5
8-person dorm
18
15. Lagos
Lagos
-
8-person dorm
18
16. Lagos
Lagos
-
8-person dorm
18
17. Lagos- Faro
Lagos- Faro
Bus
5
8-person dorm
18
18. Faro – Home
Faro – Home
Flight
40

Total price.

Flights 110,00
Transportation 70,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 297,00
Total477,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Continental: most of the time in Portugal you can get white coffee and buttered toast. The Portuguese love a light breakfast and usually have more substantial meals at other times.

Soups

Caldo Verde: the soup consists of potatoes, kale and onions and is usually prepared with pork.

Main courses

Pasteis de bacalhau: cod is an important ingredient of the Portuguese cuisine and can be found in many dishes. In this main course you will be served small fish balls, prepared with vegetables and other side dishes.

Alheira: the smoked pieces of meat are made of pork and natural gut and often served with potatoes or another side dish of your choice.

Caldeirada de peixe: on the Portuguese coast, seafood is the specialty per se. The fish stew is refined with tomatoes and herbs and tastes very good!

Bolo do caco: this is a garlic bread that is often served as a snack or main course. Simply delicious!

Drinks

Beirao: the Portuguese liqueur is well received by backpackers. With honey and almonds, it’s easy to stand it!

Beer: beer should not miss on a trip through Portugal. Especially the brand Sagres is popular.

Portugal

In Portugal, payments are made in Euro. See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of Living

Food

Free time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Respect the locals: the Portuguese are very friendly towards tourists. However, many things can lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, you should always be respectful towards the locals in order to establish a good relationship.

Go inland: Portugal focuses strongly on the coast, but the inner part of the country is also worth a visit.

Learn some Portuguese words: not all Portuguese can speak English, so some basic words are very helpful for a good communication.

Don'ts

Don't dress like a tourist: in Portugal, it is not appreciated when tourists appear outside the beach in their typical holiday outfits. Here you should rely on appropriate outfits.

Raised voice: in Portugal manners are of high importance. Speaking loudly or discussions are therefore always unwanted in public.

Tip: in Portugal it is almost considered as an insult if a little tip is left. Therefore, simply pay the given price.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert-Koch-Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Portugal is part of the European Convention on the Regulation of the Movement of Persons between the Member States of the Council of Europe from 13/12/1957. Travel documents other than temporary ID cards mustn’t have expired for more than a year. Please also inform yourself on the current entry regulations regarding the Corona virus. Current information about this can be found at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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