Portugal has it all; the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve, exclusive golf resorts, medieval hilltop towns, colourful fishing villages, a cosmopolitan capital, the vine-filled valley of the Douro and wild remote mountains.

Small Group Tours

Spain, Portugal & Morocco 2022

Enjoy the trip of a lifetime through three vastly different countries. Marvel at the architectural wonder of Barcelona and the charming cities of Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon before revelling in sunny southern Spain.

Airfares included

Days 27
From (Per person / Twin share) $12,395

Spain, Portugal & Morocco 2023

Enjoy the trip of a lifetime. Travel through fascinating Morocco, revel in sunny southern Spain and the charming cities of Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto before marveling at the architectural wonder of Barcelona.

Airfares included

Days 28
From (Per person / Twin share) $12,595

Northern Spain & Portugal

Fall in love with the intriguing history and culture of northern Spain and Portugal on this exciting adventure.

Airfares included

Days 25
From (Per person / Twin share) $11,395

Treasures of Portugal

A wealth of delicious cuisine, fascinating history and impeccable scenery awaits on this small group tour to Portugal.

Days 10
From (Per person / Twin share) $3,495

Portugal Facts & Tips

Capital
Capital — Lisbon
Population
Population — 10 million
Language
Language — Portuguese
Religion
Religion — Roman Catholicism
Time Zone
Time Zone — 9 hours behind AEST
Currency
Currency — Euro
  • Portugal is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and southern coasts and Spain to the east and north.
  • Portuguese is spoken by 230 million people worldwide in 9 different countries.
  • In 1910 Portugal became a republic – before then, the Kingdom of Portugal existed for approximately 800 years from 1139 to 1910. King Mannuel II was the last king of Portugal and was deposed in 1910 and lived out the remainder of his life in exile in a suburb of London.
  • Portugal’s coastline stretches 800 kilometers and believed to be one of the best surf destinations in the world
  • Portugal was home to Europe’s longest bridge, the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon until 2018, when Russia’s Crimean Bridge was completed. While Vasco de Gama spans 12 kilometers, the Crimean Bridge is a whopping 19 kilometers long
  • Portugal became the first colonial power to abolish slavery in 1761 – half a century before England, USA, Spain and France.

Australian passport holders travelling to Portugal do not need a visa at this time.

We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.

Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.

The Australian Embassy in Portugal:

Victoria Building
Avenida da Liberdade 200, 2nd Floor
1250 147 Lisbon
Ph. +351 21 310 1500
Fax. +351 21 310 1555

The official currency of Portugal is the Euro. Notes come in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. The recommended currency to take to Portugal is the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.

Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.

Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.

If you don’t have Euros with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.

Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.

  • The price of a cappuccino in Lisbon is approximately €1.50
  • The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €8
  • The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €18
  • The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €2

Portuguese food is natural, fresh, hearty and delicious. Breakfast is usually a bit of bread and a bica (espresso). The main meal is lunch, which generally begins after 12:30pm. It starts with the couvert (cover), a simple plate of bread, butter and olives (if you don’t want the couvert, tell the servers – otherwise you will be charged for it; also watch out for unwanted expensive starters). Meals continue with soup, then go on to fish or meat (pork is popular) and excellent desserts, fruits and nuts (almonds). Dinner begins around 8 or 9pm and is usually a smaller version of lunch. A favourite Portuguese soup is the cabbage-based caldo verde (especially tasty in northern Portugal). Seafood is good in Portugal (the sardines are delicious – they bear little relationship to those things that come in cans). Other seafood dishes worth sampling are cataplana (a shellfish stew cooked in a sealed, shell-shaped copper pan), porco à alentejana (clams and pork) and the national dish bacalhau (salted codfish – an acquired taste). Portuguese sausage is delicious, especially when combined with fava beans in a rich stew called feijoada. We also recommend leitao da bairrada (roasted suckling pig), chicken piripiri (spit-roasted with a spicy vinegar sauce) and the cabrito (goat) in the Beira Baixa region. If you can find it, try a soft cheese from Guarda called serra – accept no substitute called tipo serra.

Portuguese wines may just be the best bargain in Europe – even the best bottles rarely cost more than 20 Euros in grocery stores. Most of the wines are red, with the best ones coming from Alentejo, Dao and a small area west of Lisbon called Colares. Rosé and white wines are also popular, especially the sparkling white wine known as vinho verde. (The name means “green wine,” which refers to its age, not its colour: Vinho verde is usually drunk within a year of being processed.) And let’s not forget the rich-flavoured ports (red wines fortified with brandy). So-called vintage ports are the best of this genre and are much more expensive than other local wines.

Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.

If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.

Portugal’s climate varies with latitude and is influenced by the Atlantic. The southern coast has a near-Mediterranean climate, but more rain can be expected in the northern part of the country. May-June and late September-October, the weather isn’t too hot for touring (though it can be a bit cool for lying on the beach). Days will be warm with very little rain, and nights definitely require a sweater. In the summer, it can be hot on the beach, and winters are wet, often foggy, windy and really quite uncomfortable on the coast.

Want to get out and explore on your own?

One of the best ways to get around Portuguese cities is walking. Metered taxis can be found everywhere, and the major cities have excellent public transport systems, both rail and bus networks.

When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.

So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Portugal…

In Portugal, shop for azulejos (colourful ceramic tiles), earthenware, porcelain made by Vista Alegre, faience (a fine tin glazed pottery, particularly from Coimbra), leather goods (including shoes), antiques, gold and silver filigree (particularly from Minho Province and Oporto), cataplanas (clamshell-shaped copper pans for cooking shellfish and stews), lace, Madeiran embroidery, cork items, Portuguese guitars (they look like enlarged mandolins), needlepoint carpets and Arraiolos rugs (be sure to get a certificate of origin – there are a few cheap imitations made in China). Consumable souvenirs such as wine and port, olive oil (the best comes from the area around Castelo Branco) and locally produced honey are also good choices. For everything under one roof, try Lisbon’s ultramodern Centro Comercial Colombo.

  • The Portuguese have their own language and are proud of it – don’t assume they will speak Spanish as well.
  • The Portuguese respect correct queues even more than the British, so keep your place and don’t push in!
  • Don’t use a flash if you take picture of a fado singer or talk whilst they are singing.
  • It is considered polite to leave a little bit of food on your plate at the end of your meal, once you’ve finished
  • Upon introduction, use the titles ‘senhor’ and ‘senhora’ with the person’s surname
  • Many Portuguese are indifferent and even offended by the traditional bullfighting, so it pays not to generalise or assume they support it

Interestingly, it was actually the Portuguese settlers that brought the Carnaval Festival from Europe to Brazil, back in the early 17th century. Much like the world famous celebration in Rio, Carnaval is a major event held throughout Portugal. It’s worth a trip to the southern the Algarve region, where you can expect to see, not only the incredible parades, costumes and colour, but also witness decorated traditional Portuguese boats, sailing along the shoreline.

With a history dating back some 700 years, this midsummer festival takes place in Porto each year. Originally a pagan feast worshipping the Sun God, it evolved into a Christian celebration, honouring St John the Baptist. This all night event is spent listening to loud music, consuming food from barbecued sardines to St John’s cake, all while taking a soft squeaky plastic hammer to the heads of passers-by. Illuminated, flame-propelled balloons are released into the sky, before concluding with spectacular fireworks over the Douro River.

Other national public holidays to be aware of include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Liberty Day (April 25th)
  • Labor Day / May Day (May 1st)
  • Portugal Day (June 10th)
  • Corpus Christi (Second Thursday after Trinity Sunday)
  • Assumption of Mary (August 15th)
  • Republic Implantation (October 5th)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1st)
  • Restoration of Independence (December 1st)
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th)
  • Christmas Day

Portugal Highlights

Europe Destinations

Armenia

Walk along Sharambeyan street in Dilijan, marvel at some of the oldest Greek, Persian and Arabic manuscripts in Yerevan, and witness the historic cave monastery of Geghard.

Austria

From the spectacular snow-covered Alps and picture-perfect panoramas, to the quintessential elegance of its larger cities, Austria is a fascinating country to explore

Azerbaijan

A relatively untouched country, there is so much to see in Azerbaijan including the Baku Fire Temple, Burning Mountain and the Palace of Shirvanshahs.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Discover intriguing history at the old city centre of Sarajevo, Baščaršija and the Museum of Sarajevo and experience the world-famous Stari Most bridge.

Croatia

With its magnificent coastline, 1,185 islands, islets and reefs, Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is alluring for lovers of fun, sun and fascinating history.

Denmark

From its picturesque capital, Copenhagen, to its windswept coastline and everything in between, Denmark will lure you in with its warmth and welcoming hospitality.

Finland

Watch the northern lights dance across the sky, relax and unwind in a Finnish sauna, cruise Lake Inari and visit Suomenlinna, an 18th-century sea fortress steeped in history.

France

A popular destination with all travellers, you can soak up the glamour of the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles or sip on a coffee and watch the world go by.

Georgia

Positioned between Europe and Asia, the country of Georgia has one of the most unique cultures in the world.

Germany

Infused with a rich history, Germany offers a fascinating mix of picture-perfect towns, lively festivals, modern, urban cities and beautiful rolling countryside.

Greece

Discover ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Agora in Athens, Delphi on the Greek mainland and delicious Greek cuisine in the glamorous Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.

Hungary

Hungary’s location in the centre of Europe, along with its hospitable attitude, makes it an inviting destination, proudly upholding its Magyar traditions, culture and arts whilst incorporating a fascinating mix of history and the present-day.

Italy

Land of la dolce vita, it is little wonder that Italy is one of the world’s most-loved destinations with two-thirds of the world’s historical, artistic heritage coming from Italy.

Malta

Otherwise known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Malta is an island located off the Italian coast packed with stunning scenery and a rich culture.

Monaco

Experience jaw-dropping coastal views of the Mediterranean Sea, try your luck at the Casino Monte-Carlo or explore the botanical world of Jardin Exotique.

Montenegro

Discover surreal views and charming villages across the Bay of Kotor, explore the old town of Kotor surrounded with ancient medieval architecture and enjoy some local Montenegrin cuisine.

Morocco

Morocco’s dazzling mosaic of Arab and Berber cultures, with a dash of African and European influence, is at once strange and romantic, alluring and surprising.

Netherlands

From fields of colourful tulips and beautiful canal-lined cities to historic architecture and iconic windmills, the Netherlands is a wonderland for any kind of traveller.

Norway

Known as ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’ Norway is ideal for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy stunning scenery, while history buffs can immerse themselves in Norway's rich cultural heritage.

Slovenia

Slovenia is packed with unusual and often unique experiences, from primeval forests, Karst limestone caves and thermal springs to the lively and architecturally beautiful city of Ljubljana.

Spain

Fall in love with Spain’s intriguing history, marvel at the architectural wonders of Barcelona, enjoy a traditional Spanish tapas dinner and people-watch at a terrace café in Madrid.

Sweden

Snowbound winters, meatballs, herring, Vikings and Volvos, IKEA, ABBA and the Hives - whatever your pre-existing notions about Sweden, a visit to this multifaceted country is bound to both confirm and confound them.

Switzerland

With its snow-capped Alps, emerald green forests, fairy-tale castles and shimmering lakes, it’s easy to see why Switzerland has been one of the world’s top tourist destinations for the past two centuries.

Turkey

With its covered bazaars, whirling dervishes, sultans’ treasures and Byzantine mosaics, Turkey is both a cosmopolitan and exotic destination.

Vatican City

Vatican City is the world’s smallest, fully independent city-state and country in the world, surrounded entirely by Rome.

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