First Time to Portugal

From the charming city of Porto to the brilliant city of Lisbon, the sunny and picturesque beaches of Algarve and the quaint villages found across the country, it is not hard to see why Portugal is such a popular vacation destination. Add to that the traditional cuisine (Pastel de Nata is only the delicious beginning!) and the kindness of its people, and your experience in Portugal is sure to feel authentic and enriching.  

Portugal is an ideal destination any time of the year, as it has a fairly mild and pleasant climate year-round. If you are thinking about visiting Portugal this summer, but don't know where to go, consider one of its two flagship cities: Lisbon or Porto. Both are ideal for soaking up Portuguese culture through the streets, squares, and architecture — characterized by distinctive tile-covered buildings —   and some of the country's most famous monuments. The official language is Portuguese, but don’t fret if it is not one of your spoken languages, as English is commonly spoken in tourist areas. 

For your visit to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, you will need several days to explore. Take in all the sights and sounds of the Praça do Comércio, visit historic Castelo de São Jorge, take a walking tour through the Alfama district, or take some breathtaking panoramic photos from the top of the Santa Justa lift. If your schedule allows, Sintra and Cascais should not be missed on your list of activities – plan a day trip for each. 

In Porto, considered the capital of the north, the lively atmosphere of this World Heritage city will grab you from the very first moment. After visiting the church of Santo Ildefonso, buying wine in some local shops, and strolling through the gardens of the Crystal Palace, an excursion to the foot of the emblematic Pomte Dom Luís I to watch the sunset on the banks of the Douro River is a must. 

On the other hand, if you feel like traveling to an exotic destination, you can do so without leaving Portugal. Thanks to its geographical location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores will allow you to spend your vacation discovering the biodiversity, traditions, and landscapes unique to Portugal. 

What to know before heading to Portugal 

As of July 1, 2022, all COVID entry requirements for Portugal have been lifted. Travelers entering Portugal are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, a valid recovery certificate, or a negative PCR or antigen test. Passenger locator forms are also no longer required prior to departure.

What can visitors expect? 

  • The majority of mask mandates have been reduced but keep your mask handy. You will still need to wear one in health facilities, on public transportation, and at certain outdoor events.
  • It's no longer required to present proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter bars and clubs, eat indoors at restaurants, visit tourist establishments, stay at local accommodations, or attend events. 

  • If you test positive for COVID-19 while in Portugal, you will be required to quarantine for five to seven days.

For additional information, visit

Travel Insurance for Portugal

All international tourists who require a Schengen visa to enter Portugal must have a valid travel medical insurance plan. If you can travel to Portugal visa-free, then travel insurance is not mandatory. 

However, as mentioned above, if you test positive for COVID-19 while in Portugal, you will need to quarantine, which could mean additional expenses and travel delays. Having a travel insurance plan with Trip Delay and Trip Interruption coverage is your best bet in this situation, as it will provide coverage for transportation, meals, lodging, and any lost days of your trip due to quarantine.

We recommend purchasing a comprehensive trip cancellation insurance plan. It will help protect the investment you made into the trip and provide the coverage you need should something unforeseen happen while traveling. See our Travel Insurance for Portugal page for additional information. 

Ready to head to Portugal? Get a no-obligation quote for travel insurance today. 

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