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In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is natural that everyone would be looking forward to an exciting, fun vacation to a great exotic destination. The European nation of Portugal is one such place that is a must-visit. Portugal offers many beautiful locales that are bound to take your breath away.
Thomas Cook offers a variety of holidays in Portugal. Whether it is a trip for your family (Portugal family holidays), a private holiday for a couple, or a solo vacation, Thomas Cook has many attractive options for Portugal holidays.
Brace yourself for quaint towns, jaw-dropping coastlines and delicious cuisine that you can savour from your Portugal travel packages and Portugal vacation packages!
A few months ago, in December 2021, Portugal entered a state of calamity due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and the advent of the Omicron variant. However, Portugal is open for tourism, subject to certain restrictions as per the recent Portugal travel guidelines meaning that it is possible to plan your own Portugal holidays in 2022!
A trip to Europe will not be complete without a holiday in Portugal. The Iberian nation has tons of options. From the iconic cities of Lisbon and Porto, river cruises , UNESCO heritage sites and beach destinations across the country, Portugal has almost everything. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Spain, Portugal's diverse culture, topography, and cuisines are in stark contrast to its small size. Blessed with a beautiful coastline and mountainous regions, Portugal is one of the oldest countries in the world and has a rich and varied history and heritage.
Go to the Thomas Cook website to plan your own Portugal holidays with Portugal vacation packages!
Numerous things ought to be on your essential to-do list while being in the nation of Portugal. From the hidden cave beaches in Algarve, canoeing in Furnas Lake, spotting flora and fauna at the Peneda-Geres National Park and dolphin sighting at the Sado Estuary, to savouring egg tarts and other such indigenous sweet indulgences, wine tasting in Porto, nightlife and heritage walks in Lisbon and enjoying the beautiful city of Sintra, Portugal truly has unlimited options.
Thomas Cook offers Portugal holiday packages, including Portugal family holidays from many Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad etc.
|Portugal Holiday Packages||No. of Days||Price*|
|Highlights of Spain and Portugal||9 Nights/ 10 Days||Rs. 1 96 473
Traditional shops and markets are where people frequent their shopping needs during their Portugal vacation.
Rates are mostly fixed in shops, even though negotiation is accepted to an extent while going for large souvenirs or buying stuff in bulk quantities. Mercado municipal or municipal market is your cliched go-to place for groceries like vegetables, fruits, bread, fish and meat. There are flea markets that will offer a variety of options at low prices. Supermarkets and malls are more common in larger cities like Lisbon and Porto , and they have multitudes of stores, cafes, restaurants, cinema halls and gaming arcades.
Portugal is a sought-after destination for its ceramics, carpets, rugs, blankets and tapestries. It is also famous for its wine options, like port wine and table wine. The country also boasts of options like olive oil, cheese, ham, honey, herbs, teas etc. Clothes, bags, shoes, and other apparel are also available for the average or luxury buyer.
Head to Thomas Cook soon to check out your tour packages to Portugal.
The best time to visit Portugal is the spring season, i.e. March to May, right after the winter. Another good time to visit the country is autumn, sometime between September and October when the climate is warm.
Summers can be scorching hot in Portugal. However, many tourists flock to the country's coastal towns to bathe in the sun and enjoy the warmer waters. Hence, the Portuguese summer will be a good time to indulge in water sports.
Even winters have their fair share of sunny weather, and because of this, exploring the cities and inland areas of Portugal will not be an unpleasant experience whatsoever.
Based on your preferences, you can choose the Portugal travel packages that suit you best. There are abundant Portugal tour packages to fit all of your needs.
Definitely the fastest way of travel, there are many options from India for an air travel trip to Portugal. Portugal has as many as five international airports that are fairly busy with year-round flight schedules from different locations: The Lisbon Portela Airport, Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport, Faro Airport, Madeira Airport and the Joao Paulo II Airport in Ponta Delgada.
Indians can travel to Portugal via flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Panjim. All these places have one-stop flights to Portuguese cities. However, there are no direct flights, and the duration to reach Portugal from India will be a bit more than 9 hours. Book your Portugal holiday travel fast!
Portugal is fairly well-connected by rail from many European cities. Travellers can use the Eurail network to visit Portugal.
Road travel to Portugal will be challenging because it is covered by water from three sides. It shares its land border only with Spain, and hence, interested passengers will need to go to Spain first to undertake a road trip to Portugal.
It is a pity that there are no cruises between India and Portugal. However, if and when one is ready to travel to another country, Portugal will have cruise options. It has a beautiful coastal area along the Atlantic Ocean.
Below are the best places to visit in Portugal:
Lisbon : Be it to indulge in the sweetness of 'pasteis de nata', the delectable seafood or the beautiful mosaic walkways, Lisbon offers it all. Portugal's capital city is one of the calmest and most affordable tourist destinations in Europe. Tourists go on sightseeing tours that are in plenty throughout the day. The nighttime offers a lot of live music and restaurant options or pub crawls.
Porto : Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, and like Lisbon, it is situated next to a river and offers many attractive sightseeing options. The Sao Bento possesses many places with walls adorned with pretty azulejo ceramic tiles. Gardens, historic palaces and churches are aplenty in Porto. Porto has arguably one of the best food options in Portugal, and even the most basic stuff is incredibly delicious. As the name suggests, Porto is home to a port as well.
Head to Thomas Cook to get the best tour packages for Portugal.
Braga : The fourth biggest city in Portugal is a symbol of ancient and modern European culture and goes by the name of Braga. Often labelled as a youth capital, Braga is home to many students. The place is full of cafes, shops, restaurants and bars, making it really upbeat and vibrant. Those interested in exploring spiritual options can visit the Unique Cathedral and the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte.
Sintra : Situated in the foothills of the mountain range that gave its name, Sintra is a paradise for tourists. With its hard-to-ignore coloured walls that are almost in-your-face, castles and gardens, the place is a favourite destination for children. It is only 30 kilometres away from Lisbon and is a day trip option from the capital. Sintra is famous for the 19th century Pena Palace and the old Castle of the Moors and has a reputation as a place straight out of a Disney colouring book.
Algarve : As one of the most picturesque locations in Europe, Algarve is a potential option for hiking and having a relaxing beach outing. The country's southernmost region is home to many settlements, golf courses, and huge resorts.
The warm weather allows you to escape towards a visit to fishing villages and coves where you will be greeted by pristine waters adorned with cliffs. Almost everyone speaks English, and it is possible to discover calmer and less crowded places as you go into Sagres, Tavira and Aljezur.
Madeira : Madeira has a distinct place in Portuguese culture. The sub-tropical island is situated next to the Atlantic Ocean, more than 1000 kilometres away from the mainland. Madeira used to be home to Christopher Colombus and is also famed for being the native place of football icon Cristiano Ronaldo. The footballer's own museum in Madeira is one of the most popular places, along with the Colegio church, the Quinta das Cruzes mansion and the Lavradores market. The capital of Madeira, Funchal, is also known to be a party destination.
Albufeira : Albufeira is a crowd-favourite destination in Portugal. Blessed with diverse topography and terrain that offers coves, cliffs and sandy beaches, Albufeira is known for its beaches and golf courses, where tourists throng during the summertime. However, the village becomes less crowded during the spring and autumn seasons and is a perfect spot for a relaxing holiday.
Lagos : Unlike some of the places in Algarve, Lagos has kept its age-old charm intact and is a sought-after destination. Lagos is full of mediaeval townhouses and churches famed for their Baroque architecture. The many cafes, bars and restaurants give a quaint touch to Lagos and are loved by locals and tourists alike.
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There is more to Portugal than bustling cities and nightlife. Many hill stations in Portugal have historic and ancient castles full of their own heritage and culture.
Favaios : Favaios goes back to the Roman era and is known for its fruity port wine and four-cornered bread. You go close to 10 kilometres up into the hills from the town of Pinhao near the Douro River, enjoy the terraced vineyards and scenery to reach Favaios.
Trancoso : Trancoso is situated in the central part of Portugal and boasts of rich history. Jews used to live in this hill town, starting from ancient times. In the 1500s, many engraved crosses on their houses to show their faith. You might find a few of these markings even now.
Marvao : Marvao is a quaint little village with whitewashed houses situated on rocky terrain. The place is not at all crowded and has one of Portugal's best-preserved mediaeval castles. It is not too far away from the capital city of Lisbon.
Monsaraz : Like Marvao, Monsaraz is also situated to the east of Lisbon. Whitewashed houses with roofs made of red tiles are very common in Monsaraz. It is one of the most beautiful monument villages in the country.
Portugal has as much as 1000 kilometres of coastline along the picturesque Atlantic Ocean. The temperate Mediterranean climate is ideal for a beach visit. Let us check out a few of the best beaches in the country.
Camilo Beach : Camilo Beach is hands down one of the best beaches in the country. It is situated near Lagos in the western Algarve and is known for sandstone cliffs and rock formations. It is a white sand beach blessed with pristine turquoise waters.
Falesia Beach : Falesia Beach is also located in Algarve and is lined with cliffs and sandstone structures. It is almost six kilometres long, and many cafes, resorts and restaurants flank the sandy stretch.
Amado Beach : One of the country's most famous surfing spots, Amado Beach, is blessed with waves. Since this lies close to a national park, this beach might not be everyone's cup of tea and can be of interest to people keen on exploring the diverse flora and fauna.
Quinta do Lago Beach : Situated at the centre of the famous Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, this beach has abundant birdlife. Many birds like flamingos and storks frequent the marshland.
Portugal offers an assortment of honeymoon packages too. Let us check a few of those places out.
Setubal : Setubal is not a clichéd destination in Portugal, even though it is one of the best places to visit. Situated between the Sado Estuary and the Arrabida Mountains, Setubal is where people can enjoy their honeymoon by hiking, swimming or enjoying a candlelit dinner.
Evora : Evora is the largest city in the Alentejo province and has many rustic farms and delectable food options. Old buildings are the order of the day in Evora, where honeymooners can enjoy a relaxing vacation.
Sintra : Located close to the capital city of Lisbon, Sintra is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most beautiful destinations in Portugal. All sites in Sintra will seem to have come straight out of a fairy tale or a cartoon, with its vivid and resplendent coloured buildings. The place is guaranteed to make your honeymoon memorable.
Lisbon : Last but not least, the capital city of Lisbon is a potential destination for couples. It has sightseeing options galore, where honeymooners can frequent walks along Alfama and Bairro Alto. There are ample restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs in Lisbon for a great honeymoon.
Head to Thomas Cook soon to plan your honeymoon through the Portugal honeymoon packages.
An assortment of delectable culinary options ranging from seafood rice to sweet egg tarts are available at restaurants in Portugal . Whether it is fancy Michelin-starred restaurants, local taverns or roadside grills, the country truly has diverse food varieties. Let us take a look at some of the must-try delicacies in Portugal.
Pastel de nata : Arguably the most popular dessert of Portugal, pastel de nata (custard tart) is a small egg tart that many deem a world-class sweet dish. The Egg custard filling goes exceedingly well with the flaky pastry. The powdered sugar or cinnamon sprinkled on the top is the icing on the cake.
Bacalhau : Bacalhau is salted cod - a staple fish for the Portuguese and is a crowd favourite. It can be baked as a fillet, grilled, put in rice or shredded with eggs, onions and potatoes. Every restaurant in the country is guaranteed to have a Bacalhau dish.
Arroz de pato : Arroz de pato means duck rice and is a really tasty delicacy. Boiled and shredded duck meat is put on a bed of rice, baked and then decorated with sausage and orange garnishings. It has a very homely taste and might not be readily available at every Portuguese restaurant. However, it is more than worth the effort to seek out the dish at places that serve it.
Acorda : Acorda is bread soaked in broth. It is akin to Indian rice porridge. However, what sets it apart is the fact that it comes with seafood. Rock hard bread is rehydrated using water, garlic, olive oil and cilantro. Acorda is definitely a gourmet experience for ardent foodies.
Queijo : Queijo is Portuguese cheese and is not as popular as iconic European cheeses. However, there are many varieties of cheese to go after on your visit to Portugal. Some of the options are Serra de Estrela, Azeitão and São Jorge.
Cataplana de marisco : This seafood stew gets its name from the vessel in which it is cooked and served. The cataplana (cooking pot) is loaded with seafood like fish and shrimp and cooked with white wine, spices, vegetables and herbs. You should ideally try this dish from the Algarve region where it originates.
Portugal is a country that offers numerous options to the average tourist, in the sense that there are many different things to do in Portugal . Let us explore a few of the things to do in Portugal.
Hidden cave beaches in Algarve
The southernmost region in Portugal, the Algarve region, is famous for its abundant beaches. Algarve is a brilliant blend of white sand, blue waters and good weather. It is home to many hidden caves along its beaches. The most famous is the Benagil Cave, and there are other such places like the Zorreira Cave, the Arches of Marinha, Captain's Cave and the Elephant Cave. Checking out these hidden cave beaches is a great activity while in Portugal.
Visit the Jeronimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery is a beautiful monastery situated in Lisbon. It has resplendent Gothic architecture and is hence a crowd favourite. The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is almost always in every tourist itinerary.
Wine tasting in Porto
Any vacation in Portugal does not get over without a quintessential wine tasting tour. Even though port wine is prevalent in the country, you will be able to discover your favourite wine choice by embarking on a detailed wine tour. The best place to do it might be Porto.
Nightlife in Lisbon
Lisbon is known for its nightlife. The city does not stop bustling well into the night and has numerous bars and clubs. There are great options for dining, clubbing, dancing and entertainment. The place is guaranteed to satisfy every partygoer.
Portugal offers great shopping options to both the average customer and those who do not mind splurging on expensive stuff. Ranging from rugs, carpets, blankets to designer wear, jewellery, and souvenirs, many varieties of things are available across the country.
Colombo Mall, Lisbon
Colombo Mall is one of the biggest malls in Portugal and looks great both from outside and inside. It has more than 300 shops and is a great place for luxury shopping in Lisbon. The place is a one-stop solution for everything, and there is a play area and outdoor garden where kids can enjoy themselves.
There are many trinket shops in Albufeira. There are a variety of dress options and handcrafted materials that are available at the World In store. There is an option to get your hands on cushions, toys, jewellery, rugs, blankets and carpets. It is guaranteed to be one of the best shopping experiences in Portugal.
El Corte Inglés
It is the largest department store in Europe and offers a variety of things, ranging from clothes to books to furniture. Anything and everything is available here and what sets it apart from other options is that it is one of the cheapest shopping places.
There are a handful of Indian restaurants in Portugal, adding to the variety of cuisines available in the country.
● Tasca David’s Indian Tandoori Restaurant, R. Infante Dom Henrique 72, Ferragudo
● Leo Restaurant, Rua do Zaire 17C, 1170-397 Lisbon
● Masala, R. Frederico Arouca 288, 2750-355 Cascais
● The Raj Indian Restaurant, Av. Beira Mar 1, 8365-101 Armação de Pêra
● Indian Night’s Tandoori Restaurant, E R. da Igreja Nova 7, 8200-137 Albufeira
● Spicy, R. do Benformoso 203, 1100-085 Lisboa
● Gandhi Palace, Rua Douradores Loja 167-169-171, 173, 1100-205 Lisboa
● Clay Oven, Sítio Areias De São João Edif. Mira Vila, Lj. B, R/C, Albufeira, Faro
The nation of Portugal is blessed with options that cater to all kinds of tourists, with plenty of options for the adventurous ones as well.
The beaches in Algarve offer a wide array of water sports activities. From surfing and lounging to even diving, these activities are a great way of spending quality time in the Iberian country.
Surfing at the beaches in Nazare is yet another option for adrenaline junkies. The place is frequented by adventure enthusiasts from all around the globe. October to March is a great time to visit Nazare.
Canoeing at Furnas Lake is one of the breathtaking things to do while in Portugal. Please make sure that you walk or get on a bike on the track around the lake to see bamboo and redwood forests, meadows and vines.
There are a lot of adventure options in Serra da Estrela. It is a crowd favourite as the place offers ample opportunities to do bird and animal watching. There is also the not-so-little thing of climbing up Torre, the highest location in the Estrella mountains. Other activities include skiing, horse riding, mountain biking and paragliding.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT PORTUGAL
● Portugal is the oldest European country.
● The oldest bookstore in the world is in Lisbon.
● Renewable energy is of great importance in Portugal.
● It is one of the best surfing spots in Europe.
● Ferdinand Magellan, the first explorer to have circumnavigated the globe, was Portuguese. So was Vasco da Gama.
● Port wine is the national drink.
● Piri piri sauce originated in Portugal.
● It is the westernmost point of the European continent.
● Portugal boasts of as many as 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING PORTUGAL
● Do not assume that the starters the waiters bring you while you read the menu are free.
● Portugal's road safety record is not impressive. Use trains preferably.
● Vegetarians need to be aware that the traditional vegetable soup or caldo verde will almost always contain sausage.
● Football tickets are cheap in Portugal.
● A lot of the places in Portugal are best explored on foot. Case in point, Alfama in Lisbon.
It is important to note that Portugal is a Roman Catholic nation with an intimate and close-knit family value structure. Lisbon and Porto are European Capitals of Culture, and the country is known for its art, literature, food, music and football, among other things.
PORTUGAL VISA FOR INDIANS
Applying for a visa used to be a painful process, but now you can apply for a visa for Portugal online. All you will need is your visa checklist of documents that need to be made ready at the time of your visa appointment.
A Schengen visa is what you will need to travel to Portugal. Thomas Cook does not offer its own visa services for Portugal. However, the Thomas Cook online visa processing centre and customer care are more than equipped to handle queries and solve your issues, in case there are any. You can feel free to ask all your visa related questions to the online visa process centre of Thomas Cook.
The currency in Portugal is the Euro (EUR).
1 EUR = approximately 84 Indian Rupees (INR)
It is better to carry the local currency of Portugal in person to avoid the additional currency conversion fees abroad. You can also buy currency from your nearest Thomas Cook outlet. Thomas Cook prides itself in offering the best currency exchange rates and services worldwide. We will take care of your Forex , which is a promise we strive hard to keep. Be it buying Forex , selling your foreign exchange , money transfer, or loading a Forex card , Thomas Cook will deal with all your currency exchange needs in a seamless and fast way to ensure your good selves a hassle-free trip.
Converting your hard-earned money from credible sources at great exchange rates is an arduous task. With Thomas Cook, you can afford to relax at home and go on to buy or sell your Forex online. You can get a Forex card delivered to your home very quickly. You can also opt for Forex pickup at any of our branches for you to collect at your convenience.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tour package to Portugal by heading to the Thomas Cook website. Choose your trip, sit back and enjoy as we guarantee a chill vacation to the westernmost point of Europe, full of fun and frolic!
OTHER SUCH PLACES TO VISIT
Portugal is not the only attractive destination across the globe. Here is a list of similar beautiful locations:
● United Kingdom
● Czech Republic
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