1. Avoiding the hottest, busiest times of the year which can often work out to be the most expensive is a good idea to begin with. July and August will fall within this remit so if you are looking for good weather, less crowds and a more cost effective holiday it is prudent to avoid these two months and while it’s beautiful all year round in Portugal from October to April has the most rainfall.
2. After you have decided upon your dates for travel and booked your holiday don’t forget to check your airport to hotel transfers. You may have transfers included in the holiday however there will be exceptions in the terms and conditions that may include the time of day you arrive at the airport, or that they don’t operate this service over the weekend. It’s worth checking before you travel to avoid disappointment and having to be stuck at the airport with no transport.
3. Once you are happily settled into your accommodation and planning your weeks outings there are a few things for you to consider while planning. Firstly every town or city in Portugal have many festivals over the year which are often religious or food celebrations so check with the local area to see what is going on that would suit you. It is worth having a look at the local tourist information board website for festivals and events as well as checking with your travel agent so you can be fully prepared.
4. Portugal is rich in history and if you are planning to visit some of the beautiful museums and historical buildings it’s worth noting that most will be closed on Mondays and if you plan to visit on Sunday many have free admission. You may also be able to get a local discount card by visiting the tourist information centre in the area you are staying which will save you some Euro’s during your stay.
7. It is very common place for restaurants and eateries to present your table with small dishes of bread, olives, cheese and cold cut meats during your dining experience, these are not freebies however. If you do start to eat them you will find they will be charged to your bill, if you don’t want them just politely decline and have them sent back. You will find that your waiter will bring you these appetisers before he/she has even taken a drinks order, this is standard in Portugal.
9. Learn the language, this doesn’t mean become fluent in Portuguese but a few key phrases will be useful to be able to converse with the locals even if it is just to say please and thank you. You will find this is very much appreciated by the locals and there are plenty of free resources online which are easy to follow.