7 zile in Portugalia – cat costa o vacanta de o saptamana in Portugalia?

Color, sun, happiness, life, joy... these are the first words that come to my mind when I think of Portugal. A country that impresses you from the first moment you step there, through the energy of the place, the culture, the architecture, the colorful houses, the interesting sights or the local gastronomy. 

Portugal has been on our travel list for a long time, and now the time has come to visit it. The coincidence made us arrive there in the off-season, which was not necessarily a bad idea. A week in Portugal in December can be a pretty good option for those who want to escape the cold at home, but also avoid a very crowded tourist destination. The prices were better now for the plane and accommodation, the weather was mild, and we did not have to wait in line for the tourist attractions.

 Portugal received us extremely well, the Portuguese are very hospitable people and we hope that our experiences described in this article will encourage you to visit this wonderful country in the near future. 

About Portugal

With a population of 10 million inhabitants, Portugal is the westernmost country in Continental Europe. Located in the Iberian Peninsula, in the southwest of Europe, the country borders Spain to the north and east, and the rest has direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal includes, in addition to the continental part, the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores, in the Atlantic.

Portugal is considered the oldest country of Europe, since it has the same borders since 1139, when it was founded by the country's first king, Afonso Henriques. For almost eight centuries it was a kingdom, until 1910, when Portugal became a republic. The capital Lisbon is the second oldest European capital city, after Athens.


Over the years, Portugal has owned various colonies around the world, therefore the Portuguese language is the official language spoken in countries on four continents: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and East Timor. Portuguese is thus the sixth most spoken language in the world.

Portugal is a founding member of NATO and a member of the European Union since 1986. The official currency of the country is Euro.


When to go to Portugal

Portugal is a tourist destination visited all year round, due to its climate and mild temperatures in winter, compared to the rest of the European countries.

The most suitable periods for excursions are the spring or autumn months, when the temperature is average and you don't feel the agglomeration of the peak season, represented by the summer months.

If you consider going on a holiday where you combine the sun, beach and the ocean, then obviously you should visit in the summer, when the temperature and water are suitable for swimming. But if you focus mainly on sight-seeing, then the summer period may not be the best, because of the never-ending crowds. And in Portugal it really is crowded. You will stand in lines everywhere, even if you already have the entrance tickets purchased online.

Boca de Infierno
Boca de Infierno, Cascais

We visited Portugal at the end of November, and it was good: out of 7 days, we only got an hour of rain on two different days, the rest was sunny and daytime temperatures between 15-17 degrees, perfect for sight-seeing. The only drawback was that it got dark pretty quickly, at 5 p.m., so our visit day was cut short from the start. But considering that we didn't have to wait anywhere in line, we recovered quite a lot of time. In addition, We also caught the Lisbon Christmas Market, in Rossio Square.

How do you get around in Portugal

Portugal has very good infrastructure, with convenient means of public transport that runs quite often. After a week in this country, where we traveled only with public transport, we did not feel the lack of a car at all. I would not recommend renting a car if you want to visit Portugal.

There are countless transport lines in Lisbon and Porto: metros, trams, buses. Even if you want to travel with Bolt or Uber, the prices are quite low. For example, for a trip from Porto train station to the city center, we paid 4 euros on a Bolt.

Lisbon Cathedral
Lisbon Cathedral and the tourist tram

For trips between cities, you have at your disposal trains or private buses, such as Flixbus or Rede Expressos, at very good prices.

From Lisbon to Cascais and Sintra we used the regional trains, which ran every 20 minutes, and the price of a train ticket was about 2.5 euros. In Sintra, it is absolutely not recommended to arrive by car, because the roads are very narrow and there are no parking spaces. But there are buses that take you everywhere, and they run often.

Tagus River (Tejo) - Lisbon

What to do 7 days in Portugal

Portugal is one of those countries where you'll always want to come back. For us, the first experience in Portugal was wonderful, and we would come back anytime to visit it. We had a whole week to discover its main tourist attractions, but seven days are certainly not enough to explore this country all the way.

Jeronimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

In our trip we focused on the main objectives that this destination offers. we spent 4 days in Lisbon and its surroundings and 2 days in Porto. We had 2 full days to enjoy the capital Lisbon, one day to admire the beautiful palaces of Sintra, one day to reach the westernmost point in Europe, in Cabo da Roca, and visit the beautiful town of Cascais, and finally we used the last two days to visit the country's second largest city, Porto.

Belem Tower
Belem Tower, Lisbon

Day 1 – Arrived by plane, accommodation in Lisbon

We departed from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, in the afternoon at 6 pm, and after a journey of several hours, with a stopover in Frankfurt, we arrived in Lisbon around 11 pm, local time.

We booked a hotel room in the center, near the Rossio Square (Hotel Residencial Florescente), easily reached by metro - public transport runs in Lisbon until 1 am. For the subway trip we paid 2 euros - 1.5 euros for the trip itself, 0.5 euros for the physical travel card.

Comercio Square, Lisbon
Comercio Square, Lisbon

Day 2 and 3 – Lisbon

We spent the next 2 days visiting the capital of Portugal. We also bought a 24-hour travel card (Lisbon card), through which we had access to certain tourist attractions and means of transport.

We visited the main sights: Commerce Square, Rossio Square, Alfama district, Belem district, Sao Jorge castle. In this article we wrote about all these tourist attractions and everything we visited in Lisbon: 4 Days In Lisbon - Tourist Attractions, What To Do In Lisbon.

Day 4 – Sintra

The fourth day we dedicated entirely to Sintra, the city of palaces and castles. Sintra is one of the most touristic places in Portugal, and it's easy to understand why: nowhere else will you find so many fascinating palaces, gathered all in one place: Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, Quinta de Regailera, etc.

We took the train to Sintra from Rossio station, a trip of about 40 minutes, and once there, we bought a hop-on hop-off bus ticket, which allowed us to reach all the important sights in the area.

I invite you to read here how we spent our day in Sintra: A Day In Sintra, Portugal - The Land of Castles - Tourist Attractions.

Palatul Pena
Pena Palace, Sintra
Castle of the Moors
Castle of the Moors
Quinta de Regailera
Quinta de Regailera, Sintra

Day 5 – Cabo da Roca and Cascais

The next day we decided to visit Cascais, the famous resort on the Atlantic coast, and to reach the westernmost point of continental Europe, Cabo da Roca.

From Lisbon we took the train to Cascais from the Cais do Sodre station, and from Cascais we took bus 403 to Cabo da Roca. For more details on how to organize such a day trip, you can read here: A Day In Cabo Da Roca And Cascais, Portugal: How To Get To The Westernmost Point Of Europe.

Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca
Casa de Santa Maria and the Lighthouse in Cascais
Casa de Santa Maria and the Lighthouse in Cascais

Day 6 and 7 – Porto

Porto is the bohemian and picturesque city of Portugal, and it is worth visiting at least one day, if you arrive in this country.


You can get from Lisbon to Porto by both fast trains and private buses, such as Flixbus or Rede Expressos. We bought a train ticket in advance, because we wanted to see what it's like to travel by express train in Portugal, but unfortunately, exactly on the day of departure, strikes were announced at the railway company, so the train was canceled. Arriving at the Oriente station, from where the trains depart, and finding out that the train was no longer running, we quickly reoriented and bought a ticket on the spot in one of the buses going to Porto. They run very often, they also start from Oriente station, and are generally cheaper than a train ticket. We paid 30 euros for a train ticket, while the bus ticket starts from a few euros. We paid 10 euros for one bus ticket from Lisbon to Porto.

As for duration, the trip to Porto from Lisbon takes from 2 hours and 45 minutes (train), to 3 hours and 30 minutes (bus).

Arriving in Porto, we walked around the city center and admired the colorful architecture of all the buildings. I invite you to read this article to see what you can do in Porto for 1-2 days: What To Do In Porto, Portugal - Top 5 Tourist Attractions.

The next evening we returned to Lisbon and stayed at a BNB very close to the airport, considering that we had our return flight the next morning.

Day 8 – Returning home

The next morning at 5 o'clock we had the return flight, also with a stopover in Frankfurt.

What to eat in Portugal

Portuguese cuisine is delicious. Although until now we were not big fans of fish dishes, the Portuguese recipes made us change this perception, and we did not have a day without eating fish in Portugal.

The most famous dish from the local cuisine is the so-called Bacalhau, dried and salted cod, which is cooked in different ways. I will mention here Bacalhau a Bras, a kind of food prepared from cod, onions, finely cut potatoes and eggs. Another dish found at many pastry shops in the city is Pasteis de Bacalhau, or Codfish cakes, a pastry made from cod, potatoes and cheese. Although it sounds strange, it tastes very good.

The star of Portuguese cuisine is by far Pasteis de Nata, small tarts filled with egg cream, vanilla and cinnamon, known and famous all over the world. I admit that even for me, among the first things I learned about Portugal, was about these Pasteis de Nata and how tasty they are. And they really taste very good.

The original recipe is said to have been invented by the monks from the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, in 1837, and currently, the only place where these products are still sold according to the original recipe is at the pastry shop in Belem, under the name of Pasteis de Belem.

In addition to food, Portugal is also well represented in terms of drinks: the well-known Port wine, the famous sweet wines from Portugal, or Ginjinha, the cherry liqueur that is served from a chocolate glass.

Where to stay in Portugal

In Portugal you can find accommodations for all budgets and needs, my recommendation is just to book them in advance. If you fly to Lisbon, it is important to know that the means of transport operate between 5 AM and 1 AM, and depending on this time interval you can organize how you get to the accommodation, if you need to get to the airport before 5 am, or if you land late at night. Because we had our return flight at 5 AM, we decided to book accommodation close to the airport for the last night, so as not to waste a lot of time on the road in the morning, by taxi / Uber / Bolt.

Our accommodations on this trip were as follows:

  • In Lisbon, in the central area, near Rossio Square:  Hotel Residencial Florescente
    • For five nights, we paid 400 euros for the room and had breakfast included, for 2 people. In addition to accommodation, we had to pay the city tax another 2 euros / night / person (20 euros in total)
  • In Porto:  Pao de Acucar Hotel
    • We paid 58 euros for one night, with breakfast included. Additionally, we still had to pay another 4 euro city tax
  • In Lisbon, close to the airport:  Be My Neighbour
    • The accommodation was 81 euros, without breakfast included. Besides that, we also had to pay 4 euro city tax
Lisbon - Residencial Florescente Hotel

How much did a week in Portugal cost us?

Finally, I will leave a brief analysis of our budget for 2 people for a one-week vacation in Portugal. As usual, we don't like to spend a lot on our trips, because we are fans of frequent and cheap travel. But even so, during this vacation we did not refrain from important expenses for us, in terms of places visited or experiences lived.

We tried however to save on transport and hotel: we walked as much as we could, we used Bolt only when needed, and we looked for the accommodation to be as advantageous as possible: good conditions at decent prices. Regarding food, we had one main meal a day in the city, we served breakfast at the hotel, and in the evening we ate something light.

Thus, the amounts spent by us were:

  • Airplane: 150 euros / person, Economy Light ticket with Lufthansa, where we had an 8 kg cabin baggage included
    • => 300 euro for 2 people
  • Transport
    • Lisbon Metro: the travel card costs 0.5 euro, and a metro trip 1.5 euro. We only needed 2 metro trips, so we paid 3.5 euros/person
    • Transport to Porto: 30 euros return / person
    • Trains to Sintra and Cascais: the travel card costs 0.5 euros, and a trip by train 2.3. In total, we paid about 10 euros / person
    • Hop-on hop-off bus ticket In Sintra: 11.5 euros
    • Bus ticket to Cabo da Roca from Cascais: 7 euros return / person
    • Bolt: 15 euros (we used Bolt mainly in Porto, and on the morning of departure, on the way to the airport)
      • => in total 70 euros / person, 140 euro for 2 people
  • Lisbon tourist attractions
    • Lisbon Card for 24 hours - 21 euros / person
    • Carmo Covent entrance ticket: 4 euros (with Lisbon Card)
    • Sao Jorge Castle entrance ticket: 10 euros
      • => in total 35 euros / person, 70 euro for 2 people
  • Sintra Tourist Attractions
    • Pena Palace entrance ticket: 14 euro
    • Moorish Castle entrance ticket: 8 euros
    • Quinta de Regalleira entrance ticket: 10 euros
      • => in total 32 euros / person, 64 euro for 2 people
  • Porto tourist attractions
    • Lello Bookstore entrance ticket: 5 euros
      • => 10 euro for 2 people

Our budget for transport, accommodation and entrance to the tourist places was 1150 euros for 2 people (575 euros / person). This amount does not include money for food, souvenirs or other additional expenses.

A meal in town for 2 people cost us between 30-35 euros. Per day, we can say that we spent another 25-30 euros on food per person, which leads to a total of approximately 750 euros / person - 1500 euros for 2 people.

After a week in Portugal, we were pleasantly impressed by the country. We would come back here anytime, and we would also choose to visit the destinations we didn't manage to cover now, such as Algarve, Albufeira or Lagos.

Cabo da Roca