Portugal

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City guides

Typical food

In general, the Portuguese food is quite heavy and not really healthy. It basically revolves around meat, pastries and of course, seafood in general.

Codfish – Portuguese are completely obsessed with codfish. One would say that the Portuguese have 365 different ways to cook codfish, one for each day of the year. There’s a huge diversity of dishes with codfish: bacalhau com natas, bacalhau à brás, bacalhau à lagareiro, bacalhau com broa, just to name a few. And as you may have noticed, bacalhau is the Portuguese word for codfish. 

Sardines – typical summer food, especially during the religious festivities that take place in every city in this period. Usually served with boiled potatoes and grilled peppers.

Cozido à portuguesa – for many, the most Portuguese dish on the list. A mixture of meats, vegetables and other indistinguishable shits. Just see for yourself here.

Arroz de cabidela – it’s basically chicken rice drowning in chicken blood and vinegar. It may seem disgusting, but it’s fuckin’ delicious.

Duck rice – as the name says, it’s rice with chunky pieces of duck meat and chorizo. Some variations of this dish may include melted cheese or fried eggs on top.

Polvo à lagareiro – boiled and baked octopus with baked potatoes in a herbed olive oil. Simply amazing!

Pastries and fritters such as lanche, bolinhos de bacalhau, pataniscas and of course, the world famous pastel de nata. The best thing ever! 

Green wine – although most wine connoisseurs know something about Spanish, Italian, French or even Chilean wines, the truth is that Portuguese wine is still kind of uncharted territory. Green wine comes from a region in the north of Portugal and it translates as “young wine”, being released 3 to 6 months after the grape harvest. It can be red, white or rosé.

Port wine – probably the most famous Portuguese wine. Typical of the Porto region and surroundings.

Muscatel – sweet, dessert wine. It’s worth trying if you like Port wine.

Medronho – it is a spirit obtained from the fruit of the medronho tree. In the supermarket versions have around 40% alcohol, just like vodka, but many Portuguese produce it at home or buy from someone making it at home. In many small old restaurants it’s still possible to be given a Medronho shot after a meal.

Coffee – it’s a huge part of Portuguese life. Many people drink 2 to 5 coffees per day. There are pastelarias (small coffee shops) around every corner and always full. One of the few countries where you can still get an espresso for 0,50 €.

Ginja – liqueur made from aguardente, cherries, sugar and other stuff.

Beer – let’s be honest, Portuguese beer tastes like piss. I’m sorry to all the Portuguese out there but it’s true. And I’m Portuguese, so I can say it. If you have tried Belgian or German beer, don’t even bother trying. If you don’t want to follow our advice, there are basically two main beer companies that dominate the market: Super Bock and Sagres. The first one is produced in the north and therefore more popular there, while the latter is the opposite.

General prices

Portugal is still a cheap country when compared to other western European countries. If you visit, you may finally know how a Swiss feels like when visiting Germany. Of course it all depends on the region and places you go (Lisbon is always more expensive), but it’s still possible to find the below prices:

  • Espresso – 0,50 € or 0,60 €
  • Meal at inexpensive restaurant – 5,00 €
  • McMenu at McDonald’s – 5,50 €
  • Coke/Pepsi 0,33 l – 1,20 €
  • Water 0,33 l – 0,90 €

Alcohol Policy

Drink wherever and whatever you want, no worries. Wine is the equivalent of juice in this country. You can drive a car with a blood alcohol content up to 0,5 g/l without any legal consequences.

Drug Policy

Although drugs are officially illegal in Portugal, the policy is quite flexible regarding soft drugs. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be afraid of strict consequences. In Portugal, the subject of drugs is treated as a health problem and not a criminal one.

Safety

Portugal often appears in the top 5 of the safest countries in the world and that says it all.

Emergency numbers:

Portugal’s country code – +351

Single emergency number in Portugal – 112