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Cheap flights to Portugal

Portugal overview

Portugal Travel Guide

 Portugal is located at the southwestern tip of Europe. It’s the “face” of Europe in the same way that Italy is Europe’s “boot”. Staring out into the Atlantic Ocean, it was from here that the explorers sailed around the world, discovering new lands.

More recently, Portugal has become synonymous with bucket-and-spade Algarve vacations. In addition to its beautiful beaches, Portugal has a rich cultural heritage, bounteous natural attractions such as reserves, parks, an untamed Atlantic coast, gorgeous islands (the Azores, Madeira), and a friendly and welcoming people. All are excellent reasons for booking cheap airline tickets to Portugal. Once you get there, you’ll be entranced by the easygoing Portuguese way of life.

An added bonus is that Portugal is, still, a comparatively inexpensive European destination. Lisbon, its capital, is set across seven hills and bordered by the River Tagus. Apart from its charming neighborhoods and its fado singing clubs, bars and restaurants, one of the best things is using its public transportation. Funiculars and an elevator connect the lower and upper parts of the city.

If you crave picturesque natural scenery, idyllic weather and miles and miles of coastline, then book a flight to Portugal. Take a flight to Portugal and visit one of Europe’s most unpretentious, but undeniably beautiful countries. Portugal has enough UNESCO World Heritage Sites to keep any nature-lover happy and enough cultural marvels to render any traveler awestruck. Portugal’s past seeps through in present-day Portugal. Annual folk festivals, quaint fishing towns and the simple savoring of fresh seafood and rich wine uphold the Portuguese way of life.

Find a cheap flight to Portugal and explore medieval towns, windswept coastlines, and romantic hideaways. Relax on the beaches in the Algarve, shop for pottery in Porto, wander the open markets in Lagos, party with the locals in Lisbon, or remain reclusive in one of the luxury resorts in Portimao. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be grateful you booked a flight to Portugal.

What’s the weather like in Portugal?

Summers in Portugal can reach 85 F and are hot and dry. It’s quite nice on the coast though, where the eastern sea breezes cool the summer air. The northwest parts of the country get heavy rains from the end of November through the beginning of March.

 When is the best time to fly to Portugal?

Peak Season: Flights to Portugal are packed in the summer months, when the long, sunny days and comfortable nights cooled by the tidal winds of the Atlantic have visitors flocking to the shores from all corners of the globe. In Portugal, summer temperatures are in the mid-70s; winters are rainy and cool. However, even in wintertime, the Algarve enjoys balmy temperatures. The average temperature is 57 degrees. Summer temperatures hover about the mid-70s, soaring to 86 in July and August. Madeira and the Azores have mild temperatures all year. Temperatures range between 66 degrees in winter and 75 degrees in summer.

Off-peak Season: The transitional times between winter and summer tend to be the best for booking Portugal cheap flights, when the beaches are less crowded and the rates are lower throughout the months of spring and fall.

January and February are the quietest times of the year and it is when you’ll find the cheapest flights to Portugal. You’ll have to settle for cooler weather and perhaps even a bit of rainfall but overall you can enjoy the off season thanks to the low amount of tourists. Cheap flights are available from October to November and March to April too, which are great times to visit thanks to the pleasant weather but small crowds. Just be sure to research any events or festivals as this will really drive up the cost of your flight tickets.

When is the best time to book a flight to Portugal?

You’ll find the best times to book your flights to Portugal is around spring and autumn due to the weather, cheaper flight tickets and lower tourism rates. You’ll still want to secure your flight tickets a couple of months in advance but you’ll likely find the cheapest flights to Portugal. The off season also provides cheap flights to Portugal but you are sacrificing the weather aspect, however if you don’t enjoy being overly hot then the off season can be perfect. If you are flexible with your location and with the time of the year you want to travel then you’ll find the cheapest flights to Portugal, especially if you book in advance.

How long is the flight to Portugal?

Portugal is served by 5 major airports, with Lisbon, Porto and Faro being the busiest. How long your flight takes depends upon where your trip originates. If you take off from Chicago or Seattle, your flight to Lisbon Airport should take about 12 hours, but you should expect a layover. Flights from New York City are relatively “short” by international standards, and you should arrive in Porto within eight hours – after a stop in Lisbon. Flights from Tampa to Faro usually take anywhere from 12 to 16 hours with a stop or two.

Which airlines fly to Portugal?

Flights from the United States to Portugal are typically operated on multiple legs through multiple carriers. Airlines offering service on these flights include Delta, United, KLM, Air France, Turkish Airlines and Ryanair. Be advised that several of these carriers only offer seasonal service, and plan your trip accordingly. Search Cheapflights for great deals on travel throughout Portugal.

What should you pack for a flight to Portugal?

 Even with its location on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s weather is mild throughout the year although northern areas can experience snow in the winter. Temperatures in January rarely drop below 50 degrees F, and the average temperature in midsummer never really rises above a breezy 80 degrees. Throw a couple of sweaters in your bag along with a light jacket to ward off the evening chill, and you should be set for the balmy days and cool evenings along the Portugal coast.

Portugal experiences its highest rainfalls through December and January. Travelers should be sure to bring along and umbrella and raincoat for outdoor excursions. The mild Mediterranean climate of the majority of the country is easily enjoyed in short sleeves and slacks; although, the farther north you go, the chillier the days will be, with Porto averaging 65 degrees F even in mid-July.

Getting to and around the city of Portugal

 Lisbon Airport:

At only 4 miles away from the center, it is relatively easy and cheap to get to the city after your flights to Portugal. The easiest method is to take the metro directly from the airport. The journey takes about 30 minutes and you might have to change lines depending on your final destination but generally it’s the best way to travel. Failing that, buses are an option but you can only board them if you have no more than 1 piece of hand luggage with you. Taxis are also a viable option but it is the most costly method of transport from the airport.

 Porto Airport:

Again the metro is probably the best choice here if you are looking for cheap and quick transport. You can travel to practically any part of the city as well as neighboring towns making trains a great option for you. There is a selection of private buses too that provide drop-offs anywhere on request and can be organized once you arrive at the airport after your flights to Portugal. If you don’t want to take a bus or the metro then a taxi is an option, just make sure to agree on a fee before you travel to avoid being over-charged.

Faro Airport:

There are no trains available from the airport in Faro but there is a bus which goes directly to the center. When you leave the airport on the left hand side you’ll see the bus Terminal. The buses leave about every hour so you shouldn’t be kept waiting too long to get one, although they can be quite crowded sometimes. On the right hand side as you leave the airport is the taxi stand. A taxi is considerably more expensive than the bus but you won’t have to wait around and you can split the fare if you’re not traveling alone.

Because of Portugal’s popularity as a major European travel destination, cheap flights to Portugal touch down at a handful of airports throughout the country.  Once you’ve collected your luggage and passed through customs, Portugal’s network of trains and busses will help you reach your final destination efficiently.  Rede Express and Renex are two bus companies that specialize in cheap coach travel from Lisbon to other popular Portugal destinations such as Faro, Oporto, Braga and the resort cities in the Algarve.

On the Azores, there are airports in Ponta Delgada, Santa Maria and Angra. There are inter-island flights and ferries too.

The bus network is good and inexpensive and links Portugal’s biggest towns and cities. The Alfa Pendular train runs from Braga (to the north of Porto) to Lisbon and on to Faro. Intercity and regional trains offer a good network throughout the country.

Lisbon has an underground metro system. Using one of Lisbon’s old elevadores (funicular railways) is a tourist must-do.

Auto Jardim, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Nationa/Alamo, Rentauto and Sixt are some of the car rental companies that can be found at the major airports.

Taxis are also relatively inexpensive.

What are some things to do in Portugal?

From the sandy beaches and cliffs of Algarve in southern Portugal to the rich history of the Lisbon, there’s always something to pique the traveler’s interest in this country that offers everything from beautiful coastline to vineyards, rolling farmland and resort-style golf courses.

Land in Lisbon, and soak up the culture of this Mediterranean country. A visit to the Maritime museum enthralls children with a history of seafaring going back past the pirates, while the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte offers visitors a breathtaking view of this capital city, stretching out to the Atlantic ocean. Sample seafood favorites from the waters of the sea, including grilled sardines and salt cod – national dishes. When visiting Porto, make sure to sample some of the world-famous port wine the region is known for.

Head south to the resort enclaves between Faro and Lagos to experience sunny days on the beach or golf course before heading in for a night in the club with your love. Before you head back, make sure to take a walking tour of Faro and visit the “Bishop’s Palace,” a Renaissance-era cathedral that withstood the bombs of WWII.

Adventurers live for exploring the Azores, featuring 9 volcanic islands and dozens of opportunities for whale-watching and shopping in quaint fishing villages. Spend some time at the hot springs before heading for home.

Whatever city or region you choose to visit in Portugal, your trip should begin with a visit to Cheapflights for affordable booking.

Tips for your stay in Portugal

  • As the departure point for Portuguese explorers in the 16thand 17th centuries, Lisbon has been a bustling cultural capital for hundreds of years and is home to unique literary, musical and artistic traditions.  Spend an evening out in the cobblestone streets of Bairro Alto, and keep your ears open for the haunting refrains of the fado, Lisbon’s own nostalgic musical genre.
  • The Douro Valley in Costa Verde produces the region’s famous port wine, which is savored by viticulturists who book flights to Portugal each year, eagerly waiting a sip of the new vintage.  Porto, the capital of the region, is full of historic taverns on ancient cobblestone streets that invite visitors to enjoy glasses of port wine before snuggling in at their Porto hotel.  An aged bottle of port makes for an excellent memento, but be sure to check the rules and regulations regarding customs before boarding your return Portugal flight with a premier bottle of port.
  • The beaches of Costa Verde are a must-see. Favorite stretches of sand include the beaches of Lagos, Cascais, Praia de Leirosa and Ponte de Lima. For a truly spectacular fall evening, take a drive to Cape St. Vincent in the Algarve and watch the sunset on a cool fall night. The naval fort at Cape St. Vincent is where Christopher Columbus was said to get his sailing instructions from the Queen. According to seamen, this point is the western most point of the world and where you’ll see some of the most colorful and awe-inspiring sunsets. Hotels in the Algarverange from luxury resorts to rented beachside homes.
  • Fatima is a spot of spiritual importance, and visitors from around the world book flights to Portugal to take part in a pilgrimage that draws them to this town 76 miles north of Lisbon. In 1917, three children claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, and the Basilica of Fatima was later built to commemorate the event.
  • Prince Henry the Navigator’s fortress is in Sagres. It was at this most southwesterly point in Europe that the prince worked on his dream to explore the unknown lands beyond Portugal. Beyond the fortress, the land drops sharply; 46 metres into the briny, stormy Atlantic. Next stop, America.
  • Alentejo, the south-central region of Portugal, is a great base for exploring Neolithic and Roman sites. Its name translates to “Across the Tagus” or “Beyond the Tagus”. Some of the must-sees in this region include the Moorish castle of Alcácer do Sal; Beja, an ancient Roman town, and later, Muslim cultural centre, with Gothic and Renaissance buildings too; and Castelo de Vide, a pretty spa town, often referred to as the Sintra of the Alentejo.
  • Naturtejois a relatively newly designated Unesco Geopark in central Portugal, near the border with Spain. It covers 4617 km sq. There is a trekking network with more than 260km of trails, boat trips and geokayaking in the Tagus and Zezere rivers and minibus tours. It is renowned for its fossils and the village of Monsanto is a must- visit.
  • The Azores, some 933 miles off the coast of Portugal in the North Atlantic Ocean, is one of the best places in the world to see whales. Nature enthusiasts can go whale-watching in the Azores, with some boats staffing experienced marine biologists. Pico is the closest base to the whales’ feeding grounds. In April/May and September/October the migrating Blue, Fin, Sei, Minke and Humpback whales can be seen.
  • Madeirais a popular spot for tourists. Each year thousands of travellers take cheap flights to Portugal – and then on to Madeira – for the island’s climate, cuisine and slow pace. The island is a particular favorite of British tourists.

 Finding Flights from Portugal

 Whether you’re booking a round trip or moving on from Portugal to the next leg of your great adventure, finding flights is easy on Cheapflights. The majority of airlines that offer service to Portugal also offer service back or beyond. Book a flight on major carriers, such as Air France, KLM, Delta, United and British Airways. Again, some airlines only offer seasonal service throughout the heavier tourist times, so you’ll want to make sure your dates are set before you begin to look.

 

International flights out of Portugal can mean extended waiting periods through baggage check and security, so you’ll want to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to make it to your gate with 30 minutes or so to spare. Most airlines and airports recommend arriving two hours before scheduled departure for transatlantic flight so that you’ll have plenty of time should delays occur.

Portugal airports offer a range of transportation services to get you to the airport, including the subway and trams in Lisbon, and private cars, limos and shuttles throughout the country. If hiring a private car, it’s a good idea to make sure they are approved by the airport for ground transportation before entering the vehicle or exchanging money.

Ready to learn more about Portugal’s airports and travel opportunities? Find our Portugal Airport Guides [] for more information about planning your trip and getting around town once you’ve arrived.

Most popular destinations in Portugal

(prices quotes are from London)

LIS - Lisbon
OPO - Porto
FAO - Faro

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