Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Cultural GatG, Digital Nomad GatG, History GatG, Music GatG, Ocean GatG, Wellness GatG, Wine GatG
If you’re looking for a fantastic travel destination that is perfect for solo female travellers, Portugal should be on your list. This beautiful country in Europe offers plenty of activities and attractions for all kinds of solos. You can surf, sightsee, visit wineries and learn about Portuguese history as you visit stunning castles.
I spent a month in Portugal and loved my time here. To help you plan a solo trip to Portugal, I've put together a solo guide including the best places to visit in Portugal, how to get around and recommended tours and accommodation for solos. Just click on the relevant section or read the full article for Portugal solo female travel.
N.b. By booking through this page for your Portugal solo travel, you are helping to improve the lives of vulnerable girls about the globe. Thanks for helping.
- Solo Female Travel in Portugal
- Is Portugal Safe For Solo Female Travellers?
- Places To Visit on Your Portugal Solo Trip
- Best Places To Stay in Portugal For Solos
- Tours in Portugal
- Yoga Retreats in Portugal
- Travelling Around Portugal
- Best Time To Go To Portugal
- Portugal Airports
- Map of Portugal
- Beautiful Places in Portugal
- Related Posts
Solo Female Travel in Portugal
Travelling alone in Portugal is relatively easy. That's why I've given it 4 out of 5 stars. The Portuguese are usually very friendly people who are passionate about their country, culture, history and traditions which makes for a very interesting and unique culture. It's also easy to get around and you can get by if you don't know any Portuguese although Spanish can sometimes help in the rural areas if you're struggling with being understood in English.
Lisbon is a popular choice with digital nomads so you'll be able to meet others here especially if you join the Meet Up platform before you go. Selina is a chain of coworking places and hostels where you can mingle with others and attend their evening events. Portugal is also becoming a more popular destination for the wellness solo with plenty of yoga retreats here.
Is Portugal Safe For Solo Female Travellers?
Yes! In recent years, Portugal has become one of the safest countries in Europe. Violent crime is almost nonexistent and petty crimes like pickpocketing happen very rarely too. Portugal is safe and there are no known areas to avoid, but always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when travelling at night. Try not to walk around alone in dark or deserted areas, and be aware of your surroundings.
Places To Visit on Your Portugal Solo Trip
Portugal is located in southern Europe. It borders Spain to the west and north, France on its eastern border, as well as Morocco across from Gibraltar Strait. This beautiful country is home to some of the most stunning scenery in Europe, and it offers plenty of activities and attractions that are perfect for solo travellers. Portugal is divided into 7 different regions with the most popular being the Algarve in the south, Lisbon the capital, Porto and the north, central Portugal, and Alentejo. I've included an overview of the best destinations for solos below.
Lisbon is the country's hilly capital. It's built on seven hills so you'll need some comfortable walking shoes to get around. One of the best ways to see Lisbon is on foot, and there are plenty of walking tours available. This is a great way to learn about the city's history and culture while getting some exercise too!
The Castelo de São Jorge is a great place to visit if you want to learn about Portugal's history and culture. It was built by the Moors in 1147, but after being captured by Christians around 1250 it became a royal palace for many years until becoming state property again in 1834.
The Jeronimos Monastery is one of Lisbon's most popular tourist destinations and it's easy to see why. This beautiful monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the architecture is simply stunning. Take a ride on the tram especially one of the historic trams, as they offer the best experience. Lisbon's trams are a fun way to get around the city, and they offer great views of the scenery too.
Portuguese food is delicious so make sure to sample some local food when you're in the capital. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Lisbon. Be sure to try some of the traditional dishes like bacalhau (salt cod) and Pastel de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Take a food and wine tour or cook your own Pastel de Nata in a cooking class with a local baker.
When you're in Lisbon make sure to visit the Belem Tower. It's one of the iconic photos of the city and is a must-see for anyone visiting Lisbon. It's located on the banks of the Tagus River and offers views of the cityscape. Belem also produces its own version of Pasel de Nata called a Pastel de Belem. Cycle along the river from Lisbon to Belem on an electric bike tour!
Cascais is a small town in the Lisbon region of Portugal. It's known for its beautiful beaches, great restaurants and lovely architecture and is only 30 minutes from the city by train. One of the nicest beaches here is Guincho with gorgeous sand dunes just north of Cascais. If you don't mind walking, take a hike past the marina to the Santa Marta Lighthouse for an amazing photo.
Sintra National Park
If you want to escape the city, take a day trip to Sintra National Park. Located in the foothills of Portugal's Sintra Mountains, this small town is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and some of the country's most beautiful buildings including Palácio da Pena (Palace on top) which looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale!
An hour's drive from Lisbon heading up the coast is the small town of Peniche. Peniche is located on an estuary with gorgeous sand dunes which makes it perfect for surfing. The nearby beach in Baleal has great waves, so you'll never be far from some good surf spots.
If you're not into surfing you can visit the Museu Municipal de Peniche to learn more about the history of Portugal and its traditions. The museum is located inside the chambers of the Peniche Fortress. Get a good view of the town and beach from the Phare de Baleal (the lighthouse) or just watch the surfers catching the waves whilst sipping a smoothie from one of the cafes in Baleal. It's a friendly place to meet other surfers.
Ericeira is a small fishing village in Portugal that's known for its surfing, seafood restaurants and colourful houses. It has become increasingly popular with tourists over the years but retains much of its charm thanks to the local people who are very friendly towards visitors from abroad.
Things to do in Ericeira include surfing at Ribeira D'Ilhas, one of the most popular beaches for surfing in Portugal and trying some of Ericeira's delicious seafood at one of the restaurants located right by the ocean.
Just 30kms from here is Mafra National Palace (30kms away), an impressive 18th-century Baroque building with over two thousand rooms that was originally built as a royal residence but now houses a library and museum.
Obidos is a small town located in central Portugal. It has been designated as one of the country's Seven Wonders because of its historic significance and beauty! One of the best things to do here is to walk along Óbidos' medieval walls, which date back to the 12th century. The walls been restored in recent years by local volunteers using traditional methods such as lime mortar and hand tools.
Monsanto is further inland. This small village located in central Portugal is known as the most Portuguese village in Portugal. It is famous for its unique and strange-looking architecture. The houses are built between and under huge granite boulders which have been shaped and carved over the years by the wind and rain. Walk through the narrow streets and alleyways of this charming little village and enjoy the views of the rock formations that make up its buildings.
Coimbra is a city in the Centro Region of Portugal. It's known for its university, which is a must-see when visiting this city. One of the oldest in Europe, the University of Comibra was founded in 1290 and is one of the most well-known universities in Europe. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Head to the north of the country and see the UNESCO city of Porto, with its historic centre and baroque churches. Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and is known for its world-famous port wine houses, one of the most appreciated tipples in Europe. You can visit the Port Wine museum to find out more about port wine.
But port isn’t the only thing to be found here. Porto has many museums and galleries for those who want to learn about Portuguese culture or history. The most famous here is the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, the oldest in Portugal. For contemporary art, head to Rua De Miguel Bombarda, a vibrant street with art galleries and cafes. Consider purchasing a Porto Card that gives access to museums and public transport if you're planning to be here for 1 to 4 days.
Rua de Santa Catarina is the city's main shopping area where you'll find other restaurants and cafes within its pedestrian area. Avenida dos Aliados is a beautiful avenue within the city with grand buildings such as the Porto City Hall with its 70-metre tower monumental tower.
Porto is a beautiful city and the best way to get a feel for this city is by walking around it. Walk along the River Duoro or explore Praca da Ribeira, one of Porto's picturesque areas. This riverside quarter has Medieval streets and alleyways that lead down to the Douro River.
Hop on the funicular across the river to see the city from above or take a boat cruise to see the city's several bridges. There are many interesting places nearby that are worth visiting, such as the cities of Braga and Guimarães, or the Douro Valley. It's worth spending a few days here if you're interested in history or culture.
The Duoro Valley
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, there is a region that shouldn’t be missed. Just along the border from western Spain is the area known as Douro. This region is known for its picturesque landscapes and vineyards that produce some of the best port wines in the world. If you're a wine lover, this is definitely an area that you should visit and it's easily accessible on a day trip from Porto. Day trips usually include wine or port tastings and a boat cruise along this stunning river. This is the Duoro Valley tour I took.
Between Porto and Douro is Cinfaes, on the bank of the river Douro. Here is where you’ll find traditional villages in the Montemuro hills which you can visit and trek to, as well as historical monuments. You can also pick up unique Portuguese handicrafts within this area.
Another area that is easy to reach from Porto is Braga (approximately one hour by train). Braga is a city in the North region of Portugal. It’s the country’s religious centre and is known for its cathedral which is the oldest in Portugal). Just outside the city is the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, a popular pilgrimage site that features a large baroque staircase leading up to a statue of Jesus Christ. It's definitely worth a visit if you're interested in religious history and architecture.
The Coa Valley
Near the Spanish border is the Coa Valley. Heritage here dates back thousands of years, and there is even prehistoric rock art to be found within this valley in the northeast of Portugal. You can find engravings of mountain goats and horses from as far back as 22,000 BC as well as long-legged warriors with tiny heads from the Iron Age. The Coa Valley area is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and archaeological park.
If you want to spend your days lazing on sun-drenched beaches, indulging in beautiful seafood restaurants and nights enjoying a wild partying strip, then Portugal’s premier party destination is the perfect place for the beach and party girl about the globe. Albufeira is in the Algarve region of the country.
This coastal city was once a fishing village and is now one of the popular destinations making it easy to meet other tourists here too. With a stunning Old Town area that’s packed with gorgeous restaurants and chic cocktail bars to enjoy, the infamous Albuferia strip is located only 20 minutes apart from each other.
Just a 40-minute drive from Albufeira is the city of Faro. The Algarve coast is known for its beautiful beaches, so make sure to spend some time relaxing on the sand while you're in Faro. The most popular beaches are Praia de Faro (a long sandy one) and Praia de Marinha which is known as one of the best in the world.
* Read more: Best Luxury Accommodation in The Algarve
Alentejo is a region in southern Portugal that's known for its rolling hills, cork oaks, vineyards and olive groves. It's a great place to visit if you're interested in nature, history or wine. Visit one of Alentejo's many charming villages, each with their own unique character and history.
Or take a walk or bike ride through the vineyards and olive groves that make up this beautiful landscape whilst sampling some of the region's delicious wine at one of its many wineries. One of the most popular things to do in Alentejo is to visit the medieval town of Monsaraz which is located on top of a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside.
For the history girl about the globe, head to Evora. Founded by Romans, this city is known for its ancient ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Site cathedral, and colourful tile-covered buildings. Take a walk through Evora's historic centre where you'll find charming cobblestone streets, old churches and houses covered in beautiful Portuguese tile work that feels like stepping back into time!
Make sure to visit the Roman Temple of Diana – one of Portugal's most famous monuments from antiquity! Evora is a great place to visit if you're interested in history and want to see some beautiful Portuguese architecture.
N.b. Portugal also owns the Azores and Madeira Islands. Read here for Solo Travel To Madeira
Best Places To Stay in Portugal For Solos
Portugal has all types of accommodation for different budgets. Stay in hostels or apartments in the cities, villas in the beach areas, guest houses or 3 to 5-star hotels. For something a bit more authentic you may prefer to stay in a pousada, a historical building such as a castle that has been restored into tourist accommodation.
Hostels are a great way to meet other solos when you’re travelling alone and some have private rooms so you can still have your own space too. Hostels that I have personally stayed in and recommend are: Selina in Porto, and Selina Peniche, Oasis Backpacker’s Hostel in Sintra. In Lisbon, the best hostels I stayed in are: Lisbon Forever Hostel, and New Lisbon Concept Hostel.
I have personally stayed in all of the accommodations listed below and recommend them as solo female-friendly. For all other accommodation, click on the link below and search for the solo traveller reviews.
Is there anywhere better to stay in the capital of Portugal than a 19th-century palace? This hotel is simply stunning and is fit for the royals and Prince Charles has even stayed here! This hotel is one of the best hotels in Lisbon and one of the leading hotels of the world. But it does come with a price tag.
Olissippo Lapa Palace was also the World Travel Awards Winner in 2019 as the ‘World’s Leading Classic Hotel.’ Simply put, this stunning hotel has the ‘wow’ factor. Built in 1870, the hotel has three sections; Villa Lapa, the Palace Wing, and the Garden Wing. The hotel is romantic and elegant with beautifully manicured gardens and great views of the city and River Tagus.
- Prices from £343 / €412 per night for a double room
- To book, check prices or availability for Olissippo Lapa Palace
If you are looking for a comfortable hotel in Lisbon with all the amenities, consider the SANA Malhoa Hotel. The SANA Malhoa is located in the Sete Rios district, just a 5 minute walk from the Placa do España metro station.
In a contemporary design, the rooms are modern and decorated in light wood with plenty of natural light. They’re also soundproofed meaning that you can have a really quiet night’s sleep. Rooms also come with a safe to lock up your valuables when you go out for the day and there’s also an unlimited coffee machine in your room (you pay a €1).
What I love about this hotel is that the staff are friendly and welcoming, the buffet breakfast is delicious and there’s also a Sayanna Wellness & Spa where you can work out, have a sauna or unwind in the jacuzzi.
- Prices from £127 / €153 per night for a double room
- To book, check prices or availability for SANA Malhoa Hotel
I loved this apartment with its luxury design and living wall concept. The apartment was really clean and light. The bed and sofa were really comfortable and the kitchenette had everything I needed to cook my own meals. It’s also close to the famous Lello Bookshop, plus it’s just a 2 minute walk from bars and restaurants so it’s a great place to stay if you want to go out in the evenings. It really felt like a taste of luxury for a few nights. The apartments don’t have the name on the outside and look like a residential building so don’t get lost finding them like I did.
- Prices from £61 / €73 per night for a deluxe double room
- To book, check prices or availability for Oporto Lux Apartments
This clifftop accommodation is where I stayed in the Algarve. As well as fantastic views, a choice of bars and an infinity pool, one of the best features of this five star hotel is the 2 Michelin-starred restaurant offering sumptuous cuisine, and there is also a wine cellar containing vintage finds. If you’re into health and wellness, you can pamper yourself in the spa or practise yoga and meditation (there’s even aerial yoga).
Situated in an expansive 50-hectare estate, since it opened in 1992, it has quickly become the pinnacle of luxury accommodations in the area and through the years, even in spite of the introduction of newer names, it has remained unmatched and one of the best places on the Algarve to stay. Choose from a double room, premium suite or premium suite with terrace.
- Prices from £317 / €380 per night for a double room
- To book, check prices or availability for: Vila Pita Parc
Tours in Portugal
Travel to Portugal on your own and you'll be able to navigate your way around but if you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your Portugal trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company that mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours to Portugal have an average of 12 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
Trips start from a 7-day Highlights of Portugal tour starting in Lisbon and ending in Porto. Or spend 8 days on the Discover Portugal trip that also includes Evora. If you are planning to include Spain on your itinerary, they also have a 14-day adventure experiencing the Best of Spain & Portugal or join their 10 days 18-to-thirtysomethings Spain and Portugal tour. There are several variations to choose from. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Lisbon Free Walking Tour – Walking tours are ideal for meeting others and getting an overview of the city. Lisbon’s Free Tour runs twice a day in the mornings and the afternoons and is free to join. If you enjoy the tour, you just tip at the end! The tour lasts 2.5 hours and takes you to Lisbon’s most important sites.
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including Portugal. Choose from a Lisbon sunset sailboat tour with drinks, a Pena Palace and park entrance ticket, a live Fado show with a glass of port wine or a dolphin watching and cave tour in the Algarve. They use local tour companies and guides and there are several to choose from including Douro Valley tours (which I booked through here). Some of the tours require a minimum of 2 people but there are plenty to book as a solo and it's really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online. Read my review here or click the link below for all tours.
Yoga Retreats in Portugal
I love this platform. I booked my last yoga retreat in Portugal through them and found it really easy to use. I stayed at Oasis Backpacker’s in Sintra for 4 days and recommend the yoga teacher. This complex has everything you need from a supermarket to a Nomad Cafe selling smoothies, a pizza restaurant and the best sushi restaurant. The beach is just a short walk away too. For 4 days/3 nights, this yoga holiday costs €275.
For other yoga retreats, Book Yoga Retreats list yoga and meditation retreats all around the world so you can find the perfect duration for you whether you're searching for a 3-day weekend retreat in Portugal or a week-long surfing and yoga retreat. Search by days, destination, price or most popular.
Travelling Around Portugal
Portugal is a great country to travel around by car and hiring a car is the best way to get around Portugal. The roads are well-maintained, there is lots of parking available and plenty of places to stop and visit along the way. If you do drive, be aware that the roads around Sintra National Park is mountainous and windy so you may feel more comfortable getting local buses for this region. I have previously used Discover Cars and recommend them. * Check prices for car hire in Portugal
If you don't want to hire a car, you can also get around using trains and buses. Train travel is comfortable and convenient, but it can be expensive depending on where you want to go. You can take the train from Lisbon to Cascais and Sintra National Park for example. To get to the more rural areas such as Peniche you'll need to take a bus.
Buses are a great way to get around, especially if you're not comfortable driving on the right side of the road. The Rede Express bus network is extensive and covers most of the country. There's also Flix Bus which is a cheap alternative to the Portugeuse buses. You can travel from Lisbon to Porto with them.
Best Time To Go To Portugal
Portugal is okay to visit any time of year depending on the activities that you want to do. The best time to visit Portugal is during spring (March to May) or autumn (September and October) when the weather isn't too hot and there are fewer tourists around. If you enjoy Christmas markets, you may prefer to visit Lisbon in December when the city is decorated with Christmas lights.
If you’re planning on surfing in Portugal and you’re a beginner, May to September are good months to visit. For the more powerful swells, the best time is the end of the winter to the beginning of the spring.
The winter months can be quite cold and rainy so be prepared that it may be cold inside some of the buildings as heating doesn’t seem to be very common. Especially in the northern part of Portugal such as Porto. The Algarve tends to be hotter so head to the south if you’re looking for heat. The weather chart below shows the annual temperatures from January to December for Lisbon.
Here are the three busiest airports in Portugal.
Lisbon Airport: This is the main international airport in Portugal and is located just outside of Lisbon. A taxi into the city will cost you approximately €14 for the 8-minute journey. Buses cost between €5 – €15 and take 12 minutes or you can catch the metro which can be the cheapest option at €7 and takes 16 minutes. Check here for how to get to and from Lisbon Airport.
Porto Airport: The main airport in Porto is called Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) and is 6 miles away from the city centre. A taxi to or from Porto Airport from the city will cost approx €25 and takes 20 minutes (depending on traffic). The metro is the cheapest option at €3 which leaves every 30 minutes and takes 27 minutes, or you can take a bus costing up to €14 for the 30-minute journey. Check here for how to get to Porto Airport.
Faro Airport: This is the main airport in the Algarve region and serves many international flights. A taxi from here into Faro will cost you approximately €12 for the 7-minute journey or take the bus for €4 which takes 18 minutes. Check here for how to get to Faro Airport.
Feel more confident travelling to Portugal alone with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solos.
Can I drink the water in Portugal?
The water in Portugal is generally safe to drink, but it's always best to stick with bottled water just in case. You can find bottled water almost everywhere in Portugal, so you won't have any trouble finding it.
Is tipping expected in Portugal?
It is not expected to tip in Portugal, but it's always appreciated! If you do want to thank someone for their service or kindness then it's good manners to leave a few euros behind. The average tip amount is around €0.50 per person at restaurants and cafes; however some people like giving more depending on how much they've enjoyed the service.
Is Portugal good for vegetarians?
Portugal is not the best place for vegetarians or vegans, as many of their dishes contain meat. However, you should be able to find something that suits your needs. Happy Cow has a list of vegan restaurants in Portugal. Just make sure that when ordering at restaurants they don't add any non-vegetarian items like chicken broth or eggs into vegetarian dishes such as risotto or pasta without asking first.
Are there ATMs in Portugal?
Yes, there are plenty of ATMs all over Portugal. Just make sure that you have your debit or credit card on hand as not all machines accept foreign cards. You'll be able to find an ATM in most towns and villages, as well as at the airport and train stations.
What language do they speak in Portugal?
The Portuguese language is one of the most spoken languages in the world and has over 250 million speakers worldwide. It's a Romance language that's derived from Latin, so it's quite similar to Spanish and Italian. If you're planning on travelling to Portugal, then it's definitely worth learning a few basic phrases!
What is the currency? The currency in Portugal is Euro (EUR).
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