Once an under-the-radar gem, word about Portugal has gotten out. This small country is surprisingly diverse, offering travelers stunning beaches, beloved cities, and rugged countryside, not to mention delicious local wine.Just make sure you’re prepared for your trip and that you pack all the essentials, including a US to Portugal power adapter. You’ll need it to charge your phone so you can keep taking pictures of your trip!
Which power outlets do they use in Portugal?
The electrical outlets in Portugal are the same as those in neighboring Spain: Type C and Type F. They both have two round holes, but Type F also has two grounding clips, while Type C is ungrounded. In Lisbon and throughout Portugal, Type F tends to be the more common outlet type. Type C and Type F plugs are interchangeable, meaning both can take either plug type; they both work with Type E plugs as well, which are normally used in France.
Portuguese outlets usually sit in a round indentation in the wall, so your plug head needs to be able to fit inside it. Unlike the U.S.(but like the rest of Europe), Portugal’s electrical grid operates on a frequency of 50 Hz and a voltage of 230V. However, there are some older properties in Portugal that use a 110V system or a combination of 110V and 230V.
Portugal Power Adapter
If you haven’t been there before, one of the questions you’ll be asking before your trip is probably, “What plug do I need for Portugal?”
Coming from the U.S., you’ll need an adapter with a two-pronged plug type. As long as your US to Portugal power adapter has two round pins and can fit into the rounded sockets in the wall, it will work. However, it’s safer to use a grounded adapter, especially for devices with a grounded plug, so a Type F adapter is ideal.
Electricity in Portugal
Portugal’s electrical infrastructure isn’t quite as advanced as in most of Western Europe. Although power outages aren’t a huge problem on a day-to-day basis, they do sometimes occur and can be caused by storms, strain on the electrical grid, or maintenance issues. Using too many electrical devices at once is also likely to cause the circuit breaker to trip. Another issue is that electrical surges are more common in Portugal than in other Western European countries, so it’s especially important to unplug devices when they’re not in use.
Do I Need A Voltage Converter In Portugal?
Electrical appliances need to be rated to (or above) the voltage of the electrical grid you’re using, which is usually 230V in Portugal. Electric razors, blow dryers, and curling irons are most often rated to 110V-120V if they’re made in the U.S. – and if you plug them straight into a 230V Portuguese outlet, it could shock you or start a fire.
If you want to use one of these items during your trip, you’ll need a US to Portugal voltage converter in addition to your power adapter. If you plan to travel a lot, you might want to invest in separate European-friendly appliances instead, which you can order online.
Other Portugal Packing List Items
In addition to your US to Portugal power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our Portugal packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Neck Wallet
Portugal is a very low-crime country, but pickpocketing and bag snatching do occur, especially in the touristy areas of Lisbon. Fortunately, you can prevent it from happening to you by using a neck wallet. Instead of carrying valuables in your pocket or bag, where they can easily be stolen, keep them in a neck wallet when you’re out.
2. Packing Cubes
If you hate having to unpack your entire bag to find one missing item, you’ll love using packing cubes. Just fold your clothes into the cubes and then pack the cubes into your bag. It’ll be much easier to find things, and your bag won’t explode every time you open it. If you’re a neat freak (or traveling with one!), a set of packing cubes will be a game-changer.
3. Lipstick-Sized Charger
If you’ve ever opened a mapping app in an unfamiliar place only to have your phone die, you know how important it is to keep the battery charged. Fortunately, all it takes to recharge your phone while you’re out is a tiny charger that weighs almost nothing.
4. Extra Phone Charging Cables
The other phone-related essential you’ll need is a charging cable. Better yet, bring an extra one. These are easy to misplace (or leave plugged into the wall in your hotel room when you check out), and you won’t even notice you’re carrying an extra.
5. Jet Lag Relief Pills
Portugal is only four hours ahead of the East Coast of the U.S., but that’s enough for most people to experience jet lag (and it’ll be worse if you’re coming from the Western U.S.). Bring some jet lag relief pills to help you adjust, so you don’t spend the first few days of your trip in a fog.
6. A VPN
People associate VPNs with accessing Facebook in China, but they’re useful for much more than that. Logging onto different public Wi-Fi networks all the time, as most of us do while traveling, can put your Internet security at risk. However, using a VPN will protect your data and privacy, no matter where you are.
7. Travel Insurance for Portugal
Travel insurance is something many people overlook, but it should be considered essential. U.S. health insurance usually won’t cover treatments abroad, which means you’d have to pay out of pocket if you get sick or injured in Portugal. To make sure that doesn’t happen, sign up for a travel insurance plan before you go. We recommend Faye for their convenient app that lets you take care of all things travel insurance-related (e.g., finding coverage, making claims, and getting reimbursed) straight from your phone without having to deal with any annoying paperwork.
Other FAQs about traveling in Portugal
1. When to Travel to Portugal
Like most of Europe, Portugal’s peak tourist season is summertime, when the weather is warmest. However, the popular sights get extremely crowded then, and prices go way up. The better times to visit are the Spring and Fall, when it’s less busy.
In fact, most people will find the slightly cooler temperatures of the shoulder seasons more comfortable than the heat of peak summer, especially in the southern part of the country. If you’re primarily planning a beach vacation, early Fall is the best time to visit, as the water is still cold in the spring. Be sure to check current Portugal travel advisories before you go.
2. What’s the weather like in Portugal?
With a temperate Mediterranean climate and low elevation, Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Western Europe. There isn’t too much variation across the country, but the mountains in the northeastern area are the coldest, while the Algarve is the hottest and driest.
Summertime highs in most of the country are around 80 degrees, and the heat can extend into early fall. Winter highs are around 60, and rain is common in the central and northern parts of the country. Snowfall is rare outside of the mountains.
What to do in Lisbon?
Lisbon has recently emerged as a top tourist destination, and for good reason. A ride on Tram 28 is one of the most popular things to do, and it’s one of the best ways to see the city. There are also tons of walking tours in Lisbon, some of which focus on specific topics.
Or you can just wander historic neighborhoods like Belem and Alfama on your own. For some of the best views over the city, ride up the Santa Justa Elevator, located inside a 19th-century gothic tower. Another must-see is the National Tile Museum, dedicated to the decorative tiles that make Portuguese architecture so unique.
3. Where to go in Portugal?
Portugal might be small, but it would take a long time to run out of things to do there. Porto is a can’t-miss town, home to the country’s top cultural institution, Serralves (not to mention the world-famous port wine). Sintra is equally alluring, with three different palaces and a Moorish castle.
The Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary near Braga is another impressive architectural wonder, with its famous zigzag staircase. No trip to Portugal is complete without some time at the beach, either, and the best ones are found in the Algarve.
4. How to Get Around in Portugal?
A small country with lots of public transit options, Portugal is fairly easy to get around. Portugal’s train system, operated by the government-run Comboios de Portugal, connects much of the country. Ticket prices are lower than in most of Western Europe, and many of the more scenic routes are attractions in themselves. Numerous private companies operate long-distance buses, which reach even the more rural areas of the country.
Unlike in most of Europe, some buses are faster than the train and can be the more expensive option. BlaBlaCar is also popular for long-distance travel in Portugal. If you want more freedom, it’s easy to rent a car; however, be aware that Portugal has one of the worst road safety records in Europe. Lisbon has extensive public transportation, including a metro, trams, and buses. Porto is the only other city with a metro system; local buses run in the other main towns, but travelers often find them confusing to use. Uber and other ride-sharing apps are available in the main towns, though they’ve been especially controversial in Portugal.