boats parked in a harbor with buildings and trees

Countries are racing to refresh the light bulbs on their neon “open” signs, and get people moving again. As to actually booking, a lot comes down to logistics of getting there, affordability and what you’re faced with on arrival. You could easily argue that all the above make the case for Portugal being an amazing choice for summer travel, if and when your government advises it’s alright to do so.

a yellow trolley on a streetYeah, It’s Open

One key distinction in summer travel this year is also going to be “where’s open”, or at least open to you. As of the time of writing, Portugal is open to most of the world and flights currently exist between the USA, throughout Europe and beyond.

Portugal is among the early countries in Europe to welcome visitors not only from European origins, but also international destinations further afield. There’s nothing stopping a US citizen from visiting, as soon as a couple weeks time when Europe officially reopens. Here’s the latest travel advice for Portugal.

Value Everywhere

Following in the footsteps of Emirates, Qatar and others, which have been impactful in bringing visitors to a country via a steady funnel of air traffic, TAP Portugal is making huge strides. You care, because they’re doing so with really great airfare deals in each cabin. They’re regularly among the cheapest options in economy, and the same in business class.

How cheap? TAP recently sold $168 round trip fares from US cities to Barcelona, with the option to do a free multi day stopover in Lisbon or Porto along the way. That’s pretty amazing.

Social Distancing Is Natural

From the Douro Valley, full of rolling hills (and yes, amazing wine) to Madeira mountains and cliffs and trails along the Atlantic Ocean, social distancing is everywhere in Portugal, because of most of the draw is natural beauty. The wine, nor the food hurt in adding extra draw. Camara De Lobos is simply stunning.

Basically, cities like Lisbon and Porto are wonderful for a few days of good weather and mostly outdoors wandering, but getting out of the cities and into the natural beauty of vista like Portal Do Inferno are a must. It’s just under two hours from Porto, in case you were wondering, but there are hundreds of others. Hike, bike, swim, it’s all there.

boats parked in a harbor with buildings and treesVillas For The Win

Cities like Lisbon and Porto are incredible to take in with plenty of hotels offering safe travel options, but the peace of mind villas bring is tough to beat right now. Your own pool, no outside guests, room to cook… it’s all pretty great, and if you throw in views of the sea that’s pretty stellar.

Portugal, with options like the Algarve, has always been one of the most affordable villa destinations in Europe, with houses replete with pools and barbecue grills for under $1000 a week, with enough bedrooms for multiple families. Yes, you’re talking about houses with pools, with 3 or more bedrooms for around $1000 all in. Here’s insights into a few great options…

Deliciously Affordable Food

Travel and affordable aren’t always thrown into the same sentence, but much like villas, food in Portugal is extremely reasonable, and if times get tight, you can probably live on a couple pasteis de nata, the dreamy local favorite pastry which won’t run you more than $2 a day.

Just perhaps try not to live on them for too long, since they’re mostly pastry and heavenly custard. Looking for other great, often cheap options? Head for caldo verde – the simply wonderful soup, feijoada, arroz de tamboril, piri piri chicken, bacalhua – a lovely cod dish, or bifanas, the simply wonderful Portuguese sandwich.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. This may sound picky but the headline refers to travel this summer, 2020, but the really great airfare you link is for 2021.

    1. It’s for both, and had expired but thought it was a good data point of what kinda offers have been out there. Sorry it’s not as hoped.

  2. I’d skip it if I were you. I don’t think you’ll like the history of police enforcement there especially in areas like Bairro da Jamaica. Portugal has a long history of racism. It’s also not a great place for income equality.

  3. Booked yesterday to Lisbon and a good deal at Intercontinental for August bank holiday. Only hope the UK have dropped the 2 week quarantine by then otherwise I’ll have to cancel.

  4. I keep seeing on several travel/miles blogs that Portugal is open to US visitors. How is that possible? The EU’s external borders are closed?

    Even if they are open, I’m assuming you couldn’t take a flight that connected through the rest of Europe, like CDG or AMS.

    Am I wrong? I’m ready to book now if ‘Muricans can go.

  5. “Portugal has a long history of racism. It’s also not a great place for income equality ” … DaninMCI, i don´t know where are you from or if you have ever been in Portugal, but we are not racist ( of course there´s racists everywhere ). Portugal is one of the peacefull and welcoming countries in the world with so much to see, explore and taste. And i don´t say it as a Portuguese, it´s a fact.

  6. Sorry, @S.G. I was poking a bit of fun or irony at Gilbert for his prior post about racism and trying to point out that there are racists everywhere. Portugal is a fabulous place to visit.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *