We all want to get great value for money, so I’d like to show you where I find the best Portugal travel deals for hotels, car rental, flights or tours. Whenever I start planning a trip, whether it’s within Portugal or to other countries, there are certain ‘go to’ sites that I always consult.

I’ve also negotiated special discounts for you with certain local tour companies so look for the discount codes below.

I keep this page as up to date as possible so it’s always worth checking back for new deals and special offers.

Last update: 1st December 2019


Accommodation resources

Online booking platforms for hotels, villas and apartments

I’ve been using Booking.com for over 10 years and it’s still my first port of call when it comes to finding accommodation. I haven’t had a problem with a booking in all that time and get great ‘Genius’ discounts.

The reviews are from verified guests and therefore more reliable than on some other sites. I also find it easy to compare facilities between places on my shortlist. Most accommodations allow you to cancel or change your booking for free so you can plan ahead without commitment.

Search Booking.com for accommodation deals

The benefit of using Hotels Combined to book your accommodation is that it finds you the best deals available from a range of sites, Booking.com included.

It’s easy to compare like-for-like prices because their search results tell you exactly what you get, e.g. breakfast included, twin beds.

Compare hotel prices on Hotels Combined

Accommodation rented by owners

I’ve used AirBnB several times in Portugal and Europe with only one hiccup. By renting a room or apartment directly from a local, you may find yourself in a more residential neighbourhood and have a more ‘local’ experience. Be aware that if there’s a problem, the support you need may not be readily available from offsite hosts.

AirBnB can be a good option for those wanting to stay a month or more to scope out a possible place to live as there may be a discount for longer stays.

Claim your €35 AirBnB credit

If you’re not already familiar with Vrbo, it stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner so in many ways there are similarities between this and AirBnB. Use the website to filter your search for unique homes and apartments rented out by individuals rather than chains.

 

Search Vrbo to find the perfect property for you

Vrbo is actually part of the HomeAway family but some of you may be more familiar with this branding, depending on which part of the world you live in. This website is easier to filter for specific amenities such as balconies and barbecues than AirBnB. It also includes a checkbox for long-term rentals which may be of interest to people considering relocating to Portugal.

Search thousands of privately owned vacation rentals.

To see my top picks for where to stay in different places in Portugal, check out these destination-specific accommodation guides.

 

 

Interesting alternatives to traditional accommodation offers

Although housesitting doesn’t necessarily involve looking after animals, that’s the most common reason for people wanting others to stay in their homes while they’re away. I’ve used Trusted Housesitters, which matches sitters with homeowners.

Housesitting can be a fantastic way of getting free accommodation, especially if you’re interested in staying in Portugal for an extended period to decide whether or not you want to live here.

Find available house sits

If you’re interested in a more in-depth cultural experience, as well as bed and board, in exchange for your skills and labour, Workaway is a well-respected platform for connecting hosts with volunteers. For a small annual fee, you can search for and apply to individuals and small organisations that need some help.

It’s worth considering if you want to immerse yourself in a language you’re trying to learn, too.

Learn more about Workaway


Travel Insurance

You never know what might happen to ruin your trip so it’s a good idea to take out travel insurance before you leave home. There are many companies and policies to choose from so it pays to compare the cover to make sure it suits your specific needs.

World Nomads is a reliable international travel insurance company – see a detailed review here. They cover travellers for trip cancellation, medical emergencies way beyond the EHIC card (for EU citizens) and your belongings. Try the quote simulator below:

 

If you live in the UK or EU, you could consider Globelink. I’ve had to make a claim through them under very unusual circumstances and they were flexible enough to pay out so I continue to use them. They also cover a lot of pre-existing medical conditions, which is helpful.

Get a quote using their simulator


Transport

 

 

One of the things I love about the Rentalcars.com car rental search and booking engine is that you can see which car hire company you would be using.

The booking is made through Rentalcars.com and the car is supplied by your preferred rental company at your chosen location.

Although you pay up front, there is usually free cancellation so you can book ahead to get the best prices (check the terms and conditions to make sure).

Check current rates for car rentals with Rentalcars.com

I have yet to use this car pooling service but it’s been around for a few years. Bla Bla Car is a platform for connecting drivers who want company and/or to spilt costs with travellers looking for an economical or more entertaining way of getting to the same destination.

You can filter your searches for women only or levels of chattiness so if there’s no point talking to you before your third cup of coffee, opt for a less talkative driver. Or use the ride share as an opportunity to practice your language skills.

See how BlaBlaCar works

I’ve used Europcar a few times in Portugal and always been satisfied with their service. They have offices in several of the smaller towns, such as Peso da Régua in the Douro which makes it easier to avoid one-way rental fees. Office hours may be restricted, especially at weekends so plan carefully.

They’ve also started offering bicycle and motorbike rentals in some locations.

Search Europcar for vehicle rentals


Tours and transfers

Whether you need airport transfers, a Lisbon Card, hop-on hop-off bus tours, food tours, boat trips, private experiences or workshops, Get Your Guide has a whole range of activities and services to choose from.

The good thing is that they offer free cancellation (check the conditions) so you can book ahead with confidence.

I like that you can check reviews and they also show which tour company actually provides the service, unlike other tour booking sites.

Book tours and transfers through Get Your Guide

Viator is another popular tour booking platform and is part of TripAdvisor. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Get Your Guide, it’s worth taking a peek at what Viator have to offer.

The booking system is simple to use and they issue refunds promptly if you cancel within the terms. The only thing I dislike is not knowing which tour company is supplying the tour until you’ve paid.

Search tours and transfers on Viator

Exclusive reader discount codes for Portugal tours

Some of the tour operators I’ve had the pleasure of working with offer my readers a 5% discount on their tours. Note: You must mention the specific codes below when you make a booking.

Singulartrips specialise in private cultural tours, especially food and wine related.

5% discount code: 

JULIE5

Culinary Backstreets offer food-related walking tours in various cities around the world, including Lisbon.

5% discount code:

FOX5

Go Walks Portugal are based in Coimbra and specialise in cultural tours of the city and Central Portugal.

5% discount code:

JULIE5

 


Portugal guide books

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