Guidebook Updates for Portugal

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on Portugal, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Portugal

  • If your passport is due to expire within six months of your ticketed date of return from Europe, you need to renew it. Allow plenty of time to renew or get a passport, especially while a backlog of applications is causing significant slowdowns — see the US Department of State's travel site for current estimated processing times.

For books printed before January 2023, the following may also apply:

  • For drivers paying highway tolls, the three-day, €20 prepaid card that includes unlimited travel for those driving a car registered outside Portugal is now called the Virtual Card (formerly called "TOLL Service").

Coimbra

For books printed before January 2023, the following may apply:

  • If you show up at King João's Library without an advance ticket, try showing up early — before 10:00 — at the ticket office inside the New Cathedral, across from the Science Museum (this office was previously at the Biblioteca Geral).

Douro Valley

  • Dinner prices have increased significantly at the Quinta de la Rosa outside Pinhão: Options for a three-course dinner now are now €45 with no wine, €55 with regular wines, and €65 with reserve wines; reservations are required (email cozinhadaclara@quintadelarosa.com). Tours of the quinta are now offered daily at 11:30, 14:30, and 17:00 (now €22.50); reserve ahead for these on their site.

Évora

For books printed before January 2023, the following may apply:

  • Melanie Wolfram is no longer offering tours.
  • The "In Town: Evora City Tour" bus is no longer running.
  • The Adega do Alentejano restaurant has closed.
  • Pousada dos Lóios is now officially called the Pousada Convento de Évora (though most locals still use its old name).

     

Lisbon

For books printed before January 2023, the following may apply:

  • The Aerobus shuttle between the airport and the city is completely out of service.
  • There is no longer an overnight train running between Lisbon and Madrid. Flying may be your fastest and even cheapest option, as plane tickets can go for just $40. Otherwise it's an 8–9-hour bus ride ($65, 2/day) or a longer, less convenient train ride ($70 without a rail pass, 1/day, at least 9 hours with two connections).

Porto

For books printed before January 2023, the following may also apply:

  • Construction of a new Metro line (to connect São Bento to the Casa da Música) will block major city center streets at Avenida dos Aliados and the Clérigos Tower until its projected completion in 2024. Expect interruptions to bus and trolley service, including vintage trolley #22.
  • The Bolhão Market has reopened after a lengthy renovation.

Sintra

For books printed before January 2023, the following may apply:

  • We recommend buying tickets in advance for the Moorish Castle, Pena Palace, and National Palace.
  • It's no longer possible to drive up to or park at the hilltop castles (Moorish Castle and Pena Palace). Parking is also restricted in the center between 8:00 and 19:00. If you're coming to Sintra with a car, park in lots outside town and take the free shuttle into town; bus #434 can take you up to the castles.
  • Casa Miradouro is now handling reservations only via Booking.com.