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10 reasons to go on Erasmus to Portugal

Portugal is a popular destination to study abroad. Learn the 10 reasons why you should do your Erasmus in Portugal.

Portugal is an increasingly popular destination for Erasmus students. Read here the 10 reasons to choose Portugal as your Erasmus destination.

Geographical location


Portugal is located in southwestern Europe, specifically on the Iberian Peninsula. The country is bordered to the east and north by Spain, and to the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. The location of this country will allow you to visit Spain in a really easy way, and if you want to visit other countries you can easily do it by plane.


The official language of this country is Portuguese, being the fifth most spoken language in the world and the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique, among other countries. Although it can be a somewhat complicated language to learn, the truth is that if you speak Spanish, Italian or French it will be easier for you, since all these languages are quite similar in structure and vocabulary.

If you do not know Portuguese, we recommend that you take a course before you leave, so that you can integrate more easily. If you already know the language, doing your Erasmus in Portugal is a great opportunity, because if you interact with local people you will be able to improve your level.
However, here are some everyday expressions that can help you to manage during your Erasmus stay in Portugal:

  • Good morning: Buenos días
  • Hello, how are you?: Oi, tudo bem?
  • Welcome: Bem-vindo/Bem-vinda
  • Yes/No: Sim/Não
  • I don't speak Portuguese: Não falo Portugês
  • I did not understand/do not understand: Não percebi/Não entendo
  • Thank you: Obrigado/a
  • Sorry: Com licença

Climate in Portugal

The climate in Portugal is Mediterranean, which makes it one of the countries with the most pleasant climate in Europe. It is rare for winter temperatures to be below 0ºC, and the average annual temperature is 20ºC.
Obviously, there are variations depending on the destination you choose to do your Erasmus in Portugal, so we recommend you to always check the weather forecast for that region. For example, if you decide to do your Erasmus in Faro the winters will be mild and the summers will be warm, due to the presence of the sea. In the north of Portugal it is generally colder because the oceanic influences are more present.

Transportation in Portugal

Portugal is a fairly cheap country in general, so you will be able to move around the country for a relatively low cost. Getting around Portugal is an easy task as there is a wide variety of means of transportation. We recommend that you make use of public transport, trains and buses in Portugal, as it will be more expensive to travel by car.

Public transport in Portugal
Public transport is cheap, as you can buy a monthly pass in Lisbon or Porto for about 30 euros, compared to more than 70 euros in Paris. However, if you go to inland areas of Portugal, public transport is more limited. In general, the public transport network works very well and timetables are strictly adhered to.

Trains in Portugal
All trains are operated by CP (Comboios de Portugal) and there are routes that cover almost the entire country. There is also an Interrail type country pass for Portugal. It is a bit expensive but if you are going to make a more or less long journey it can be profitable, and so you can visit part of the country.

Buses in Portugal
Bus services in Portugal are managed by both public and private companies, depending on the region. There are different types of bus services: urban, intercity and regional. The latter connect all the main cities of the country, so if you decide to do your Erasmus in Portugal you will have no problem to move around the country.

Gastronomy in Portugal

Portugal's gastronomy is one of the country's great assets. Due to its location, it is often based on seafood and is classified within Mediterranean cuisine, with great influence from Spanish, Arab and former Portuguese colonies.

Some of the most typical dishes that you will find and that we recommend you to try are the following:

  • Francesinha. It is a very popular dish in Oporto and consists of a white bread tapa stuffed with a mixture of sausages, sausages, cheese and beef fillet, all covered by a spicy sauce.
  • Caldo verde. This is a very cheap dish and consists of a soup of mashed potatoes with strips of cabbage and a little olive oil.
  • Sardines. They have become one of the most typical dishes in Portugal, especially if they are grilled. In fact, it is very common to find specialized souviners' stores in the country where they sell cans of canned sardines, which are very attractive and colorful.
  • Feijoada. Although there are many versions of this dish, its main ingredients are beans and pork.
  • Pastéis de nata. These are small puff pastries filled with a cream prepared with egg yolk, sugar and milk. The most famous are the Pastéis de Belém, in Lisbon.
  • Bacalhau (cod). You can find many ways to prepare it: a la Lagareiro, com natas, a Brás, etc. In fact, there is a Portuguese saying that there are 365 different ways to cook bacalhau - one for each day of the year.

Cost of living in Portugal

This is one of the main advantages that the country has, because if you decide to do your Erasmus in Portugal you have to know that it is the cheapest country in Western Europe.

The most expensive cities in Portugal are: Lisbon and Porto.
The cheapest cities in Portugal are: Braga, Aveiro, Coimbra and Monsanto.
For more information about accommodation, go to, where you can find apartments and rooms, always 100% verified so you don't have to worry about fraud.

Discover in Santander Smartbank guide more information about the cost of living in Portugal and other tips for your Erasmus.

Party in Portugal

As Portugal is an increasingly popular destination for Erasmus students, you will find many cities full of university students and students from all over the world, resulting in an amazing student atmosphere.

The best cities to party in Portugal are:

  • Albufeira. You will find both the old town and the marina party, with plenty of variety of nightlife.
  • Lisbon. It offers a great variety of options to party and enjoy with friends. In Bairro Alto people tend to gather in the bars. Some of the most popular nightclubs are also located here.
  • Peniche. There is usually quite an atmosphere at night and often the parties last until the morning, but be careful, surfing is not compatible with big parties.
  • Coimbra. It is the largest university city in Portugal, so you will always find a great student and nightlife atmosphere.

Places you must visit in Portugal

If you like to know and discover places, you will love Portugal. Here are 8 possible plans and places to visit.

  • Beaches and coves of the Algarve.
  • Sintra.
  • Óbidos.
  • Historical center of Évora.
  • Historical center of Coimbra.
  • Cliffs of Lagos.
  • District of Ribeira, Porto.
  • Hiking in the national park of Peneda-Genês.

Main monuments in Portugal

At this point, we want to give you a summary of the main monuments (many of them declared World Heritage by UNESCO) that you cannot miss if you do your Erasmus in Portugal:

  • Pena Palace, Sintra.
  • Belem Tower, Lisbon.
  • Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra.
  • Guimaraes Castle.
  • Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga.
  • Convent of Christ, Tomar.
  • Monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaça.
  • Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon.

Character of the Portuguese

Portuguese people are characterized by being very humble, hospitable and very polite, so it is normal that you will hear the expression 'com licencça' (excuse me) very often. They are also very friendly, especially if you try to talk to them in Portuguese, but don't worry, even if you don't speak their language they will make an effort to communicate with you.

Frequently asked questions from students doing Erasmus in Portugal

How much does it cost to live in Portugal?
As we have explained above, it depends a lot on where you live, but in general, Portugal is a cheap country. Through our search engine you will be able to find the best prices, comparing between different accommodation websites.

What is student life like in Portugal?
The student life is very active and lively, as many students choose to do their Erasmus in Portugal. In Portugal you can make many plans: travel, go out partying, or get to know its culture and history, among many other plans.

How much does student accommodation in Portugal cost?**
It will depend on the city and the type of accommodation you choose. You can compare prices through our website quickly and easily. Also, remember that all the apartments are 100% verified.

How much is the Erasmus scholarship to study in Portugal?
The Erasmus scholarship for destinations in Portugal is classified as Group 2 in the Erasmus scholarship; which classification is made based on the cost of living in the country. The financial aid will be between 220€ and 420€ per month.

We hope we have helped you in your choice of destination. Send us your comments and we will be happy to publish them to help more students in need.

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