Which country is cheaper, Portugal or Ireland?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Should I visit Ireland or Portugal? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which country has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.
|Culture & History|
|Scuba Diving & Snorkeling|
Ireland is a green, historic, and cultural country. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include water sports, hiking, shopping, and museums.
Ireland is a unique country with a deep historic culture, a beautiful countryside with rolling green hills, exciting cities, and friendly people. You'll find good food, interesting natural landscapes such as the Giant's Causeway, terrific hikes through the countryside, surfing at the beach, and cultural experiences in the cities.
Portugal is a charming, captivating, and coastal country. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. And you can't forget about the adventure travel, history and culture, nightlife, and food.
At the western end of Europe, Portugal has a long history of exploration as well as beautiful countryside, gorgeous beaches, and fun cities. Lisbon and Porto are thriving cities with an active nightlife scene, museums, historic cathedrals, and terrific cuisine. And don't forget about the wine which you can enjoy in both the cities as well as in the vineyards of the countryside. In the south, the beautiful Algarve region has a unique coastal landscape with a mix of small towns and resort areas. Inland you'll find beautiful national parks with hiking, camping, and bicycling opportunities. And all along the coastline are small fishing villages along with larger towns rich in history and culture.
Below we will examine the differences and similarities between Ireland and Portugal. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Ireland and Portugal.
Ireland offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Visitors will find a variety types of museums all across the country. History, science, art, and kid-friendly museums are everywhere, showcasing the culture, history, and life of the Irish people. A few of the best in Dublin are the Little Museum, the National Museum of Ireland with its multiple branches, the Irish Whiskey Museum, the Kilmainham Gaol, Dublinia, and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum, among others. If you're visiting Galway, check out the Galway City Museum, Lynch's Castle, Monkey Business Children's Museum, or the Fisheries Watchtower Museum. Also, in Cork, the Cork City Gaol and the Crawford Art Gallery are visitor favorites, although there are many more.
Many visitors head to Portugal specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The big cities and smaller towns both offer plenty of museums of all types, from art and history to science and family-friendly museums. In Lisbon, don't miss the National Azulejo Museum to see the history and art of these unique glazed tiles. MUDE teaches visitors all about design, while MAAT covers art, architecture, and technology in a way that feels like a modern art museum mixed with modern science. For a local musical experience, check out the Fado Museum, or for international history don't miss the Maritime Museum which is dedicated to the famous Portuguese explorers who set sail across the oceans. Dozens more are found around the city, too. In Porto, don't miss the Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, the Museum of the Holocaust, the Tram Museum, and the World of Wine. This last one is actually 5 different museums focusing on not just wine, but also the agricultural production of wine, cork, and chocolate and their impacts on Portuguese society and history. The Pink Palace is fun for kids and adults alike, as the theme is Rose Wine with a variety of humorous selfie spots. The Chocolate Museum is always a favorite, too. Finally, a variety of port and wine cellars are found on the riverfront which offer museum-like tour experiences to see where and how the wines are made. Elsewhere in Portugal, you should see the astronomical observatory near Monsaraz, the Universo de Memorias Joao Carlos Abreu in Funchal, and the Museu de Portimao.
Lisbon: World renowned landmarks include St. George's Castle, Jerónimos monastery, the Belém Tower, Santa Justa Lift, and countless world class museums.
Ireland and Portugal both offer generally the same amount of history and culture to travelers.
Ireland offers world-famous historcal and cultural sights and attractions. This is one of the main reasons why so many people come here every year. Plenty of historical attractions are popular destinations for visitors, especially the castles, small historic towns, and huge monuments. At the Rock of Cashel, you can see the ruins of this historic and beautiful castle from the 12th century. Reginald’s Tower in Waterford is said to be the oldest building still standing in Ireland, and can be toured while also exploring the surrounding city. Glendalough is the home of a monastery and famous tower, as well as stunning natural landscapes. And at Newgrange, you can see this ancient 5000 year old megalithic cemetery. The Blarney Castle is home of the Blarney Stone, and is one of the most famous sites in the country. In Dublin, don't miss the Dublin Castle, the St. Patrick's Cathedral, or the Kilmainham Gaol, all of which showcase a selected period of Irish history. No matter which area of the country you visit, Ireland offers historic sights and attractions of all types for every age.
Portugal has many famous historic and cultural sights and attractions worth visiting, and is one of the main reasons why poeple come here. You can see the deep and rich history around every corner, especially along the coastline where historic fishing villages, castles, and famous cities are found. Lisbon and Porto might be the largest cities with museums, fortresses, and historic homes, but plenty of other smaller towns have long history and unique culture, too. Sintra has a gorgeous castle, the Pena National Palace. Coimbra's historic library and university leaves visitors in awe. In Lisbon, check out Belem Tower and St. George’s Castle before wandering the old historic streets of the old town, dotted with churches and quaint viewpoints. Carmo Convent and Jeronimos Monastery are also two very popular sites that draw large crowds because of their beauty and rich history. In Porto, the Luis I bridge provides a great overview of everything before you visit the historic wine cellars, Porto Cathedral, and the narrow, weaving alleyways through the historic city center.
Ireland and Portugal are similar when it comes to the big city activities.
Ireland has a few large cities with many activities to entertain visitors, too. Dublin and Cork are the largest cities in Ireland, followed by Limerick and Galway, but even these last two have small populations compared to other cities in Europe. In Dublin you can find plenty of restaurants, cafes, museums, universities, and historic sights. Outside of this city, it's hard to find the same urban vibe. The rest of the country has smaller cities and towns and plenty of rural areas with stunning landscapes, but lacks the large city environments.
Because of the large cities in Portugal, visitors will find many sights and attractions. Lisbon and Porto are the largest cities in Portugal, and they each offer a unique atmosphere and vibe. Lisbon was built on seven hills, and you can find one of them topped with a castle overlooking the surrounding area. Much of the old town area is a winding path of streets made out of steps. Cathedrals, museums, restaurants, and a great transportation network are also mixed in. Porto is the wine capital and straddles the river Douro with high bridges and colorful houses. Check out the wine cellars and wine museums along with the historical sights.
Ireland and Portugal are somewhat similar when it comes to visiting the smaller towns and villages.
Because Ireland offers so many small towns with a variety of charming activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. A few of the smaller towns in Ireland are some of the country's most popular travel destinations. Kilkenny has a nearby castle, abbey, a gorgeous cathedral, and a historic medieval area of town. Kinsale has a quaint harbor and colorful houses. Tralee on the southern coast has beautiful seaside views and stunning cliffs. And the ring of Kerry offers even more stunning coastal views and small towns such as Portmagee. Exploring the small towns of Ireland is an absolute requirement for any itinerary, as here you'll find the true local culture and history of the island.
As Portugal is a destination with many small towns and villages, visitors also come to explore the sights and local activities. In addition to the charming towns inland, almost the entire coastline is dotted with charming small towns, many of which were fishing villages in the past. While some of these costal towns have grown into modern beach resorts, others still have their historical charm with nearby churches, castles, and harbors. Many inland towns in the hills still retain their charm, especially those located in beautiful mountain areas. Some of the best places to visit are Sintra with its castle, Marvão in the Alentejo, Amarante in the north, Monsanto with its castle ruins, and Pinhão in the Douro River valley surrounded by vineyards.
With a variety of venues, both Ireland and Portugal provide options for theater-goers.
Ireland offers a few theater venues for visitors. Local theaters with community productions can be found in many smaller cities. In Dublin, if you're looking for a show, check out the Abbey Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre, the Smock Alley Theatre, or the Olympia Theatre. Elsewhere in Ireland, make sure to visit the National Folk Theatre in Kerry (Siamsa Tíre), or the Druid Theatre in Galway.
If you have some extra time in Portugal, take in a show. In Lisbon, visitors can see popular Broadway-style plays, operas, musicals, concerts, and more. The most famous theaters include Campo Pequeno, Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, Teatro Sao Charlos, and Teatro Maria Vitoria, among others. In Porto, you can take in a show or concert at the Casa da Musica and the Theatro Sa da Bandeira. Opera, orchestra concerts, ballet performances, and musicals are some of the most popular shows here, too.
Dining out at restaurants in both Ireland and Portugal can be an enjoyable experience.
Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Ireland. Traditional Irish foods can be found at many restaurants around the country. One of the most popular dishes includes various forms of Irish stew that use meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Shepherd's Pie takes this stew and adds a layer of mashed potatoes to the top. Colcannon and Champ is a form of mashed potatoes that mixes in cabbage, onions, and sometimes bacon. If you're tired of potatoes, salmon in various recipes is also common and popular. Also try the black and white pudding, which is actually blood sausage and not dessert. Other popular dishes include vegetables cooked into stews with local herbs. Of course, the local beer is quite popular, too. And don't miss the more interesting forms of Irish soda bread as well.
Portugal has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. As a coastal nation, seafood here is fantastic, but it's not the only type of cuisine available. Popular traditional dishes begin with the small but famous custard tart known as Pastel de Nata. It's easy to get them at bakeries and street vendors. If fish is what you're after, try the bacalhau (salted cod), or any of the other terrific cod dishes such as a bras where it is mixed in with potatoes and eggs in a casserole. It's also popular to have cod (or other fish) fried, sautéed, or boiled along with potatoes and other veggies. Octopus is another favorite which you should try, as it's usually boiled or steamed and served with olive oil and potatoes. If you seek land food, try the Iberian black pork, the duck rice, or the Francesinha, which is a meat and cheese sandwich with an interesting variety of ham and pork. In addition to the traditional dishes, you'll find plenty of other European cuisines in restaurants around the nation, as well as global dishes. So, there's something for everyone. The local breads and cheeses are terrific, and it's quite easy to grab a breakfast at a local bakery or sit down for an affordable, casual, and delicious meal almost anywhere in Portugal.
Lisbon: There are many local restaurants as well as food tours and cooking classes that you can enjoy. Make sure you try the local favorites like bacalhau à brás, frango no churrasco, and pastel de nata.
Porto: The area's cuisine combines the ocean setting with the agriculture of the surrounding area, so you'll enjoy both seafood dishes as well as fresh meats and vegetables. The area is also famous for its Port wines and red wines.
It's hard to distinguish whether Ireland or Portugal has a better nightlife scene.
Ireland has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Dublin and Galway, as the two largest cities, are the obvious choices for nightlife. Dublin claims to be one of the party capitals of Europe, and offers a variety of venues from bars and pubs to undergrounds nightclubs, as well as theater, fine dining options, and relaxed bars and cafes where you can have a drink with friends. Galway has a similar scene with a mix of bars, pubs, and nightclubs, many with live music and plenty of dancing. In Cork, much of the nightlife scene is dominated by the student population of the area, as large universities are nearby. Check out SoHo and the other spots on the Grand Parade. Plenty of other towns and smaller cities offer an array of pubs, bars, and clubs, too.
Dublin: Temple Bar is where you'll find the greatest concentration of pubs and nightlife. The city is among the friendliest and most welcoming, and this is seen even in the vibe around town at night.
The nightlife in Portugal has something for everybody. Lisbon and Porto both have very active nightlife scenes. In Lisbon, the city center is full of bars and nightclubs that come alive after the crowds enjoy dinner at a variety of restaurants and cafes. Theater productions are also popular in Lisbon. In Porto, you'll find plenty of activities centered around wine and port, naturally. Also, the city center here has a large number of bars and dance clubs. The downtown area of Porto has seen a significant resurgence of bars and clubs at night in recent years. Other smaller cities, especially around resort areas, can have a vibrant nightlife scene, especially during the busy summer months.
Lisbon: It is a bustling city with a lot of energy late into the night. There are countless bars, clubs, and music venues that cater to every personality type and style.
Albufeira: It's probably the most infamous party destination in the Algarve and it won't disappoint. During the peak summer months you'll find the streets around the popular "Strip" filled with tourists and party-goers. There are hen and stag parties, backpackers, and drunken travelers out for a good time. The Strip has become so popular that there are now bars and clubs on the adjacent streets as well. If you're not staying in the area, you'll likely want to take a taxi, as it's a couple kilometers outside of the town center.
Portugal tends to offer a wider variety of resorts than Ireland.
Portugal is known as a popular and fun resort destination. With such a long stretch of coastline, beach resorts are very common. Towns in the Algarve such as Portimao and Albufiera have smaller hotels, but if you travel out of the towns along the coastline you'll find larger beach resorts, some of which are all-inclusive. The same can be said for the smaller towns on the Atlantic coast, where historic fishing villages are mingled with larger resort properties. While some of these larger resorts are adult-only, most are family-friendly, and a range of prices and luxury is offered.
Faro: Popular resorts include Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa, Conrad Algarve, and Tivoli Carvoeiro.
Portimao: The area has all types of resorts, from all-inclusive options to luxury or more family-friendly. Many of the resorts are surprisingly affordable and offer easy access to the beach.
Lagos: As a resort town, you'll find no shortage of places to stay in the area. If you don't have a car, your best options are in the historic center. If transportation isn't a concern, then you'll find plenty of great resorts in the Marina, Meia Praia, Dona Ana Beach, Camilo Beach, and Porto de Mós Beach.
You might not think of Ireland as a resort destination, but it has a few places. Although the number of resorts is not large, the best resorts in Ireland tend to be the historic manor houses and castles that have been transformed into large, luxury hotels with plenty of comfortable amenities. Some of these are located on the coastline, while others are inland, and they all tend to be in more rural areas surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Generally, you'll find better scuba diving and snorkeling in Portugal than Ireland.
Portugal has a few good snorkeling spots. The Azores are an island chain to the west of Portugal in the Atlantic, and here visitors will have much better diving and snorkeling experiences. This is generally considered to be one of the best diving regions of Europe. Near Santa Maria Island, for example, divers can see manta rays, tuna, barracudas, and amberjack. The waters are clear and provide excellent visibility. Also, the Madeira Islands are part of Portugal and can be found to the west of Morocco. A number of terrific dive locations can be found here, too, such as those near Funchal. The Algarve coastline offers pretty good visibility in its clear waters, and a variety of dive shops provide boat trips out into the waters during the warmer months. Many spots have wrecks which are worth visiting, too. Some fish and wildlife can be seen in the shallower areas located a bit off of the shoreline. The cities of Lagos, Portimao, and Albufiera have dive centers.
Most people don't go snorkeling in Ireland. Despite the colder weather, this country actually has some nice diving areas, as the water tends to be fairly clear. Not far from Cork or Donegal, it's possible to dive around some shipwrecks. The marine life is also abundant, as visitors can see dolphins, crabs, basking sharks, large species of fish such as mackerel, and many cold-water species not found in more tropical areas.
Most people pick Portugal for its beaches over Ireland.
Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Portugal. With a huge stretch of coastline, you'll find plenty of fantastic beaches both on the Atlantic coast and the southern Algarve coast. Furthermore, the Azores and Madeira Islands are part Portugal, too, and offer even more terrific beach resort areas. The coastal landscapes are diverse and beautiful. The southern coast around Lagos, Portimao, and Albufiera has beautiful sea cliffs with unique beach coves. Along the Atlantic coast you'll find rocky hills and wide sandy beaches, such as in Praia da Adraga near Sintra or Praia de São Bernardino in Peniche. This seafaring nation has so many great beaches and something for everyone.
Portimao: The stunning beaches are a major draw to the area. They are sandy and feature a backdrop of dramatic red cliffs. The most popular beach in town is Praia da Rocha, which can get crowded during the summer months, but it is quite large so you should still be able to find a spot. The strip behind the beach is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and a casino. If you want to avoid some of the crowds you can make the walk down to Praia do Vau. Families often enjoy Praia de Alvor, which has a boardwalk that leads to Ria de Alvor nature reserve.
Lagos: The beaches are long, flat and sandy with beautifully dramatic rock formations. The largest beach in the area is Meia Praia and arguably one of the best beaches is Praia Dona Ana. For convenience, Praia da Batata is the closest beach to town. Praia de Porto de Mós is one of the more quiet beaches, but it's still along a bus line. For beautiful nature head to either Praia dos Estudantes or Praia dos Pinheiros.
Albufeira: With their golden sands and blue waters, the beaches are world class. The area also has a diversity of beaches that are perfect for all types of vacationers. For water sports, head to Praia dos Alemaes but for relaxation and catching some rays check out Praia da Falesia. You'll find some interesting rock formations at Praia dos Olhos de Agua. One of the most convenient beaches to town is Praia dos Pescadores. For nightlife you'll want to head to Praia da Oura.
See also The 10 Best Algarve Beaches.
The beach in Ireland is worth checking out. With a huge amount of coastline, this island nation has plenty of beaches. Some are in protected coves, while others are more exposed and have large waves popular with surfers. Despite the colder temperatures, the beaches here can still be fun because the natural scenery is beautiful. Some of the beaches are in natural coves surrounded by cliffs, rocks, and epic views. Swimming is very possible and popular in the summer months with locals and visitors alike. A few of the most popular beach areas include Inchydoney Beach in County Cork, Dog's Bay near Galway, Strandhill near Sligo, Silver Strand in Country Donegal, and Portmarnock Beach near Dublin. However, there are many more to explore.
Shopping is a popular activity in both Portugal and Ireland.
Ireland offers some nice shopping areas. While the larger cities and towns such as Dublin and Galway have more variety of shops such as clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, and local galleries, even the smallest towns have nice shopping options. Some of the more popular local arts and crafts for purchase include tweed fabrics in Donegal, Aran Wool clothing items, and hand-crafted pottery. In Dublin, visitors can find several large shopping malls such as Dundram Centre, and more shops in George's Street Arcade, Liberty Market, and Cow's Lane.
Portugal has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. Lisbon and Porto both have a variety of shopping neighborhoods as well as malls and street markets. In Lisbon, you can find plenty of shops on the Avenida da Liberdade and the Chiado area. The Feira da Ladra is the best antique and flea market in the city, and is worth browsing through even if you're not planning to buy anything. In Porto, you'll find plenty of shopping along the streets in the historic center and downtown streets on the north side of the river, and more touristy shops on the south side of the river near the wine cellars. Rua de Santa Catarina has plenty of fashion boutiques, while the Mercado do Bolhão has a mix of food, souviniers, crafts, and more. Elsewhere in Portugal, smaller cities and towns will often have main shopping streets, and the beach resort cities will sometimes have fashion boutiques and local craft shops.
Lisbon: For high end shopping, head to The Avenida da Liberdade. It's lined with designer brands and luxury boutiques.
The Christmas season is a nice time to visit both Ireland and Portugal.
Ireland offers some nice Christmas activities. Dublin, Galway, Cork, and many of the other towns and cities put on huge light displays during the holidays. The public squares and town centers have Christmas trees, markets, festivals, and other activities. There's even a polar swimming plunge in Dublin. Some of the famous castles and manor houses also have holiday decorations and festivities which bring in large crowds. The local pubs in many small towns become the center of activity as people gather in the warm and brightly decorated establishments. Also, many of the hotels and smaller B&B's decorate their grounds and have special dinners and parties. For the best Christmas markets, head to Cork or Galway, or even Belfast in Northern Ireland.
Many enjoy the Christmas activities while in Portugal. Porto, Lisbon, and other cities often decorate the large squares with lights and other festive decorations. While not known for Christmas markets as much as other European countries, you can still find some holiday markets in the public squares, such as Rossio in Lisbon. The larger cathedrals have special services, and many cities have evening festivals and holiday concerts leading up to the 25th of December. Generally, Christmas Eve in Portugal is more important than the actual day, as many areas gather crowds looking for evening meals, shopping, festivities, and decorations around town.
If you're looking to go hiking, Ireland and Portugal both have various trails.
Ireland is a good destination for hiking. The rolling mountains and beautiful green countryside provide stunning hikes in all parts of the country. From the cliffside walks with epic views to the peaks in the interior of the island, there's a trail for everyone. Some of the most popular routes include the treks around Glendalough where you'll see the Spinc cliffs, waterfalls, and distant views of the lake. If you're looking for a mountain to hike, Diamond Hill in County Galway, Carrauntoohil in Kerry, or Slieve Gullion all provide stunning views, physical challenges, and plenty of wilderness opportunities.
Many people include a hike when visiting Portugal. Hiking trails are found all over the country, along the coastline and in the mountains in the interior. Hiking along the coast in the Algarve is a unique experience, especially along the Seven Hanging Valleys trail where you'll take on the sea cliffs, caves, and the small coves. Near Lisbon in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, you can't miss the trail from Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar where you'll see gorgeous beaches, old houses on the hills, and beautiful landscapes. The Serra do Topo trail in the Azores takes you through steep green hills overlooking the ocean, and it's breathtaking. Inland, the Covao dos Conchos trail is found in Serra da Estrela natural park, and here you'll experience scenic mountain vistas.
Visiting the national parks is a popular activity in both Portugal and Ireland.
Ireland offers some nice national parks that are worth visiting. The 6 national parks here offer stunning beauty and a variety of sights and attractions both within the parks and nearby. Five of the parks are along the western coast, and it might be best if you had your own vehicle to see some of all of them. Killarney National Park is part of the Ring of Kerry and was the first park. You can find historic manor houses, the largest mountain in the country, and a variety of wildlife. Wicklow Mountains National Park is on the eastern side, and in the area you'll find Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough with its famous round tower, and the beautiful Glenmacnass Waterfall. In all of the parks, you'll find hiking trails, epic views, camping, castles, gardens, local wildlife, and other activities such as bird watching, horseback riding, and more.
Portugal has some good regions for those that want to go visit national parks. While it technically has only one national park, Portugal has a large number of Natural and Nature parks to protect scenic areas and native wildlife. Douro International Natural Park, at the border with Spain, has epic mountainous landscapes as the winding river cuts through deep canyons. On the other hand Ria Formosa Natural Park offers a wide stretch of beautiful coastline to explore. Serra da Estrela is in the mountains, and has hiking trails and great views over the stunning landscapes. Southwest Alentejo and Vicenti Coast is part of the Algarve. It has stunning cliffs, nice beaches, and plenty of outdoor activities. Peneda-Geres National Park is another mountainous park with hiking trails and a unique ecosystem.
You can find a fairly equal amount of adventure travel opportunities in both Ireland and Portugal.
Ireland has some adventurous travel experiences that often attract visitors. Some of the most popular adventure activities here are sea kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, orienteering, hiking, caving, and more. Many of these activities are found in the countryside and coastal areas of the country, or around the 6 national parks. It's common for travelers to book a single-day tour to do some of these activities, as the guides or outfitter companies make it easy and accessible.
The adventure travel experiences in Portugal are worth exploring, even if they are limited to certain areas. Along the coast, surfing is very popular, as some areas of the Atlantic coast have massive waves. Kite surfing and wind surfing are also popular in many areas, too. Inland, you can find mountain biking trails, zip lines and ropes courses, bungee jumping from high bridges, kayaking in the rivers and along the coast, just to name a few. Rock climbing and canyoning area also popular as the landscape offers plenty of great opportunities. Horseback riding along the coast or in the mountains is also a popular way to see the gorgeous landscapes, too. Adventure seekers can find exciting activities almost anywhere in Portugal.
Both Ireland and Portugal offer an similar amount of mountain activities for visitors.
Ireland offers some fun activities and attractions in the mountains. While not too high in elevation, the mountains in Ireland still offer great views, terrific hiking opportunities, and plenty of outdoor activities such as camping, horseback riding, and more. The highest peaks are found in the MacGillycuddy Reeks range in County Kerry, and visitors here will find plenty of natural beauty along with outdoor activities and hiking trails. Wicklow Mountains National Park and the surrounding area is another very popular destination as it also combines mountain views with historical sights, hiking, waterfalls, and more. Killarney National Park is another area worth visiting due to the beauty of the lakes and mountains.
The mountainous areas of Portugal are worth exploring. The interior of the country has plenty of mountain ranges for those looking to explore. Many of the natural park areas are found in the mountains as well, and offer hiking, camping, horseback riding, cozy cabins, and more. The Serra da Estrela range is where you'll find the nation's highest peak as well as a unique ecosystem, a large network of trails (Trilhos Verdes), and beautiful valleys. You'll also find quaint mountain villages with hotels and restaurants where you can relax. Other mountain ranges worth visiting include the Montanhas Magicas (Magic Mountains), the Serra da Freita, and the Montemuro range.
While Ireland and Portugal both have plenty of watersports, overall Portugal is considered to be better for travelers seeking these activities.
With world-famous watersports and marine activities, Portugal attracts many visitors interested in seaside activities marine exploration, and adventure. Surfing is very popular all along the coast. In some areas of the Atlantic coast, you can find some of the largest waves in the world. Kite surfing and wind surfing are also popular, as is kayaking, canoeing, and boating both on the coast and inland on the rivers. The Algarve region in the south is especially popular with kayakers who wish to explore the unique sea caves and cliffs, such as those at Benegil. Scuba diving and snorkeling is also popular in some areas along the southern coast, too.
The watersports and seaside activities and attractions of Ireland are worth experiencing. With a huge stretch of coastline, many visitors here participate in a variety of activities despite the relatively cooler weather. As long as you have the proper equipment for the activity, there's no reason why you can't enjoy the stunning beauty of the water. Surfing is very popular on the beaches, as the waves can be consistent and strong in many areas. Kayaking both on the coast and inland is also a great way to see Ireland from a different angle. Stand-up paddle boarding is another good option for areas with calmer waters. And many of the bays and harbors have clear waters with unique marine life, which makes wild swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling a fun activity after putting on a thick wetsuit. Wind surfing and kite surfing are also possible. As with many other activities, you'll find plenty of surf shops and tour providers that can take you to the right places with the right equipment.
Both Ireland and Portugal have some nice outdoor areas to explore.
The outdoor activities and experiences of Ireland attract many visitors. As Ireland is a fairly sparsely populated country with wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes, visitors will find plenty of outdoor activities of all types. The national parks are a good place to start, as you'll find hiking, camping, horseback riding, climbing, and more. And along the lengthy coastline, visitors can experience kayaking, surfing, swimming, hiking along the cliffs, and perusing gardens and castles. Visiting farms and the other agricultural regions are also quite popular. There's no shortage of outdoor activities in Ireland, so make them part of your itinerary.
The huge number of outdoor activities in Portugal is one of the main reasons people come to visit. With a mix of coastline and mountains, visitors will find a diverse array of options here. Hiking and camping in the natural parks is very popular because the mountains offer great views, river valleys, and unique ecosystems. Zip-lining and ropes courses are found throughout the country, and rock climbing or bouldering are commonplace, too. Horseback riding through the mountains or on the beach is also a fun activity, especially for couples. For those looking for something more relaxed, you can take a walk through the vineyards or a jeep tour around the mountain regions.
Ireland and Portugal both offer a wide array of road trip possibilities for your next trip.
Ireland is a very popular destination for those that love to take road trips. The numerous small towns, natural scenic spots, castles, agricultural areas, and other out-of-the-way places make Ireland a terrific place for a road trip. In fact, in many ways it's easier to get around this country by car than with public transit if you're planning to visit many of these smaller sights and attractions. Many visitors make a large loop around the country from Dublin, stopping off at cliffside viewpoints, beaches, castles, small towns, and national park areas with mountains and hiking. The Ring of Kerry is a very busy area for a road trip for obvious reasons - it combines natural beauty with historical towns. The Dingle peninsula is another popular drive for similar reasons. Rental cars are generally easy to hire in Dublin or Galway, so planning a road trip through Ireland is quite easy.
With many possiblities for a road trip, Portugal is a great place to take on the open road. With a long coastline and gorgeous mountain ranges, plenty of opportunities for road trips can be found here. Take a drive from Porto south along the coast to Lisbon, then keep heading south all the way to the Algarve. Or, just focus on one particular stretch of coastline such as the dramatic cliffs along the southern coastline, or the historic towns and castles on the Atlantic. Inland you'll find natural park areas, mountain ranges, small villages, vineyards and wineries, ancient ruins, adventure sports, and cozy cottages.
Kids will enjoy a visit to either Ireland or Portugal.
As it has a large number of activities for kids, Ireland is a very family-friendly destination. Long cliff walks, castles, stunning beaches, gardens, lighthouses, and terrific museums are all some of the best things to do with families in Ireland. In Dublin, you'll find the Imaginosity Childrens Museum, the Dublin Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and Dublin Castle to name a few. Not far from Dublin you can find more castles, the Medieval Museum in Waterford, and Viking history. On the west coast, don't miss the cliffs of Moher, with their epic views, or the ancient stones of the Burren. And the small towns of the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula are fun for everyone, too.
Portugal is one of the most popular family destinations. Just to get started, you'll have a combination of amazing beaches, historical cities, castles, national parks, mountains, and more. Family-friendly beach resorts in the Algarve offer more than just a beach vacation, as you can also explore the cliffs and sea caves as well as old fishing villages, and even take a dolphin watching cruise. Up the Atlantic coast are more beach towns such as Praia da Costa Nova, Figueira da Foz, or Peniche, all with rich cultural and outdoor experiences. Sintra has castles to explore and public gardens, and the big cities of Lisbon and Porto offer family friendly museums, amazing viewpoints, fun trams, tuk tuk tours, and yummy foods. The interior of the country is home to fun national park and wildlife areas with camping, hiking, and scenic viewpoints. You can also tour monasteries, uncover ancient ruins, and explore old castles that dot the landscape. Kids will love every bit of it.
Portimao: Kids will love the wide range of activities available near Portimao. They can kayak through caves, see an underwater world snorkeling, learn to surf, visit waterparks, explore nature parks, and more. There are activities that the whole family can enjoy, making this stretch of coastline the perfect option for those traveling with kids.
Lagos: You can spend days hanging out on the beautiful beaches, but there are so many other activities that the whole family will enjoy. Explore the caves in kayaks, take surfing lessons, head for the zoo, or go dolphin watching. There are also plenty of playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants around town.
Portugal offers a wider variety of romantic activities for couples than Ireland.
Portugal makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. Whether it's a honeymoon or just a weekend getaway, this country offers so many diverse opportunities for a couple's trip. The beach is always an obvious choice for a romantic destination, and you'll find plenty here. The Algarve region in the south has stunning landscapes along the coast with cliffs forming intimate beach coves, as well as hiking trails, fishing villages, and boat rides. Up the Atlantic coast you'll find more beaches with castles, historic towns to explore such as Sintra and Praia da Costa Nova, along with the cultural centers of Lisbon and Porto. These large cities offer amazing food, nightlife, historical tours, old cathedrals, museums, and epic views. Plenty of luxurious romantic hotels and fine dining options await, as does the fantastic local wine selection. More gorgeous inland areas should also be on a romantic itinerary such as Coimbra, the vineyards of the Douro Valley in the north, the mountains of Serra da Estrela Natural Park, and the Valley of Guadiana. It's hard to find such diverse romantic attractions packed into a small country anywhere else in the world.
Portimao: This beautiful stretch of coastline offers unique beaches and stunning outdoor activities. It makes a wonderful honeymoon destination for couples who enjoy adventure, pampering, and romantic resorts. There are great restaurants as well as places to relax or activities for thrill seekers.
Lagos: The beaches and hotels in the area offer a truly romantic setting for couples, whether you're on a honeymoon or a couple's weekend getaway. Spend some time on the beach or go kayaking through the caves. Get a spa treatment at a luxury hotel or go wine tasting through the countryside. You can also enjoy the beautiful sunsets on a sunset boat cruise while sipping a glass of local wine.
Albufeira: For an active honeymoon or couple's retreat, this resort town has it all. Beautiful beaches, adventure-filled activities, a wild nightlife scene, and excellent resorts and restaurants all make for a memorable couple's getaway.
Ireland is a good country for couples to visit. The larger cities as well as the countryside offer plenty of romantic places such as Powerscourt Gardens, the famous and well-photographed Wicklow National Park, the many castles and manors around the island, and the fine dining restaurants and theaters of the cities. Many of the small towns are very picturesque and have plenty of activities for couples, not to mention the quaint bed and breakfasts and walking trails out into the countryside. Don't miss Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, or the Latin Quarter of Galway full of boutiques and cobblestone alleyways. Whether you're on a honeymoon in Ireland or just looking for a romantic weekend getaway, you'll find plenty of romantic opportunities here.
Ireland and Portugal are comparable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.
Ireland is a great country to visit for backpackers. Ireland can be a very affordable destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the large number of lower-cost accommodations, affordable public transportation, and variety of cheaper food options. Hostels are common, especially in the larger cities and towns, as are budget-friendly hotels. Also, many of the sights and attractions are outdoors which means that they are often free or have cheaper entrance fees. Many of Ireland's best attractions are the cliffside or wilderness hikes such as those at the Cliffs of Moher (around €10), Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains National Park, or the Howth Cliff Walk loop. For food, if you eat your meals at a pub or small sandwich shop, you can save plenty of money. Many pubs also have a set menu as an early dinner which is cheaper if you arrive before 6:00 p.m. The trains and buses are also very affordable, especially since the country is not so large that every destination is just a few hours away at the most.
Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Portugal. Fairly affordable by European standards, budget travelers will find plenty of opportunities here to explore the cities and countryside without breaking the bank. Hostels and budget-friendly hotels can be found in the major cities, at the beaches, and in smaller towns. Lisbon and Porto offer plenty of low cost attractions, affordable street food, and cheap transit. The national transportation system makes getting around easy and affordable, too. While some of the attractions have high entry fees, and some of the beach areas have expensive resorts, plenty of alternatives are available if certain spots are beyond your budget.
Lisbon: Hostels are abundant, and you'll have no trouble finding other backpackers to hang out with. Many hostels even organize activities and group meals for travelers.
Porto: By combining world-class activities with affordability, this city has become a popular stop off for backpackers in the area.
Lagos: The area is a favorite for backpackers who come to hang out on the beaches during the day or party late into the night after the sun goes down. There are plenty of hostels around town and many offer a social vibe where it's easy to meet other travelers.
Ireland and Portugal are comparable places to visit for students.
Ireland is popular with students. With a variety of affordable accommodation options and active student neighborhoods featuring nightlife, cafes, and activities, it's easy to see why Ireland offers a lot for students. Various universities around the country draw large number of students both from Ireland and around the world. Dublin, Galway, and Limerick all have multiple universities and active student scenes.
It's common for students to visit Portugal. The larger cities of Lisbon and Porto are great for students, as they have major universities along with affordable travel accommodations, an active nightlife scene, and low cost food options. Other smaller university towns include Coimbra, Braga, Aveiro, and Faro. All of these towns are within easy reach to other major destinations in Portugal such as the beaches, big cities, castles, national parks, and more. They also offer nightlife and fun student activities for visitors and locals alike.
You'll find somewhat comparable transportation options in both Ireland and Portugal.
Ireland has some very good public transit options. The train system in Ireland can take you almost anywhere you want to go, and fairly quickly and efficiently too. The bus system is also great, and can get you to many more destinations if the trains can't. The prices are affordable and the trains are safe and clean, just as anywhere else in Europe. The roads are also very good and it's easy to rent a car to get around the country. In fact, if you're planning to visit many of the smaller towns along the coastline, such as in the Ring of Kerry, having a car is necessary because of a lack of transit options. Some of the national parks are also difficult to visit without a car, too. Otherwise, every larger city and town is accessible with trains or buses.
Is it easy to travel around Ireland?
The transportation system in Portugal can get you almost everywhere very easily. Since Portugal is not too large, getting around is fairly easy. The train system is very effecient and convenient, and connects major cities such as Lisbon and Porto to smaller towns and coastal resort areas on the Algarve coast and elsewhere. The highway system is also terrific, and long distance bus companies can get you to most places in half a day or so. When in cities and larger towns, the public buses and trams are clean, safe, and affordable, too. Getting around this country without a car is quite easy, although you might want your own vehicle if you're planning to visit some of the natural areas in the interior.
Is it easy to travel around Portugal?
Both Ireland and Portugal can feel quite modern and comfortable as they both have an established tourist infrastructure.
Generally, Ireland is considered to be a comfortable and luxurious place to visit. Ireland is a modern and prosperous country with a high standard of living. So, as a traveler you can expect plenty of modern comforts no matter your price range, as even budget hotels will have clean, modern facilities and nice amenities. The public transportation network as well as the road are of high quality and are very efficient. Visitors will find plenty of infrastructure for tourists such as tours, taxis, hotel concierges, and more. And of course, plenty of luxury hotels and tour providers are also available if you seek a higher level of comfort.
People often come to Portugal because it is such a comfortable and luxurious destination. As a modern and developed European country, it's very easy to find comfortable places to stay along with easy means to travel around. At any price range visitors will have modern comforts, clean and healthy food, affordable and efficient public transit, and more. While luxury hotels are available which provide every comfort available, even the budget-friendly options have modern conveniences that are expected in a developed nation.
Both Ireland and Portugal host many visitors every year.
Ireland has a reasonable number of visitors. Most visitors arrive in the summer months when the weather is warmer, but even then, the tourist crowds are not too bad. Even so, visiting in the shoulder season or in the winter will lead to a trip with less crowds. The most popular tourist attractions are the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, The Rock of Cashel, Killarney and its surroundings, and the Blarney Castle. In Dublin, some neighborhoods can be quite busy such as Grafton Street, as well as the museums, Trinity College, and the Kilmainham Gaol. And while all of these places do see plenty of visitors, it's still manageable and accessible during the busy summer months.
Portugal is fairly touristy, with a decent number of visitors coming each year. Some of the most popular places for tourists can attract large crowds, especially the major sites in Lisbon and Porto, as well as some of the more popular beach resort areas along the coast. Otherwise, most of Portugal is easily visited without dealing with large hordes of other travelers, making it quite enjoyable. In Lisbon, you can often expect large crowds at the castle, in the winding stairs through the old town, and at the museums in Belem. In Portugal, the riverfront area and its wineries can get quite busy as the crowds gather for wine tours, visit the shops, and eat at the restaurants along the riverfront. In the Algarve, some of the town centers can be very busy in the summer months, especially Lagos and Albufeira. However, it's easy to find less crowded beach areas along the coastline. Generally, summer is the busy travel season for the entire country, and visiting in the off-season will let you avoid the crowds, and uncover lower prices, too.
Ireland and Portugal both offer a nice selection of activities for visitors. Both can be explored in comparable amounts of time.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Ireland is 5-14 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Portugal is 3-14 days.
Ireland is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.
In Portugal, you'll find theater, adventure travel, and history and culture. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most people come for the beaches. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.
Ireland is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that history and culture is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Ireland, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.
Portugal is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Portugal has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Ireland is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that history and culture is why people visit. It is common to spend one week here. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Ireland has to offer. This country offers something for everyone.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portugal. In Portugal, you'll find history and culture, nightlife, and food. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.
Ireland is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that history and culture is why people visit. It is common to spend two weeks here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Ireland, two weeks is sufficent for most. This country offers something for everyone.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portugal. In Portugal, you'll find history and culture, nightlife, and food. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Two weeks is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Portugal has to offer.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Ireland is €109, while the average daily cost in Portugal is €109. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each country. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ireland and Portugal in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Ireland or Portugal? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.
Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Ireland:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ireland:
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Portugal:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portugal:
Prices for flights to both Portugal and Ireland change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Ireland:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ireland.
Some typical examples of dining costs in Portugal are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Portugal.
Here are a few typical costs in Ireland for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Here are a few actual costs in Ireland for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Portugal are as follows:
Also in Ireland, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Portugal:
When comparing the travel costs between Ireland and Portugal, we can see that Ireland is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.
Ireland can see its share of cold weather, especially on the coast during the wet winters. The summer months are mild with temperatures that are comfortable but not too warm. This makes it a great place to escape the summer heat from other destinations while taking in the country's history and culture. In fact, the weather can be wet at times and change suddenly, too. But it rarely snows in the winter, so don't be afraid to visit during the off season, too.
While most of the country experiences four seasons, the weather tends to be warmer in Portugal than in the rest of Europe, especially along the southern coastal areas. This is one of the reasons why so many people are attracted to the beaches of the Algarve almost year-round. The coastal and inland areas can get quite hot during the summer months. In the colder months, he northern areas see a good bit of rain and cooler weather from autumn through winter and into the spring, with only a touch of snow in the mountain regions in winter.
The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Ireland and Portugal. Many travelers come to Ireland for the beaches, the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, many visitors come to Portugal in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.
In the summer, Dublin is cooler than Lisbon. Typically, the summer temperatures in Dublin in July are around 16°C (60°F), and Lisbon is about 23°C (73°F).
People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Lisbon this time of the year. Dublin usually receives less sunshine than Lisbon during summer. Dublin gets 166 hours of sunny skies, while Lisbon receives 352 hours of full sun in the summer.
In July, Dublin usually receives more rain than Lisbon. Dublin gets 50 mm (2 in) of rain, while Lisbon receives 5 mm (0.2 in) of rain each month for the summer.
The autumn brings many poeple to Ireland as well as Portugal. Many visitors come to Ireland in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, most visitors come to Portugal for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.
In October, Dublin is generally much colder than Lisbon. Temperatures in Dublin average around 11°C (52°F), and Lisbon stays around 19°C (66°F).
The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Lisbon. In the autumn, Dublin often gets less sunshine than Lisbon. Dublin gets 97 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lisbon receives 213 hours of full sun.
Dublin usually gets less rain in October than Lisbon. Dublin gets 70 mm (2.7 in) of rain, while Lisbon receives 80 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.
Both Portugal and Ireland are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Ireland for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Portugal because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.
Dublin is much colder than Lisbon in the winter. The temperature in Dublin is usually 6°C (42°F) in January, and Lisbon stays around 12°C (53°F).
Dublin usually receives less sunshine than Lisbon during winter. Dublin gets 56 hours of sunny skies, while Lisbon receives 144 hours of full sun in the winter.
It rains a lot this time of the year in Lisbon. In January, Dublin usually receives less rain than Lisbon. Dublin gets 69 mm (2.7 in) of rain, while Lisbon receives 110 mm (4.3 in) of rain each month for the winter.
Both Portugal and Ireland during the spring are popular places to visit. The spring months attract visitors to Ireland because of the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Portugal this time of year.
In the spring, Dublin is much colder than Lisbon. Typically, the spring temperatures in Dublin in April are around 8°C (47°F), and Lisbon is about 16°C (60°F).
In Lisbon, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the spring, Dublin often gets less sunshine than Lisbon. Dublin gets 157 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lisbon receives 235 hours of full sun.
Dublin usually gets less rain in April than Lisbon. Dublin gets 51 mm (2 in) of rain, while Lisbon receives 64 mm (2.5 in) of rain this time of the year.
|Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)||Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)|
|Jan||6°C (42°F)||69 mm (2.7 in)||12°C (53°F)||110 mm (4.3 in)|
|Feb||6°C (42°F)||50 mm (2 in)||13°C (55°F)||111 mm (4.4 in)|
|Mar||7°C (44°F)||54 mm (2.1 in)||14°C (58°F)||69 mm (2.7 in)|
|Apr||8°C (47°F)||51 mm (2 in)||16°C (60°F)||64 mm (2.5 in)|
|May||11°C (52°F)||55 mm (2.2 in)||18°C (64°F)||39 mm (1.5 in)|
|Jun||14°C (57°F)||56 mm (2.2 in)||21°C (69°F)||21 mm (0.8 in)|
|Jul||16°C (60°F)||50 mm (2 in)||23°C (73°F)||5 mm (0.2 in)|
|Aug||15°C (60°F)||71 mm (2.8 in)||23°C (74°F)||6 mm (0.2 in)|
|Sep||14°C (56°F)||67 mm (2.6 in)||22°C (72°F)||26 mm (1 in)|
|Oct||11°C (52°F)||70 mm (2.7 in)||19°C (66°F)||80 mm (3.1 in)|
|Nov||8°C (46°F)||65 mm (2.5 in)||15°C (59°F)||114 mm (4.5 in)|
|Dec||6°C (44°F)||76 mm (3 in)||12°C (54°F)||108 mm (4.3 in)|
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