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Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Madison Krigbaum
Portugal – my beautiful new home. While preparing for my big move to Lisbon in August (I can’t wait! 😍), I’ve been clocking plenty of trip-prep and destination research to make my transition into Portugal expat a little bit smoother. Part of that prep includes researching the best and most helpful apps to download for Portugal!
As travelers in the 21st century, we’re blessed with smart phones that – at the click of a button – can provide us with any information we need about a destination. Although I’m already an experienced European traveler after study abroad and living in Italy for two years, there are some essential apps that are sure to make my move to Portugal much easier (and my time there more enjoyable).
Ordering cars, translating Portuguese, making restaurant reservations and scanning wine reviews are only a couple of helpful functions provided by the apps below. So, if you’re planning a trip to Portugal soon, be sure to keep reading for the best apps to download for Portugal!
Protect Your Trip to Portugal
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Whenever I plan a trip, I always make sure to protect myself and my wallet with trip insurance. In the past, I’ve had very good experiences with World Nomads. During my trip to Chiang Mai in 2019,, I had an unfortunate ankle-spraining incident that turned into a hospital visit with X-Rays, crutches and physical therapy. When I submitted my claim to World Nomads, I was reimbursed within weeks.
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But First, Set Up Your eSim with Airalo!
What do you need to use all of these apps? 🤔
Oh right…DATA might be a little necessary. With Airalo, it’s never been easier to buy and install a local eSIM. Simply download the app, select the data package you need for your trip (options for Portugal are listed below), pay and activate your eSIM for instant connectivity in Portugal.
- Foto Mobil 1 GB for 7 Days
- Foto Mobil 2 GB for 15 Days
- Foto Mobil 3 GB for 30 Days
- Foto Mobil 5 GB for 30 Days
- Foto Mobil 10 GB for 30 Days
- Foto Mobil 20 GB for 30 Days
Once your eSIM is activated, you can get right on using the apps to download for Portugal below! Data is also a necessary safety tool for solo female travelers on the road. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the #1 way to keep yourself safe abroad is with reliable data and a portable phone charger.
The Best Apps to Download for Portugal
No matter your travel style, these Portugal travel apps will make your trip to Europe easier, safer and more enjoyable.
Just a quick note: I do recommend downloading these apps and setting them up before you leave home. Many will require 2-factor authentication and, trust me, that’s a nightmare when you’re using a foreign number. It also tends to be easier to set up a credit card at home, since your location won’t raise any red flags with your bank.
I’ve linked all apps below on both the App Store and Google Play Store for easy downloading. Keep reading for the best apps to download for Portugal!
Bolt is Portugal’s version of Uber, which makes it a necessary addition to this list of apps to download for Portugal. Uber actually does operate in the area (although there is no Lyft in Portugal), so I would recommend downloading both to compare fares. Both options seem to be consistently cheaper than hiring a taxi in the area.
Although taxis are still in high demand all over Europe, it’s very common to get screwed on the fare if you’re an obvious tourist (in Honduras, we called that “getting gringo’d”). When you download Bolt Portugal or Uber, at least you know what you’ll be charged upfront. But heads up – if you want to leave a tip, you have to do it within 15 minutes of the end of your ride.
Note: Bolt is one of the Portugal apps that you absolutely must set up before leaving home. You’re going to need it for rides to some of Lisbon’s best viewpoints, like the Santa Luzia Viewpoint!
Give a warm welcome to DeepL, your language barrier breaker in Portugal. Don’t let the fear of getting lost in translation hamper your Portuguese escapade. DeepL is widely considered the best app for Portuguese translation services in Portugal. Many popular translation apps, even Google Translate, offer a mixture of European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese – which are very different dialects. Expats in Portugal swear by DeepL as the best Portuguese translator app for iPhone.
I always learn some common phrases in the local language as a sign of respect while traveling. Even if your pronunciation is abysmal and no one knows what the hell you’re saying, most people will still be grateful for the attempt. That’s the magic DeepL provides. It’s more than just a translator; it’s your personal language tutor, helping you blend in like a local among the friendly people in Portugal.
Alright, foodies, this one’s for you!
The Fork is an essential and free app to download for Portugal (honestly it’s just one of the best apps for European travel in general) if you’re already dreaming of tasting all of the delicious local cuisine. This handy app is all about restaurant bookings, but it’s not just about snagging a table at the hottest spot in town. Oh no, my fellow gastronomes, it’s so much more than that.
With The Fork, you can explore thousands of restaurants, read reviews and even score some hefty discounts on your meals (we’re talking 50% off in some cases).
Plus, since it’s widely used in Portugal, you’ll have a plethora of choices at your fingertips. Don’t leave your dining to chance, download The Fork before you leave and get ready to dominate the Portuguese culinary scene during your trip.
Picture it –
You just had an amazing, long day of exploring Portugal’s best viewpoints, restaurants and beaches. All you want to do is kick back in your Airbnb, wrap yourself in a fluffy robe and scarf down some delicious local food (or some bangin’ chickie nuggies). Alas, the thought of venturing out again feels like a Herculean task.
Thankfully, Glovo is here to save the day!
This food delivery app is the hero you need for those cozy nights in. Glovo is very popular across the country – from Porto to Lisbon to the Algarve – delivering a wide variety of scrumptious Portuguese meals directly to your doorstep with the touch of a button.
If you’re not feeling Glovo’s choices (which would be difficult given the wide array of restaurants/cuisine available), Uber Eats also operates in Portugal or you could give other local food delivery apps, like noMenu or Comidas.pt, a try during your stay.
Too Good to Go
This one is for the eco-conscious foodies out there.
Too Good To Go is a free mobile app that helps you fight food waste by offering delicious, perfectly edible meals at discounted prices from restaurants that have surplus food at the end of the day. Not only can you treat yourself to some yummy eats, but you’ll be doing your bit for the environment at the same time.
Too Good To Go is available across Portugal in cities like Lisbon and Porto. It’s a great way to get a taste of Portugal’s local cuisine while helping to reduce food waste – so everyone wins! From a sustainability perspective, Too Good to Go has definitely earned its spot on the list of the best apps to download for Portugal. Wouldn’t you agree?
Since Too Good to Go works all over the continent, I would also consider it one of the top travel apps for Europe travel in general.
This one is a given when traveling abroad, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention WhatsApp on this list of the best apps to download for Portugal. This free messaging app offers the ability to make calls and send text messages to other users while using WiFi or your Airalo data plan.
You can use WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family back home during your time in Portugal without having to pay for an international plan (although I would still recommend purchasing international data). It’s also the perfect way to keep in touch with your new Portuguese contacts, as most people in Europe use WhatsApp over iMessage.
If you set up WhatsApp before you leave, you can sign up with your regular phone number. WhatsApp is not affected by new SIM cards or changing numbers, it will always use the phone number you registered when you set it up.
Attention all wine-lovers! You’re not going to want to miss this essential app to download for Portugal.
Vivino is the perfect app to install before you venture into Portugal’s wine regions. Its camera feature allows you to take photos of labels and instantly learn more about different wines, including ratings from experts and other users, food pairings, bouquet and much more.
Vivino will help you locate nearby stores where you can buy your favorite wines and help you find the best deals in the area. And, if you’re worried that your knowledge of Portuguese wines isn’t up to par, no worries – Vivino offers an extensive collection of Portuguese wine suggestions that are perfect for the budding wine connoisseur.
CP: Comboios de PortugaL
The CP app is an absolute must-have if you’re planning on travelling around Portugal during your visit. CP stands for Comboios de Portugal, which translates from Portuguese as “trains of Portugal.” With this handy app, you can easily purchase tickets and check train times throughout the country. In combination with trusty Google Maps, CP is the best way to travel around Portugal.
CP also offers great discounts for students and senior citizens, so don’t forget to ask. This app is available in both English and Portuguese, making it perfect for any traveler.
If you’re planning to drive during your trip, the Waze app is one of my favorite apps to download for Portugal. It’s one of the best navigation apps out there, and tends to be the most accurate navigation app in the country. With Waze, you’ll get real-time updates on traffic conditions, as well as voice guidance and live maps so you won’t get lost. If you’re asking how to get around in Portugal, Waze is the answer.
The only downside of Waze is there are no offline maps available for download. In this instance, Google Maps Portugal download is still your best bet. Additionally, since Waze is not compatible for pedestrians, I always use Google Maps to map walking directions and local transit options.
Since half of the country is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it’s important to download this handy Tides app for your trip to Portugal. Tides will provide real-time updates and guides to tidal patterns, wind speeds and water temperatures, so that you never have any nasty surprises during a beach day.
Tides is especially important if you enjoy taking long walks on the beach around cliffs during low tide. It may just save your life!
This handy app also offers information on popular beaches and swimming spots in Portugal. It’s hands-down earned its spot as one of the best apps to download for Portugal.
If you plan to visit Portugal in the summer (fire season), I highly recommend you download the Fogos app. Fogos provides real-time updates on forest fires in both the city and the country, and alerts you if there are any active fires in your area.
Although chances are you won’t need to use it, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Plus…it’s free, so there’s no downside to a quick download. And remember, it’s forbidden to start fires in Portugal outside of your own property in a safe and controlled environment (like a BBQ).
After living in Roatan, Honduras for a year – I definitely consider myself a beach bum. I plan to take full advantage of Portugal’s beautiful beaches during my stay…and Info Praia is the app to turn that dream into a reality.
Ready to pack up your cooler with ice-cold Sagres, your trusty bluetooth speaker and some reef-safe sunscreen before heading off for an amazing beach day in Portugal? Before loading up the car, be sure to download this handy app for information on all the best beaches in Portugal. With Info Praia, you’ll be able to easily view photos of each beach and find out which beaches have lifeguards and/or facilities like toilets and showers. It will also help you find the closest beach to your accommodation.
Info Praia is available in multiple languages, so it’s suitable for travelers from all countries. And since it also comes with a built-in map feature, you’ll never get lost on your way to the beach. This app makes planning your beach day in Portugal fun and easy!
While CP is the best for booking trains within Portugal, Omio is one of the best for booking trains around Europe. It helps you find the most convenient and cheapest train tickets around the entire continent – all at the click of a button.
If you’re looking for more than just a train ticket, the Omio app allows you to book flights and tickets for the Portugal bus service as well as trains. With Omio, the options are limitless!
There you have it – 14 essentials apps to download for Portugal! If you plan on traveling through Portugal (or Europe) for a while, there are a few other helpful apps I would suggest downloading for your trip. Make sure to grab a reliable VPN like Tunnelbear, the best hostel app for all over the world – Hostelworld and a handy Currency Converter app to make sure you’re staying within budget during your trip.
You could also download Airbnb or VRBO for short-stay rentals, Splitwise for travel with friends (to split up costs evenly) or Duolingo to work on your Portuguese language skills. I also always recommend having Venmo set up and running like a well-oiled machine before you leave, since it’s impossible to set up or manage without a functioning US phone number.
Apps to Download for Portugal FAQs:
A: Yes, there is both Uber and Uber Eats in Portugal. Uber tends to be cheaper than local taxis, so it’s a preferred member of transportation for tourists. Portugal also has a local version of Uber called Bolt, so I would recommend downloading both apps before your trip.
A: No, you cannot use Lyft in Portugal as of 2023.
A: There are a couple of great transportation apps to download for Portugal. My first choice is always Google Maps for walking and local transit instructions. However, Waze is best for those planning to drive while in Portugal. Moovit is another good option for European travel, but I find Google Maps to be a bit more accurate.
A: That depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a Portuguese alternative to Uber – Bolt is your answer. If you’re looking to browse local restaurants and make reservations – download The Fork. Or, if you need to communicate quickly and easily with your new Portuguese friends – you’re looking for WhatsApp. There are tons of helpful apps to download for Portugal, it just depends on your needs.
A: Glovo is one of the best food delivery apps in Portugal, along with Uber Eats. Other great options include noMenu and Comidas.pt for local food delivery.
A: Skip Google Translate entirely and download DeepL – the best app for translating European Portuguese. This app is free and much more accurate than other translation apps on the market.
I’ll be living in Lisbon for at least three months in 2023, so stay tuned for more Lisbon apps and Portugal travel tips coming your way. And, if you enjoyed these essential apps to download for Portugal, you may enjoy the related posts below. Happy travels!