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Portugal is a country located in south-western Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.
People are very friendly in general. During the summer, especially the coastline is overrun with tourists. In Portugal people are easy going and sometimes slow. Everything needs its time, so you will probably have to wait for a little while. Long distance buses are usually a bit late.
Hitching in Portugal is quite easy. However, it is important that you are protected from the sun. The weather is, especially in summer, extremely hot. As an alternative to hitchhiking you can use the buses from Rede Expresso for overland travels. The railway network is not in a good state, it is slow and there are only two lines.
A common way in Portugal for long distance lorries is to take the Autopista Castilla (E80). There is a huge truck stop at the border where they can get cheap Portuguese food, so many just wait until they get there before going to other areas of Portugal, mostly to Porto and Lisboa.
Eat and Drink
You make a good deal if you buy on the local markets where you can expect good quality for low prices. Fruits, vegetables, fish and meat have mostly good prices. Expensive is cheese, fruit juice, haribo and chocolate.
In restaurants you will always get bread, cheese, butter and olives without being asked. This will cost extra. As starter there is a soup usual and as main course grilled fish or grilled meat with rice or chips. Portuguese people often eat grilled stuff or stew. The meals are mostly simple.
if you don't find anything through the typical hospitality exchange networks, you can try to stay with the firemen. Each Bombeiros station in Portugal has a room where they can host passing travellers, and it is free. These (mostly volunteer) fire-fighters are friendly and chatty, when they speak English. Make sure you go ask early enough, however, as the station commander has to verify that you can stay... (janpa tried it in several stations in March 2013 and had no luck. Might work in remote areas though, or if you are a fireman yourself.)
Throughout the three warmer seasons, and in winter too if you have a tent or find shelter, you can sleep outside without much hassle.
- BRISA has information on all the highways in Portugal and their exits and gas stations.
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