Portugal travel guide
A sun-soaked land on the Iberian Peninsula with plenty to offer to both short- and long-term visitors, Portugal's greatest attraction is its gorgeous coastline. The southern region of the Algarve is a firm favourite, where an array of top-class beach resorts, once sleepy fishing villages, provide luxurious oceanside accommodation.
The region's fine, year-round climate and ease of access mean that it is a hugely popular winter sun vacation destination. Additionally, there are several low-cost European carriers that provide direct cheap flights to the Algarve. It also serves well as the perfect place for a weekend getaway when the daily grind of city life becomes too much. Seaside towns like Albufeira and Lagos are home to some of the best beach resorts in the Algarve, providing a heady mixture of sheltered beaches, outstanding natural scenery and high-quality lodgings.
There is far more to Portugal than its beaches, however. As anyone who has ever set foot in Lisbon's historic Alfama district, or travelled to the medieval town of Évora will tell you, the country is home to some breathtaking architecture and cultural treasures. Notable tourist sights in Lisbon include the Jerónimos Monastery and its Manueline architecture, the iconic Monument to the Discoveries, and the most-photographed building in all of Portugal, the Tower of Belém.
This geographically varied country also offers skiing opportunities at the Vodafone Ski Resort in the Serra Estrela Mountains. This craggy, forested mountain range is also a great area for walking and hiking trails, and is the place to go for those craving the pampering of a spa resort holiday in Portugal.
The official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. There are numerous banks, bureaux de change and ATMs available in main cities and tourist destinations. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and automatic currency exchange machines. Banking hours are generally 8.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday. Major credit cards are widely accepted.
Language : Portuguese is the official language, but English is widely spoken and understood.
Electricity : Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.
Entry Requirements :
US nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. A passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject', 'British Overseas Territories Citizen', and Identity Cards issued by Gibraltar must be valid for the duration of intended stay. British passports with any other endorsement must be valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. Visas are not required for British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Subjects, and those with Identity Cards issued by Gibraltar. Those with any other endorsement in their passports can stay in the country visa-free for up to 90 days.
Canadians do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. A passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
Australian nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. A passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
South African nationals require a passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay, and a Schengen visa.
Irish nationals do not require a visa to visit Portugal. A passport valid on arrival is required.
New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. A passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
Passport/Visa Note :
All visitors, except EEA member states, must hold tickets and documents for their return or onward journey, and proof of paid accommodation (equivalent in convertible currency accepted). The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Travel Health :
There are no health risks attached to travel to Portugal. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary for entry for anyone travelling from an infected area and destined for the Azores or Madeira. Health facilities are good and reciprocal health agreements exist with most European countries, including the UK, whose citizens can receive low-cost emergency care at state hospitals. It is advisable that travellers obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travel. Dental care and repatriation costs are not covered under this agreement, and medical insurance is therefore advised.
Service charges are not usually added to hotel and restaurant bills but it is customary to leave a 10 percent tip. Bar staff and taxi drivers also expect tips, which usually entails rounding up of the bill to the nearest Euro.
Safety Information :
Generally, safety is not a problem for travel in Portugal but there is a rising incidence of petty theft and pick pocketing in tourist areas, so reasonable care should be taken. Portugal has a very poor road safety record so exercise caution and drive defensively when exploring in a rented car.
Local Customs :
It is a legal requirement for foreigners to show some form of identification on request.
The Portuguese economy has undergone a major transformation since the Revolution of 1974, from a primarily agricultural infrastructure, to a modern, service-based economy, of a piece with the rest of the European Union. As a result, although the situation is changing every day, business culture in Portugal retains vestiges of paternalism, and of strict hierarchical, 'top-down' approaches to management and leadership. In Portugal, the strongest business relationships are those built on trust of individuals - and as a result, nepotism has (in the past) been seen as an advantageous hiring policy. Be sure to allow time for personal connections to develop between yourself and your Portuguese business associates - familiarity can go a long way toward ensuring success.
Teamwork and collaboration on important decisions is not the norm in Portugal: the accepted management style is more directive, and subordinate employees are more often than not expected to 'do as they're told', rather than to contribute to decision-making processes. Business etiquette in Portugal also displays an interesting mix of formality and easygoingness - with conduct being at once mannered and conservative, yet also warm and relaxed. Use titles ('Señhor' and 'Señhora') until strictly instructed not to do so, and show deference to those in obvious positions of authority. Business meetings in Portugal must be made by appointment - and should not ordinarily be scheduled for times when they might conflict with important family or religious holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.).
Since the official language of business in the country is Portuguese, it is a good idea to provide translations of all important documents, and/or to engage the services of a translator, to ensure that everyone is on the same page at business meetings. The dress code in Portugal is strictly smart and formal - with a strong emphasis placed on 'looking good'. It is not an unfair statement to say that your status in the business world will be gauged by the way in which you present yourself - go for dark colours, with stylish cuts. Business hours in Portugal vary, but are generally from 8.30am to 1pm, and 3pm to 6pm, from Monday to Friday.
The international access code for Portugal is +351. The country is well-covered by local GSM mobile phone networks, with roaming agreements in place with most international operaters. Internet cafes are available in most towns and resorts.
Duty Free :
Travellers over 17 years arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarrilos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 4 litres of wine, 16 litres of beer and 1 litre of spirits over 22% or 2 litres of liquor less than 22% volume; 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers.
Humberto Delgado Airport
Location: The airport is around 3.6 miles (6km) north of Lisbon.
Time: GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
Contacts: Tel: +351 (0)21 841 3500
Transfer between terminals: There is a free shuttle bus connecting the two terminals.
Getting to the city: The Metro operates from a station under the airport, running to the city between 6.30am and 1am. A one-way fare is €1.40, and a 24-hour pass is €6; both require the purchase of a Metro card for €0.50. Carris coaches run every day between 5.35am and 12.30am, connecting Lisbon Airport to the city centre. Tickets cost €1.80 when purchased on the bus, or you can buy a 24-hour pass for €6. The Aerobus also travels to the city centre every 20 minutes between 7am and 11.20pm; tickets start at €4.
Car rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Guerin, Goldcar, Hertz and Sixt.
Airport Taxis: Taxis can normally be found outside both the arrival and departure terminals. Some taxis will charge extra for luggage and all will charge extra at night. Fares range from between 10 and €15 and are 20 percent higher on weekends, holidays and at night.
Facilities: There are a range of passenger services at Humberto Dalgado Airport including ATMs, bureaux de change, showers, a post office, left luggage, baby care facilities, meeting rooms and a help desk in both Arrivals and Departures. There are a wide variety of restaurants and shops, including a duty-free. Disabled facilities are good and passengers requiring wheelchairs should contact their airline.
Parking: Short-term parking at Humberto Dalgado Airport, in lot P1, starts at €0.85 per 15 minutes. Lot P2 is farther from the terminal building but slightly cheaper, and lot P3 offers long-term parking rates of €14 per day. Note that online discounts are available for pre-booked parking through the airport's website, starting at €5.
Location: The airport is 2.5 miles (4km) west of Faro.
Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Contacts: Tel: +351 289 800 800
Getting to the city: There is one bus line that runs between the airport and the Faro city centre from around 5.20am to 00.10pm daily. Tickets cost €2.22 and the journey takes 20 minutes. Buses to other parts of Algarve are available from the city centre. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank outside the terminal building with drivers waiting to take you to other destinations around Algarve. Their vehicles are identified by their black and green or beige colouring. Fares into the city centre are approximately €10.
Car rental: There are a number of car hire companies that operate out of Faro Airport, both local and multinational. These include AurigaCrown, Auto Jardim, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Guerin, Hertz, Sixt and Goldcar.
Facilities: The airport has several restaurants, bars and shops, cafés, a duty frese store, wifi access, ATMs, bureaux de change, a massage service, a post office and a bank.
Parking: There are six different parking areas. These include short term parking and drop offs, varying low cost options, car hire, private coaches and transfers. All six are within acceptable walking distances to the terminals.
Departure tax: None
João Paulo II Airport
Location: 1.9 miles (3km) west of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island
Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October)
Contacts: +351 296 205 400
Getting to the city: There is a bus to downtown Ponta Delgada, however taxis are the preferred method for city transfers as the airport is only 1.8 miles (3km) from the city centre.
Car rental: Argus operates car hire facilities at Ponta Delgada airport.
Airport Taxis: There are taxis available at the airport 24 hours a day.
Facilities: The terminal contains restaurants, duty-free shopping, a bank, currency exchange, post office, ATM, and tourist information centre.
Parking: Parking in lot P1, closest to the airport terminal, starts at €0.60 per 15 minutes and then charges €10 for the first day, €12 for two days, €14 for three days, and €3.20 per day thereafter. Lot P2, situated farther from the terminal, is a little cheaper at €0.50 per 15 minutes, €8 for one day, €9 for two days, and €1 per subsequent day.
Departure tax: None
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport
Location: 6.8 miles (11km) northwest of Porto.
Time: GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
Getting to the city: Porto Airport is served by the Metro's Violet Line. It runs to the Estádio do Dragão, operating every 20 to 30 minutes and dependent on the time and day of the week.
Taxis are available outside the terminal. Passengers may prefer to order one via phone.
Numerous shuttle companies transport passengers across the city from the airport. These include the Airport Shuttle, Barquense, getBUS, Goin'Porto, Ovnitur Viagens, Transdev and Autna.
STCP bus lines 601 and 602 run to Cordoaria from 5:30am to 23:30pm. Resende bus services operate every day except Sunday from 06h10 to 19h30, every 30 minutes. Schedules are altered on Sundays and public holidays, running every 40 minutes from 07h25 to 14h05 and every 30 minutes from 14h30 to 19h30.
Car rental: Car rental companies operating out of Porto Airport include Avis-Budget, Europcar, Goldcar, Guerin, Hertz and Sixt.
Parking: Parking rates in section P2 for 15 minutes is the cheapest option, charging £0.70. Depending on parking section and duration of parking, the fee could rise up to £10.
Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport
Location: The airport is located eight miles (13km) from the city of Funchal.
Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Getting to the city: The Aerobus travels between the airport and Funchal at €5 per adult ticket. Children will be charged €2.50. Schedules may change so it is advisable to look up timetables before organising your journey.
Buses are available every day with routes that reach across the island. Research these routes for times and destinations. Each ticket will cost €3.35.
The taxi rank at Madeira Airport is on the ground floor outside the arrivals gate.
Car rental: Car rental companies operating out of Madeira Airport include Avis-Budget, Europcar, Goldcar, Guerin, Hertz, Rodavante, Sixt and Madeira Rent.
Parking: All parking lots at Madeira Airport have access to pedestrian routes leading to the terminal. Prices begin at €0.40 per 15 minutes and €18 per day. These may change depending on location, length of parking and proximity to terminal. A loss of receipt will incur cost of €65.
|por favor||please||por fah vor|
|o meu nome é||my name is||or mu norm eh|
|onde está||where is||ohn deh ehsta|
|você fala Inglês||do you speak english||vorche fahla in glays|
|não compreendo||I don't understand||no compreendo|
|eu preciso um doutor||I need a doctor||eu preseeso um dew tor|
|um, dois, três, quatro, cinco||one, two, three, four, five||oom, dohs, tres, quatro, sinko|
The weather in Portugal is among the warmest in Europe, with an average temperature of around 55°F (15°C) in the north, and 64°F (18°C) in the south. The average annual rainfall is as high as 118 inches (300cm) in the northern mountains, but countrywide is closer to 43 inches (110cm).
Southern Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. There is very little rain and summers are warm, but refreshing sea breezes make for pleasant conditions. Summer temperatures in the Algarve can pass 86°F (30°C), and reach as high as 116°F (47°C) in the Alentejo.
In the north, the weather is wetter, particularly in winter, and cooler, with temperatures influenced by Atlantic currents and the Spanish Meseta.
The climate of the Azores and Madeira is subtropical with some variation from island to island. Much of the Azores experiences dry summer months with warm temperatures year-round.
The best time to travel to Portugal is during spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) when days are pleasantly sunny and warm but tourist areas are relatively quiet. These seasons also offer cheaper rates at hotels and less crowded beaches, restaurants and golf courses.
Institute of Portugal Tourism, Lisbon: +351 211 205 050 or
United States Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 727 3300
British Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 392 4000
Canadian Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 316 4600
Australian Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 310 1500
South African Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 319 2200
Irish Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 330 8200
New Zealand Consulate, Lisbon: +351 21 314 0780
Portuguese Embassy, Washington, United States: +1 202 328
Foreign Embassies in Portugal
Portuguese Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 235 5331
Portuguese Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 729 0883
Portuguese Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 26 260 4970
Portuguese Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 341 2340
Portuguese Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 412 7040
Portuguese Consulate, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 255 2569
Portugal Emergency Numbers
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