1. Entry formalities

Citizens of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania and Switzerland need only an identity card to enter Portugal.

In addition to their identity card, minors must also present authorisation from their parents to travel.

For visits of less than 90 days, a passport valid for at least three months after the end of their stay is necessary for visitors from Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong and Macao and Taiwan territorial Authority.

Citizens from countries not mentioned above need a visa to enter Portugal, which may be requested at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate of their country for stays of up to 90 days.

Under the terms of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement, flights between Schengen states are considered to be internal flights and passengers do not need to obtain another visa.


2. Tax free - VAT Reimbursement

Visitors to Portugal who are not resident in any of the European Union member states can be reimbursed for the VAT (Value Added Tax) paid on purchases that they have made in Portugal and are being transported in their personal luggage. Only private individuals can benefit from this reimbursement. 

In order to obtain repayment of the tax, the minimum value of purchases must be € 49.88 (net amount without VAT), and, depending on the VAT rate charged, the minimum value of the receipt for goods purchased must be as follows:
- € 61.35 – VAT rate of 23% (general goods)
- € 57.86 – VAT rate of 16% (Madeira and the Azores)
- € 56.36 – VAT rate of 13% (Wines)
- € 52.87 – VAT rate of 6% (books, lenses…) 

When you make your purchases, you must ask the shop to provide you with a receipt, itemising the amounts paid, the goods that were purchased and the amount that is due for reimbursement. 

You can receive the repayment of your tax in cash at the main European airports or in the centres of major European cities, or by credit card or international cheque, provided that the goods in question have previously been shown and declared at the customs.


3. Useful Phone Numbers


National Emergency Number: 112

PSP/ Lisbon Metropolitan Police Command: 21 765 42 42
Lisbon Tourism Police Station: 21 342 16 23
Cascais Tourism Police Station: 21 486 39 29
GNR from Sintra: 21 924 49 25
GNR - General Command: 21 321 70 00
PSP Traffic: 21 750 12 00

PSP / Oporto Metropolitan Police Command: Tel: 22 209 20 00
Oporto Tourism Police Station: Tel: 22 20818 33
GNR / BT Traffic Brigade: Tel: 22 339 96 00

Credit Cards
American Express: 707 50 40 50 /  21 427 82 05
Mastercard: 800 811 272
Visa: 800 811 107

Faro Airport: 289 800 800
Funchal Airport(Madeira): 291 520 700
Ponta Delgada Airport (Azoren): 296 205 400
Oporto Airport: 22 943 24 00
Lisbon Airport : 21 841 35 00 / 21 841 37 00

Other Services
Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa / Portuguese Red Cross: 21 391 39 33  | 21 940 49 90 (Emergency)  | 21 771 40 00 (Hospital)
CTT- Post Office: 707 26 26 26
Forestry Protection National Number: 117
Pousadas de Portugal: 21 844 20 01
Pousadas da Juventude / Youth Hostels: 707 20 30 30 (individual reservations)  | 707 233 233 (group reservations)
SEF-Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteira (Border and Immigration Service):808 202 653

4. Accommodation


Hotel Accommodation

The vast supply of hotel establishments available all around the country provides tourists with accommodation, either with or without the provision of meals and other accessory services, according to the following classification:

HOTELS (H) – the supply of hotels is diversified, with a large number of such units on offer, classified from 1 to 5-star depending on their location and the quality of their facilities;
APARTHOTELS (HA) – classified from 1 to 5-star, these are the ideal choice for tourists seeking greater independence, but still wishing to enjoy all the services of a hotel;
POUSADAS – housed in historic buildings or located at sites of great natural beauty, these are classified under 4 categories: Historic, Historic Design, Nature and Charm.

Tourist Villages (A)
Classified from 3 to 5-star, tourist villages consist of interdependent accommodation units contained within a specially marked out area, where tourist support services are also provided.

Tourist Apartments (AT)
Classified from 3 to 5-star, tourist apartments are the ideal choice for those who prefer to stay in an independent accommodation unit with access to shared areas and services.

Resorts (CT)
Resorts are a good choice for those wishing to enjoy a variety of leisure services and equipment in the same area with access to different accommodation options, either in the form of a 4 or 5-star hotel or another type of tourist establishment.

Tourism in a Manor House (TH)
Those who prefer to receive accommodation in a family environment can choose to stay in manor houses, palace-like houses or residences of recognised architectural, historic or artistic value, in either a rural or urban setting.

Tourism in the Country (TER) 
Offering accommodation in country residences exhibiting the distinctive features of their particular rural setting, Tourim in the Country enables tourists to enjoy more direct contact with the local populations, their customs and habits, as well as with Nature itself. These accommodation units may be classified as:

COUNTRY HOUSES (CC) – these are houses located in villages and rural areas that still preserve the original design, building materials and other typical features of the local architecture;
AGRICULTURAL TOURISM (AG) – this consists of accommodation on a farm, where tourists can take part in the agricultural work if they so wish;
RURAL HOTELS (HR) – classified from 3 to 5-star, these hotels are to be found in rural areas, respecting the original layout and architectural characteristics of the surrounding region.

Scattered all around the country, Camping Sites enable tourists to enjoy direct contact with Nature. Camping Sites may be considered either public (if they are open to the general public) or private (if access is reserved to members or beneficiaries of the site’s operating body). These latter sites are identified with the letter "P", and the possibility of staying at the camping site must always be checked beforehand. Depending on the infrastructures and services provided, Camping Sites may be classified from 3 to 5-star, although such classification is not mandatory.

Nature Tourism
Whenever a tourist establishment is located in a nature protected area or in an area classified as being of natural value, it is included in the category of Nature Tourism, a practice that is recognised by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity. In this case, equipment and services must be provided that enable tourists to enjoy and interpret nature.

Youth Hostels
Youth hostels are located close to beaches, in the countryside or in the main cities, offering accommodation at attractive prices. They are aimed above all at people who have a youthful spirit and enjoy sharing the same space in an atmosphere of conviviality, although some Youth Hostels also have double or family rooms, which are quieter and more private. Some hostels also serve meals.
Guests must present either a youth hostel membership card or a youth identity card.

5. Communications

In public telephone booths, coins and special cards can be used. They are sold in MEO shops, post offices and some kiosks and news-stands (with a sign indicating this). 
All telephone numbers in Portugal are composed of nine digits. To call from abroad to Portugal, it is necessary to dial the international access code 00 and the country code 351. 
To call abroad from Portugal, dial 00, the country code, the area code and then the number wanted. The dialling codes of the various countries are affixed in public telephone booths.

Mobile phones 
Portugal is one of the countries with the highest number of mobile phone users. 
There are three network service providers - Altice, Vodafone and NOS – that have roaming agreements with most international mobile phone companies and provide users with a good coverage nationwide.
The Portuguese Highway Code forbids the use of mobile phones while driving, unless you’re using hands-free equipment or an earphone, and there are established penalties that can be applied in the event of any infringement.

Internet access is available on payment in some cafés and in numerous post offices that have the Netpost service. 
In various hotels and public facilities, like Airports, Conference centres, Restaurants, Service Areas in motor-ways and shopping centres, there are duly marked "wi-fi" areas where it is possible to access wireless Internet.


6. Services

Banks are open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. five working days a week. 
Portugal has a national network of cash machines (ATMs) identified by the symbol MB (Multibanco), from which you can withdraw cash 24 hours a day.

Post Offices
In general, post offices are open from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Central and airport offices have extended opening hours and may be open on Saturdays and in some cases also on Sundays. 
Stamps are sold in post offices and vending-machines in the streets. 
Many post offices have the Netpost service that on payment allows access to personal e-mail and the Internet. 
More detailed information about opening hours and services available at each office can be found on www.ctt.pt

In general, pharmacies are open on weekdays between 9am and 7pm (some close for lunch from 1 to 3 p.m.) and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm.
They display an illuminated green cross outside when open at night. 
All of them have information posted on the door indicating the nearest pharmacies that are open at night.

Traditionally, shops are open from Monday to Friday, from 9 or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some close for lunch from 1 to 3 p.m. On Saturdays from January to November, shops generally close at 1 p.m. though in city centres some are open in the afternoon. 
Shops tend to stay open on Saturday afternoons and sometimes even on Sundays in December for Christmas shopping.
There are plenty of shopping centres inside and outside the cities that are usually open from 10 a.m. to midnight every day of the week. They generally have stores with the main international brands. 
However, traditional shops with Portuguese products can be found particularly in the streets of the older neighbourhoods of towns and cities.


7. Money

Portugal is one of 27 European Union countries whose common official currency is the euro. 
1 euro is divided into 100 cents. The coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros. 
The notes are differentiated by their size and colour and come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. 
One side of the coins has a common design (the European side), and the other side has a national symbol. All euro coins can be used in any euro-zone country, irrespective of which national symbols they display. 

ATMs - Automatic Teller Machines (Multibanco)
Portugal has a national network of cash machines (ATMs) identified by the symbol MB (Multibanco), from which you can withdraw cash 24 hours a day.

Currency Exchange
You can exchange money at banks, which are open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. five working days a week; at bureaux de change; and at automatic currency exchange machines (these are for currency sale transactions only).

Credit cards
In Portugal, the most commonly used credit cards are: Visa, American Express, Diners Club, Europay / MasterCard, JCB and Maestro. 
If your Visa or MasterCard credit card is lost or stolen, contact the following telephone numbers for assistance: 
- Visa: Tel. 800 811 107 
- MasterCard: Tel. 800 811 272

Service is included in the bill in restaurants, though it is customary to leave an additional tip of about 5-10% of the total.

8. Meals

As a rule, the Portuguese have three meals a day. Between 7:30 and 10 a.m. they have a light breakfast consisting of a drink - white or black coffee or fruit juice - and toast or a sandwich, often in their local café or cake shop.

The main meals are lunch, between 12:00 and 2:30 p.m., which is often eaten at a restaurant near work, and dinner between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.

Most people eat a full meal including soup, a main dish and dessert or fruit. They may also have a snack consisting of a drink and a cake between these two meals, around 5 p.m.

Eating out is common practice in Portugal. Having lunch or dinner out, especially at the weekend, is always a good excuse for meeting friends or going for a drive.

There is a great variety of restaurants and they cater to all kinds of tastes and palates.

While restaurants are usually open for lunch between midday and 3 p.m. and for dinner between 7 and 10 p.m. many of them have longer opening hours, especially in the big cities and areas with a busy nightlife.

They usually close one day a week, sometimes at the weekend in city centres, though restaurants in shopping centres are open every day.


9. Health

If you require medical assistance contact the local Health Centre.
Hospital emergency services should be used only in serious situations (serious injury, poisoning, burns, infarction, thromboses, breathing difficulties, etc.).

In case of illness or accident while visiting Portugal, Nationals from the 27 European Union countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are entitled to free or reduced-cost healthcare (the same benefits as Portuguese citizens). In order to have access to health services, citizens from the above-mentioned countries, who are not resident in Portugal, must produce their European Health Insurance Cards (issued by the origin country) together with passports or identity cards.


10. Electricity

The electric current in Portugal is 230/400 volts at a frequency of 50 hertz and sockets comply with European standards.
You will need a 230 volt transformer and an adaptor to use American-style flat-prong plugs.

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