Air transportation
Lisbon – Portela Airport – Phone: 218 413 500
Oporto – Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport – Phone: 229 432 400
Faro – Faro Airport – Phone. 289 800 800
Funchal, Madeira – Funchal Airport – Phone: 291 520 700
Ponta Delgada, Azores – João Paulo II Airport – Phone: 296 205 400
ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, SA is the Portuguese airport authority and provides departure and arrival information on

TAP ( – Air Portugal is the country’s “flagship” airline and has scheduled flights to more than 50 international destinations and domestic flights between Lisbon, Oporto, Faro, Madeira and the Azores, and also between Madeira and Porto Santo.
PORTUGÁLIA ( has regular domestic flights and various flights to foreign destinations.
SATA ( has regular flights between all the islands of the Azores and from the Azores to Madeira and mainland Portugal. SATA also offers regular flights to a number of international destinations.
ATA ( – Aerocondor Transportes Aéreos operates regular domestic flights and international charters.
Hi Fly ( ) flies to domestic and international destinations and is also a charter airline.

Alcohol, drinking and driving
It is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.5 grams per litre or more. A blood alcohol level between 0,5 g/l and 0,8 g/l is considered a serious offence, and it is sanctioned with a driving inhibition between 1 month and a 1 year and a fee payment of an amount from 250 up to 1.250 euros. A blood alcohol level between 0,8g/l and 1,2g/l is a very serious offence, sanctioned with a period of driving inhibition between 2 months and 2 years and the a fee payment of an amount from 1.250 up to 2.500 euros. A blood alcohol level of 1,2g/l or more is considered a crime, that can be punished with imprisonment up to 1 year or fee penalty up to 120 days, and driving inhibition between 3 months and 3 years. More detailed information is available from the General Road Traffic Directorate site:

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.

Banks are open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. five working days a week.

There are camping sites offering direct contact with nature all over the country from north to south. They are considered public, if they are open to all paying campers, or private if access is restricted to members or beneficiaries of the camp-site operator. Private sites are marked with the letter “P” and it is always advisable to confirm whether you will be allowed In. Depending on the facilities and services they provide, camping sites are classified with 1 to 4 stars, or merely rural, in which case they may be located on a farm. To spend the night at a camp site, campers will need to show their passport or identity card and sometimes, if required, a camper’s card issued by a national organisation or a carnet camping from the F.I.C.C. (Fédération Internationale de Camping et Caravanning).

Car rentals
There are car rental services at airports, international rail terminuses and in the main towns and cities. Drivers with mobility difficulties, or anyone who prefers to, can rent automatic or adapted vehicles.
To rent a car you must:
– be at least between 21 and 25 years old, depending on the company’s rental policy
– show identification (identity card for EU citizens or a valid passport for other nationalities)
– have had a driving licence for more than one year

Mainland Portugal:
The climate in Portugal varies considerably from one region to another and is influenced by the relief, latitude and proximity to the sea, which offers mild winters, especially in the Algarve. In the Porto e Norte area and the Beiras region, particularly inland, nearer Spain, the winters are colder, although the temperatures are still mild when compared to the rest of Europe. There is some snowfall. It occurs most in the Serra da Estrela mountains, where we find the highest point in mainland Portugal (1,991 m) and where it is sometimes possible to ski. The summers are hot and dry, especially in the inland areas (Trás-os-Montes in north-eastern Portugal and Alentejo). Temperatures are slightly lower in the coastal areas, because of the influence of the sea. There are often warm, sunny days in autumn. Nice weather at the beginning of November is often called “St. Martin’s Summer” as this saint’s day is on 11 November.

The climate in the Azores is influenced by the islands’ latitude and by the Gulf Stream, and temperatures are mild there all year round. The same factors also influence the sea temperature, which is very pleasant both in winter and summer and ideal for nautical sports all year round.

The subtropical characteristics of the weather in the Madeira Archipelago can be explained by its geographical position and mountainous relief. The climate in Madeira is exceptionally mild, with average temperatures varying between 24º C in summer and 19º C in winter. The sea temperature is also very pleasant all year round, thanks to the influence of the warm Gulf Stream. It varies between 18º C inwinter and 22º C in summer.

There are regular coach services between Portugal’s main towns and cities. For details of routes, timetables and fares go to Rede Nacional de Expressos:

In public telephone booths, coins and special cards can be used. They are sold in Portugal Telecom 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 – TMN, Vodafone and Optimus – that have roaming agreements with most international mobile phone companies and provide users with a good coverage nationwide. There are mobile phone shops at the country’s international airports, where it is possible to rent equipment or purchase SIM cards that you can then use in your own phone. 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 Shoppingcentres, there are duly marked “wi-fi” areas where it is possible to access wireless Internet.

All hotels, restaurants and similar establishments, camping sites, rural tourism facilities and travel agencies are obliged by law to have a complaints book, which must be given to any customer requesting it and showing identification. All complaints are sent to the Portuguese Tourism Department, which then takes the appropriate action. Complaints can also be made at any Tourist Information Office, which will refer them as necessary.

Credit Cards
In Portugal, the most commonly used credit cards are: Visa, Visa Electron, 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

Portugal is one of 12 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.

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).

Disabled access
Many hotels have accommodation that has been adapted for use by people with motor disabilities. However, it is a good idea to contact them directly for details. Public transports usually have reserved seats for passengers with mobility difficulties but there is no access for people in wheelchairs.The Lisbon Metro is not fully accessible to people with motor disabilities. Blind passengers are allowed to travel with their guide dogs, provided that they wear a collar and muzzle. All Portuguese airports have wheelchairs and disabled toilets and transfer facilities. They also provide special assistance on request. There are many limitations on disabled mobility and we recommend that you obtain more detailed information from the services youplan to use.
For further information about disabled facilities, please contact:
National Rehabilitation Department
Phone: 217 929 500 – Fax: 217 965 182
E-mail: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Vehicles drive on the right in Portugal. Unless otherwise indicated, vehicles coming from the right have priority in squares and at intersections. At junctions with roundabouts, vehicles already on the roundabout have right of way.
Road signs comply with international rules.
Compulsory papers:
– Personal ID- Driving licence
– Motor insurance certificate
– Vehicle registration or equivalent
– Vehicle logbook (livrete) or equivalent
On the spot fines are issued.
Speed limits for cars without trailers and motorcycles:
50 kph – in built-up areas
90 kph – on normal roads
100 kph – on roads restricted to motor vehicles
120 kph – on motorways
It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.5 grams per litre or more. All occupants must wear seat belts.

Duty and tax-free exemptions
Third countries:
Travellers coming from non-EU countries may only benefit from exemption from VAT and special duties liable on the goods transported within their baggage, provided that these are for personal use and do not exceed the following limits:
Tobacco products(1):
Cigarettes – 200 units
Cigarrillos (small cigars with a maximum weight of 3 g/unit) – 100 units
Cigars – 50 units
Smoking tobacco – 250 grams
Alcoholic beverages (2):
distilled drinks and spirits with strength over 22% vol. – total of 1 litre
Spirits and alcoholic beverages, aperitives with a basis of wine or of alcohol, tafia, saké or similar beverages of an alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 22% vol; sparkling or fortified wines, liqueurs – total of 2 litres and still wines – total of 2 litres.
50 grams of perfume
250 ml toilet-water
Coffee (1):
500 grams
Coffee extracts and coffee essences – 200 grams
100 grams
Tea extracts and tea essences – 40 grams
Other goods:
Travellers benefit from an exemption provided that the value of the goods does not exceed 175 euros.
This amount is reduced to 90 euros for persons aged less than 15 years.
(1) Travellers aged less than 15 years do not benefit from any exemption in relation to these products.
(2) Travellers aged less than 17 years do not benefit from any exemption in relation to these products.

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.

The national number for emergencies is 112. It can be dialled at any time of the day or night from anywhere in Portugal.

Entry formalities
Citizens from countries not mentioned above need a visa to enter Portugal, which may be requested at the Portuguese Embassy or Citizens of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway 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 Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, SouthKorea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican, Venezuela and Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong and Macao. 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.

Related links:
Portuguese embassies
Portugueses consulates
Portuguese Immigration Authority

Portugal is situated at the south-east point of Europe and also includes the Madeira and Azores archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean. Mainland Portugal occupies an area of 88,889 km2. It is 218 km wide and 561 km long. It has 832 km of Atlantic coast and a 1,215km border with Spain. The Azores are situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. They have an area of 2,355 km2 and consist of nine islands – São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group and Flores and Corvo in the Western Group. It takes about two hours to get from the Azores to mainland Portugal by plane. The Madeira Archipelago has an area of 741 km2 and lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the European continent (1½ hours flying time from Lisbon). It consists of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens islands, which are nature reserves.

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 25 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.

Hotel accommodation
The countless hotels and similar establishments all over the country offer accommodation with or without meals and other services. They are classified as follows:

HOTELS – There is a wide choice of hotels and they are classified with 1 to 5 stars depending on their location and the quality of their facilities.
HOTÉIS APARTAMENTOS / APARTHOTELS – These are classified from 2 to 5 stars and are the ideal choice for those looking for a little more independence, though without giving up all the amenities of a hotel.
ESTALAGENS / INNS – There are 4- or 5-star inns and they are cosy places reflecting the characteristics of the area in which they are located.
PENSÕES / BOARDING HOUSES – This type of accommodation is a more inexpensive option and is rated as 3rd, 2nd and 1st class or, for the highest category, as an Albergaria or guest house.
MOTELS – These have 2 or 3 stars and offer roadside accommodation in independent units with direct access from the outside and private parking.
POUSADAS – These inns are located in historical buildings or places of great natural beauty. They are divided into four categories: historical, historical/design, nature and charm.
ALDEAMENTOS TURÍSTICOS / TOURIST VILLAGES – These villages have 3, 4 or 5 stars and are located in private grounds with all the necessary services and facilities.
APARTAMENTOS TURÍSTICOS / TOURIST APARTMENTS – These are classified with 2 to 5 stars and are the ideal choice for those who want total independence.

One of the Latin languages, Portuguese is the third most spoken European language in the world and the native tongue of about 200 million people. The Portuguese-speaking countries are scattered all over the world. Portuguese is spoken in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe), in South America (Brazil) and in Asia, (East Timor, the youngest nation inthe world). In Portugal there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.

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 everyday.

Official Time
During winter time, i.e. from 1 a.m. on the last Sunday in October to 1 a.m. on the last Sunday in March, the official time in mainland Portugal and Madeira is the Universal Time Coordinated (UTC).
The rest of the year (between 1 a.m. on the last Sunday in March and 1 a.m. on the last Sunday in October), summer time is in effect and the official time in mainland Portugal and Madeira is Universal Time Coordinated plus one hour. In the Azores, the time is one hour earlier than in the rest of Portugal and therefore one hour earlier than the Universal Time Coordinated during winter time and two hours earlier during summer time.

In general, pharmacies are open on weekdays between 9am and 7pm (some close for lunch between 1 and 3 pm) 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.

Portugal has a population of about 10 million. The population density is at its greatest in Lisbon, the capital and its suburbs, where about 1.9 million people live. The second largest city in Portugal is Oporto in the north. Generally speaking, there are more people living in the country’s coastal regions than in the inland areas.

Ports and marinas
If you come to Portugal through its Atlantic gateway, you will find a safe, pleasant haven inviting you to rest for a few days at any of the ports and marinas at your disposal, with all the comfort and facilities you need for you and your boat. Choose one of the many ports or marinas along the coast, fully equipped to welcome you. And prepare yourself for other discoveries…

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

Public holidays
National holidays:
New Year’s Day – 1 January
Freedom Day – 25 April
Worker’s Day – 1 May
Portugal Day – 10 June
Feast of the Assumption – 15 August
Implantation of the Republic – 5 October
All Saints Day – 1 November
Restoration of Independence – 1 December
Immaculate Conception – 8 December
Christmas Day – 25 December

Moveable public holidays:
Good Friday
Corpus Christi

CP – Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses (, the Portuguese railway company, offers a vast rail network covering the whole of mainland Portugal and also offers international train services to Vigo, Madrid and Paris. There are a number of options to meet your needs:
– The top-of-the-range “Alfa pendular” trains offer the fastest and most comfortable rail link between Lisbon and the Algarve and, in the north, Oporto, Braga or Guimarães, with stops in Coimbra and Aveiro.
– The “Intercidades” or Intercity service covers the Lisbon-Oporto-Braga, Lisbon-Guarda, Lisbon-Covilhã, Lisbon-Alentejo and Lisbon-Algarve routes.
– The international Sud-Express train and Lusitânia hotel-train leave from Lisbon and Oporto.
– There is a vast network of regional, inter-regional and suburban trains covering the whole of the country.
Tourist tickets are the ideal choice for those travelling a lot by train. They are personal, non-transferable tickets that are valid for an unlimited number of journeys for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days at any time of year and for any category and class of train.

The majority of Portuguese are Catholics, but the Portuguese Constitution guarantees religious freedom and there are a number of different religions in Portugal.

Portugal has a good road network consisting of auto-estradas (AE, motorways), itinerários principais (IP, main trunk roads), itinerários complementares (IC, complementary trunk roads), estradas nacionais (EN, national roads) and estradas municipais (municipal roads). All motorways are marked with the internationally recognised sign and motorists using them have to pay tolls. See prices on or In case of breakdown or accident on the motorway, you can phone for assistance on 808 508 508. Toll gates have Via Verde channels. This is an innovative electronic system enabling motorists to debit tolls to their bank account. Only holders of Via Verde identifiers supplied by Brisa can use it.

There are regular coach services between Portugal’s main towns and cities. For details of routes, timetables and fares visit the website of Rede Nacional de Expressos (only in Portuguese).

Car rentals:
There are car rental services at airports, international rail terminuses and in the main towns and cities. Drivers with mobility difficulties, or anyone who prefers to, can rent automatic or adapted vehicles. To rent a car you must:
– be at least between 21 and 25 years old, depending on the company’s rental policy
– show identification (identity card for EU citizens or a valid passport for other nationalities)
– have had a driving licence for more than one year

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 theweek. 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.

Tax free – VAT Reimbursement
Visitors from non-European Union countries can request reimbursement of the Value Added Tax (VAT) they have paid on any of their purchases over 59.36 euros. The VAT rate charged on most items in Portugal is 21%. In order to be reimbursed, when you make a purchase you should ask the shop for a declaration detailing the amount you paid, the items bought and the amount to be reimbursed. You can request the reimbursement at the airport, either in cash, by credit card, or by international cheque, provided that you show the items in question to customs beforehand. Further information is available at :
– ; [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Taxis are usually cream in colour, although there are still some painted black with a green roof in the traditional Portuguese style. The fare is shown on the taximeter. The prices are affixed inside the car or you can ask the driver about them. If you phone for a taxi you have to pay an extra 0.75 euros. There is a charge of 1.50 euros for luggage, regardless of weight or the number of pieces. Carry cots, pushchairs, wheelchairs andwalking aids are carried free of charge. Outside towns, taxis charge by the kilometre and the driver and passenger agree on the fare in advance. Where they exist, the passenger has to pay the road tolls there and back. Tipping is at the passenger’s discretion, though it is normal to tip 5-10% or round the amount up to the nearest euro.

Service is included in the bill in restaurants, though it is customary to leave an additional tip of about 5-10% of the total. It is also normal to tip taxi drivers 5-10 % or rounding up the amount paid to the nearest euro.

Tourism in the Country
Country holidays involve lodging with families and therefore bring visitors into direct contact with the local population and their habits and customs and also with nature itself. Country holiday units are identified with a metal TER sign and, depending on the type of accommodation offered can be classified as:
TURISMO DE HABITAÇÃO (TH) / TOURISM IN A MANOR HOUSE – in mansions, stately homes or residences of acknowledged architectural value.
TURISMO RURAL (TR) / RURAL TOURISM – in country cottages typical of the rural area in which they are located.
AGRO-TURISMO (AG) / AGRICULTURAL TOURISM – in family homes or annexes on a farm, where guests are welcome to do farm work if they wish.
TURISMO DE ALDEIA (TA) / TOURISM IN A VILLAGE – in houses in historical villages, traditional towns or rural centres in complexes with a minimum of five units that must emulate the architecture and typical characteristics of the region.
CASAS DE CAMPO (CC) / COUNTRY HOUSES – in private homes or guest houses that, thanks to their architecture, design andother features, fit perfectly into the rustic atmosphere of the area.
HOTÉIS RURAIS / RURAL HOTELS – These hotels are located in the country and their architecture and interior design are typical

The underground (“Metro” in portuguese) is an important addition to the traditional forms of public transport. In Lisbon and Oporto it operates between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. The Lisbon underground is the older of the two and reaches a considerable part of the city. Its network has gradually been extended in recent years. Both the oldest and the most recent stations are decorated with panels of tiles by renowned Portuguese artists,making them true underground art galleries.
In Oporto, the underground is new and a part of the network is still under construction. There are four lines in operation – red, blue, yellow and green -, and most of their route is above ground.

Weights and measures
1 cm = 0.39 inches
1 metre = 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards
1 km = 0.62 miles
1 litre = 0.26 gallons (USA) / 0.22 gallons (UK)
1 inch = 2.54 cm
1 foot = 0.39 metres
1 yard = 0.91 metres
1 mile = 1.6 km
1 gallon (USA) = 3.78 litres
1 gallon (UK) = 4.54 litres

Informations provided by ITP – Instituto de Turismo de Portugal –