Travel information

Useful information for your trip to Portugal

To make a holiday trip to Portugal can be a delight. It is a smaller country to its neighbour Spain and therefore has a more personal and endearing character. The Lisbon area offers the holidaymaker as many attractions as anywhere in Europe. Throughout Portugal, there is a chain of Tourist Offices manned by bilingual staff to assist the tourist. As the Portuguese are hospitable by nature, they are keen and proud to share their country's best features with foreign visitors.

Airports

There are international airports in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada (Azores). The Lisbon International Airport is very well connected with many countries with several low-cost operators flying to/from various airports in Europe.

Urban Transit

In Lisbon, passengers can use trains, buses, electric trams, underground, and public elevators. Tickets can be purchased from 08H00 until 20H00. In most instances, tickets can be purchased before or at the moment of boarding.

Taxis

In urban areas, you are charged according to the taximeter. Outside urban areas, the charge is per kilometre and includes the cost of the return trip. Luggage over 30 kilos is charged at a fixed rate. Printed rates are available in both Portuguese and English.

Time to travel

It is safe to suggest that the whole year is a good period to visit. Mainland Portugal has an attractive climate with long hot summers and mild pleasant winters.

Money

The local currency is Euros. Money can be exchanged at Banks, “Bureau de Change” (Câmbio) or at one of the currency exchange machines in the streets. These facilities offer a better rate than Hotels. Euro Cheque is a cheaper method than Travellers Cheque for obtaining cash. All well-known Credit Cards are usually accepted.

Banks

Banks are open from Monday through to Friday, from 08h30 to 15h00, and closed on Public Holidays, Saturdays and Sundays. Bank charges vary between different banks for the same item or service.

Cost of living: food & drinks 

Prices vary in function of the type of establishment and whether or not the cost includes a table service or esplanade service, as a result of which the prices presented are purely indicative. An espresso coffee, which is so popular amongst the Portuguese, and normally referred to as a “bica”, costs around €0.60 to €1 at the counter of a traditional café. A "galão" (a cup of coffee with milk) may cost between €0.70 and €1,20 and a cup of tea between €1 and €1.50. A glass of natural orange juice costs around €2,50 and a beer or Coca-Cola costs between €1 and €1.50. A cheese or ham sandwich costs between €1.50 and €2.50 and a slice of toast or cake will be less than €2. If you have a full meal, it will cost you around €8 to €11 per person in a snack bar, between €13 and €20 in a restaurant and around €30 to €50 in a first-class restaurant or Fado house.

Visas

European Union, Australia and New Zealand citizens require only their passport or Identity Document. They may remain for a period of up to 90 days. American and Canadian citizens may stay for a period of 60 days with a valid passport. Other countries are subject to Visa controls and as regulations can change overnight it is recommended that a potential visitor should check with the Portuguese Consul in their respective country prior to making a visit to Portugal.

Language

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 in the world).

In Portugal, there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.

Emergencies

By calling anywhere in Portugal on 112 you will be connected to Fire, Police and Ambulance services. Every Fire Brigade also maintains one or more ambulances for emergencies. Pharmacys can give advice on simple health problems and suggest appropriate treatment. They are also permitted to sell many medicines without a doctors prescription. A green cross on white background denotes a pharmacy. A red cross on a white background denotes a “Red Cross” station. In many towns, there are Emergency Treatment Centres (SAP) that will provide medical assistance 24 hours a day.

Security in cities and towns is handled by the “Polícia de Segurança Pública” (PSP) and in rural areas by the “Guarda Nacional Republicana” (GNR). Traffic is handled by “Brigada de Trânsito”. On motorways and several major roads, there are SOS phone boxes for you to call for help in case of an accident or breakdown.

 

Take note:

  • National Emergency Number:  112
  • National Enquiries: 118
  • International Enquiries: 171
  • Pre-Paid Calls: 172

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