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flag Portugal Portugal: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources


Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Consult the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
Diplomatic Representations
For Portugal's embassies and consulates abroad, consult the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
IATA Travel Center

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Lisbon and Porto each have their own bus network.
There are two large public metro networks: that of Lisbon (and its suburbs) and that of Porto (and its suburbs). The metro south of the Tagus is private. The completion of the Sul do Tejo (MTS) Metro is expected in 2009; it will serve the towns situated on Lisbon's south bank.
The other towns have their own municipal transport systems (buses and/or trams).
When you arrive at Lisbon airport, at the tourist counter, there are taxi "vouchers" and a table showing journeys and their respective costs. Nevertheless, it is safer to take taxis which are parked near the departure zone; there is much less risk of paying more. In town, there are not usually problems of this sort. Be careful, too, that the official cost of baggage in the trunk is adhered to: according to the law, the cost is 1.6 EUR for all the baggage (and not for each suitcase or bag) carried in the trunk of the taxi.
Maps of Urban Networks
Map of Porto bus lines
Lisbon metro map
Porto metro map

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Lisbon (LIS) 10 km / 6 miles EUR 10 / 25-45 min EUR 1.20 / 20-45 min - Available
Porto (OPO) 16 km / 10 miles EUR 15-20 EUR1 / 40-55 min EUR 1.40 / 30 min Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

North of the Tagus:
Although there is still no high speed train for the journey between Lisbon and Braga (including Porto), the train remains the most convenient and fastest means of transport. Train tickets can be bought at automatic ticket machines.


South of the Tagus:
Especially for the Algarve, the bus was the means of transport favoured by most people. But, since 2005, the railway has crossed the Tagus and ensures good links with the south of the country.

Rail Companies
C.P. Portuguese Railways

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Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
SATA Air Açores Major Yes Yes
Easyjet Low cost No Yes
Transavia Low cost No Yes
Ryanair Low cost No Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

On the IP5, from Aveiro to Vilar Formoso, it is compulsory to drive with headlights on, even in the daytime. Many checks are carried out and offenders are liable to be fined. The roads are generally in good condition but you should be careful, given the number of road accidents which is above the European average. The Portuguese like to drive at high speed and road signs are often missing or few and far between. Be careful: on some multi-lane roads, there are speed limits under which you may not drive. Many speed cameras have been installed along the roads.


It is easy to rent a car all over the country, especially at airports.

Road Maps
Road map of Portugal
Map of Lisbon
Maps and itineraries on the main Portuguese search engine
Via Michelin
Find an Itinerary

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Different Forms of Tourism

Traditionally Portugal's main tourist destinations were: Lisbon and the surrounding area (Estoril, Cascais, Arrábida south of the Tagus), Madeira and the Algarve. But local and foreign tourist itineraries have widely diversified. Portugal is one of the oldest states: it has 9 centuries of history. Its monuments bear witness to this historic past: the Romanesque cathedrals of Coimbra and Porto, the monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha from the second part of the Middle Ages, the tower of Belém, the monastery of "Jerónimos" and the Convent of Christ in Tomar from the "manueline" epoch (King Manuel 1, XV and XVIth centuries) or the Palácio Nacional at Mafra from the XVIIth century.
Besides monuments and castles, there are also:
- cobblestones (especially in Lisbon and the south) and the azulejos which cover the façades of buildings and churches such as the Madre de Deus Convent or the Palácio Marquês de Fronteira;
- fado, the national song: Camané, Marisa, Cristina Branco and Porto and all it represents: the city, the valley of the Douro (World Heritage Site);
- and, of course, wine.
A very varied choice: walking on the island of Madeira, along the "levadas" (canal side walks), the trails in the Serra da Estrela, in the center of the country, fishing and water sports in the Azores.
In 2007, the new basilica at Fatima opened its doors, the sanctuary where believers flock especially for May 13 and October 13.
Portugal has a wealth of spring waters. Some establishments have been converted into luxury spa and health hotel units. Others are being modernized, with the help of public funds. For further information consult the Termas de Portugal (sectorial association) website.
The Algarve is the coast where most visitors go, especially in the summer. Avoid August.
More and more, people are looking for alternatives: the beaches of Alentejo, especially the Toia peninsula, which is under development, the beaches of the island of Porto Santo, the beaches of the Cascais shoreline.
There are also surfing beaches: Ericeira, Guincho, Peniche which are national/international championship venues.
Winter Sports
There is no winter sports tradition, as it has never snowed enough in Portugal. The activity is slowly starting up.
Outdoor Activities
Hiking, mountain bike, climbing, mountain climbing, rafting.
Portuguese products, unfairly underrated by foreigners, are rapidly attracting interest among expatriates:
- Portuguese wines (there are more than 30 appellations d'origine - "DOC" in Portuguese). Wine from Porto had the first appellation d'origine in the world. The Viniportugal institution is in charge of distribution.
- cheeses; the king of Portuguese cheeses is the "queijo da serra", a melt-in-the-mouth ewe's milk cheese.
Tourism Organizations
Portuguese tourist office
Boa Cama Boa Mesa

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year old coming from infected areas.
International Hospitals
British HospitalS. Louis Hospital


There are also large private hospitals, which belong to Portuguese financial/banking groups and have agreements with complementary health insurance companies: Hospital CUF Descobertas, Hospital da Luz, SAMS. The personnel speaks English and often French.

For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Direcção Geral de Alfandegas
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
The advice of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Emergency Numbers

ambulances and medical emergencies and police 112

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Lisbon (GMT in winter, GMT+1 in summer)
Summer Time Period
Summer time from March to October

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Average temperatures in Lisbon in January are 8°C and in June 28°C. The best seasons for visiting the country are spring (between April and June) and the end of summer, beginning of autumn (between September and October). However, for bathing, it is better to visit the country during July, August and September, or even October (in the south of Portugal and in Madeira). The summer months are from mid-June to mid-September.
For Further Information
The Portuguese Meteorological Institute website

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Food Specialties
- Bacalhau : salt cod (boiled with chick peas, in a gratin with crème fraîche, grilled, in fritters "pastel de bacalhau", etc...).
- "Arroz de marisco" : rice with seafood.
- "Caldeirada" : fish soup.
- "Pastel de nata" : custard in puff pastry.
Traditionally a wine producing country. To see the different wines, visit the Associations for the promotion of Portuguese wines website.
Dietary Restrictions
No restrictions.

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Domestic Currency
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
A foreigner arriving in Portugal can easily withdraw money at ATMs, called "Multibanco" and shown by blue "MB" signs. Portugal is one of the countries where the ATM network has multiplied most densely and rapidly, as well as the range of services on offer. At ATMs you can withdraw money, pay utility bills (water, electricity, gas, telephone, etc.), pay taxes, pay fines, transfer money, recharge a mobile phone (if the chip is Portuguese), buy train tickets, buy concert tickets and sign up electronically for standing orders, etc.
Possible Means of Payment
In shops, restaurants, hotels and cafés you can pay in cash or by credit card, according to the amount. American Express cards are not widely accepted. There is an extensive network of ATMs called "Caixas Multibanco".

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Official Language
In Portugal, the national language is Portuguese.
Other Languages Spoken
Spanish, French and English are the foreign languages best known and used in business relations.
Business Language
According to the age of your contact: under 40 the Portuguese person will speak English. If your contact is over 40, he will probably speak French.
Spanish is gaining ground.
Getting Some Knowledge
The travlang website can help you for information in Portuguese.
Free Translation Tools
Voilà : Translator of words, text and web pages
Google : Translator of words, text and web pages
Lexilogos : Translation of words and useful expressions

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
Visit Portugal
Visit Portugal
Visit Portugal
Visit Portugal
Visit Portugal
Visit Portugal
Solares of Portugal
Visit Portugal

Accommodation Guide
Visit Azores
Accommodation in Madeira
To Find an Apartment
In´s, for Lisbon and the surrounding area
Square, for the whole country

Clix - BPI Expresso Imobiliário
BPI bank
Ojornal Portuguese News
To Find a Job
Michael Page
Ofertas Emprego

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Last Updates: January 2015