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Introduction

In this travel guide about Portugal you will get to know better this country that has been awarded for best tourist destination in recent years and appeared on the covers of magazines.

It combines an extraordinary variety of experiences and landscapes taking into account the size of the country.

It has a history of many centuries and a variety of traditional gastronomy that tourists simply cannot resist.

In this travel guide you will also get to know cities such as Lisbon, Porto or Sintra.

Practical info about Portugal

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Country essentials

Capital: Lisbon

Languages: Portuguese (Official)

English is generally spoken in hotels, restaurants and shops (mainly in cities)

Currency: Euro (€)

Money:

ATMs (identified by the symbol MB – “Multibanco”) are widely available.

Visa and Mastercard are usually accepted.

Carry cash (including coins) for smaller items like coffee and when visiting markets.

Avoid paying small amounts with large-value because that may be viewed with suspicion

Lisbon Timezone: GMT

Azores: GMT +1

Country Phone code

+351 followed by nine digits

Free Emergency number: 112

Vaccinations

No inoculations are necessary.

Passports and Visas

EU nationals (and also from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) only need an identity card.

For visits of less than 90 days, a passport valid for at least three months after the end of their stay is necessary

Citizens of the Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and US can visit Portugal only with a passport valid for at least three months after the end of their stay

Citizens from other countries may need a visa (more info and online application at https://www.vistos.mne.pt)

Regulations are subject to change, so check with a Portuguese embassy or consulate before your trip

Indicative Opening Times

Banks: open from 8.30 am to 3 pm on working days

Post Offices: open from 9 am to 6 pm on working days (extended on Central and airport offices)

Pharmacies: weekdays between 9am and 7pm (may close for lunchtime) and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm

Stores: weekdays between 9am or 10am and 7pm (may close for lunchtime) and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm. May be extended on touristic areas and on Christmas season.

Shopping centres: usually open from 10 a.m. to midnight every day of the week.

Lunchtime:  Some museums, stores and public buildings are closed from noon until 2pm.

Monday:  Many State-run museums and monuments are closed all day.

Sunday:  Churches and cathedrals are closed to tourists during Mass. Some public transport

runs less frequently. Restaurants are usually more crowded (reservations recommended)

Electricity & Tap Water

Electricity

Power sockets are type F (Schuko), fitting a two prong, round-pin plug.

Standard voltage is 220–240v.

Most hotel bathrooms offer built-in adaptors for shavers only.

You will need a 230 volt transformer and an adaptor to use American-style flat-prong plugs

Tap Water Tap water is safe to drink (unless stated otherwise) but may taste of chlorine.

Health Services

Seek medicinal supplies and advice for minor ailments from pharmacies (“Farmácias”), identifiable by a green cross. Pharmacies are marked by a green cross. A closed pharmacy will have a sign in its window telling you which local one is open.

Emergency medical care in Portugal is free for all EU citizens. an EHIC (p379), present this as soon as possible.  EU citizens are entitled to free or subsidized medical treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card with them.

For visitors coming from outside the EU, payment of hospital and other medical expenses is the patient’s responsibility, so it is important to arrange comprehensive medical insurance before travelling.

Smoking in Public Spaces

Smoking is prohibited (with penalties from €50 to €750 euros for smokers infringements) in enclosed public spaces like government buildings, work places, public transport, healthcare establishments, schools, museums, libraries or hotels.

Restaurants, bars and discotheques may be smoking or non-smoking (smaller facilities) or may have areas with proper ventilation where smoking is allowed (must be clearly identified)

Eating & Drinking

Reservations – It is always better to book a restaurant table in advance, though usually only necessary for dinner, weekend lunches and at the most popular places. A few restaurants do not take reservations

Meal Times –  The Portuguese do not eat as late as the Spanish. Most restaurants open between 7pm and 8pm and close between 11pm and midnight. Lunch kicks off at around 1–2pm

Unrequested Appetizers – restaurants place a selection of appetizers – usually cheeses, olives, bread and perhaps ham or salami –on the table before you order anything. These are often delicious, but they are not free. In many cheaper restaurants, they may end up doubling the cost of the meal. If you don’t want to be tempted, just ask the waiter to remove them.

Choosing Dishes – If you are in a hurry, or just hungry, order dishes listed as pratos do dia, dishes of the day. In general, fish is served with boiled potatoes and meat with chips and sometimes rice.

Portion Sizes – There is an established system of half portions – known as meia dose – that operates particularly at lunchtime

Chip-fat Smell – In small, badly ventilated restaurants – that is, the majority – this may not be noticeable or particularly unpleasant  at the time, but after leaving you will carry a strong smell of burnt deep-frying oil in your clothes.

Security

Withdrawing money

Be vigilant when withdrawing cash from an ATM (Multibanco or MB). Whenever possible, carry out the transaction in daylight and be aware of anyone standing too close behind you who could see your PIN number. Ideally, use an ATM together with someone you know and trust, or one that is housed within the bank’s premises.

Beach Safety

Don’t ignore the safety flags: red – no going in the sea; yellow – no swimming; green – all clear.

Nasty stings in shallow water may be from poisonous scorpion fish (“peixe-aranha”) buried in the sand. The temporary intense pain and swellin; seek the help of a lifeguard.

Featured Portuguese cities

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