Country guides Europe
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.
Portuguese is the official language, but English is widely spoken and understood.
The official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. There are numerous banks, bureaux de change and ATMs available in main cities and tourist destinations. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and automatic currency exchange machines. Banking hours are generally 8.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday. Major credit cards are widely accepted.
Service charges are not usually added to hotel and restaurant bills but it's customary to leave a 10 percent tip. Bar staff and taxi drivers also expect tips, which usually entails rounding up the bill to the nearest Euro.
There are no health risks when travelling to Portugal. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary for entry for anyone travelling from an infected area and destined for the Azores or Madeira. Health facilities are good and reciprocal health agreements exist with most European countries. It's advisable that travellers obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travel. Dental care and repatriation costs are not covered under this agreement, and travel insurance is therefore advised.
After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU.
Generally, safety is not a problem for travel in Portugal but reasonable care should be taken. Road maintenance is fairly poor so exercise caution and drive defensively when driving.
Family is an important pillar of Portuguese society, with familial loyalty overriding everything, even in the corporate environment. Thus it's not uncommon for employers to hire family members as they feel comfortable around those they trust. Self-respect through appearance is also of high importance, with dressing smart for all occasions not a rare occurence. In terms of cuisine, the Portuguese love seafood as well as sweet treats like honey cakes and pasteis. As a nation which is predominately Roman Catholic and conservative, overly exuberant foreigners are frowned upon while lateness and informal etiquette is also considered rude.
Business culture in Portugal observes a strict hierarchical top-down approach to management and leadership. Subordinate employees are expected to do as they are told. Strong business relationships are built on trust between colleagues, and personal connections are important.
Business etiquette is formal yet relaxed. Use titles such as 'Señhor' and 'Señhora' until strictly instructed not to do so, and show deference to those in obvious positions of authority. Business meetings in Portugal must be made by appointment.
The dress code in Portugal is strictly smart and formal - with a strong emphasis placed on presentation. Business hours in Portugal vary, but are generally from 8.30am to 1pm, and 3pm to 6pm, from Monday to Friday.
Travellers over 17 years arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarrilos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 4 litres of wine, 16 litres of beer and 1 litre of spirits over 22% or 2 litres of liquor less than 22% volume; 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers.
The international access code for Portugal is +351, and wifi is available in most hotels, cafes and restaurants throughout Portugal.
Passport & Visa
All visitors, except EEA member states, must hold tickets and documents for their return or onward journey, and proof of paid accommodation (equivalent in convertible currency accepted). The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. A passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject', 'British Overseas Territories Citizen', and Identity Cards issued by Gibraltar must be valid for the duration of intended stay. British passports with any other endorsement must be valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. Visas are not required for British Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Subjects, and those with Identity Cards issued by Gibraltar.
Canadians do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. A passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
Australian nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. A passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
South African nationals require a passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay, and a Schengen visa.
Irish nationals do not require a visa to visit Portugal. A passport valid on arrival is required.
New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. A passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay is required.
Institute of Portugal Tourism, Lisbon: +351 211 205 050 or www.visitportugal.com112
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Portuguese Embassy, Washington, United States: +1 202 350 5400.
Portuguese Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 235 5331.
Portuguese Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 729 0883
Consulate General of Portugal, Sydney, Australia: +61 2 9262 2199
Portuguese Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 341 2340
Portuguese Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 412 7040
Portuguese Consulate, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 255 2569
Embassies / consulates in Portugal
United States Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 727 3300
British Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 392 4000
Canadian Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 316 4600
Australian Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 310 1500
South African Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 319 2200
Irish Embassy, Lisbon: +351 21 330 8200
New Zealand Consulate, Lisbon: +351 21 314 0780