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Travel Tips

Entry requirements

A valid passport is the only requirement for US citizens. All other nationalities, please contact the nearest Portuguese Consulate in order to obtain any requirements information.

Going to Portugal


International commercial airports are: Lisbon (LIS), Porto (OPO), Faro (FAO), Funchal (FNC) (Madeira island), Ponta Delgada (PDL) (Azores islands), and Lajes (TER) (Terceira, Azores islands). The national Portuguese airlines are TAP-Air Portugal and SATA. SATA also connects all nine Azores islands. There are also air links between Funchal (Madeira) and Porto Santo (Madeira). Portugalia airlines operate scheduled flights to and from Portugal in Europe.


International trains run between Paris and Lisbon (Sud Express); Lisbon-Madrid (Lusitânia Train), and Porto-Vigo.

Regional lanes are operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP). Express trains connect Lisbon with the Norht and South via the Alfa Pendular ran by CP.


Residents or non-residents who leave or enter Portugal territory are free to take with them national and foreign currency in coins and notes, travelers checks and other securities intended to pay for the travel expenses, but are obligated to inform the customs authorities if the values involved exceed 12,000 Euros (approximately US$13,000.00).

Travelers over 17 years old, may bring in the following items, duty free: 2 bottles of table wine, 1 bottle of hard liquor, 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco, 1.75 ounces of perfume, and small quantities of tea or coffee for personal use. Bringing fresh meat into Portugal is forbidden. For further information, contact the Embassy Services or the Portuguese Consulates. 


Continental Portugal and Madeira Island are on Greenwich time – five hours ahead of Eastern Time USA and eight ahead of Pacific Time USA. The Azores Islands are GMT-1, one hour behind the Portuguese mainland. Daylight savings time begins the last Sunday in March (clocks are turned one hour ahead) and ends the last Sunday in October (clocks go back one hour).


Weather in coastal Portugal is mild year round with Mediterranean average temperatures. Summers are dry and clear, with warm sunshine extending long into Autumn. Winters are moderately cool and are the rainiest time of year, except in subtropical Madeira, where there is little rain. Mid-Summer temperatures range in the 70’s °F, while Winter temperatures range from the low to mid-50’s.

Weather in the interior can reach negative temperatures in the winter and snow is abundant in the middle-east and middle-north part of the country. 

Getting Around

Urban public transport – in the main towns, there is a complete public transport network. In Lisboa there are buses, the underground, and trams. One may also use public elevators (lifts). Tourism Information Centers at Carris (Lisboa) and STCP (Porto) sell tourist tickets every business day from 8 am to 8 pm.

Taxis are painted mostly cream with a roof-light to identify them. However, there are still some taxis which keep the old colors, green and black. In towns, they use taximeters, but once outside urban boundaries the service is charged by the kilometer, and includes the price of the driver’s return trip to his starting point. From 10 pm to 6 am, the rate increases by 20%. It is normal to give a tip of 10% on top of the fare. Luggage is charged according to a fixed rate. All taxis have an updated chart in two languages.

Express trains run between Lisbon and Porto stopping in Coimbra (Alfa trains), while regional trains (Inter-cidades and Inter-regional) connect the different parts of Portugal. These trains have first and second class carriages, except for local and suburban trains, where there is only one class. Special tickets are available, including tourist tickets valid for 7, 14 or 21 days. There are special return ticket discounts on “blue days” for trips exceeding 100 km.

Business Hours

Banks are open from 8:30 am to 3 pm on Monday to Friday and are closed on bank holidays. Shops are open from 9 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm (working days). On Saturdays, most shops close at 1 pm. In the shopping malls located in larger towns, shops are normally open 7 days a week and on holidays from 10 am to 11 pm.

Museums open from 10 am to 12:30 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm. Closed on Mondays. Some palaces also close on Wednesdays.

Pharmacies open from 9 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm, Monday to Friday, and Saturday mornings. There are also 24 hour pharmacies which operate according to an official chart displayed on Pharmacy windows.