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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Portugal Travel Requirements

Travellers Essentials

The unit of currency in Portugal is the escudo, consisting of 100 centavos (154.24 escudos equal U.S.$1; 1996). In May 1998, Portugal and ten other members of the European Union officially adopted a new, single currency, the euro, for all transactions. The new currency is used from January 1, 1999 for electronic transfers and for accounting purposes.

Euro coins and bills will be issued in 2002, at which time the Portuguese currency will cease to be legal tender.

The railroad system has a total length of 2850 km (1770 mi). Most of the tracks are wide gauge to accommodate shipments from Spain. The merchant marine comprises 304 vessels. Major seaports include Lisbon, Leixões, Setúbal, and Funchal (Madeira).

Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (TAP), the national airline, provides domestic and international service. A number of foreign airlines also have scheduled stops at Lisbon's international airport.

Tipping is encouraged. Tip taxi drivers 10%-15%. Most hotel and restaurant bills already include a service charge.

Money Matters
Travellers' cheques are accepted mainly for exchange in banks and exchange booths. However, banks charge you a fixed standard comission for cashing travellers' cheques (between 2000 - 3000 PTE depending on the bank). At Lisbon airport, the charge is about 1500 PTE for travellers' cheques.

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)
ATMs are widespread all over the country. They even display transactions in English. Bank cards and Visa & Mastercards work on most of them to withdraw cash in local currency. The rate to use the bank card is about 300 PTE, which makes it a good alternative if a large amount is to be withdrawn at one time.

Commercial banks have branches widely spread all over the country. Normal banking hours are weekdays from 8.30 am to 15.00 pm.

Apart from commercial banks and airports, there are exchange booths, hotels and camping parks with exchange facilities. The charge is about 600 PTE for exchanging cash. The exchange rate changes every day and each bank/institution is giving a different exchange rate.

Passports and Visas
The duration of stay for tourist is fixed by law at 60 or 90 days, wether they have a Tourist Visa or are exempt from a Tourist Visa due to an agreement with certain countries.

A Tourist Visa must be received prior to arrival in Portugal and is issued at Portuguese consular offices or embassies abroad. It can be obtained within two or three days. As a general rule, the applicant must submit to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate the following documentation:

1. two copies of the completed tourist Visa application form and two photos
2. a valid passport or recognized travel document (it must be valid for at least three months after the end of the planned journey)
3. a return ticket

Citizens from the European Union are exempt from a tourist Visa. However a valid passport or identity card is required. Portugal has agreements with some countries exempting their citizens from applying for a tourist Visa.

For a stay of 3 months or less: Australia, New Zealand.
For a stay of 2 months or less: USA and Canada.

Portugal is a member of the Shengen Treaty. Shengen States are Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain.

Short stay tourist Visa (of 1 to 90 days) may be required at any Schengen State consular office or embassy and is valid for all countries.

By Air
TAP Air Portugal is the national carrier. TAP is also the only carrier flying to Madeira and Azores. Portugalia provides regional links in mainland (domestic routes) as well some international. SATA Air Azores has the exclusive of the internal flights in Azores. There are also flights in archipelago of Madeira between Funchal and Porto Santo island.

There are five international airports in Portugal. Three of them lay in mainland: Porto (north), Lisboa (center), Faro (south). The other two stand at archipelago of Azores (Ponta Delgada - S. Miguel island) and Madeira (Funchal).

By Road
Mainland Portugal shares borders only with Spain. To enter Portugal by road, several borders are open all year: Valença do Minho, Vila Verde da Raia, Miranda do Douro, Bemposta Mogadouro, Vilar Formoso, Elvas, Vila Real de Santo António.

Basic Rules
Traffic is on the right way.
•A valid national license is required to drive.
•Seat belts are obligatory for all the passengers.
•The maximum legal blood alcohol level is 0.5g per 100ml.

Telephone Services
Public telephones are operated by Portugal Telecom. You can find them especially around stations and shopping areas. They come in three kinds: payphones, 'Credifone' and 'TLP Card' telephones. To use the payphones, just put a 10 PTE, 20 PTE, 50 PTE or 100 PTE coin in the slot and then dial.

'Credifone' magnetic card telephones extend throughout the country while 'TLP Card' telephones are found only in Lisbon and Porto. Both cards come in 50 or 120 impulses with a cost of 875 PTE and 2100 PTE, respectively (for international calls 1 impulse = 1 minute). You can buy them at shops displaying the label Phone Cards.

Post offices also come with telephone offices but calls are more expensive, as are calls made at hotels.

The emergency phone number is '112', valid throughout the European Community.

From Portugal, you can call up to 191 different countries in the world using the public telephone system. To make an international call you must dial first the International dial number '00' before your country dial number.

Telephone rates are cheaper between 10:00pm and 8:00am through Mon-Fri and weekends or during public holidays.

In case of trouble in getting a connection or just to ask for information, call:
099 - European countries and Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia.
098 - other countries.
Also available is the Direct Country Service allowing you to call the operator in your country.

Mobile Phones
GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is the standard mobile telephone service in Portugal. Having a GSM mobile phone, you can benefit from roaming.

There are two GSM service providers in Portugal: TMN is associated with Portugal Telecom, and Telecel.

GSM phones are available for rent to non-residents, for a minimum three day period, from both Telecel and Telerent or TAP, at the airport in Lisbon. However neither data cards, data service, nor 8 watt transportable phones are available from rental service providers.

Note that Portugal’s international dial code for mobile phones is 268.

Useful Phrases
Thank you - Obrigado (if you're male) or Obrigada (if you're female)
Please - Por favor
Good morning - Bom dia
Good afternoon - Boa tarde
Good evening - Boa noite
Yes - Sim
No - Não
Bank/Change - Banco/Câmbio
How much is it? - Quanto é?
Do you speak English? - Fala inglês?
I don't understand - Não compreendo


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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