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
Tipping is encouraged. Tip taxi drivers 10%-15%. Most hotel
and restaurant bills already include a service charge.
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a good alternative if a large amount is to be withdrawn at
Commercial banks have branches widely spread all over the
country. Normal banking hours are weekdays from 8.30 am to
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
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,
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Portugals international dial code for mobile
phones is 268.
Thank you - Obrigado (if you're male) or Obrigada (if you're
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