Portugal Tourism Information
Tours - Porto and Lisboa have tourist travel passes that can be purchased downtown, in train stations and at the airports. Upon arriving in any Portuguese city tourists should visit the Welcome Desk of the local tourist office, which is always located in the downtown area, in train stations and at the airport.
As a beautiful and popular European country, there are hundreds of tours that you arrange to give you a great feel for the country. You'll find
Entry Requirements - A valid passport is the only requirement for US citizens. If you do not hold an American, Canadian or European passport they should get a visa at a Portuguese Consulate. For the nearest Portuguese Consulate, please call: 415-391-7080.
Customs - Residents or non-residents who leave or enter Portuguese territory are free to take with them national and foreign currency in coins and notes, traveler's 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 Portuguese Embassy or the nearest Consulate.
Currency - The Euro is the same currency used in all Western European Countries with exception of Great Britain. ATM machines are widely available throughout Portugal and are usually th emost convinient method for obtaining currency. All ATMs allow for withdrawal of money against credit cards. ATM machines in Portugal include amongst other services, railway and inter-city bus ticket and art performances ticket purchases. They operate differently from the North American Market, since they are under a unified system which integrates all banks operating in Portugal.
Traveler's checks and Eurocheques are widely accepted, as are most credit cards, including American Express, Diner's Club, Eurocard, MasterCard and Visa.
Language - Portuguese is the national language. English and French are secondary languages. While local residents appreciate any attempt by visitors to speak Portuguese, many of them have a working command of the English language.
Electricity - The electrical current in Portugal is 220 volts, 50-cycle AC; outlets take Continental-style plugs, with two round prongs. US visitors should pack both a converter and an adapter.
Time - Continental Portugal and Madeira Island are on the Greenwich time - five hours ahead of Eastern Time, six hours ahead of Central Time, seven hours ahead of Mountain Time and eight hours ahead of Pacific Time. The Azores Islands are 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 - The weather is mild year round. 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 around 70° F, while winter temperatures range from the low to mid-50°s. The Azores have a more temperate climate, due to the Atlantic Ocean influence. Strong winds, fog and rain are common during the Winter months, but the temperature is always in the range of 69° F to 80° F.
Business Hours - Banks open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday and are closed on bank holidays.
Shops open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (working days). On Saturdays, most shops close at 1 p.m. In the shopping malls located in larger towns, shops are normally open on 7 days a week and holidays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Museums open from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Some places also close on Wednesdays.
Pharmacies open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, and Saturday mornings. There are also 24-hour pharmacies which operate according to an official chart displayed on Pharmacy windows. Off the counter medication can also be found in some major supermarkets and drugstores.
Sales Tax Refunds - Americans and other non-EC residents receive a refund of up to 11 percent of VAT sales tax at shops carrying the "Tax Free" logo, including most large stores and resort-area boutiques. Visitors can ask for a Global Refund Check when paying. Tourists should look for shops displaying a Tax Free sign. VAT refund points at main airports offer payment in cash, check or as credit to a charge-card account against your Global Refund Check.
Holidays - Principal public holidays in 2006/2007 are:
Hotels and Accommodations
There are plenty of quality accommodations available throughout the country with large and small hotels, resorts, inns, B&B's, pousadas and some very relaxing wine estates.
Rail - To traverse Portugal and neighboring Spain, you may want to check out rail passes for their comparative costs, convenience and for the experience of travel by rail. Local trains are also very convenient for travel within Portugal. For simple town to town transportation, these small trains add a glimpse of real everyday life often winding up and down hills and around local areas not otherwise accessible to the average tourist.
Wine - As you may well have guessed from the extensive list of wine tours, wine is a big part of the everyday life in much of Portugal. You too can experience quality wines from Portugal.
Maps - Purchase more than 20 maps of Portugal cities and areas.
Casinos - Casinos in Portugal operate differently from American casinos. The slot machine area is usually separate from the remaining gaming area. To enter in the casino gaming area, visitors must show I.D./Passport as proof they are 18 years old. Many casinos require formal dress after 8 p.m., and a jacket for men is advised. There is an entrance fee which is waived for visitors that are staying at the casino's hotel. Bars and restaurants are usually outside the gaming area.
Posters - You can also experience Portugal through it's pictures. These poster pictures can also be sent as free online e-cards to family.
Photos - Take a look at some tourist photos of Portugal for some real images of everyday travel.
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