VISITING PORTUGAL

HOW TO GET THERE

International Airports: Lisbon, Porto, Faro (Algarve)

Most EU, North American and UK  countries have direct flights into Lisbon all year round, while cheap flight operators run a daily service from the UK to Lisbon and Faro.

ONCE YOU HAVE LANDED

Every one of these airports have rental car outlets but also a quality public transport system with buses and trains taking you to your destination of choice.

VISAS

South African citizens do require a Schengen Visa to visit Portugal

TIPPING

If you're satisfied with the service, tip 5% to 10%. Bills at pricier restaurants may already include serviço (service charge). After a snack at a bar or café, some shrapnel is enough. Taxi drivers are not generally tipped, but 10% for good service would be appreciated.

ELECTRICITY

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Some areas provide 110 volts and in certain southern regions 230 DC is used. Continental two-pin plugs are in use

CREDIT CARDS

American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted, as well as Eurocheque cards. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services that may be available.

BANKS

Banking Hours are generally Monday-Friday 08:30-15:00 (certain banks in Lisbon are open until 18:00). In the Algarve, the bank in the Vilamoura Marina Shopping Centre is open daily 09:00-21:00.

VAT

Value-added tax (VAT - called IVA in Portugal ranges from 8% for basics, such as books and food, to 17-19% for luxury goods and for most things a foreign visitor would purchase. The tax is already factored into the sales price of virtually every item and service. Tourists from any non-EU country can receive an IVA refund with a minimum purchase of €60 in one shop. Look for shops displaying the sign Europe Tax-Free Shopping Portugal. The shop assistant fills in a cheque for the refund (minus an administration fee). When you leave Portugal you show your goods, cheques and passport at customs for a cash, credit card or postal-note refund. This service is available at the airports of Lisbon, Porto and Faro (postal refund at Faro only). If you are leaving overland, contact customs at your final EU border point.

TELEPHONE

Country code: 351
Mobile telephone roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage exists across the whole country.

TIME

GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October). 

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

1st January

New Year

19th March

Father´s Day

25th April

Carnation Revolution

1st May

Labour Day

10th June

Portugal Day

15th August

Assumption of Mary

5th October

Republic Day Portugal

1st December

Portuguese Restoration War

8th December

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

25th December

Christmas