PORTUGAL

Fun Facts From Globus Tours

  • Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese explorer, was the first person to sail round the southern tip of Africa, named the Cape of Good Hope, enabling Vasco da Gama to open up the maritime route to India in 1498.
  • In 2006, Portugal set up the world’s first commercial wave farm to produce electricity.
  • Estoril Casino, situated on the outskirts of Lisbon, is the largest gambling outlet in Europe.

Irresistible Portugal…a magical blend of history, tradition, scenic landscapes, marvelous weather, warm and friendly people, and vibrant cities. It is a small country (35,000 square miles, population 10.3 million) of vastly changing landscapes—from the impressive mountain regions of the North to the vast plains in the South— and an 850-kilometer-long Atlantic seaboard; vegetation is so diverse that the entire country comes alive in an explosion of color.

Its geographic location on the Atlantic coast determined Portugal’s seafaring vocation. Its history established an eternal link with Africa, America, and Asia. This sense of universality is reflected in its temperament and in its heritage of ancient monuments, fortresses, and baroque manor houses, as well as its museums and cultural events. Portuguese cooking has evolved hand in hand with the history of its people. Herbs, spices, and exotic fruit brought from the East are used to season countless dishes, which vary from region to region —just like the landscape and its famous wines. Sweets, secretly invented in ancient convents, are truly celestial. Portuguese products represent style and quality, the famous filigree jewelry to porcelain, Arraiolos rugs, antiques, hand-painted tiles, and furniture.

The Portuguese are proud of their traditional values and are aware of their fado (fate), but they also have a modern outlook and a great curiosity for the future. Poets and adventurers have excelled in literature. Among their greatest writers are Camoes (renaissance), Fernando Pessoa (modernist), and José Saramago (Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998). Modern architecture (Siza Vieira and Souto Moura), fashion shows and designers (Fatima Lopes and Ana Salazar), fado songs (Mariza and Camané), art exhibitions, sculpture (Cutileiro), and contemporary art (Paula Rego and Joana Vasconcelos) are characteristic of vibrant, present-day Portugal.

VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Visas to Portugal are not required for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Portugal. All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room.

It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times.

COUNTRY CODES

The country code for Portugal is 351. When calling to Portugal from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Portugal are 9 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 351+##### ####.

CURRENCY

The official currency of Portugal is the Euro.

Bank hours 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. In summer some branches also open Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Euro coins differ according to country, but they can be used in any Eurozone state. Bank notes are of uniform EU design (depicting European architectural styles throughout seven ages, from Classical to Modern times).

1 EURO (€) = 100 Cents (c)

  • Banknote denominations: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500
  • Coin denominations: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2

For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.

Credit cards are widely accepted (mostly Visa and MasterCard), and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.

Changing money can be a costly business and some Portuguese banks may be reluctant to exchange currency if you do not hold an account there – ask your Local Host/Tour Director or check out rates at your hotel.

BUDGETING AND SHOPPING

The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.

  • The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is €1.50.
  • An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately €10.
  • Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately €20.

Please note that soft drinks and mineral water are often as expensive, if not more expensive than wine or beer.

Shopping specialties: jewelry (filigree), crystal, porcelain, Arraiolos rugs, hand-painted tiles, antiques, furniture.

Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available; be aware that under local law transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them home may result in confiscation and fines.

Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is included on price tags. To obtain VAT refunds (which may take up to three months to process) special forms usually have to be stamped by Customs; please ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion. Customs import charges on items shipped home are not included in purchase prices.

TIPPING

For restaurants where the service charge is already included, round up the check by a few Euro to show appreciation; otherwise 10-15% is a reasonable amount, depending on the level of service. Tips are usually left in cash and not added to the credit card payment. Be aware that IVA (VAT) included on the check is not a tip.

For taxis, round up the fare.

Tip hotel staff €1 for room service.

Restroom attendants expect a small gratuity. Therefore, a few coins in the local currency will be needed for public restrooms.

ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS

Outlets

Voltage for outlets is 230V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary.

TEMPERATURES

Portugal’s coastal regions experience hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. However, if you go inward or upward in Portugal, expect some cooler temperatures. Be sure to pack a comfortable raincoat in your tote and bring a light jacket for spring and fall. Winter conditions require lots of layers and a heavier coat. To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Portugal.

To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.

FOOD SPECIALTIES

Fresh fish and seafood, including bacalhau (salt cod), tuna, and sardines; regional dishes with herbs and spices; goat’s and sheep’s milk cheese; soups; cakes and pastries; egg-based desserts; arroz doce (rice pudding); fine wines; and port.

 

FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

Portuguese:

Good morning: Bom dia, Good afternoon: Boa tarde, Goodbye: Adeus, Please: Se faz favor, Thank you: Muito obrigado, Yes: Sim, No: Não, Do you speak English?: Fala inglês?, I don’t understand: Não percebo, Please write it down: Pode escrever, por favor, How much?: Quanto custa?, 1: Um, 2: Dois, 3: Tres, 4: Quatro, 5: Cinco, 6: Seis, 7: Sete, 8: Oito, 9: Nove, 10: Dez, Where is…?: Aonde é…?, Telephone: Telefone, Bathroom: Casa-de-banho, Tea: Chá, Coffee: Bica, expresso, café, Bottled water: Água mineral, Cheers!: Saúde!, Restaurant check/bill: Conta, Have a nice day!: Tenha um bom dia!

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION

Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.