Good to know about Portugal

Good to know about Portugal
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Cost of living

Generally speaking, the products of the country are excellents and relatively inexpensive whereas imported products are expensive. You will find a magnificient choice of fish, good meat, delicious fruits and vegetables. Below some details:

Petrol: the price is comparable to the Northern European prices. In some service stations, you have to pay cash. Credit cards are accepted only if a specific sign outside the shop.
Bread: prices fluctuate depending on the kind of bread (wheat, buckwheat, corn, …) but generally speaking bread is cheap.
– dairy products: a little less expensive than in Northern Europe.
Meat: similar to Northern Europe
Fish: the price depends on the catch of the day. The fish is excellent.
– fruit and vegetables: always buy fruit and vegetables in season, they are very inexpensie.
Pastry: The cakes are delicious and not very expensive.

You will discover numerous typical caf├ęs and restaurants at a wide variety of price. Do not hesitate to enter a simple looking restaurant, you may very well be about to enjoy some superb Portuguese home cooking.
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In Portugal, all traffic circulates on the right. At main squares, crossings, and junctions, vehicles to the right have right of way, unless otherwise indicated on signposts. At crossings with roundabouts, the vehicles already circulating on the roundabout have priority. All traffic signals are in accordance with international standards. The use of a safety belt is always compulsory on both the front and rear seats.

Required documents: Legal identification document, valid national or international driving license, both with photographs, car registration document or equivalent, proof of ownership of the vehicle or equivalent and insurance certificate.
In addition to any speed limits indicated on signs, drivers of cars and motorcycles are subject to the following speed limits (for cars without trailers and motorcycles) :

– 50 km/hour in cities and built up areas.
– 90 km/hour on normal roads.
– 100 km/hour on roads reserved for cars.
– 120 km/hour on motorways.

It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol and this is considered as having a blood alcohol level of 0,5 grams/liter or more.
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If medical assistance is required it is advisable to go to the nearest Health Centre. All municipalities have Health Centre and the major cities have many. Some Health Centre has permanent emergency services called SAP / CATUS.
EU citizens have the same benefits as Portuguese citizens in accordance with community law.

For access to health services, EU citizens who are not resident in Portugal should have their passport or identity card and the E111 and E112 forms.
There are several doctors in Ericeira, Tavira, and Albufeira and also a well-stocked pharmacy.

In case of urgency, you can dial 112 from anywhere and at any time.


Of Latin origin, Portuguese is the third most widely spoken European language in the world and is mother tongue to about 200 million people.

In Portugal a considerable number of the citizens can communicate easily in English, French and Spanish.
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Opening hours

Banks: Monday to Friday: 8.30 to 15.00.
Shops: Monday to Friday 9.00 to 13.00 and from 15.00 to 19.00. On Saturdays, most close at 13.00. The commercial centers of the big cities are usually open between 10.00 and 23.00 as well as on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Restaurants: they usually open for lunch from 12.00 to 15.00 and for dinner from 19.00 to 21.30.
Chemist: Monday to Friday 9.00 to 13.00 and 15.00 to 19.00. On Saturdays 9.00 to 13.00.

By dialing 118, you can find the nearest chemist on duty.
Post Offices: open from Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 18.00. Stamps are sold here and also on shops bearing the sign of the red horse. The Portuguese word for the post office is “Correios” and for a stamp is “selo”.

Passport and visa

A valid passport is the only requirement for European and US citizens. All other nationalities, please contact the nearest Portuguese Consulate in order to obtain any requirements information
Babies and young children should have their own identity card or should be mentionned on one of their parents’ passport.
For families who come with an under age friend of their children, a special document signed by the parents is required.

Public Holidays

Almost everything is closed on: January 1, April 25, Good Friday, May 1, Corpus Christi, June 10, August 15, October 5, November 1, December 1 and 8 and 25. Check for local holidays too.
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Theft is not very frequent in Portugal. Nevertheless, you should divide your money between you to avoid being without any in case of robbery or loss.
Do not leave neither money nor documents in your car, even for a brief moment.

When you go to the beach or sightseeing, only take with you the money you intend to spend during the day.


Telephone booths work with coins, Telecom cards and credit cards. Telecom cards are on sale at Telecom Portugal shops, at Post Offices and at some kiosks and tobacconists.

All telephone kiosks indicate the nearest place where these cards can be purchased. The codes for other countries and for the national telephone network are displayed in the kiosks. To telephone from Portugal to an overseas country, dial 00, the code for the country and the city, followed by the number required.


Portugal time is Greenwich Mean (GMT) time, which means that they have the same time as England, but they are 1 hour behind Central European Time. (example: 14.00 in Germany, 13.00 in Portugal)


Getting around
Portugal is a small country in comparison with many other European countries such as France and Spain. Therefore, travelling distances are not too laborious and most destinations are reachable in just a few hours. The distance between the two main cities of Lisbon and Oporto is 314 km, which takes 3 hours on the A1 motorway. Faro is a very similar distance away from the capital.

Portugal’s mainland rail system is cheap and extensive, and tourists have a wide range of special tickets available offering unlimited travel throughout the country. Numerous privatised coach companies provide fast and efficient road transport in Portugal, at very reasonable prices.

Bus / trams. In cities, you pay the driver a flat fare. In Lisbon and Oporto there are special tourist tickets at Carris (Lisbon) and the Lisbon Underground or STCP (Oporto) information kiosks, open form 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Taxi Plentiful and cheap, they are usually painted beige. They have an illuminated taxi sign at the top. In the city they charge a standard meter fare; outside the city’s limits they charge per kilometre and are entitled to charge for the return fare. In cities, luggage travelling in the booth adds a surcharge. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. there is a surcharge of about 20%. The usual amount to tip is 10% of the fare.

Train There are Express trains from Lisbon through Coimbra to Oporto (Alfa trains) and regional trains (Inter-cidades and Inter-regionais) connecting the different areas of Portugal. First and second class are available except for local and suburban trains. Special tickets include tourist tickets (valid for 7, 14 or 21 days). There are special rates on “Blue Days” offering return tickets with discount for trips over 100 km.

People over 65 are entitled to have special discounts. For international, long and medium distance express services, it’s advisable to make reservations.
Train timetables are available from information desks at stations and tourism offices. Portuguese Railroads.

Coach Services are run in express or ordinary coaches, linking the country’s main cities and towns all over.