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Portugal travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.

General Notes For Eating
Submitted by M05876 on 2008-08-21
Portugal is an ideal holiday location for families with children. In restaurants the children’s misbehaviour may be completely accepted as the Portuguese love children to the point of spoiling them! Often the menu will ... view more indicate half-portions or a child’s plate, and if not, reduced amounts and prices can be normally requested.

Recently (Since 1st january 2008)there has been a Act published in our Parliament to introduce no smoking zones. If you see the sign "proibido fumar" (no smoking) you will this means "No Smoking" - and please respect this sign as heavy fines can be incurred.

One of the main problems in Portuguese restaurants is obtaining and paying the bill. The attitude of every waiter seems to be that once you have eaten you should sit and digest your food! Remember this is a Latin country and the pleasure of eating is taken seriously! A suitable remedy for too long a delay maybe to stand up as though you are leaving.

Somewhere in the greyness of distant times a tip was used as a reward for good service. When tipping at the table the Portuguese tend to leave either nothing or 5% as a reward. It is generally expected for a foreign tourist to leave 10%. There is no law stating what percentage you should use as a tip. When tipping, bear in mind that today the sum of € 1.00 does not buy very much and good service helps to make the meal. Your meal price includes Tax so request a "Factura" (Bill), as many restaurants may wish to pocket this money that you will be paying as an slice of extra profit!

Telephone
Submitted by M05876 on 2008-08-21
National Emergency is 112
National Enquiries is 118
International Enquiries is 171
Pre-paid Calls is 172

Public telephones are to be found in the street in major towns and in the Post Offices. The national service ... view more is run by a State company named "Telecom" (TLP). Telephones can be used according to the two ways of paying other than with cash. One is by a card named "Credifone" and the other is by "TLP Card". The former is accepted throughout the country and the latter only in Lisbon and Porto. Cards can be purchased at shops displaying signs advertising their sale.

International calls can be made direct and the dial code for Portugal is "351". A caller must first dial "00", then his country dial number, then the area code without the prefix "0", and lastly the subscribers number. Call charges are cheaper between 22.00 hrs. and 08.00 hrs., and at weekends. Hotels charge a surcharge for outgoing calls.

Within Portugal you can call direct to any subscriber by first dialing the area code if the destination of the call is outside the area in which the call is being made. This area code is indicated by the prefix of "2" – example "289" indicates the area of Faro.

Mobile phones in Portugal use the GSM telephone service. Visitors using this system will have the benefit of Roaming. To contact a mobile phone number from a fixed phone you use the same method described above for dialing outside your area.

Biking in Portugal - is it safe?
Submitted by M14951 on 2009-06-02
I have been guiding bicycle tours in Portugal for 8 years now. People ask me all the time - is it safe, how are Portuguese drivers?

My experience - Portuguese people drive fast but they do respect bicycle riders. Never had a problem in 8 years!
Safety in Portugal
Submitted by M14951 on 2009-06-02
Portugal is definitely a safe country. Very few areas in Lisbon that you should avoid. Crime rate is very low in Portugal when compared to other European countries.
Using the washroom while riding
Submitted by M14951 on 2009-06-02
We get the question a lot - can I go to that café and use the WC? Sure, but please ask first and it´s considered nice to buy at least a café or a bottle of water.
Best time to travel in Portugal
Submitted by M14951 on 2009-06-02
- Portugal has a very mild climate, but Summer can be too hot for biking or walking.
- Best months are definitely March, April, May, June, September and October.
- May is great for wild flowers!
Internet access
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
In Portugal more and more places are beginning to offer free Internet access, such as the local branches of the IPJ (Instituto Português da Juventude – Portuguese Youth Institute) or municipal libraries, where access ... view more is normally restricted to 30 minutes, although if no one is waiting you are allowed longer.

Cybercafés can be found in big cities and some post offices offer netpoints, both of which are paid services. Wireless Internet is now available in many public areas such as airports, hotels, some city parks and some McDonalds restaurants.

Public Transports
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
The most interesting areas in cities are normally the historic centres, which can be explored on foot as no great distances are involved. In large, hilly cities such as Lisbon and Porto, the steep slopes can be avoided ... view more by using trams, funiculars or lifts.

Most cities have good bus, taxi and train services. If you can, avoid using public transport during rush hours (8 am -10 am and 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm).

Public transports - Bus
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
Buses: You can buy tickets from the driver but it is much cheaper to purchase a set of tickets in advance. They must be validated by inserting them in the machine near the driver. If you travel without a ticket you are ... view more liable to a heavy fine.

All buses display their destination on the front. Timetables vary according to cities and routes. Rodoviária de Lisboa (217 899 700; Avenida do Brasil, 45 – Lisboa); Carris (213 632 044; Rua 1º de Maio, 101 – Lisboa)

Public transports - Metro
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
The Lisbon metro has now been substantially extended and also renovated, so that some stations are now authentic art galleries containing sculptures, paintings and decorative tile panels by Portuguese artists. You can ... view more buy tickets from the ticket offices or ticket machines at the stations.

When you buy a fare for the first time it will be more expensive as this includes the price of the card. The card can then be recharged and the fares will be cheaper. The metro runs from 6 am to 1 am. Porto also has a metro service.

Public transports - Trams&Lifts
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
Trams and lifts: An entertaining and practical way to explore the city. You can buy a ticket from the driver and there are also tourist routes which are more expensive but include a guide. More information from local Tourist Offices.
Public transports - Taxis
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
Taxis in Portugal used to be green and black but are now being replaced by beige models. They are relatively cheap, particularly in comparison with prices in other European cities. Keep your eye on the meter, which must ... view more be switched on at all times. Tariffs vary according to the time of day, at weekends and on public holidays. There is a separate charge for luggage.

Taxi service:
- Autocoope (217 932 756 – Lisbon)
- Radiotáxis (225 511 710-Porto).

Public Transports - Train
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
Train: The CP manages the national train network, which serves the whole country. However, the quality of the service is very variable and some lines are not particularly good. The Alfa Lisbon-Porto service is fast and ... view more efficient, but for other destinations coaches can be a faster and more comfortable option.

Most stations provide a Guia Horário Oficial (Official Timetable) with information on all trains. Tickets are cheap and the various reductions include discounts for children, young people and senior citizens and family cards for longer journeys.

Railway stations:
- Porto (225 191 374 – Campanha; 222 051 714 – São Bento)
- Coimbra (239 852 598 – A; 239 856 533 – B)
- Lisbon (213 424 780 – Cais do Sodré; 213 433 748 – Rossio; 218 920 370 – Oriente; 218 816 242 – Santa Apolónia); Faro (289 826 472).

Personal safety
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
In an emergency, call 112 and when the operator answers, state which service you require: police, ambulance or fire brigade. If you need medical help, go to the nearest hospital. In case of an accident or breakdown on ... view more the motorway, use the orange telephones. Just press the button and wait for an answer.

Lisbon and other major cities are policed by the Policia de Segurança Publica (PSP) and rural areas by the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR). Violent crime is rare in Portugal and most visitors do not encounter any problems, although certain precautions should be observed.

In Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, avoid deserted areas at night and the areas around bars once they have closed. During the daytime, look out for pickpockets. Do not carry large amounts of money around with you and keep a close eye on your mobile phone and camera. If you are attacked, do not attempt to resist. In Lisbon, go to the Posto dos Restauradores (Restauradores Police Station) where you will find the Esquadra de Turismo (Tourist Help and Information Department - 213 421 634) next door to the Tourist Office in the Palácio Foz.

Useful contacts:
- Fire Brigade, Police, Ambulance (112)
- Ordem dos Advogados (Bar Association - 213 955 067; Lg. de S. Domingos, 14, 1º - Lisbon)
- Assistentes Intérpretes de Portugal (Interpreters - 217 994 360; Av. da Republica, 41, 3º - Lisbon).

What to pack
Submitted by M19864 on 2009-11-28
If you are visiting Portugal in summer you need to bring light, comfortable clothes and a swimming costume, since you never know when you will be stopping for a refreshing bathe at the beach, lakeside or river. However, ... view more you should also bring a warm jacket, since the summer evenings can often be quite cool, especially in the Atlantic coast areas.

As this is a country that can easily be explored on foot, don’t forget to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes. In winter the temperatures remain mild throughout almost all of the country but be prepared for rain. If you visit the north of the country you may also encounter snow.

In Portugal you may experience some delays in buying medicines since certain items are sold only on prescription. Prevention is the key to ensuring that everything runs smoothly and you should therefore bring basic medicines with you, such as antipyretics, antibiotics and anti-diarrhoea remedies.

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