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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.
Commercial Hours
Submitted by M05876
The normal shopping hours are from 09.00 hrs. until 19.00 hrs on Mondays to Fridays. Saturdays is from 09.00 hrs. until 13.00 hrs. There are some shops that extend their hours and their days of opening. Shopping Centres ... view more are open from 09.00 hrs. to 23.00 hrs all week except for certain Public Holidays.
Disabled Facilities
Submitted by M05876
There is a great a lack in past design and facilities to provide their needs. Happily, awareness is now showing and this is evident with the appearance of special parking spaces in public areas, special toilets at ... view more airports, stations, and centres of entertainment. In Lisbon (217 585 676) and Porto (226 006 353), there is a dial-a-ride disabled bus service. Also in Lisbon (218 155 061), Braga (253 684 081), and Coimbra (239 484 522), there are taxi services for disabled persons.
Electrical Current
Submitted by M05876
The current all over Portugal is 220 volts AC and connection is made by a two-pin plug. The plug today acts also as an earth except in older buildings that use older models of this two-pin plug.
Submitted by M05876
By calling anywhere in Portugal on 112 you will be connected to Fire, Police and Ambulance services. Every Fire Brigade also maintains one or more ambulances for emergencies. Chemists can give advice on simple health ... view more problems and suggest appropriate treatment. They are also permitted to sell many medicines without a doctors subscription. A green cross on white background denotes a chemist. A red cross on a white background denotes a "Red Cross" station. In many towns there are Emergency Treatment Centres (SAP) that will provide medical assistance 24 hours a day.

Security in cities and towns is handled by the "Polícia de Segurança Pública" (PSP), rural areas by the "Guarda Nacional Republicana" (GNR), and the traffic by "Brigada de Trânsito". On motorways and several major roads there are SOS phone boxes for help in case of an accident or breakdown.

National Holidays
Submitted by M05876
- 1st January,
- 25th April,
- Good Friday,
- 1st May,
- Corpus Christi (Early June),
- 10th June,
- 15th August,
- 5th October,
- 1st November,
- 1st December,
- 8th December,
- 25th December.

It is ... view more traditional for each Municipality (Concelho), to reserve one annual day as a holiday for its own town commerce. This day is used as an excuse for local events and celebration. You will find restaurants open but normally most commercial shops are closed.
Submitted by M05876
When written the Portuguese language has a visual relationship to both Spanish and Italian. When spoken it takes on another character. Although today the language has been influenced by modern means of communication, the ... view more educated form can be likened to "Dickensian English" in its style. It is courteous in content and suitable flowery in description. Spoken Spanish can be understood by the Portuguese but is best avoided. Anybody with knowledge of some Portuguese history will be able to understand the reason. The inhabitants have a wonderful ability to learn foreign languages and you will find that the English language is normally readily understood. This has been helped by the fact that all foreign films on TV and Cinemas are shown in their original language with subtitles.
Mail Services
Submitted by M05876
The word "Correio" denotes a Post Office or services. First class mail is denoted by the words "correio azul" and normally associated with the colour of blue. From Post Offices there is an express ... view more service named "EMS" that also records delivery. These offices are normally open from 08.30 hrs. until 18.30 hrs. from Monday to Friday. In bigger towns they may also will also be open on Saturday.
Submitted by M05876
Although the majority of the museums and art galleries are State owned there are a number of private Foundations and individually owned exhibition places. This fact is particularly evident when wishing to see ... view more contemporary art where they tend to reflect the taste of the owner.

State Museums charge a small entrance fee that is often waived on Sundays and Public Holidays. They are open from Tuesday through to Sunday and pensioners receive a 40% discount on the entrance fee. Sometimes there is no charge at all for pensioners on showing your ID. Opening times are normally from 10.00 hours to 17.00 hours, but sometimes closed during lunchtime.

In Lisbon there is an excellent ticket system for tourists provided by "Carris" kiosks. The holder of his ticket can visit 26 of the main museums in the city and enjoy free public transport during the time period. They are available for one, two, or three days.

Submitted by M05876
The local currency is Euros. Money can be changed at Banks, "Bureau de Change" (Cambio) or at one of the currency exchange machines in the streets. These facilities will offer a better rate than in Hotels and ... view more Receptions. Banks are open from Monday through to Friday, from 08.30 hrs. to 15.00 hrs. Euro Cheque is a cheaper method than a Traveller Cheque in obtaining cash. All well-known Credit Cards are usually accepted.
Private Art Galleries
Submitted by M05876
Throughout the country there are many galleries exhibiting contemporary art for sale for all tastes and pockets. There is normally no charge to enter these galleries or their exhibitions.
Tax (IVA)
Submitted by M05876
This tax that is the same as VAT is known as IVA in Portugal, and is at present 20%. Persons from outside the European Union (EU) and visiting for less than 180 days, can reclaim this tax by requesting a form named ... view more "Isenção de IVA". This form is presented to customs when leaving the country.
Time to Travel
Submitted by M05876
It is safe to suggest that the whole year is a good period to visit. Mainland Portugal has an attractive climate with long hot summers and mild pleasant winters. In the north winters are obviously cool and wet, whilst in ... view more the Algarve temperatures seldom ever fall below freezing except in the mountain regions. Inland areas have hotter summers and cooler winters except for mountainous regions that even enjoy snow. Madeira Islands and the Islands of the Azores enjoy a temperate climate the year around.
Hours of Eating
Submitted by M05876
Generally speaking, lunch is eaten between 12.00 and 14.00 hours. Dinner is from about 19.30 to 23.00 hours. However, it is not uncommon to see a small group of people arriving for lunch at 14.30 hours, as they know the ... view more owners and what they are going to eat. In the cities in smarter restaurants it is advisable to make a prior reservation.
The Menu
Submitted by M05876
In the tourist areas it is usual to see restaurants offering a "ementa turística" that is a three-course meal served with a drink and all at a lower price than from the menu. Also, in tourist areas you will ... view more find that the menu has been translated into more than one other language.

As soon as you have taken your seats it is normal in Portugal to be served with bread, olives and often some assorted appetizers for which you are charged. You may pay for what you eat but often it is also used as a form of cover charge.

There is a good reason for these items to be placed in front of you. In all Portuguese restaurant be prepared to wait. The chef will all start cooking after your order is placed and normally only using fresh food.

Vegetarians are not particularly well catered for although there are in major areas a limited number of specialized restaurants. However, as the vegetables grown in Portugal can be excellent I recommend some careful directions to the chef may produce very satisfying results.

Wines and Other Drinks
Submitted by M05876
The grapes in Portugal produces some very satisfying wines and especially in the case of the red. White wine is also bottled in quantity and is very palatable but their grapes do not generally produce any spectacular ... view more results.

After eating it is a must to sample the two most famous Portuguese fortified wines and known throughout the world, Port and Madeira. It is normally quite safe to order the "vinho da casa" (house-wine) to accompany your meal – however, please remember that it can be fresh country wine and although good, not necessarily pleasing to your personal palette.

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