Get travel and medical insurance
- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
Under the EU traffic lights approach, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) publishes a combined indicator map each week which shows COVID-19 risk levels across the EU and EEA. Regions are defined as green, orange, red, dark red or grey, on the basis of agreed criteria. Further information is available on the Re-Open Europa website.
Our TravelWise app has been suspended to take account of the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.
Anyone considering travel to Portugal should check the latest information from the local authorities regarding requirements for international passengers arriving in the country.
Entry to Portugal by Air
The Portuguese Government has announced the following measures effective from 00:00 on 1 May 2021, and may be revised at any time, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation:
1. All passengers arriving from Ireland into Portugal will be required to
• Have a negative / ‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Portugal
(Children aged up to 2 years old are exempt).
• Present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ result before boarding their flight and to Portuguese Immigration Officers on arrival at points of entry into Portugal.
2. Checks at land and river borders between Portugal and Spain
Border Controls at internal Portuguese land borders with Spain ended on 30 April. However, citizens of countries with an incidence rate equal to or greater than 500 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants (currently Brazil, South Africa, India, Cyprus, Croatia, France, Lithuania, Netherlands and Sweden) are required to observe 14-day quarantine at home or in a location indicated by health authorities.
Rail traffic between Portugal and Spain is suspended, except for the transport of goods and river transport between Portugal and Spain is likewise suspended.
The Portuguese Government has indicated that these limitations do NOT affect:
a) The right of entry of Portuguese citizens and holders of Portuguese residence permits to return to Portugal;
b) The right of citizens residing in another country to depart from Portugal.
Subject to the above-listed Portuguese Government measures (including the general requirement to have a negative / ‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Portugal), direct air travel to Portugal is otherwise permitted to/from:
a) Countries belonging to the European Union, and Schengen area countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland).
Note: Travel from countries with a 14-day average COVID-19 incidence rate of 500 or more cases per 100,000 inhabitants (currently, Cyprus, Croatia, Lithuania, France, Netherlands, Sweden; also Brazil, South Africa and India) is only permitted for essential reasons and passengers are required to quarantine for 14 days at home or in a location assigned by the Portuguese authorities.
All other EU/Schengen Countries with the exception of Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Malta can only travel to Portugal for essential reasons.
Travel from countries with a 14-day average COVID-19 incidence rate of 150 or more cases per 100,000 inhabitants (currently, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania and Switzerland is likewise only allowed for essential reasons.
b) (Based on the European Council decision of 22 October 2020) Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and Uruguay | Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau.
- Where there are no direct flights to Portugal from the countries listed above, you may still be allowed entry provided you have remained airside while in transit through other countries.
c) Third country nationals travelling for business, study, family reunification, health or humanitarian reasons.
The following exemptions to quarantine requirements apply:
- Passengers who are travelling for essential purposes and in possession of certified evidence [i.e., return ticket] that their stay in Portugal will not exceed 48 hours.;
- Passengers travelling exclusively for international professional sports competitions, provided they comply with proper measures to avoid contagion, in particular avoiding close contact sports, and the rules and guidelines set by the Directorate-General for Health;
- Foreign delegations travelling to participate in meetings under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Portuguese citizens, EU Member State citizens and those from the Schengen Associated Countries or foreign nationals legally resident in Portugal, and their family members, who fail to submit a negative RT-PCR test result on arrival will be required to undertake such a test at the airport and must wait inside the airport until notification of the result is received.
Nationals of other countries who are not legally resident in Portugal and who fail to submit a negative RT-PCR test on arrival will be refused entry.
There is an Irish Government Advisory in operation against all non-essential international travel.
Effective from 16 January 2021, all passengers arriving into Ireland are required to have a negative or ‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test that was carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. This is a mandatory requirement. Passengers will be asked to present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ result before boarding their airplane or ferry and will be denied boarding if they cannot produce such evidence.
A list of COVID-19 testing laboratories as published by the Portuguese public health authorities is available HERE
If you must travel to Ireland, you are required to fill out a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form online before you travel.
A legal requirement to quarantine applies to all passengers arriving in Ireland from 4 February 2021 (with very limited exceptions).
High Degree of Caution
Security Status Last Updated: 21 October 2020 to take effect from 00.00 on 22 October 2020
A “State of Calamity” entered into force in Portugal on 1 May 2021, and different regions of Portugal have varying levels of restrictions according to the level of risk in municipalities. Portuguese Government information on these restrictions and levels of risk for each municipality, including Portimao are available here
Portugal is otherwise currently easing previous lockdown measures in accordance with its 4-phase Deconfinement Plan as announced on 11 March [full details available HERE]. Measures under the Deconfinement Plan include:
- General duty to “Stay at Home”
- Mandatory confinement for patients and persons under active surveillance for COVID-19
- Mandatory teleworking wherever possible
- Rules on physical distancing, use of masks, occupancy limits, schedules and sanitisation remain in place
- Mandatory use of face masks or visors in the workplace
- Mandatory use of face masks in public outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible
- Travel for on-site work will require a written declaration from the employer
Phase 1 (since 15 March):
- Opening of pre-schools, child day care centres, second level schools and social facilities for members of the disabled community.
- Food outlets must close at 21:00 on weekdays and at 19.00 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
- Restaurants and businesses providing non-essential goods that operate a “click and collect” service or home delivery service can operate; take-away drinks are permissible in restaurants and similar establishments.
- Hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons and similar are permitted to operate by appointment only.
- Book, music, motor and cycle retailers; real estate agents; libraries; public spaces where people might gather, such as beaches, playgrounds, public facilities, sport parks, parks, green spaces and leisure spaces are open.
- Museums and public monuments, art galleries are open
- Ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in retail establishments, including supermarkets, hypermarkets and take-away services from 20.00 until 06:00.
- The allocation of spaces accessible to the public must observe the maximum indicative occupancy rule of 0.05 people per square metre of area, with the exception of establishments providing services
- Night Clubs remain closed
- The operation of fairs and markets is permitted subject to authorisation by the Mayor
- Government / Public services available by appointment only
- Individual outdoor exercise remains permitted (subject to certain limits)
- Religious services remain permitted, subject to local public health regulations
- Sports events involving Portuguese national teams and Portugal’s professional (First Division) football teams may continue but without supporters in attendance.
Phase 2 (since 5 April):
- Opening of pre-schools, child day care centres, second level schools (5th to 9th Grade) and social facilities for members of the disabled community Schools:
- Museums, Monuments, Palaces, and Galleries open to the public.
- Stores up to 200m2 (with street entrances) open to the public.
- Up to 4 people are permitted at a single table in outdoor café / restaurant terrace settings.
- Low-risk sports activities and outdoor physical activity in groups of up to 4 people are allowed.
- Gyms are open without group classes.
Phase 3 (since 19 April):
- Opening of Second Level Schools and Universities.
- Cinemas, Theatres, Auditoriums, and Cultural Centres open to the public.
- Public Services open for in-person services by appointment only.
- Stores and shopping centres open to the public.
- Restaurants and Cafes open until 22:00 during weekdays and 13:00 at weekends and holidays. Up to 4 people are permitted at a single table inside a café/restaurant and 6 people outdoors in terrace settings.
- Outside exercise limited to groups of six people.
- Outdoor Events resume at reduced capacity determined by health authorities.
- Weddings and Baptisms allowed at 25% capacity.
Phase 4 (since 1 May):
- Cafés and Restaurants limited to groups of 6 inside and 10 outside.
- All sports activities permitted including outdoor exercise and gymnasiums.
- Large outdoor and indoor events resume at reduced capacity.
- Weddings and baptisms allowed at 50% capacity.
If you are an Irish citizen in Portugal, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice available via the Portuguese public health authorities’ COVID-19 website - Servico Nacional de Saude (SNS) (click on globe icon in top right hand corner of the screen to access English-language version).
A 24-hour telephone helpline is also being operated by the Portuguese public health authorities and can be reached from inside Portugal by dialling 808 24 24 24. For guidance in English, users should dial ‘9’ following connection to the helpline.
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
General Travel Advice
Wildfires are a feature of summer in Portugal, most fires are quickly brought under control but some can escalate into major events, particular when the weather is very hot and windy. Take particular care to avoid starting a fire, and take standard fire safety precautions, keeping away from fires.
The best place to get the most current information on fires is via this link to the Portuguese Civil Protection service http://www.prociv.pt/en-us/Pages/default.aspx. Under "active events", fires appear as a flame icon. Red icons indicate ongoing fires not under control, orange relates to fires burning but under control and green to resolved events.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Portugal by dialling 112.
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance, which covers all your intended activities.
- Get a European Health Insurance Card
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there is an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
Along with other European countries, there is potential for Portugal to experience international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
- Crimes such as pickpocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars are increasing in main tourist areas including Lisbon and the Algarve.
- Pay close attention to your personal belongings at tourist attractions, on public transport (especially on the popular E15 and E28 trams in Lisbon) and at busy rail and underground stations, museums, restaurants and hotel foyers. There have also been reports of thefts from safe boxes in apartments and hotels.
- Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Leave your car doors locked and the windows rolled up, both when you park and when driving through urban centres at night
- On hikes in remote areas, including pilgrimage walks, we advise that women should not travel alone. Attacks, although rare, are not unknown.
- In general Portugal is a safe country, however, be careful of your personal safety as there have been reports of incidents in nightclubs.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Portugal, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy if you need help.
The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) is a non-profit organisation with qualified personnel that informs, protects and supports victims of crime with a personalised and confidential service (also available in English). APAV Helpline: 7007202277.
If you’re planning to drive in Portugal, be aware that driving regulations and customs are different from those in Ireland. Traffic is faster and the accident rate is much higher. Cars drive on the right side of the road so traffic will be coming from the opposite direction to traffic in Ireland.
If you want to drive:
- Be aware of Portugal’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Fines have recently be increased considerably for several offences
- Never allow children under 12 to travel in the front passenger seat
- Carry a high-visibility vest and a hazard warning triangle in your vehicle
- Portugal operates a toll system on its motorways and you risk heavy fines if you don’t or can’t pay toll fees. Don’t use the green lanes at the tolls – they’re reserved for motorists who subscribe to the automatic pay system (Via Verde)
Whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, be careful at crossings on busy roads, as designated crossing places are often poorly marked. Pay particular attention late at night or in busy commercial and entertainment districts in cities such as Lisbon and Porto.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.
If you’re caught consuming or carrying drugs for personal use, you may be fined or have your personal belongings seized by the police. Selling or trafficking of drugs is a criminal offence and subject to severe penalties, such as imprisonment.
Under Portuguese law, you must carry identification at all times. We advise you to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport, and keep the original in a safe place.
We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.
Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.
Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.
Your policy should cover:
- All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
- Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
- Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
- Lost and stolen possessions.
- Cancellation and curtailment.
- Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).
Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.
European Health Insurance Card
As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.
The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.
The World Health Organisation has noted that the Portuguese island of Madeira is at high likelihood of being at risk for the Zika virus. People considering travelling to Madeira, should be seek medical advice before travelling. Mainland Portugal has a low likelihood of being at risk for the Zika virus.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
You need a valid passport to visit Portugal. You can enter Portugal up to the date of expiry.
A significant number of citizens have had their passport seized on arrival in Portugal this year due to the fact that they were travelling on a passport that had been reported lost or stolen sometime in the past. Please make sure that the passport you are travelling on has never been reported lost or stolen, as this will produce an alert on the Schengen Information System and your passport will be apprehended by the Portuguese Immigration Authorities on arrival.
Minors travelling from Ireland
In Portugal, unaccompanied minors (travelling alone or with an adult who is not their legal guardian) are sometimes requested for letters of permission when they arrive at immigration in Portugal. The Embassy cannot advise you on this. You should contact the Embassy of Portugal in Dublin before you travel. They can advise on what documents you may need.
If you intend to buy property in Portugal, we strongly advise you to consult an independent legal advisor from the beginning of the process.
Please note that if you require assistance in the case of emergency while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, 00 351 213308200, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox. This mailbox will be monitored regularly.
Alternatively, you can call the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs at 00353 1 408 2000.
Embassy of Ireland
Avenida da Liberdade 200, 4th Floor
Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.