VisitAlgarve - Portal de Turismo do Algarve

Useful Info

Useful Info

Feel at home in the Algarve. Here, you will find everything you need to know about the region so that you can simply relax during your holiday and feel just as Algarvean as us. Check opening hours, legal information, driving information, useful contacts, transport and much more before you travel. 

  • Services

    Banks
    Monday to Friday: 08:30 – 15:00
    Closed on Saturdays and official holidays.

    Post Offices
    Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 18:00
    Central post offices and those at airports are open on Saturdays.

    Chemists
    Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 13:00 / 15:00 – 19:00
    Saturday: 09:00 – 13:00

    Shops
    Monday to Friday: 09:00 - 13:00 / 15:00 - 19:00
    From January to November, shops close at 13:00 on Saturdays,; in December, they are open Monday to Saturday, from 09:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 19:00. There are also many shopping malls with shops that are open from 10:00 to 24:00.

    Restaurants
    For lunch from 12:00 to 15:00 and for dinner from 19:00 to 22:00.

    National Museums
    Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00 to 18:00
    Tuesdays: 14:00 - 18:00
    Closed on Mondays; Good Friday; Easter Sunday; 1 May and 25 December.

    National Palaces
    Closed on Wednesdays.

  • Accommodation

    It's easy to find somewhere to stay for your dream holiday in the Algarve. There is a wide variety of excellent accommodation, apartments and villas for rent, campsites and pousadas, all around the region.
    Tourist accommodation is classified as follows:

     

    Hotels: offering a diversified supply of services and the possibility of meals; classified from 1 to 5 stars, depending on the quality of the facilities and services provided, as well as the location of the hotel.
    Aparthotels: offering all the services of a hotel, as well as greater independence; classified from 2 to 5 stars.
    Pousadas (State-run Luxury Hotels): located in areas of exceptional beauty or in ancient monasteries, castles or palaces; divided into four categories: Historical, Historical Design, Nature and Charm. Accommodation is best booked in advance (ENATUR - Pousadas de Portugal: www.pousadas.pt).

     

    Tourist Villages: accommodation classified from 3 to 5 stars; located in areas that include various services and support facilities. 


    Tourist Apartments: for those who wish to enjoy complete autonomy; classified from 2 to 5 stars.

    Resorts: Resorts are a good choice for those wishing to enjoy a variety of leisure services and equipment in the same area with access to different accommodation options, either in the form of a 4 or 5-star hotel or another type of tourist establishment.

     

    Tourism in a Manor House: Those who prefer to receive accommodation in a family environment can choose to stay in manor houses, palace-like houses or residences of recognised architectural, historic or artistic value, in either a rural or urban setting.

    Tourism in the Country: Offering accommodation in country residences exhibiting the distinctive features of their particular rural setting, Tourim in the Country enables tourists to enjoy more direct contact with the local populations, their customs and habits, as well as with Nature itself. These accommodation units may be classified as:

    • Country Houses – these are houses located in villages and rural areas that still preserve the original design, building materials and other typical features of the local architecture;
    • Agricultural Tourism – this consists of accommodation on a farm, where tourists can take part in the agricultural work if they so wish;
    • Rural Hotels – classified from 3 to 5-star, these hotels are to be found in rural areas, respecting the original layout and architectural characteristics of the surrounding region.

     

    Camping: Campsites are divided into two groups, classified from 1 to 4 stars: public campsites, open to all those who pay at the entrance; and private campsites where admission is restricted to members or special beneficiaries. These latter sites must display the letter "P".To stay overnight, campers will need to identify themselves either through their passport, identity card or a camper's card issued by a national organisation or the "carnet camping" from the F.I.C.C (Fédération Internationale de Camping et Caravanning).

     

    Nature Tourism: Whenever a tourist establishment is located in a nature protected area or in an area classified as being of natural value, it is included in the category of Nature Tourism, a practice that is recognised by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity. In this case, equipment and services must be provided that enable tourists to enjoy and interpret nature.

     

    Note: In all forms of hotel accommodation, restaurants and travel agencies, a complaints book is always available.

  • Health

    Faro Red Cross - 289 899 900

     

    Hospitals

    Faro -  289 891 100

    Lagos - 282 770 100

    Portimão - 282 450 330

     

    Emergency / S.O.S

    In the event of an emergency, dial 112, the national emergency service, free of charge. The call can be answered in three languages: Portuguese, English and French. If you require medical assistance, you should go to the local Health Care Centre (Centro de Saúde). The Hospital Emergency Services must only be used in serious cases.

  • Currency

    The currency used in Portugal is the Euro, as in most other countries of the European Union (Spain, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Austria and Greece). One of the advantages of having a single currency is that you do not have to change any money because you can use the Euro in all of these countries.

    There are eight coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 Euros. All coins have one side that is common to all twelve countries, whilst the other side differs from country to country.

     

    Did you know that...?

    The Euro is divided into 100 cents.

    In Portugal, the national side of the Euro coins displays the royal seal of Dom Afonso Henriques.

     

    Banknotes

    There are seven banknotes. The front and back of each note is the same for all twelve participating countries: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros.

     

    Did you know that...?
    The seven periods of European architectural history are represented on the banknotes. The bridges symbolise the dynamics of cooperation and communication, whilst the gateways symbolise the European spirit of openness.

    Each banknote has a dominant colour for easy identification.

    The larger the banknote's value the greater its size.

     

    Credit and debit cards

    Most Portuguese shops and businesses accept credit cards: Visa, Amex, Eurocard, Euro-Cheque, Diners Club and MasterCard.

    There are a lot of cash machines all over the country. These cash machines are identified with the "MB" abbreviation.
     

     

  • Transport

    How to Get About In the Algarve

     

    Trains
    There are stations in all main towns between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António
    Urban transport
    Public transport in all main areas

     

    Taxis
    Colour: beige or black and green
    Fare lists must be displayed inside each taxi.
    Supplementary charges: increase of 20% at night between 22:00 and 06:00, and at weekends; fixed supplementary charge for any luggage transported in the boot.

     

    Car hire
    Car rental services (with or without driver) can be found in all major centres, hotels and travel agencies
    Compulsory requirements: Valid identity card (European Union citizens), valid passport (other nationalities), minimum age 21. Compulsory insurance.

  • Legal Information

    Shopping in Portugal 

     

    VAT refund

     

    Who is entitle to it?

    Tourists residing in a non EU country (proven by showing the passport or any other ID officially recognized as valid) and with a transport title with direct destiny to a third country (although their destination can be another EU country on their way to their non-EU airport; and in case of transit, the goods must the put in the check-in luggage).

     

    How to proceed when buying?
    The traveller must ask to the shop employee to give him an invoice with 3 copies or the Tax-Free Shopping Cheque, with the note proving identity and residence.

     

    Were must they go to at the time of departure from Portugal?
    Before doing check-in, the traveller must go to Customs Authorities.

     

    Which are the procedures to fulfil?
    The traveller must show:
    ­- Transport title
    ­- Passport
    ­- The original invoices in a legal form or the "Global Refund Tax-free Shopping Cheque"
    ­- All the purchases within the referred invoice or Tax-free form
    Customs authorities confirm the goods are leaving the country and stamp the original shop invoices or the "Global Refund Tax-free Shopping Cheque" form;
    The traveller send back to the shop(s) the original of each invoice duly stamped (or to Global Refund Portugal Lda., in case the correct forms have been used).

     

    Which are the procedures as to the goods?
    They have to be bought within a period less then 90 days;
    They have to have purchase price equal or over 59,36€, including tax, per shop;
    They have to be bought only for personal use;
    They cannot be equipment goods to supply boats or any other kind of private means of transport.

     

    Who is to be concerned with VAT refund?
    It is the stores concern (or Global Blue Lda.), to refund the travellers taxes, after reception of the original invoice within 150 days (or the Tax- free Shopping Cheque), duly stamped by customs authorities.
     

     

  • Driving

    In Portugal, cars drive on the right. Safety belts must be worn at all times by all passengers, whilst motorcyclists must always wear helmets. Specific legislation is in force banning the use of mobile phones while driving, except when using hands-free equipment.
    Traffic signs comply with international conventions.

    When driving, the maximum level of alcohol permitted in the bloodstream is 0.5 grams/litre.
    There are 24-hour service stations in main urban centres, as well as on motorways and main roads. Other petrol stations have variable opening hours.

     

    Maximum speed limits for passenger vehicles without trailers and motorcycles:

    In built-up areas: 50km/hour

    On main roads: 90km/hour

    On clearways: 100km/hour

    On motorways: 120km/hour

     

    Compulsory documents:

    Identity card or passport

    Driving licence

    Insurance certificate

    Vehicle log book and proof of ownership

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