Portugal is a country located in South Europe with name that begins with letter P. Portugal has been a member of NATO and OECD from the start and has been a member of the European Union since 1986, but is considered the poorest of the “old” EU countries. Tourism is an important source of income. The most popular tourist destinations are the coastal region of the Algarve in the south, the island of Madeira and the capital Lisbon.
The euro has been the official currency in Portugal since 2002. The state language Portuguese is spoken by over 200 million people worldwide.
Entry and visa
Portugal is a founding member of the Schengen Agreement. Citizens from Austria, Germany and Switzerland only need a valid passport or identity card to enter the country.
Climate in Portugal
The approximately 25 million tourists who visit Portugal every year find an Atlantic or Mediterranean climate on the coasts and a continental climate in the interior. Madeira has a subtropical climate with temperatures between 16 and 23 degrees with an average of 5-6 rainy days in the summer months.
The Azores – the “weather kitchen of Europe” – have a temperate climate with 16 to 25 degrees and a relatively high number of rainy days (an average of 16 in July and August and 23 in November).
Most of the sunny days in Europe can be enjoyed in the Algarve in southern Portugal, with Atlantic winds ensuring pleasant night temperatures.
Culinary and traditional cuisine
Those who like fish will get their money’s worth in Portugal. The national dish is bacalhau – cod that has been preserved by drying – there is a wide variety of recipes for its preparation. Due to the Moorish and colonial past, exotic ingredients and spices play an important role in Portugal’s Iberian-influenced cuisine, which is characterized by its great variety. The Portuguese are particularly proud of desserts such as Pastéis de Nata – puff pastry tarts with pudding filling – which in turn found their way to Southeast Asia via the former colony of Macao.
Medical care in Portugal is considered satisfactory; in the bigger cities as well. For the trip to Portugal the vaccinations against tetanus, hepatitis, diphtheria, polio and typhus, which are usually recommended in Europe, are sufficient. Please also ask your doctor if you have any doubts or questions. A personal pharmacy with your own medication makes it easier to act in the event of illness.
Madeira: Between October 2012 and February 2013, cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever occurred in Madeira. Although no recent cases are known, it is recommended that individual measures be taken against mosquito bites.
Clothing & cultural rules of conduct
In Portugal, general European customs apply to clothing and cultural behavior, including public displays of affection.
Security in Portugal is rated very good by the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
However, pickpockets at sights and in public transport as well as break-ins in cars – especially rental cars – have increased significantly in recent years. The Austrian Foreign Ministry therefore recommends that you only take money and ID cards with you in public spaces to the extent necessary and that you carry them close to your body.
Special criminal law provisions
The possession of pepper spray falls under the provisions of the gun law in Portugal and is only allowed to holders of a gun license. Violations usually result in criminal charges.
Climate and travel time
Madeira is characterized by a very mild climate all year round, with temperatures between an average of 19-24 degrees and around 5-6 rainy days in the summer months.
With average and very stable temperatures of 19 to 24 degrees, Madeira is pleasantly warm all year round and night temperatures rarely drop below 14 degrees on the coast. The daytime temperatures in winter rarely fall below 18 degrees, in summer rarely above 30 degrees.
In the north of the island it rains frequently, while the south is subtropically warm. In the summer half-year the island is in the area of influence of the northeast trade winds, in the winter half-year it is in the west wind belt. The prevailing wind comes from the northeast. It arises off the coast of Portugal and moves towards the Cape Verde Islands. This wind brings moisture with it and causes high waves on the north coast and often, especially in the mornings, inconsistent weather on the east side of the island.
With a westerly wind direction it can be sunny and dry in the east of the island, while it rains in the south and in the west. For example, there are stronger winds in the north in the winter months, while in summer it is a few degrees warmer. In general, Madeira’s weather is very mild all year round, with pleasant temperatures.
The Madeira archipelago benefits from the Gulf Stream and offers year-round water temperatures of 18-23 degrees. At high altitudes, inland such as on Madeira’s highest peak, Pico Ruivo at 1862 m, it can certainly snow in winter.
A clear dividing line can be seen between the north and south coast of the island. The bad weather fronts often come from the north and often get stuck there, which is why it rains more often in the north than in the south. You should be prepared for quick and unexpected weather changes.
The Azores, the “weather kitchen” of Europe, have a subtropical climate. Due to the geographical location of the archipelago, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the seasons and temperature extremes are very balanced with mild winters and not too hot summers.
The mean daytime temperatures in summer are 24-25 degrees during the day and 18 degrees at night. In winter, with mean daytime temperatures of 16-17 degrees during the day and 11 degrees during the day, it is a bit colder than in summer, but the ideal hiking temperatures are still ideal.
In August the humidity is sometimes quite high. It is precisely this that sometimes causes problems for sensitive guests. In order to hike in the summer months, you should not necessarily have acute problems with your circulation.
The Azores are under the influence of the subtropical high pressure zone for most of the year. The Azores high, the reason for the capricious weather of the archipelago and the nickname weather kitchen of Europe, is characterized by fast, unexpected weather changes and relatively often by one or the other rainy day. Those who choose the Azores as their holiday destination should therefore not expect constant sunshine. The beauty of the Azores makes up for the one or the other downpour.
The around 25 million tourists who visit Portugal (mainland)visit annually, find an Atlantic or Mediterranean climate on the coasts and a continental climate in the interior. Of course, the floor height plays an important role. Most of the sunny days in Europe can be enjoyed in the south of Portugal, on the Algarve, with Atlantic winds softening the heat and thus ensuring pleasant temperatures, which is particularly beneficial at night to enjoy a restful sleep. The southern location and the Atlantic also ensure a very mild climate in winter, which is one of the mildest on the entire European continent. In the winter months the average temperature is 15-17 degrees, on average there are about 5-6 rainy days per month and plenty of sunshine to hike in pleasant temperatures. The typical “winter weather” in the Algarve, Central Europeans mostly remember April or May, also because of the tree blossom, which in the Algarve already begins in January. The comparison with the average climate data of Frankfurt am Main shows the differences drastically (source: klimatabelle.info): January: Portugal 12.2 °C: Frankfurt / Main 0.2 °C // February: Portugal 13 °C: Frankfurt / Main 0.3 °C // March: Portugal 13 °C: Frankfurt / Main 0.3 °C // April: Portugal 15 °C: Frankfurt / Main 4.9 °C // May: Portugal 18.7 °C: Frankfurt / Main 13.8 °C // June: Portugal 22 °C: Frankfurt / Main 16.7 °C // July: Portugal 24.4 °C: Frankfurt / Main 18.6 °C // August: Portugal 24.4 °C: Frankfurt / Main 18.5 °C // September: Portugal 21.9 °C: Frankfurt / Main 14.9 °C // October: Portugal 19.3 °C: Frankfurt / Main 10, 5 °C // November: Portugal 15.5 °C: Frankfurt / Main 5 °C // December: Portugal 13.3 °C:
All about money
The means of payment in Portugal is the euro (EUR)
You can easily withdraw money and pay by card almost anywhere. Pay attention to the international fees that may be due on your card.
For a good meal in a restaurant with a drink, you should expect an average of 10-20 euros per person. The prices are similar to or slightly below the Austrian level. There is also a lower price level in cafés, where you can get a sandwich or soup in addition to an espresso or a beer.
As in many other countries, tips are gladly accepted in Portugal. Tips are not included in the travel expenses or the restaurant prices. Tips are a direct appreciation of the work done and an important recognition of good performance in this culture.
For tips you should calculate around EUR 45 per guest for an 8-day trip for a 14-day trip around EUR 90 in the travel budget, per child around 50% of the adult amounts. Since the tip is a thank you for the service, the guest in Portugal gives the tip personally to the person who provided the service. For the general services (guide, chauffeur), a group fund has proven to be practical, which is administered by one of the participants.
Other essential information
The mainland and Madeira are one hour ahead of Central European Time (CET).
Western European Time (GMT) applies. The Azores are 2 hours ahead of Central European Time (CET).
Time difference to CET: Portugal mainland and Madeira -1h / Azores -2h
Electricity in Portugal
The voltage in Portugal is 230 volts. Your devices fit easily into Portuguese
sockets, so you don’t need a travel plug for your trip to Portugal.