Who can currently enter Portugal for tourism?
Our road border with Spain has now re-opened for tourism and non essential crossings as of today, July 1st.
We are open to flights from the EU, UK and EEA/Schengen countries. For travellers outside of these nations, there are restrictions in place at a top-down level from the EU, for the EU and Schengen external borders.
Please note, some countries within the EU however, have border controls in place for other countries in the EU as part of the emergency situations that allows them to do so. As such, some flight routes might not be running. Please check alongside who Portugal is allowing in here, with your local government travel advice to see if they have any internal rules preventing travel to Portugal.
The EU announced that from July 1st, a set list of 15 countries from outside the EU are able to also enter the EU Borders. This list includes: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
The list does not include travellers from the USA, Russia and China – any one from these countries, or those not listed, will no longer be able to enter Portugal, or the EU, unless it’s deemed an essential journey. Visitors from China may be allowed soon, if they agree on opening their border to EU citizens in return.
Please note, flights in doesn’t mean you can come on them as a tourist –While we do have flights coming in and out of Portugal from some destinations outside of the EU that aren’t on the entry list, such as the USA, and mainly the Portuguese speaking communities of Brazil, Cape Verde and other nations in the group, these are running for residents that need to travel for an essential reason between the countries, not for leisure tourism right now.
Schengen is the visa-free area in Europe, where you can move around freely once you have entered. This list will be reviewed again at some point in July, and we will await an update.
From the USA, there has been some conflicting reports, and that people have travelled recently to the EU. Following these new, stricter arrangements that went live in July by the EU Borders, I highly doubt you can get around these anymore, so for those with travel booked from the US to Portugal, please contact your airline.
I’m also in a few Portugal travel facebook groups, and on July 1st one of the members, who is a USA passport holder tried to fly from London Luton to Porto and was denied boarding, because of his Passport, although he has been in the UK for months. So, it does seem that the EU border rules are (in some cases, if not all) now being applied to Passports, and not just incoming destination of origin. Please check with the consults for the latest rules for USA Passports before making any bookings.
Travel from the UK
The UK’s airbridge and traffic light system has now been announced, which is as follows. Please note, while the UK borders are managed by the central government, quarantine isn’t, so the announcement today, Friday 3rd of July is based on England only (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is decided by local government, so will vary).
Bottom line for Brits – right now you can travel to Portugal, and enjoy an amazing holiday, but you will have to quarantine on return to the UK and you may have insurance problems due to the essential only travel advice. You can also book a holiday for later in the summer, and hope the UK has changed the list by then. It’s your call. Read below for all the ins and outs…
Firstly, the announcement was a little confusing as the UK Government produced two lists. The first, is a list of countries where FCO travel advice has changed. This list basically shares the countries where non-essential travel is now allowed by the UK government, which in essence means that as it’s now approved, insurance policies will now be in place.
The islands, of Azores and Madeira are both on this new list, so you can travel to them with insurance and FCO approval.
They also released a second list, which included the ‘air corridors’ – this is the list of countries where there is no 14-day quarantine on return from a country. Portugal was not on this list, neither the mainland or the islands, much to the shock of most of us. What this means is Portugal mainland, travel is not advised, so insurance will be near impossible and you will need to quarantine. Where as, for Madeira and Azores, the UK government approves of travel, so insurance will likely be valid, but you will still have to quarantine in the UK on arrival.
I tweeted the UK travel office to check that this is not a mistake between lists and Azores and Madeira do need to quarantine, and they confirmed yes, no air corridor to the islands.
Please note, these lists by the UK will be updated every few days, so Portugal quarantine may be removed soon, I’ll update here when that update comes.
Also, the UK Gov say these lists can change at anytime, so you might be on holiday in a country, yet by the time you fly home the rules could have changed and you’ll have to quarantine for 14-days anyway.
But can you travel to Spain (say Seville) and drive to the Algarve to avoid quarantine?
In theory, maybe. I ask this, as I need to travel back to the UK this year to collect items, and hopefully see my family, but aren’t in a position to take two weeks off work in quarantine there.
It’s also an idea being floated in a lot of travel forums here in Portugal. While yes, the quarantine applies to the country you are flying in and out of, so in this case it would be Spain with no quarantine, I’ve seen the forms that the UK border force are asking to be completed, and they actually ask which countries you have been too, and if you have been to a country thats not on the approved list. So you would either be honest, and be told to go into quarantine, or lie, to try and get around it. I’m not advocating for the later, but be aware these forms will be part of the return to the UK situation.
In my view, the UK can GTF as throughout the last months they have been allowing USA travellers, currently banned from the UK, to transit through Heathrow to EU countries, so when these travellers arrive in their EU destination they can say they travelled from the UK which is allowed on the EU list. I called Heathrow out on Twitter for it, and they got kinda shy, as they know they were breaking the rules in a roundabout way. Please note, this was before the new EU travel ban list came in on July 1st, so I don’t recommend USA travellers try and do this now, as I think everything has got a lot stricter.
Masks in Spain, not just inside, but also outside on public streets
Also, please remember the situation in Spain is different from here in terms of day to day life and masks, given their death rate and infections were much worse so their rules remain stricter. I drove to Spain from Portugal tonight for dinner, and quickly realised something was different when a man pointed at my face and started shouting. I wasn’t wearing a mask.
In Spain they have made it a law on public roads, public squares and basically anywhere outside you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to two metres away to social distance, you must wear a mask. This is different from Portugal where masks are only required in enclosed spaces inside. To be fair, I should have checked this before travelling, but as their tourism board who I follow hadn’t raised this, I wasn’t aware this was the rule. So, be aware if you are travelling to Spain this summer you’ll likely be coming home with tan lines on your face haha! I’m not sure the deal at the beach, but thats certainly the rule when walking around the streets and nearly every local was following it in Ayamonte, the border town in the Algarve, and there are on the spot fines for those who don’t. So, maybe you’ll wait for Portugal to get on the green list instead?
Cruise ships docking and disembarking is currently banned until July 15th, although with the industry on pause, I expect this to continue for some time.