Portugal Coronavirus travel restrictions 2022
Updated: 17th April 2022
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After 318 updates and a lot of crazy changes along the way, this post is now retired and no longer being updated. With the mask mandate being dropped (except for care homes, hospitals, and on public transport) in mid-April, and day-to-day life *pretty much* being back to normal, there is no need for this article to be updated anymore..
I’m keeping it here as a reminder of some crazy years, and all the amazing people I’ve connected with, and helped plan their trips and even weddings (thank you to both the invites I got to attend for helping to plan them – cheers!) around the seemingly ever-changing rules. Hopefully, I don’t have to resurrect this post again in the future.
-Anything beyond this point is OLD-
For the most up-to-date travel rules regarding covid, please go to the dedicated Visit Portugal page.
It’s a long article, as lots of rules depending on where you are coming from and lots of updates over the last weeks – just scroll past anything not of interest, or try and find the ‘jump to’ link in the contents table below.
This article has been live since May 2020, and I update it weekly or whenever a major announcement is made about Portugal coronavirus travel rules. Our lockdown has come to an end and things are nearly all open again, and I want to give you the best possible info around Portugal COVID rules for travel. I’ve tried to always put (source: link) in to the info I’m giving below, so you can see on official PT websites where I am getting my data from.
Please note, this is a fast-moving situation and the information provided below is done so in good faith at the time of writing. There are various sources linked out to throughout the article, and particularly at the bottom, however, DanFlyingSolo takes no responsibility for the information provided here and urges you to check all official sources for updates.
July – LOTS of new rules, 23:00h curfew and more restrictions in parts of the country…
Firstly, these are new rules for mainland Portugal (not Madeira and Azores who have their own governments) and only then to specific areas – although they do apply to many popular places to visit in the Algarve and Lisbon.
Secondly, I’m still trying to get my head around them myself, and then will add them here. What we are seeing is a whole host of new rules in the ‘high risk’ areas that we haven’t seen before, and are confusing AF. For example, in the extremely high risk areas you will need a negative test or EU digital certificate to eat inside on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday but not on a weekday, but no test is required if you sit outside on the weekend… confusing right? On the plus side, this is replacing the early closing on the weekends of restaurants, so I guess doing a quick covid-test before sitting down is better than the restaurants being shut. The test/covid pass is also required for checkin in to hotels it seems in these areas. It seems that the rapid antigen tests can be done on arrival at the restaurant before entering, rather than needing to do one before going – this will start from Saturday 10th July. The restrictions on movement between Lisbon area and the rest of the country at weekends are also ending.
Anyhow, for now you can read the rules for the mainland here – https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/ – see the list on the front page of the area of the country you are in, or want to visit, and then click the link below ‘Regras que se aplicam a estes Concelhos” to see the rules currently in place. DO NOT rely on the EN version of the website in the top menu as it’s out of date, but instead visit that page using a web-browser like Chrome which can auto-translate for you. I’ll try to distill them here in the next day or two.
UK Travellers to MAINLAND (only) Portugal who aren’t vaccinated now required to quarantine in Portugal
Very last minute and unexpected news has just been published by legal decree (here) and confirmed by the UK Gov in Portugal page (here) stating that from the 28th June, travellers from the UK who haven’t received their 2nd dose of vaccine at least 14 days prior to travel will be required to quarantine in Portugal for 14 days on arrival. This is only for Mainland Portugal and NOT the island groups of Madeira or The Azores it seems, who will continue with their own rules for entry. Children under 18 are exempt from this rule (reported here BBC) if their parents/guardians are vaccinated, as Portugal recognises it’s not possible/expected for minors to have the vaccine. For those who will now need to quarantine (and I assume this will be residents as tourists will cancel) you need to register with the border force for the quarantine location before travel on this form – it applies to arrivals by air, road and sea.
Confirmed: non essential travel (tourism) flights from the USA allowed as of today
Sliding in to an overnight decree (see here) is the news that many have been waiting for ‘5 – Permitir viagens não essenciais de e para os Estados Unidos da América’ which states that non essential travel from the USA can resume as of today. There does not appear to be any clarification either that it is only to vaccinated travellers, however all arrivals from the USA (as per all other countries currently permitted to travel to Portugal) will require a negative test prior to their journey. This (strangely) hasn’t really made the news yet, or even been published on VisitPortugal, but the USA Embassy has been updated to reflect this change (see here).
This decree will run until June 27th, as they are updated and re-issued every two weeks, so if travel is to resume to/from any other countries, we expect the next announcement to be on that date.
Tests for entry to mainland Portugal can now be antigen, as well as PCR
The test requirements to enter mainland Portugal for countries where non-essential travel is allowed (EU, UK & USA) have changed. PCR tests within 72-hours of travel remain a valid option to enter Portugal, but you now have the option of a rapid antigen test (TRAg) taken within 24-hours of travel – the antigen test must be of the standard approved by the EU (see list here). However, some airlines will only allow people to travel with PCRs it seems, so double check with your airline, and if you have a connecting flight through another country, keep in mind their rules also.
Currently Lisbon (as well as Braga) have not moved to the next level of re-opening, so in the capital closing times are still 22:30. We are a little worried here that as most new cases are in the city, we could even go backwards and see indoor dining close again, or other restrictions placed in the next week – but hopefully the case numbers stabalise in the city. However, something to keep in mind if you are planning to visit the capital in the near future.
Spain re-opening to tourism and road border confusion
The road border from Spain reopened May 1st 2021, and since then I crossed from the Algarve (PT) to Ayamonte (ES) and there were no controls or checks on the border – and the official statement is this: ‘On land borders with Spain there are no restrictions on movement since 1 May.’
However, with Spain re-opening its external borders on the 7th June, as part of all their new rules for entry they published a law requiring a Negative test or vaccine certificate to enter Spain. This seems to have been very short lived, as Portugal’s government were not impressed, and it seems that this rule is being scrapped as quickly as it was implemented (official decree update here). There is NO checks or test requirements to enter Portugal, beyond the normal random Schengen checks that have been in place forever – so if you are on one of the countries that can now fly to Spain, in theory there is no reason you can’t then drive across to Portugal – just keep an eye on the situation incase Spain create anymore last minute changes.
More re-opening scheduled from June 14th – some regions won’t have extended hours
Some more changes are expected (but as always, never guaranteed) from June 14th with further restrictions being relaxed. Keep in mind, there is a weekly review and a part of the country may have regional restrictions imposed or not move forward in the reopening plan, this is becoming very uncommon and only effects two (not very touristed) regions right now. However, it has been confirmed Lisbon City & Braga will stay with the current 22:30 closing hours, and not re-open later with the rest of the country on the 14th (report here).
The main change for tourists from the 14th will be the change of opening hours for restaurants and cafes (bars and nightclubs remain closed, however a lot of the ‘bars’ in Portugal are classed as cafes as they actually serve snacks. So, if all goes to plan, then these can open until midnight (last entry) and close at 1:00am. Cultural events and theatres can also stay open until midnight.
The law regarding masks being worn inside and outside on streets (when a distance of 2 metres can not be maintained) has been extended until mid-September, with fines continued. This is separate to the law regarding wearing masks when walking around the beach (for example arriving, going to the bar etc) as that will run all bathing season (summer) as the beaches get busier.
UK ‘Amber List’ now for Portugal
To everyone who has had their holiday plans, or trips to see family ruined – I’m super sorry. My parents were meant to visit in June, and I was going to come back to the UK for a wedding in July, and now everything is chaos again, So I truly understand the stress and upset you must be feeling. Anyhow, if you are here in Portugal, or planning a trip, here is a rough overview of the Amber situation
1. Already here – continue your holiday as planned…
Option Two – Continue your holiday as is, and still fly home later. I appreciate this will mean 10-days of isolation, but for some people I guess if they are working from home or have no plans, it might be a price they are willing to pay. In this case, as per the Amber list rules, you will need to isolate for 10 days at home, and take 2 tests (day 2 and day 8) rather than one test, so contact whoever you booked your testing packs with before travel and request the second test. You may want to check with your travel insurance what this means, and if the amber list change will effect your policy if you are already travelling
Option Three – Continue your holiday, but do ‘test to release’ on day five As above, continue your holiday, but opt to do the ‘test to release scheme’ on day five. You will still need to do the two tests mentioned, but can opt for an additional test, on day 5, which will cut your isolation short. Details on that test, and how to book it here.
2. You have an upcoming trip to Portugal in June and I’m not sure what to do?
Well – although the UK Gov have this amber list, and on the official list it says “You should not travel to amber list countries or territories.” I don’t think it is actually illegal too, rather just a recommendation from them – so you still could take your trip (although please don’t quote me on this, it’s just my interpretation and I’m in no place to give legal advice seen as I still can’t quite believe they outlawed hugging for a period). What this means for insurance is another question too.
Take your holiday as planned – If you do still take your trip then you will need to do 10-days of isolation at home on your return, and take 2 tests (day 2 and day 8) when you get back. You could also opt to do the ‘test to release scheme’ on day five. You will still need to do the two tests mentioned, but can opt for an additional test, on day 5, which will cut your isolation short. Details on that test, and how to book it here. Double check with your insurance what this means, and if you are covered, as some policies might deem Amber list or government advice not to travel as a reason to invalidate your insurance. A company here specifically offers insurance packages with COVID in mind for countries that are advising against travel, I don’t know much about them so do your own research on them – their website is here.
Change your holiday – you will need to check with your individual airlines/hotels etc regarding changes and refunds, as the UK gov by saying you shouldn’t go to amber list countries, but not making it illegal, makes a messed up grey area of their own making when it comes to refund policies. I hope you are able to get your money back, or at least, re-schedule your trip.
I have an upcoming trip to Portugal after June 26th?
The green list is set to be reviewed every three weeks, so this would be around June 26th and there is a chance Portugal will go green again, although who knows – as it seems that the UK Gov are basically trying to put anyone off going on holiday, especially as this list didn’t see countries like Malta who have on average less than 10 cases per day, and 64% of the population with 1 dose, and 43% of the population fully vaccinated – this alone just shows the list isn’t been driven by science, but something else entirely. So, it’s a gamble to see what will happen after the next review – I’m slowly loosing faith in the UK Gov ever wanting the travel industry to resume….
Re-opening to Schengen/EU countries for tourism
(Update May 31st – Cyprus, Lithuania & Sweden Removed from Quarantine List – VisitPortugal are still to update their website, but the Gov decree can be found here)
Tourism and non-essential travel resumed from some EU+EEA+Schengen countries (and the UK – see below) with a negative PCR test – from Monday 17th. Following a revision of the criteria this week, further countries (Cyprus, Lithuania and Sweden) were moved to the tourism list, making it a full pack for freedom of movement to Portugal from the EU again.
EU Countries with a higher incidence rate, above the threshold, are only allowed in for essential travel AND must isolate for 14-days on arrival, declaring themselves to SEF before travel (link). If your countries infection rate does increase, it may be put back on a restriction list at a later date.
Third countries announcement from the EU
(Update May 31st) – TL/DR: We still don’t know firm dates
31st May – Portugal re-issued their travel restriction list, with the only changes being that Cyprus, Lithuania & Sweden were removed from the countries required to quarantine, no other changes for any other countries today, and last week it was only Israel which was added. Thus, the below still stands:
Situation now Currently nothing has changed yet relating to Portugal – thus for other countries the previous decree applies, stating all travel from other third countries (non EU/EEA) remains suspended except the short list below, except for essential travel such as EU citizens/residents to return home – PCRs for everyone who is on an essential travel trip from these countries, and 14-day isolation will also be required from India, Nepal, South America and Brazil.
The only exemptions to this list in Portugal, for who tourism travel is allowed, are the ones agreed at EU level – and most of these countries don’t even have direct flights to Portugal so it means little. The countries are: Australia, China, South Korea, New Zealand, Ruanda, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau (+ UK – which is the only additional one Portugal has added to their list) – As mentioned, Israel has been added to the list at EU level, just waiting to see some clarification at Portugal level.
Reciprocity One thing to keep in-mind is that reciprocity is an important factor for the EU, and some countries, like the USA for example, still have restrictions in place for travellers coming in.
When will Portugal/EU Re-open The EU have reached an agreement on re-opening to further third countries, but the details are a little slim right now. It’s important to note individual EU countries can choose their own rules (for example, I think Croatia have re-opened to USA travellers with some rules about pre-paying hotels, return flights etc) but it is expected that Portugal will stick with the EU list for any further re-openings, as they are the country in charge of the response this year.
We did get clarification about the criteria that will be used at EU level to decide what countries will be white-listed (such as variants, incidence rates) and they have relaxed the incidence rate a little too now. But, they also said that the decision for an individual country can also be changed due to a stronger performance in one area, such as a vaccine. There is not a final list announced yet, nor is there a date when it will come into play, so right now, we just need to patiently wait for this information and anything being reported in the USA media is speculation, however well informed it may be – as we have seen, things change quickly and peoples guess work has ended up making tourists loose a lot of money on trips they can’t take. 21st May was touted as an update to the list, but we only got one state added, you can keep an eye here for EU announcements.
Portugals Travel Decree Every 15 days Portugal publishes a list of countries for which non-essential travel is now allowed into Portugal. The next one should come around 30th May-1st June, and although there is a tiny chance they may add more countries to that update, it is really very unlikely unless the EU list has been published by then. Luckily, they can update this decree any time, so if the EU rules change, it likely wouldn’t be another 15 days before they release an update.
Vaccinations/PCR: The latest EU agreement has discussed allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter the EU from certain countries, and also a change in incidence rate which is used to define the EU ‘white list’. The EU Digital Green Pass which will be used to facilitate EU citizens who have been vaccinated to travel around will be tested throughout June, and launch on July 1st. Thus, I don’t expect vaccinations to make a difference until at least then, as it would be strange for travel to be easier for non-EU citizens than actual residents, so a negative PCR test will remain until at least then. Please note all countries in the EU can still have their own rules over-ride these, so we will have to wait and see specifically what Portugal does.
Mask mandate extends to beaches with fines + Beach App
(Update May 19th)
Already, the law which requires masks to be worn in public, on streets and squares and anywhere else outside when you will not be more than two meters from another person has been extended until June – and will likely last throughout the summer. In Lisbon and cities this is most obvious, as walking around the use of masks is a legal requirement outside given the chance of passing people by – but honestly after a while you get used to it, just have some spare masks to change throughout the day if needed.
This law has now been extended to cover the beach access (and it is a law, not just a rule now, as the legislation has been published – decree source) – which unlike the UK press is excitedly making sound is a sudden change specifically for Brits – was announced weeks ago, and has now come into force as bathing season officially starts. It’s also really not that much of a hassle. You wear it, walk to the beach, put your towel down (1.5 metres from anyone else) and relax without the mask, same with going swimming, obviously no masks. Want to go buy a drink or visit the kiosk – mask back on. So really it’s just a few minutes of mask wearing, especially as running around the beach or playing sports isn’t allowed.
The spot-fines (up to €100) for breaking this are now in effect, both for breaking the mask mandate, but also visiting an overcrowded beach.
For that, we have something which I think is genius and really hope stays – the Info Praia app (Apple | Android) – which will show you the status of a beach, Green (50%), Amber (-90%), Red (+90% = FULL – do not enter) and this is linked to the solar-powered counters and traffic light system already at the beach. Beyond covid, this is actually great as the app will show you all the beaches near you so you can discover new ones, pick somewhere less crowded, and also see the beach facilities – such as cafes, life guards etc.
Worried about tan-lines? Well, I’ve accidentally done a test for you with a full beach-day visit this week in 30degrees and can inform my pale British skin is red all over – my mask covered face not saved at all – so please, if you decide to visit another country this year just follow their rules – it’s not a huge ask.
Mask medical exemptions: Last time I returned to the UK I noted you can self certify if you don’t need to wear a mask, with something printed at home such as a badge (not sure exactly the method). In Portugal, this is not accepted, and exemptions here are accompanied by an actual letter from your doctor or other medial professional. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in a supermarket or on a train for example here without a mask on, except maybe the occasional person who has a visor instead (again, these aren’t very common here).
Some further reading from Portugal – Main article continues below…
- Whats it like visiting Madeira in December 2020
- City break guide to Porto
- Unique and unusual accommodation in the Algarve
- 10 Awesome hotels in Albufeira (on my Portugal Blog)
- Best luxury hotels in the Algarve (on my Portugal Blog)
- My favourite hotel in Madeira (on my Portugal Blog)
Tests to fly back – costs and summary
Antigen tests are now being offered in some airports (source: Faro airport info – Lisbon Airport Info – Porto does have them it seems, but not confirmed on the website) at around €30, and there are loads of labs and clinics doing them around Portugal (I’ll try to get together a list). I expect the airport labs to struggle to cope with a massive influx of travellers, at least to start, so it might be a safer bet to do it before heading home and not at the airport. While the UK Gov have said will accept a a few types of test to fly home (source: UK Gov) some airlines are only accepting PCR tests, so double check with your airline first. See further down for more details on labs and companies for your return tests.
Remember that Brexit has happened, so there are just a couple of new laws, such as passport validity, for travelling to the EU with a British passport (source: check on UKGov). Because of the extra checks and passport stamps on arrival for UK Passport holders + with the COVID test checks, it will be a slightly slower process than before, but be patient, Portugal is waiting for you on the other side :)
Current situation in Mainland Portugal – what is open and general rules
Please note, there has been an announcement that from the 14th June there will be further changes, such as 12pm closing of cafes serving drinks/restaurants (night clubs and drink only establishments stay closed). For now, this is a basic overview:
- (source: https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/)
- The strict lockdown ended on 5th April, and we have now completed the re-opening stage for most of the country – Lisbon, Braga and Odemiera have slightly less free opening hours than those detailed below with 22:30 closing remaining in place
- Social distancing rules in businesses and in general apply
- Masks to be worn when accessing beaches (fines apply) see more above
- Cafes and restaurant terraces are now able to open for outside dining, table size 10 person, and inside for tables for 6. Opening hours are until 00:00 for last entry, with closing at 01:00 seven days a week. Bars/Nightclubs/Drink-only places remain closed.
- Museums, galleries, palaces and monuments may now re-open for visitors as well as cinemas and concerts etc.
- All shops and shopping centres have re-opened and can trade until 9pm during the week, or 7pm on weekends and holidays. Alcohol can be purchased during all opening hours again.
- Buses and trains have reduced capacity – Movement around the country is no longer restricted
- Masks must be worn inside but also outside on any street where you can’t stay 2 metres away from people – including on the beach this summer when moving around, it can come off when sat/laying or swimming. It was just announced spot fines will be issued for people not wearing masks, including when circulating around the beaches. In Lisbon and busy places, basically everyone wears them all the time, in quiet villages or nature when you won’t go near people, they can come of.
- Haircuts, manicures possible with prior booking
- All sports and gyms are opening again
- Road borders with Spain are open
- Different rules may apply for Madeira & Azores depending on where you are coming from – also curfew times are in place on some of the islands. You can see an island by island Azores breakdown here.
- You can read more about this on the official website in Portuguese.
Some further reading from Portugal – Main article continues below…
- Whats it like visiting Madeira in December 2020
- City break guide to Porto
- Unique and unusual accommodation in the Algarve
- 10 Awesome hotels in Albufeira (on my Portugal Blog)
- Best luxury hotels in the Algarve (on my Portugal Blog)
- My favourite hotel in Madeira (on my Portugal Blog)
- Best things to do in the Azores
The Islands – Madeira (vaccinated travellers + tests on arrival) and Azores
The islands have different rules in place depending on which island, ranging from curfews and early closing businesses, to fully open on some others. The Azores have pretty similar entry requirements to the mainland, but with additional tests for people staying more than a week.
Madeira are allowing vaccinated travellers in (meeting certain rules – type of vaccine, when the last dose was) and your NHS app certificate can be used as proof – you don’t need a PCR test to go to Madeira in this case. They are also offering a free PCR on arrival, but you have to wait in your hotel room for 12-24 hours until the result comes through, with the risk being if it’s positive you will be moved to a quarantine facility until you test negative.
Madeira are looking to offer a free test to every visitor though, either that can be taken on arrival (you would have to isolate and not leave your room until the results come through in 24-hours) or, interestingly, at the end of your trip before flying home if you don’t use it on arrival – which would help cut some costs. This info came through on a press release from the tourism board to me today, but I’m waiting to see it in writing on a website I can link you too before guaranteeing it has actually launched.
Anyhow, you can check on the Madeira tourism page and also their ‘Safe to discover‘ page and the Azores website for more specific details on the islands as they have autonomous governments so varying rules apply, and I’m not tracking them as closely as the mainland.
Online portal for registering for quarantine from ‘high incidence countries’
The new portal for pre-registering before travel went live on the SEF website, aligning with the new rules that any one travelling from India, Brazil, South Africa (all of which are essential travel only) or any EU country with an incidence rate of 500/100,000 can only enter Portugal for essential travel and now needs to isolate for 14 days on arrival into Portugal in their residence or hotel if allowed. There are three different forms, depending if you arrive by air, land border, or sea – please keep in mind there are restrictions to each one of these, of who can enter and why.
You can complete the form online here: https://travel.sef.pt/Forms/Default.aspx
Will festivals happen in Portugal this summer?
Judging by the cancellation of AfroNation (wow did they hold off until the last minute) and the announcement that from the 14th outside events can only run with ‘marked placings’ and limited numbers from June 14th, it seems a safe bet there will be no major festivals or celebrations in Portugal this year.
Where to get a COVID test in Portugal to fly back to your home country
Airport testing has now been launched in some of them, though expect this to be busy and I’d say even chaotic to start with – to be safer, I would advise you to book a test not on the day of travel.
Check with your government/the country you are travelling too, the type of test you need – for example, here is the UK arrivals testing rules. Keep in mind that some airlines may have different rules for passengers – so while a rapid test might be approved by your Gov, the airline might require a PCR.
Labs in Portugal are really common and not just in major cities – as such, home-testing PCR tests have never been a thing here, so don’t assume like in the UK you might have to travel a long way to get your test done. Antigen tests are usually around €20-30 and PCR tests are usually around €60-100.
Some testing centres allow you to book time slots online, others by phone or email. The list below is just some of them, but there are more companies and options, so a closer option might be found on Google.
In addition to the locations I’ve detailed below, The Azores government has a handy list of over 300+ labs all around Portugal that offer PCR tests (many will other antigen too) – so that might be a helpful for cross checking locations to labs – it can be found here
Faro & Algarve
Airport Testing has been set up at Faro Airport – details here
Germano de Sousa labs are available in 9 locations in the Algarve, including Faro (+351 289 170 552), Portimao (+351 282 424 051) and Albufeira (+351 289 892 040) – details here of their other locations
Unilabs have a drive through for PCR tests in Faro (online booking – website is in PT only) – details here
Joaquim Chaves (who I have used before) operate in this region with PCR and Anitgen but only list their main labs for online bookings here – but it’s worth using Google Maps to see if there is one close to where you are staying and then calling that one to book
Lisbon & Around
Airport Testing has been set up at Lisbon Airport – details here
Germano de Sousa labs are available in lots of locations in and around Lisbon, including Lisbon Central (+351 800 209 498), Setubal (+351 911 071 244), Cascais (+351 800 203 186) and Coimbra (+351 239 159 008) – details on other Lisbon locations
Unilabs have a drive through for PCR tests in Lisbon & Setubal (online booking – website is in PT only) – details here
Joaquim Chaves (who I have used before) operate in this region with PCR and Anitgen but only list their main labs for online bookings here – but it’s worth using Google Maps to see if there is one close to where you are staying and then calling that one to book
Germano de Sousa labs have a lab in Evora (+351 930 558 390) 892 040) – details here of their other locations
Porto & Northern Region
Airport Testing has been apparently set up at Porto Airport but I cant find online details yet – it is run by company Synlab
Germano de Sousa labs are available in in northern Portugal, including Porto (+351 930 570 152), Vila Nova de Gaia (+351 930 575 003) Braga (+351 253 267 210) and Guimarães (+351 253 035 510) – details here of their other Porto locations
Unilabs have a drive through for PCR tests in Porto & Braga (online booking – website is in PT only) – details here
Joaquim Chaves (who I have used before) operate in this region with PCR and Anitgen but only list their main labs for online bookings here – but it’s worth using Google Maps to see if there is one close to where you are staying and then calling that one to book
Madeira Islands (and Porto Santo)
Airport Testing has been apparently set up at Madeira Airport but I cant find online details yet – it is run by company Synlab
Madeira tourism has published a list of labs on the island offering PCR tests – details here – and it looks like on that list Group HPA and Synlab offer antigen tests too
Azores Islands (nine islands in total)
Germano de Sousa labs have two locations on Sao Miguel Island – details here
Joaquim Chaves Labs have one – details here
Can’t find firm details on the other islands just yet
Madeira Trip Report – December 2020
My trip report from Madeira, when I visited in November and December, can now be found here.
Clean and Safe Portugal Initiative
Portugal introduced its own ‘Clean and Safe’ protocols very early on in the game, which also meant they were the first country to receive the ‘Safe Travel’ stamp by the World Tourism Council.
The Clean and Safe stamp and coronavirus protection rules in Portugal are covered in-depth on the Visit Portugal website which lists all the requirements for different types of business, and you’ll see the stamp on a lot of businesses booking pages.
The stamp basically is given to any business that is meeting those defined health and safety requirements and COVID-19 precautions as defined by the Portuguese health authorities. Having travelled to many places now in the country, it does seem most places are following the rules this implies.
While there is a criteria to meet, and online training, especially focused on cleaning and hygiene to follow, businesses certify and then have inspections, randomly, afterwards to ensure the standard is met.
A website, dedicated to Clean and Safe has now been launched at https://portugalcleanandsafe.com/ where you, as a visitor, can search for a business, check they have the stamp and see the measures they have put in place.
Most importantly you as the visitor can leave a rating on if the business met the criteria for clean and safe. This helps to keep businesses accountable to their stamp, as poor ratings will see them removed, or re-inspected.
There looks like an option to search a map, and see local businesses who have the stamp is in testing right now too.
Portugal Health passport and dedicated COVID Portugal Insurance
Portugal has launched two products this year, specifically for visitors and providing coverage in relation to health and COVID-19.
The first is the Portugese Health Passport – you can read the details here but there are various packages of healthcare options available for you while here, in private hospitals and I believe this was actually developed for general health tourism not just COVID-19, but has become more well known due to the current situation.
There is also a dedicated Portugal Travel Insurance which includes COVID-19, which you can see more about here and might be worth considering if you don’t have any Coronavirus cover with your usual insurer – I haven’t looked into it much, so please do review if it’s suitable for your needs before purchasing it. It does however seem to offer insurance even if your home country advises against travel, so for example the UK FCDO advice might be mitigated with these policies. As always, do your own homework and certainly have insurance travelling in these times.
Destination – Where to travel based on coronavirus restrictions in Portugal?
Honestly, for me I would be avoiding the big city break trips right now – the heat is out, masks are on, and if you want to rush around seeing sights it might be alot. If you want to take it slow, and don’t mind masks, then go for it – it’s quite amazing seeing the big cities not that busy and easily getting space on a Tram.
The rate of infection is low everywhere, so picking an area due to risk makes no difference.
2020: Getting around – what are the public transport Coronavirus restrictions?
Cars – As I said above, road-trips and private car rentals are likely the best way to move around the country at the moment. If you are in the same household, i.e. travelling together, then you can have the car at full capacity. Supposedly masks are required, but I think this is more for if you are sharing a car with other people not in your household.
Taxis – are operating, with the front seat empty and a reduction of capacity in the back (assuming no middle seat use). There isn’t much clarification on these, but both the taxis I’ve taken lately in the Algarve had screens between front and back, and the driver sanitised the handles when I left both inside and outside.
Buses /Coaches- On the main long distance bus network, powered by Rede Expressos – they are running services again, with a capacity reduction and some seats blocked out. When you book online, it will automatically allocate you a seat from the front to the back of the bus, however you can change your allocation. If you are travelling solo, you’ll see there are some seats blocked out – as such, I personally always choose a seat towards the back, next to a blocked out seat, so I know I will be travelling with no one next to me. Sometimes, of course, these seat arrangements change if the vehicle has to be substituted.
Trains – For the trains, run by CP, these are still running, and they offer some Coronavirus precautions on their website although don’t mention anything about a reduced capacity. Officially the latest from the government was all public transport operates at 2/3 of capacity, so unsure if the rule has been changed, or just not detailed on the CP website.
While on longer distance trains, where seat reservations have always been mandatory, there are some reports of commuters train, like the local lines into Lisbon, where social distancing is near impossible and crowds are forming. Even with all services running, there simply aren’t enough extra trains to be put on to minimise this. Alternatives, like varying work hours, and bus routes, are now under consideration. For the most part, these train routes won’t be used by tourists anyway, and if you are going to use one, say to visit Sintra or Cascais, simply avoid the main commuting hours.
Domestic Flights – My flight with Air Azores from Lisbon to Pico was very well managed, the crew did mask checks throughout the flight, de-boarding was done by row, and it was as best as a flight can be while wearing the masks which isn’t comfy lets be honest. Please note, there are no requirements in Portugal to keep the middle seat empty but if you’re gonna be a stuck on a flight with people I’m not sure what difference that makes. You are reliant on the air being circulated and going through the HEPA filters – which should do a good job of clearing any virus particles research has shown.
Masks – Please remember masks are needed on transport, and outside on stations and any busy streets now, but of course, there will always be some level of transmission risk in enclosed spaces regardless of what COVID-19 measures are put in place in Portugal or any country.
2020: Hotels, private rentals, camper van laws and guest-houses – whats the situation?
The Safe and Clean initiative mentioned above mainly applies to accommodation in my eyes, as this would be my biggest concern in terms of Coronavirus in Portugal, and limiting my contact. There is no rule on occupancy limits for hotels, but the other rules must be followed – below I’ve highlighted a few examples of places I’ve stayed – and what procedures were in place.
Wild camping and camper vans
This is important, as many people have decided to live the van-life this year to move around and avoid restrictions. In Portugal, wild camping by tent or camper-van is illegal. Yes, you may have seen people doing it all over social media, and that is because while it is illegal, it is generally tolerated and the police are unlikely to do anything unless a complaint is made.
In these strange times though, things are different. With the curfews and stay at home bans, if you are moving in a vehicle at a police checkpoint and can’t show the accomodation details you are moving to, there will be fines and problems. Previously, in the last lockdown, most (found) wild campers got moved to official camp sites where they weren’t allowed to leave or circulate. So, with potential lockdowns on the horizon again, please keep this in mind – also incase road borders close between countries.
If you haven’t booked with AirBnB before, you can get up to €40 off your first booking: by using my referral link here.
For sure, this year Airbnb and villa rentals will be popular, as people will want to have more private spaces. I’ve stayed in different types of properties in the past month and will give my experience below.
Hotel: SANA Sesimbra – This hotel is perhaps the best advert for the Clean and Safe system I’ve seen so far, and I was really impressed with the COVID-19 precautions that have been implement, and I’m sure most upscale hotels in Portugal will be doing something similar, especially as SANA are a chain with a few great places to stay in the county. A few things to note:
– Temperature checks were taken at check-in and daily at breakfast
– Timeslots needed to be booked for the swimming pool, and breakfast, to ensure the people limits (it was actually nice to have my 30 minutes with a private pool)
– Dining spaces were spread out by the rules, and the hotel buffet breakfast was replaced by a counter service type thing – I’ve seen many hotels advertising breakfast in the room included too. Staff were mainly behind plastic shielding walls, such as at reception.
– There were sanitiser stations everywhere, and staff seemed to be constantly cleaning
– Some changes in the room, such as a seal on the door placed by the cleaning team who do the sanitising, which should only be broken by the guest checking in. TV remotes were in covers, so they could easily be sanitised, some robes and slippers were removed to reduce the number of materials in the room to sanitise.
Guest House: Casa S. Thiago do Castelo – Obidos is usually teaming with tourists, but it was very quiet when I stayed last week. How would a smaller, non-chain business follow the rules? Well, for the most part, it was very similar to above, masks, sanitising on entry, breakfast times had to be booked as the dining room is small, so only two groups at a time, we also completed a form the night before so instead of the normal buffer, items were placed on our table.
Private Home: Monsaraz, Alentejo – This was the first place I stayed after Portugal relaxed the coronavirus restrictions in May, and our host was there to greet us with a sanitiser, both for our hands-on entry, but with a spray ready to re-clean any surfaces we asked him to do, and wipe down handles and switches he touched. I did notice the bin in the bathroom had something at the bottom of it though, and while private rentals seem the most appealing as you get your own space, be mindful that in larger hotels and guesthouses with dedicated cleaning teams, they are likely doing a more in-depth job than your average rental host, so you might want to do a bit of disinfecting yourself on arrival.
If you have a communal swimming pool in an apartment complex, the rules state that precautions and capacity levels must be managed, although I’m not too sure what this looks like in reality as they don’t usually have lifeguards. People I’ve asked that rent these places also don’t really know, so you’ll have to take your own precautions for the most part I think.
Luckily, there are plenty of unique, remote and cool AirBnB options in Portugal – I think my next trip will be to stay in this awesome converted Windmill in Alentejo!
All-inclusive options: I’ve stayed at one all inclusive on Porto Santo island (part of Madeira) and while I didn’t personally take all inclusive, there were maybe 8 other groups there who all seemed to. It worked like breakfast buffets do now, you don’t help yourself, but the server behind the counter serves up the dishes for you and everything else like drinks is done by table service.
Hostels: When it comes to hostels, honestly I’m not sure about the situation in the mainland. In Madeira hostel dorms can have occupancy up to 50%. I did have a brief look in Lisbon online, and it seemed most were renting the rooms privately, rather than as dorms, but I can’t find official clarification on this – will try and update in due course. Personally, I would not want to stay in a dorm room right now, especially as there are many affordable accommodation options in Portugal currently.
2020: Tourism attractions – are they open?
Most main tourism attractions are now open again, with the usual social distancing and mask-wearing – however the hours are reduced and defined by curfews etc.
Some of the religious attractions, particularly convents which have residents living in them are closed, I found on my recent trip.
Smaller regional attractions were also closed in the Alentejo when I drove through, as were some in central Portugal in my most recent trip last week. Some attractions are also free currently, to limit human interaction and the exchange of cash, as card payments are now preferred, but in Portugal aren’t always accepted.
Other resources / links / official websites to keep an eye on…
Here are the places I’m mainly taking my information from, and the news I follow locally. Of course, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, and I will reply, and update them into the post.
List of each municipality and the current restrictions (updated every two weeks): https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/
Clean and Safe website hub: https://portugalcleanandsafe.com/
A handy website with various languages which offers translations of latest rules and decrees:
Current Mainland Portugal coronavirus restrictions for tourists: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/421175
Portugal coronavirus airport information:
Bus coronavirus information
Health service official website with a daily report:
Hello, your blog is beautiful I love read it, I’m talking from Portugal Algarve,Faro, we do some events on boats like sleep on board away from marina at islands you should come to visit us, http://www.sleepandboat.com :) :)
On the gov website it says you dont have to do a covid test to enter Portugal if you’ve been double vaccinated, is this a recent update do you know?
Hi Dan. Do you know what happens in Portugal if my Fit to Fly PCR test comes back positive and I’m not allowed to board my flight home to the UK?
We are planning to take the ferry from Plymouth to Santander and then drive into Portugal. The advice for Portugal is a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure. Bearing in mind that the ferry crossing is the best part of 24 hours (rather than a flight time of 2 or 3 hours), plus travel time to Portugal, when does the 72 hours start? Alternatively, do we just work on the basis of Spain’s entry regulations and then just assume we can get into Portugal without further checks?
Thanks so much for the updates. It makes it easier for me to make plans. The only issue is when will South Africans be welcomed?
Very useful post, really thank you so much for providing such information. I am really glad to see this article.
Can you confirm is the nhs proof of vaccination for uk travellers is accepted? We are due to travel for our honeymoon on Thursday but cannot find details if mainland Portugal accept the nhs version.
Hey Katy, As far as I’m aware yes, the NHS app is valid (as currently the UK is not working with the EU certificate) just be sure to have the app version ready to show and your PCR result, my friend that came last week used that and it was fine.
My friend suggested I may like this blog. He was completely right. Thanks for giving such a wonderfull content
Thanks so much for this site and sharing your knowledge! I have r/t flights for my family (one adult, one 6-yr-old) from NYC to Lisbon booked for mid-August. Our plan is to drive straight to Andalucia then cross back into Portugal a week later to visit Lisbon and some friends further up the coast. Do you know of any current restrictions that would prohibit our border crossings?
No problem. Currently there are no restrictions at all on the roads between Spain and Portugal. Spain do have covid test requirements on their border with France I do believe, but this hasn’t been the case with Portugal for many months so I highly doubt we will see them come back again. Have a great trip!
Thank you Dan for the long awaited news of boarders opening to US vacationers! You’ve again beat the press…I now check this site first for critical news of the day.
Hey Michael – happy to help – I have zero idea why this isn’t even been reported on the main news websites here yet… made me nervous I was mistaken but it’s there on the Government decree in black and white so… :)
What are the current Algarve covid restrictions? We are heading to vilamoura from the UK on the 12th June for a week and would like to know what’s open and what the restrictions are. Thanks :)
It’s written in the post, the restrictions are the same for the whole country – On the 14th June some things change, in that cafes/restaurants can be serving until Midnight, with a closing time of 1am, currently it’s 22:30. Nightclubs and drinking only establishments are still closed. Masks need to be worn when you can’t be 2 metres from people outside, and always inside, and when going to/from the beach. Other than that, and social distancing, business as normal.
Hi Dan, we are travelling form the UK by ferry to Spain on the 20th of June, bringing motorcycles, then on into Portugal. What are the restrictions on crossing from Spain into Portugal? Do we have to do yet more tests etc?
Thanks for your help,
Steve and Sian.
Currently the road borders are open with zero restrictions or test between Spain and Portugal, so as things currently stand you won’t need a test to cross over – I’d just double check in the days leading up incase it changes, but I doubt it will.
Have a great trip,
I have been thinking about booking a stag trip to Albufeira in September from the UK – what are the current rules for bars/clubs etc? Do you think there will be any further restrictions? Great blog by the way – really useful!
Bars and clubs have been closed since March 2020, however cafes (anywhere that sells snacks) has stayed open, and a lot of places on the strip fall in this category. Right now, closing time is 22:30, but from June 14th that will change to midnight. Hopefully, by September, hours will change again if all goes to plan.
How’s it going. Awesome article and been a really useful guide for planning my potential trip to Portugal.
I’m a UK citizen that’s currently in Bali, Indonesia.
Have you seen any info on if it’s possible to fly from Indonesia to Spain and then on to Portugal at all?
I’ve seen conflicting info on both legs of the journey so would be good if you have any insights at all?
Thanks again for putting this all together.
All the best.
Sorry, I have no idea regarding what the rules are for entering Spain – but once you are in a Schengen country, in theory travel on from there to another Schengen country (like Portugal) shouldn’t be a problem.
My boyfriend and I are in Portugal with no issues. We flew from LAX to Frankfurt to Lisbon over the weekend. I used my Greek passport and my boyfriend used his US passport. I was able to partially check-in online, but my boyfriend couldn’t check-in at all because it asked for various forms since he was flying on a US passport. We had to complete the check-in at the Lufthansa counter in the airport.
At the Lufthansa counter we had to present the QR code for Portugal’s passenger locator form showing we had filled it out and also our PCR tests. The attendant looked at both of our passports and our confirmation number and gave us boarding passes for both flights. In reference to my boyfriend, I told the attendant “He’s traveling with me”, but we weren’t asked any questions like proving the depth of our relationship, so I don’t know if having an EU passport meant anything for our scenario.
Once we were in Germany we went through what I consider “mini customs” as we weren’t required to fill out any paperwork like declarations. They only checked our passports and PCR tests. The border agent I spoke to didn’t like that my PCR test was more than 72 hours from arrival (even though it was within 72 hours from departure) so I had to show my vaccine card which he accepted.
My boyfriend’s border agent asked normal customs questions like why he was in Europe, etc, but he didn’t verify that he was traveling with an EU citizen. He also accepted my boyfriend’s PCR test (which was taken the same time as mine) so whatever. I think I could have convinced my border agent to accept mine, but since I had my vaccine card I just showed that instead because I didn’t feel like arguing with a German official.
When we were boarding the flight from Frankfurt to Lisbon the PCR tests were checked again and accepted. They would not accept a vaccine card.
After landing in Lisbon we simply walked out of the airport. There were no additional checks aside from a temperature scan that was done automatically from a device on the ceiling while we exited.
I was expecting to have to show the passenger locator form to someone but no one checked its accuracy (only that a form had been filled out). I could have written anything on the form, but I guess at some point you have to trust that people will be truthful.
I am also confused as to why there wasn’t a more robust customs check. Every time I have flown internationally as soon as you change from international to domestic flights I’ve had to stand in a horribly long customs line and go through security again. But maybe that’s only when entering the US…
Either way, the trip here was very stressful because I wasn’t sure my boyfriend would be allowed on the flights. I lost a lot of sleep thinking he’d be stuck in Germany and have to fly to Spain then Portugal or something, or even get deported immediately after arriving in Portugal.
The only reason we risked the trip was because we booked our Airbnb in October thinking borders would be relaxed by June 1 (which became partially true), and also because we are young and stupid. I am happy we’re here but it’s not something I would risk again. In another pandemic I would just stay inside the US.
That sounds like a lot of hassle and stress for you, but I’m glad you made it and hopefully you can now relax and enjoy it. Once you entered Schengen (Germany) it’s basically like travelling domestic into Portugal. I think with most non-EU travel suspended at the moment, airports are using less terminals so they customs and immigration checks are quicker and easier – but both times I’ve travelled to the USA I’ve found the airport process there hell – so long, so many questions and forms and checks, so I do think the USA in general is just a lot more hassle to enter, especially LAX! Enjoy your holiday :)
Thank you so much for all your research and hard work! It is SO difficult to get good information on travel nowadays.
Anyways, I was hoping you could clarify something. I am an American citizen who is a legal resident of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and who has not been abroad since February 2020 (pre-pandemic). I am planning to fly to Portugal on June 10th (via a layover in Dubai, never leaving the international area) for non-essential travel.
From what I can tell from your site and the SEF website, I should be allowed to enter the country. Do you agree with that assessment?
Hi Dylan, I’m assuming you mean travelling from China? It should be fine I believe coming from China as it’s on the EU white list – however it is based on reciprocity and I’ve not really been keeping track on the status of that.
Thanks Dan! I’ve seen that phrase, “subject to reciprocity,” but have no idea what it actually means. For example, does it mean that as long as flights are traveling between two countries then residents of each country can enter the other? Or, do both countries need to be allowing non-essential travel for the other country’s residents/citizens?
Any guidance on that, from your experience?
Honestly, I’m not sure – and no one has asked regarding China before. I do know that China suspended direct flights from Portugal last week (https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-05-27/china-suspends-direct-flight-from-portugal-after-detecting-cases-on-board/60122) but I’m not sure what that means for coming the other way… sorry.
Thanks again for all this great info. Do you happen to know if Americans can travel to Portugal from Spain (once they are allowed into Spain…). For example, can an American fly on June 7 to Spain directly from the US, then 4 days later they fly or drive to Portugal for non-essential reasons…do you know if that is allowed? Or is it perhaps a grey area?
The road borders are open, so there wouldn’t be any checks there – unless they are closed again, which is very unlikely, but was mentioned previously incase Spanish infections went up, or Spains checks and rules started to differ too much from Portugal.
In theory, flying is possible as you are already in Schengen, but if they do decide to put restrictions in place, like a Quarantine for example, they would be able to see your arrival date into the EU if passport checks are re-imposed alongside the PCR tests you would need to fly from Spain.
It’s a bit of a new situation, as most of the EU have been following the same rules for ages, so it will be interesting to see if they do put in place any restrictions between the countries based on it – though my personal view is they won’t make things any more complicated.
BUT – and most importantly, remember that dates have been given to re-open before to third countries and they have not happened, as the talking points (to drum up business, bookings and confidence) haven’t actually translated into legal updates – this article for example from yesterday raises the question of if June 7th for Spain is actually going to happen – https://www.thelocal.es/20210531/has-spain-backtracked-on-its-plan-to-welcome-vaccinated-international-tourists-in-june-2021/ – so just keep a really close eye on the situation, as it can change quickly, and look to official Spanish Gov and tourism board websites for factual updates, not just the travel/general media who hear a quote and take it as gospel without doing any factchecking.
The other thing to consider is, for example Croatia is open to tourism from the USA, but you must have return flights, and all your accommodation booked and non-refundable paid in advance – specifically set up this way to try and stop people from using it as a gateway to the EU, so other countries might do the same thing until 1st July when it seems the EU Green Pass will officially launch, and hopefully with it a much more common process across the whole EU for the whitelist.
Thanks again! Wow, that’s amazing that Spain could possibly change course, but I guess these are the times we live in and nothing should be surprising. And thank you for explaining the nuances and highlighting the fine print for some of these restrictions and border crossing regulations that might effect intra-europe travel. Thank you for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it.
No problem at all – I’ve not really been keeping a close eye on what other EU countries are doing, but have seen tourism ministers and even senior officials make statements here, which they haven’t got the permission to make without the Government ratifying it, so I’m sure it is happening elsewhere too. Hopefully your trip all works out :)
Hi Dan, What a relief to see someone trying to help make some sense of everything going on.
I am lookin at flying into Portugal from South Africa. How do I find out where I can stay for my isolation? If i book an air bnb am I allowed out to go and get food? How does it work?
If you are travelling for an essential reason (as is the requirement from South Africa) I guess it is expected that you would likely be coming to stay with family I assume, and they would do your shopping for you, or use the solo shopping support service from the council if living alone. Technically, if you book an AirBnB (private, not shared), you shouldn’t leave the property during the isolation period and perhaps could make use of that service, where you can contact the local council and have them do the shopping for you (I don’t fully know how this works) – although using Uber Groceries or one of the supermarkets that deliver is likely easier to arrange in reality. If you are in a hotel, they usually arrange meals delivered to your room, but this sounds awful to me, so a rental like an airbnb would be way better I guess. Either way, the isolation period and rules suck and I hope they find a way to shorten it or bring in a test to release scheme like the UK have.
Hi Dan, just came across this website as I’m flying to Portugal next week. What a godsend of a site. Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work. I learnt more through this site in an hour than the UK gov has given me in a month. Thanks!
Hey Dan! Thanks for all this amazing information, it has be so helpful to have you put all this info together in one spot. Bravo! I have a question – do you happen to know if non-EU citizen family (USA) are allowed to visit their resident card holding immediate family for “family reunification” during this time? I’m especially interested to know if parents over 65 can visit their adult children who are residents, for a short period/vacation (so not to move here, just for a visit). I couldn’t quite decipher the info on the SEF site. Do you happen to have the scoop on this?
In theory yes it may be possible, but no one seems to want to actually officially admit that – and it seems that the airlines are the gatekeepers of this as they are in charge of deeming your proof is enough to let you in under one of the exemption rules, and they are overly strict due to worry of fines. I do know one person who has done this (not from the USA) and they emailed the Portugal Embassay of the country they live in, explaining the situation, and getting an email back from them essentially saying it was allowed in their situation – that email was enough for the airline to let them board. So, I’d suggest contact the PT embassy in the USA as a first port of call to try and get that in writing from them, and then secondly SEF if that first option does not work and hopefully, one of those, will give you enough proof to show the airline. Sorry I don’t have a more helpful / definitive answer for you, but if you do have success that way please do come back and post here, as I know a lot of people are checking these comments to find other success stories.
Good morning and thanks for your tips on this and sharing the story of the person you know who went to the PT Embassy to get a letter that worked for the airlines and ultimately entry into Portugal (BTW – when we as residents flew here from the US, TAP only checked our PCR results and not our resident cards, but the border agent checked the cards in Portugal). I will chime in again here after any plan/letter is implemented for my parents to get here. Fingers crossed that travel advice for Americans will simply change after the 30th, or at least a date will be determined. While I understand Portugal’s role in the EU may play into the decision to change policy, it’s a bit confusing when France, Italy and Spain (and Greece, Croatia…) have already set dates to allow Americans in. We shall see what happens. Thanks again!!
I think it’s in part a numbers game too – Italy, France etc have huge inbound USA tourism markets of 5+ millions, where as of the 25 million or so tourists Portugal gets, it’s only around 500k from the USA. Hence why opening to the UK has been a priority for Portugal, where as other countries are prioritising the USA. Likewise, there are the geo-political decisions of opening to the USA, but keeping the vast family and historic links with Brazil and other LUSA countries closed I guess. Either way, hopefully we do get a firm date soon and all this confusion and chaos is put behind us.
Hello, Dan, I’m just writing to to follow up on my progress here: My parents were able to fly here to Lisbon week with a letter stating that the purpose of their trip was family reunification; the letter was in Portuguese that my Portuguese lawyer here provided it to them. The letter explained the trip was for family reunion and that their son is a residence card holder. My parents then brought copies of that letter, my birth certificate, my residence card and their marriage cert to the airport. The papers were checked in New York at JFK and then not again. They flew through Paris, they passed border control there with just their passports, and then the flight to Lisbon was of course within the EU, so no more border controls. So, that worked! We shall see what happens this week if things actually open up for non-essential travel from the US!
Hey James, that is great news – thank you for letting me know. As it happens, today the decree was published to resume non-essential travel links with the USA. https://dre.pt/web/guest/pesquisa/-/search/165129409/details/normal?sort=whenSearchable&sortOrder=DESC&q=5848
Will a PCR get you into Portugal or does it specifically have to be the RT-PCR?
Conflicting info between the REOPENEU app and IATA/Portuguese government websites.
All PCR tests issued nowadays should be RT-PCRs I believe (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction – it’s a testing method that is the ‘golden standard’). Double check with your test provider that they are offering this kind.
I’ve been reading about Portuguese travel restrictions and I’m still really confused. If I can fly from the US to Germany to Portugal and I’m fully vaccinated, can I get into Portugal with a negative PCR test if I’m doing something like trying to buy a house or will they send me home?
I’d be traveling using my Greek passport and I am an EU citizen but not an EU resident as my residence is in California.
The various websites feel unclear to me if EU citizens can still freely move between Schengen-area countries.
If you are an EU citizen, with an EU passport, you’re freedom of movement rights remain fully intact in the EU regardless of residency.
So yes, you should be able to travel from Germany to Portugal without restrictions, there is just a bit of a grey area and lack of clarification if you can fly direct to Portugal if you aren’t a Portugal resident/citizen (the wording has recently changed and no longer specifically mentions EU citizens travelling from third countries). Please note, that an airline would count one single flight ticket, USA-GERMANY-PORTUGAL as a flight from the USA not from Germany though, so entering the EU/Schengen in Germany, and then using a different ticket for the flight to Portugal would likely be required.
Might be worth checking with the embassy in USA (Greek or Portuguese) and the airline you are booking with, if you would be able to fly directly.
I guess we will find out on Monday for sure since I already booked my tickets for 30 May 😂.
Thank you for the reply and the article. It’s been really helpful reading all of your updates.
Do you know if there is any talk of letting vaccinated travelers w/ negative pcr test from USA in by late june?
1st July has been ear-marked as the date that EU digital pass will launch allowing EU travellers who have been vaccinated to easily travel between countries, so I assume that it will be the same date also for vaccinated people in the USA etc, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Thank you. I am a US citizen with a Portuguese company and have a need to travel in July for business. I have a declaration from my Portuguese lawyer attesting to the need to go to Portugal for meetings and business. This seems to fall into essential travel but I am not clear on who makes this determination. I am informed that US citizens do not need to apply for a VISA but Covid restrictions may apply. Can you help me to understand this labyrinth and suggest how to investigate to handle this. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
From what others have told me, it seems the airlines are the ‘gate-keepers’ on this, and have been briefed on who to allow to board the flights, or risk being fined and having to return the passenger home, so I think the best bet is to contact the airline you are flying with and ask them what proof they will accept to allow you to board. Secondly, as you are entering from outside the EU, border/passport checks will be processed by SEF, so they are another person you can contact for confirmation – ([email protected]).
I LOVE this!
Thank you SO much. We definitely owe you a pint for all this!!
If you are anywhere near Armacao de Pera let us know and we’ll pop you one behind the bar of your choice xxx
Much appreciated, always happy to help. That’s super kind of you, but just chuck the couple of € in as a tip for a waiter/barman instead, they will sure need it after the last year more than I will. Have an awesome trip!
I am thinking of catching a coach bus service from a city in Spain to Portugal (still planning it out but it seems they are running).
Do you know if I will need to take a PCR test for the bus service? The Portugal official website doesn’t seem very clear on this. It seems if I take a flight from Spain to Portugal I definitely need a PCR test but however it says that the road border is open? So do entrants via road (although via a bus) need a PCR test I wonder?
Currently there are no restrictions on the border crossing Spain – Portugal meaning no test checks at the border. However, bus companies are private companies, so if they want to require a test, they can, thus check with the company directly (however, I haven’t heard any reports of this). Hopefully the road border stays open, and checks aren’t put back in place in the future, but be aware if there is a spike or concern in either country, it could be reimposed down the line.
You are killing it with the great info.
Question: REOPENEU mentions that a PCR test is required for entry. However, IATA/SEF website state that a RT-PCR is required.
Is this an either/or type of deal or is just one allowed? Can I get in with one or the other?
I ask because I am leave for Portugal in a few days and I cannot find anywhere for a RT-PCR. However, there are ample places for a PCR.
Thanks for the help. Keep it up!
Nearly all PCR tests are RT-PCR (it’s the full name of the ‘gold standard’ test – Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) so whichever lab you are getting tested at are likely already using them, just double check when you make your booking.
Dan… This blog is absolute gold right now! 🙌
Happy to help :)
I was just wondering if you knew what countries are in the EU “white list”?
I’m reading speculations that UK and US are but Canada will not be :(?
We don’t have an actual list of countries, just a list of requirements at this time, and for example the UK, with its variant, might not make the list based on the criteria. Until the EU commission actually announce the list, anything being reported right now is just speculation, as obviously this might change by the time the white list is published, and while a country might miss one criteria, an advanced vaccine rate could swing it still to be allowed on. On top of this, individual countries don’t actually have to follow this white list, like Germany have already said they are stopping travel from the UK due to variants regardless, so while it is a useful tool, all EU countries are sovereign and will ultimately make the best decisions for themselves.
The new list though should be published sometime next week, final details are a bit scarce at the moment.
Has there been an update the the EU countries that no longer have to quarantine upon arrival? Specifically Netherlands. I believe they are below the 500 mark now. However, IATA hasn’t been updated for a couple of weeks.
Just seen on the news today that the Netherlands is coming off: https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/covid-19-a-situacao-ao-minuto-do-novo-coronavirus-no-pais-e-no-mundo_e1321997
Thanks for the info so far. Very useful. I see that you plan to add some comments following the recent EU announcements. We are planning a repeat campervan trip from the UK to Portugal via Spain (Santander). It’s the four potential border crossings that concern me most (UK/Spain, Spain/Portugal, Portugal/Spain and Spain/UK) and increase the probability of a COVID problem. If you were able to touch on that issue in your comments that would be great and widely applicable to a lot of Brits. Thanks Dave
Appreciate it’s a bit of a nightmare trying to keep track of all the crossing, and for this reason I took that info off my blog (I had it last summer) because of Spain and France having regional restrictions in place, which meant that even each regional government had different rules for people driving/traveling through and I just wasn’t able to keep track and give accurate information.
As it stands, the road borders between Spain and Portugal are open with no checks beyond the normal pre-covid spot checks of travellers, though if Spain open up to tourism with zero-testing as they are discussing, we might see that decision reversed. I’m pretty sure if you are allowed to drive into Spain as it stands, with the negative PCR, right now your journey would be fine.
All the best,
Thanks for all the useful information. I am a huge fan of your work. Keep it up.
Hi Dan! Thanks for this info! This was all super helpful. I’m American and have a trip planned for June 6 (for a week). You most recent post makes me believe that theres no chance we’ll be able to go. Do you think this is the case? You seem to be very well informed on the matter! Thanks for taking the time to share this info!
We should have a certain answer tomorrow. The announcement earlier this week certainly seemed to lean in that direction, but I think there will be massive issue if they let Vaccinated Americans in to the EU before they let Vaccinated Europeans travel around the EU – it would break a lot of EU laws too in terms of equal rights for all EU residents.
So, it might just mean the solution is that until the passport comes in, is that everyone needs a negative PCR – so they could open up to USA travellers from June still, with PCR. But this is just my speculation from following the developments and what some individual EU countries are – either way I think there is still a bit of hope still.
Hopefully tomorrow you’ll know a firm date at least :)
Thanks for being so patient with all these questions and for the great info on this blog.
Im from a third party country and I have a Portuguese father and grandparents. I wanted to go with my grandparents in June and use the grounds of family reunion since my portuguese father is there.
I already called the portuguese consulate here and they basically said yes that is considered essential but I would need to “convince the airline”. In my case it would be TAP portugal. How would you suggest that I “convince” them?
I have my birth certificate and a photo copy of my father’s ID for prove. And im going for less than 90days so i dont think i need a visa since I’m already granted an entry visa for up to 90days.
Apologies for the delay in coming back to you – hope you got it sorted. Other than suggesting you speak to TAP I’m not sure what to say on this one.
Thanks for all the useful information.
I was really interested in your section about home PCR tests not being eligible for entry.
Easyjet, Ryanair and many travel agents are recommending Randox home test kits, and TUI have a home test package with Chronomics. They are processed in a lab but the actual test is not taken under supervision.
It’s going to cause real issues if these tests aren’t valid for entry into Portugal as these are what everyone is getting.
So, today was the first day of arrivals and people have messaged me to say that they were allowed in with home test kits – so I’m gonna update the article as I also haven’t had any firm answer from any one official – just the legal decree which defines a test here as taken by a healthcare professional. So, it seems for now, that those tests are okay – seems a bt strange when it goes against the rules for people that actually live here, so maybe they will review it, let’s see. If I get anything further I’ll update this.
Thanks for taking the time to update us all – this site has been very helpful.
I have a question about travel from EU to Portugal.
The Visit Portugal website (https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-measures-implemented-portugal)
still states that “Countries with an incidence rate equal to or greater than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland
– Only “essential travel” is allowed”
I have checked out the urls https://dre.pt/web/guest/pesquisa/-/search/163442529/details/normal?q=Despacho+n.%C2%BA%204957-A%2F2021
Neither of them appear to explicitly approve travel for non-essential purposes from EU countries with an infection rate of less than 500 per 100,000.
Are you able to point me at an official web site that does explicitly approve travel for non-essential purposes from EU countries with an infection rate of less than 500 per 100,000?
Thanks again for your efforts, much appreciated, Steve
The links are in the article already to the decree which was published by the gov at the weekend – dre.pt is the legislation website, and basically as it’s an update of old legislation (the one which listed the bans to those countries, this one does not, it won’t explicitly say where can come in from the EU, only ever where can’t. As most countries aren’t on the new decree, it is a given with how the legal framework is here that they can enter). Visit Portugal has also now been updated (the web team does not work weekends I guess + it only officially came into effect today) – https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-measures-implemented-portugal
Do you know when is the next date that the EU council will review third party countries and add new ones to the list of exemptions?
They have the next review meeting on the 20th – so sometime after that.
I just read Alessandro’s post and I’m in a similar situation as he is. My partner is a portuguese citizen and i’m a citizen of a third party country. However I came across this article from the EU Council https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/travel-during-coronavirus-pandemic/exemptions-coronavirus-travel-restrictions_en
“ The Commission encourages Member States to facilitate the reunion of people in durable relationships who can provide evidence of their situation.”
I wanted to go with my partner to portugal on these grounds however i’m not sure if it’s considered essential. I think we would need to show proof of how durable the relationship is. I tried calling SEF but its impossible…. We might just take the risk and try.
Sadly it’s advice from the commision rather than the rule.
The PT embassy in whichever country you are in are the best to contact – as they can help issue visa exemptions, in the same way that they issue visas, liasing with SEF and helping you find the best option. Unless you are married, as far as I’m aware, it’s more limited – and if you are already together there (i’m guessing from your comment of travelling together) then it would not fall under family reunion. Give the embassy an email – their job is to help in all these situations and everyone I know who has spoke to them has recieved quick advice and support.
Hope you find a solution.
Hi Dan! I’ve been following you as a trusted source for travel to Portugal! I wonder whether you know – PCR / RT-PCR….Ive booked fit to fly PCR tests for the whole family, but I can’t find out whether these are the correct tests to enter mainland? Can you she’s some light? Thanks
No worries – I had this exact same stress flying back in January and was desperately searching for an answer of if they are the same thing, which stands for Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction, and it seems that it is just a more technical term for it. I used ExpressTest PCR in the UK and that met the criteria, and I’m pretty sure all testing centres/drive throughs in the UK for travel will meet the criteria.
Hey Dan, first of all thank you for these updates. This COVID-19 crisis has been a disaster for many families, and you are helping many.
My fiancée lives in Lisbon and as you can guess it has been hell to be separated. May 30 will be a year of separation, I’m a Costarican citizen and according to your blog I cannot go there yet. My fiancée is in college and is due to her last 45 days of intense classes.
Frankly, I cannot take it anymore and I’m ready so discuss proxy marriage with her, so I can go there as an essential traveler, a husband wanting to be with his wife. Less than ideal, as we would love a nice ceremony, but I guess that can be done later.
If I was to marry her, is that a guarantee I can come in and see her? And would I still be required to leave every 3 months?
Being a Costarican citizen, can I fly to Spain and travel via land to Portugal with a negative PCR test?
Sorry, I know this situation has been really hard for couples apart, regarding the 3-month rules, I don’t know immigration policy well so can’t really advise on that, but marriage can give citizenship to a partner if the couple have been together a certain amount of time with proof, which would then grant you a PT passport and the rights of a citizen, so you wouldn’t have to leave.
If you had a lawyer here get the paperwork together and arrange a wedding here, in conjunction with any relevant visas, then you might qualify for a family reunion exemption – but again, this is a bit beyond my knowledge as I’m more clued up about tourism rules – and it would be best to check with the PT embassay – https://portaldascomunidades.mne.gov.pt/pt/rede-consular/america/costa-rica#consulado-honorario-de-portugal-em-s-jose-costa-rica
If you are able to enter Spain, then travelling overland to Portugal is possible as there are no controls on the land borders (at this time anyway). I don’t know if you can enter Spain though, as I haven’t been keeping track of their entry rules. Currently it seems it is only for EU citizens, but they are due to announce some changes from the 20th.
Sorry I can’t be more help!
This is a fantastic resource. Thanks so much. I am so disappointed as I am both a British and American citizen as is my son but not my American Husband. My Father and step mother live in the Algarve. Sadly he died last year and we were unable to travel to Portugal. This year we hoped to visit my step mother and scatter his ashes and stay for around 2 weeks with her. I am not sure if this would be seen as a tourist visit rather than to see family, scatter ashes etc. Where could I find that information if I tried to obtain permission to travel. Thanks again.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
I know exemptions are now being made for funerals, so perhaps it will fall under the ‘family reunion or extraordinary circumstances exemption’ – there isn’t however a complete and exhaustive list, and seems to be on a case by case basis.
I’m not sure where you are based now (I’m guessing the USA) but the local embassy would be the best people to start the process of asking, as they would be the ones I guess that would need to issue the visa waiver for your husband – you can find their details here: https://washingtondc.embaixadaportugal.mne.gov.pt/pt/
Do you know if citizens from USA or Canada that come into portugal would need to quarantine for 14days upon arrival?
Hi Gina, if you are coming from the USA or Canada to mainland Portugal, it would need to be for an essential travel reason only – such as work or family related – with documented proof, and the negative PCR. If you meet that requirement, and are able to come in, then the quarantine wouldn’t apply as neither country are on the quarantine list.
Hi Dan, thanks for this great work! Does anyone know how the quarantine is monitored from the high risk countries? Is it monitored at all?
When you complete the form before travel (required from Quarantine countries) these details are passed on to the GNR/Police in the municipality you have listed as the address you are staying in, and they are responsible for any spot checks that you are home. If they catch people breaking quarantine, I think they are moved into a government facility to complete the quarantine, and fined, or detained, or returned to country of origin – I can’t find the current level of fines or sentences attributed to it, but it will be in a decree on the Gov website somewhere.
So, while it isn’t as strict as the UK hotel system, there are spot check ups that do happen, though I don’t know if they happen for every single person. It will also depend on where you are staying, some regions the GNR/Police are a lot more on it than others. There have been some legal cases about isolation not being able to be enforced in a State of Alert before, but as we are in the higher category, State of Calamity now, it has returned.
Thanks for the information Dan, I am travelling to Albufaria with my wife on 1st June so a list of suppliers who are giving the antigen/PCR tests would be great, Thanks for all your hard work
I’ve just added that info onto the page, looks like the closest for you are are – https://www.germanodesousa.com/postos-de-colheita/centro-de-testes-covid-19-lagoa-centro-quiosque-albufeira/ – and also JOAQUIM CHAVES in Quateria. Enjoy your trip!
Thank you soo much for these updates! So happy your family can now visit you. Is it assumed then also from may 17th Portugal also allows EU countries to visit for tourism as well? (Assuming they come from a country with less then 150 incidence rate). My husband and I booked Portugal and we would come from Germany. Thanks!
Just published over night – a decree reopening travel to EU countries with just a negative PCR test from Monday 17th (except high risk countries: Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden)
English community website translation: https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/air-travel/
Do you think there is a possibility that they might lift the essential travel ban on Monday for third party countries? (has there been an rumours about it?) or will it most likely be for june 1st?
No, no rumours and very very unlikely – the lifting for any other third countries is almost certain to be at EU level – of which the 1st June date has floated around the media as a the date the ‘EU Green Pass’ would launch, but even that isn’t a date committed too.
The vaccines are speeding up in Europe, but it’s still not that advanced here, which was going to be the main criteria for really starting opening to third-countries. This UK announcement shouldn’t be taken as Portugal are rushing back to normal. Croatia I think are the only EU country for example that have broken rank and opened to USA travellers.
The UK is the main tourism market for Portugal, has an advanced vaccine programme, and are our oldest Allies – hence if there was to be one place they would buck the offical EU stance on, it would be the UK.
Hi Roger, the decree has now been published and no, no lifting – sorry. It remains unchanged, with only the UK added to the EU travel listing.
Hi Dan – this has literally been the most helpful website I’ve used over the last 7 days – many thanks! Do you know if hotel bars are open to guests past 10:30pm…?
You’re welcome, and that is a very good question. Last year, hotel bars were allowed to serve outside of the ‘control hours’ under some special conditions, but I genuinely am not sure this year if anything has changed – and it may well depend on the A) the type of license they have, and b) if they are even open at all. I suggest you check with the hotel you are looking to stay at, and I’ll try and find an answer here. Last year whenever we went away we just got beers and wines from the supermarket, booked a room with a balcony and fridge, and enjoyed them like that, but appreciate a bar would be a nice have.
Side thought – One thing that did change in the last week is that alcohol can be sold in all cafes/shops/restaurants (not alcohol only licensed places which remain closed) until closing now (22:30) where as before it could only be sold until 8pm if not with a meal – so, based on that closing rule, as hotel’s don’t close, maybe it’s going to be easer. I’ll look into it.
Thanks Dan – I certainly like your theorising here, and if there’s a loophole to be found, hopefully the hotels will find it…! ;)
Travelled last Sunday from Belgium to the Azores with a transit in Lisbon. There was no problem at all. Just had to show a negative PCR-test before check-in in Brussels. In Lisbon no one checked anything. At arrival in Ponta Delgada we had to show our QR-code from the Azores website with all our details and PCR-proof.
So, travelling for tourism purpose to the Azores is perfectly possible!
Hi Tim, sorry this comment was missed – really appreciate you taking the time to give your experience.
do you know if its possible to go with a partner that is a portuguese resident. We’ve been together for over 3 years and I was wondering if they would allow me to enter with her since we have joint accounts and a property together. I’m currently not a EU citizen.
Hi John, depends where you are flying from?
I would be flying from canada Dan!
I don’t think so right now, unless you can get the embassy to grant you an exemption – https://otava.embaixadaportugal.mne.gov.pt/pt/ . If she was here, and it was for a ‘family reunion’ then it would be more likely, but as you are both there already, I don’t think sadly that partnership rights extending to entry here are applied except to married couples.
I might be wrong – give the Embassy and email and double check.
Hi Dan thanks for the update. Hopefully we get to see the full update on the website with clearer information. It is a bit unclear on the visitportugal website if UK flights are also allowed for non essential travel as they just stated “allowed”. Also does it only refer to flights from UK? Can a non-british travel from a UK airport to Portugal (having spent time in UK)? Also have you heard any feedback from passengers arriving about the checks upon arrival – if it takes a long time or that it’s a relatively quick check with no queue? Just thinking about the “floodgate” of passengers after border is open and if that will mean hours of waiting to be checked and allowed in
Flights from the UK are allowed, so it shouldn’t be limited to UK passports only, but anyone travelling from the UK (from what I understood when speaking with them earlier).
Literally theres just a few flights landing per day at the moment, and mainly from the EU, so it’s all really quick to get in. Last time I flew in they checked my PCR test at the gate on landing, and then again at departures hall – didn’t take any longer than normal. But, now Brexit has happened, and all flights from the UK need to go through bio-metric checks and passport stamps etc, it will likely be slower than it used to be.
Thanks! Btw do you know what are the requirements for information on the pcr travel certificate? Specifically what do they check? Especially since a lot of home kit tests in UK only print the date of test and not time – would that be an issue with the 72h time line?
It needs to be performed in a Lab, home tests aren’t suitable for international travel outwards, only for testing when you get back to the UK.
Thanks Dan. There aren’t that many walk in locations in other parts of UK and most labs offer home kits they deliver to and back to labs. Even those offered by airlines are home kits you use and deliver back to the labs who issue the certificate. Just wanted to know if they require the time to be indicated. Thanks!
>Basically the swab must be done by a the lab, they aren’t trusting people to do it properly at home.
Oh that’s incredibly important news, that’s very subtle wording that I’m guessing lots of people miss, are you certain? That’s going to cause chaos early next week, I and a few others will have to rebook…
BTW do you have a buymeacoffee/paypal or something? This blog has been so helpful, especially compared to all of the other media, over a stressful couple of days, I’m sure more than just me would like to buy you a drink.
To be honest, I think at home PCR kits are way more prevalent in the UK than any where else for some reason. In Portugal we can do the quick rapid antigen tests at home (they started selling in the pharmacy a few weeks ago), but all PCR tests here are done in a lab – I think it helps there is an actual testing lab in nearly every town as part of the NHS or Private here way before covid.
I’m pretty sure in Germany, France, most of the EU you can not do a PCR test at home either – so it is quite a UK centric thing and thus, has just never really been raised as a question/problem before for anyone coming here.
(Update: I’m pretty certain, and have updated the article with links to the decrees about health care professionals carrying out the test, but I’ve also sent emails to various bodies to ask for a confirmation, as it’s a new consideration maybe they haven’t even considered as it’s a UK specific one)
Cheers, I appreciate that – but really no need, happy to help – if you did want to give a couple of euros though, chuck it in as a tip to a waiter on your holiday, they’ll need it more than me after the shocker of a last year!
It must be digital, or printed (Not SMS) and include your full ID, details of the lab, reference that it uses RT-PCR method, date of exam, explicit statement of negative result.
Just to say that this is BY FAR the most helpful, accurate and informative blog! My “go to” going forward for sure.
A nuanced question – when they say “UK tourists”, assume that means residents of the UK are also captured (e.g., not only UK passport holders)? Thank you!
Yes, I’m 99% sure that is what they mean – for countries that are approved to travel here, it is done on people coming from that country, not on their passport.
The passport/ID is only a consideration from countries that are not approved to trvael here, as then it is only EU citizens/residents who can use the freedom of movement right to return to the EU.
Hi Dan, can you confirm if you need a pcr test if travelling by overnight coach to Lisbon from Spain? The bus company says not but I’m very unsure about. Thanks Jane
No, there are no checks on the border between Portugal and Spain.
Hi Jane – No, currently no tests need to be shown at the Portugal/Spain border.
Hi, great information! Is there anything about other countries than UK or is this the only country to which tourism is open? Other EU countries are very eager to travel as well + when can we expect an update to the list of quarantine countries? Thanks!
Ireland, Finland, Iceland and Malta can already enter according to VisitPortugal – no restrictions.
Any EU county with a low incidence rate, although it says on the website ‘essential travel only’ have been coming in for tourism this week, I think this weekend they will give us a full update.
Hi Lola, the next update to the travel restriction countries will be by the 16th May, and on the decree website here – https://dre.pt/ – There are a fe EU countries that have no restrictions (Malta, Finland, Iceland) – but the updated list when published will apply from Monday.
Also waiting for the latest update. It’s already 15th, looks like they’re doing this last minute again
Just published over night – a decree reopening travel to EU countries with just a negative PCR test from Monday 17th (except high risk countries: Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden)
English community website translation: https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/air-travel/
Just published over night – a decree reopening travel to EU countries with just a negative PCR test from Monday 17th (except high risk countries: Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden)
English community website translation: https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/air-travel/
I was wondering if this lifted non essential travel ban also applies to other third party countrties. While im happy for the brits, i’m also kinda sad as I wanted to visit the mainland this month. :(
Hi Kevin, currently no update I’m afraid, most third country decisions will be made at EU level, but given the really strong ties between the UK/Portugal and them being the main tourism visitors here, if they were going to over ride an EU reccomendation, it was gonna be that one. June looks the earliest for other countries I’m afriad.
I was just wondering if i could get your opinion on this but I will also call SEF to verify. I’m currently not a EU citizen but I have property in Portugal and also plan on going to start the process of becoming a citizen and rent out the property. Would this be considered essential travel? I’m currently in a third party country.
I don’t think so, I think the citizen application begins in your home country now as well but I’m not 100% sure. SEF will be the best bet.
Any idea on when other EU countries will be added to non-14 day quarantine list? France has been under the 500 out of 100k so just seeing if we can travel! Thanks
The next update to the travel restriction countries will be by the 16th May, and on the decree website here – https://dre.pt/ – There are a fe EU countries that have no restrictions (Malta, Finland, Iceland) – but the updated list when published will apply from Monday.
Nit clear to me,is travel also possible from Belgium with a negative pcr test or only uk?
The official website makes it look like not, but I know 4 people who have come from Belgium this week for holidays with just a PCR, so seems it is possible. The new decree on the 16th should hopefully clear all this up.
What wonderful news about the UK! Is this opening exclusively for UK residents? Any word on when vaccinated USA residents may visit?
Hi Michael, yes, just for UK travellers from the UK right now (which makes sense, as we are allies for 900 years and they are our biggest tourism %).
I think the USA travellers opening will be decided at EU level, hopefully with a June opening, but I know there are questions about the USA vaccination certificates not being suitable for travel and it’s something the USA state dept is working with the EU on.
Hello, I am wondering if anyone can PLEASE help me because nothing online is clear.
I am a British citizen and I am currently in Dubai. I am flying from Dubai to Lisbon and then Lisbon to Faro on the 19th May.
My understanding is that British tourists are allowed to enter Portugal from May 17th.
However, even though I am a British Citizen, I need clarification that I will be allowed to enter as I am coming from DUBAI, not the UK.
PS: Emirates airlines in Dubai are operating flights daily to and from Lisbon however the Emirates website states it is for essential travel only / EU countries. But I don’t know if this now changes as Portugal will allow British tourists in from the 17th ?
Hi Rachel – British passport holders can travel from the UK. Flights from outside the EU are only for EU residents/citizens at this time until an update to that law is changed.
Hi Rachel… would you let us know how you get on ? v unclear but according to Emirates customer services they claim we will be fine from Dubai (3 separate phone calls). curious to know.. thanks and good luck !
Rachel travelled to Athens in the end, as allowed flight from Dubai, spent two nights there getting another PCR, and then flew to Portugal on a seperate flight ticket.
Hey Dan, me and my wife are planning to meet in Portugal once the boarders open up and we visit your website frequently and I just saw the news about it being open to British tourists, do these news also apply to people who are living in the US? Thanks in advance!
This update only applies to UK tourists flying from the UK. There will be another update by the 16th, but I my guess is USA travel will re-open at EU level, and not be an early decision Portugal takes.
Just to say thank you so much for this article. It’s been such a tense wait (I’m due to fly Tues 17th on a non refundable holiday booked initially pre-pandemic & then moved a year ago & your article has really helped clarify things with all the conflicting and misinformation around. Very much appreciated.
You are more than welcome, have an amazing time!
hi, brilliant website for information, we are due to come from the uk to Madeira on the 31st may, for a 2 week holiday.. in the uk when i had both my vaccines i was given a vaccine card with both my vaccine dates and which one i have had, do you think the card will be enough proof for entry into Madeira, i dont want to have a pcr test if i dont need to have one. thanks for reading..
Here is a summary of the official info as found on: https://madeirasafetodiscover.com/informations/
You will need to present a vaccination passport or certificate validated by your country of origin for COVID-19, showing that the doses were more than 3 weeks ago. It needs to contain name, DOB, Health Number, Vaccination type and dates of both doses.
I don’t know if they are going to accept the little cards you were given though as they are ‘appointment cards’ not ‘certificates’, but Matt Hancock said the NHS app (not the COVID-19 app) should be showing these certificates on the app from the 17th May, or if you don’t have a smartphone, you can call some number and they will send you a printed version.
Bonus is Madeira will then cover the cost of your anti-gen test to fly home instead of the one on arrival!
Thanks so much for your prompt reply.. just seen you have posted the latest statement regarding uk visitors/tourist from 17th may. GREAT NEWS that and keep up your brilliant website and work.
quick question,what do you mean by this ?
Bonus is Madeira will then cover the cost of your anti-gen test to fly home instead of the one on arrival!
Madeira are offering all visitors a free Covid test, so if you don’t use it when you land, you can use it to go home and save money. All the details are here – https://madeirasafetodiscover.com/informations/
Hey! thanks for the updates, will keep checking regularly. Have no clear idea as to what is happening. I want to travel in second half of June. I am travelling for 2 weeks (through spain and portugal), so would you suggest spain first so that travelling from spain to portugal might make it easier for entry? Also should i take a train or plane between seville and lisbon (so that entry is easier with the restrictions). I am very very confused.
Hey, travelling from Spain to Portugal or either way shouldn’t matter. We only have 1 train between Portugal and Spain and I think it’s suspended, so flying or bus would be your only way. Right now, bus would be the most guaranteed way as there are no border checks – but also flying from within an EU country wouldn’t be an issue. A lot can change in the next month and I expect by then all travel between all EU countries should be open.
Hi Dan,thanks for all the updated info that you give,it’s the best one out there.I have a question I can’t seem to get a definitive answer to as the information is so confusing.I am a British national with a Spanish resedencia and am booked on a nightbus from Madrid to Lisbon next Saturday evening 22nd May.Do you know if the land border is open for non essential travel? Thanks John
Land border is open without controls, I crossed from Portugal to Spain last week for lunch, and back again, and there wasn’t a person or check to be seen.
Official text from the Gov Website confirms:
“On land borders with Spain there are no restrictions on movement since 1 May.
Citizens coming from Brazil, Cyprus, Croatia, France, India, Lithuania, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden entering Portugal by land must comply with a 14-day quarantine period at home or at a place indicated by the health authorities.”
Thanks Dan for replying so quickly,I have one more question.I have just spoken to someone at the coach operators and they told me I don’t need a pcr test from Spain as he said there were no border checks.Do you have any information on this when coming into Portugal from Spain land border? Thanks
Nope, no test at all on that road border – drove there for lunch last week, no checks.
Hi Dan, thanks for this post! My question is is there an expectation of the travel decree touching upon the rules for quarantine on the few EU countries that is required for now?Or are the only things at stake the UK and the ‘non-essential’ travel? Thanks in advance!
Yes – the next decree will cover flights from everywhere, not just the UK, so by the 16th we will know if there are any changes on which EU countries need to quarantine :)
Thank you for taking the time to always update this page! It has great up-to-date information. I was wondering if you can also talk/give info about any news on the travel restrictions from canada or usa to go to portugal. I’m in canada currently and hoping that there is a chance I could go this month!
100% I plan to extend the news on this page to Canada and the USA as soon as we get an update. As ‘third countries’ to the EU, this change will most likely come when the EU open up in June – but as soon as I know more I’ll post it here :)
I really appreciate the blog, it’s very hard to keep up to date with all of the confusion and bad reporting. The uncertainty is killing me as I’m due to go out on the 22nd with a nonrefundable airbnb (the only way to book what we wanted, so took a punt given it seemed certain..)
Are there any more bits of information on when the announcement would be? You said before the 16th, so the next 2 days?
The football fans “bubbling” looks like bad news, but perhaps it’s because they’re football fans and it’s a mass event. There’s been a lot of hatred for the Portugese government preventing any crowds in local stadiums, I think? So possibly they just want to avoid the optics of letting them in, but would be ok with other tourists…
Yeah for sure, our League final was played without fans a few days ago, but the streets turned into chaos after Sporting CP won, with fans and police clashing, and has caused a huge controversy that it might become a super spreader event – so, two days after that, the politicians need to play careful with what they say and not add fuel to the fire. Especially, as dare I say it, British football fans have a rep for knowing how to celebrate. I personally don’t think that the football match, and general travel announcement, are certainly linked either.
Regarding when we will get new information – no idea, usually it just comes out on the day the decree goes into place as no one really pays attention, but now with the eyes on it from the UK maybe tomorrow as the last working day of the week something will be said. I really think the discussions with the EU are whats hold up todays announcement.
Thanks for all your hard work on this, and your objective information. You are literally the only sensible source available to us in the UK. We need to confirm/cancel our hotel tomorrow for a booking starting on 21st. So we were hoping for news today, very disappointing! Keep up the good work though!
Cheers Iain, just don’t want people getting screwed over and wasting money – try to keep it as factual as we can. Sorry that the right answers haven’t come for you before the cut off to cancel your hotel.
Thank you Dan. We are vaccinated Americans currently in Greece on sabbatical, but our dream is to be in Portugal before our sabbatical ends on June 1. Your reporting has been our lifeline as there is such a paucity of reliable information on the reopening of Portuguese boarders for third party countries. Just wanted to say thank you.
Hi Michael, sorry todays update didn’t bring much news – but we will have some before the 16th May. Hope you get the chance to enjoy Portugal on your sabatical!
thank god for you Dan – everything seems so uncertain but thanks as always for your updates! so many UK residents have had one or two vaccinations and are armed with negative covid tests, immune tests and the rest and are so very aware that we should respect the Portuguese rules and regs but somehow or other there appears to be someone, somewhere that wants to mess the whole thing up!! needless to say, the British press are ‘all over it’!
Thanks Fiona, I feel like updating this page and trying to clarify all the ‘rumours’ and just down right lies is becoming a full time job haha – I’m just keen everyone gets factual information and not screwed over by the media, or turning it into another Brexit/EU situation. Portugal is super keen to have tourists back, it’s near certainly guaranteed from the start of June, it’s just a matter of if the EU discussions have progressed enough to allow Brits before, and whether we have to wait a couple more days to get some firm news! Hopefully not, my fingers can’t refresh many more news sites :)
Thanks for the updates, they are very useful.
Do you know what time/where we can hear of the announcements as they happen? I’m keen to book flights as soon as we have confirmation of travel dates!
I’m not sure what time it will be, I believe they are actually having a meeting in the day so will likely be in the afternoon/evening – it will likely be announced on the state news channel as one of the first places – https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/ – although today there were reports the EU meeting about re-opening the EU/Schengen borders to third-party countries won’t be until the 20th, so not sure that that means for tomorrows announcement.
Thank you so much for keeping this article alive with such detailed and current information! I’m keeping my finger crossed for the 13th announcement as I have flight booked for the 1st of June from London!!!! Let’s see!!!!
Thank you for keeping this post updated! I am checking it daily since we have a flight booked from Brussels to Faro on May 17th and it is so hard to find decent information (in English). I heard from some Belgians that they went to Portugal anyway and had no questions asked. I am hesitant to do this since we are traveling with 2 kids and I don’t want to risk being refused to enter the country at arrival! Any thoughts on this?
I know some people who flew Brussels to Faro a few days ago on holiday and said the flight was full, and the PCR was enough. Likewise, a friend (who is a resident – but from Belgium) flew Brussels to Lisbon last week and they didn’t ask for residency documents either – so I think that they must have told the airlines they can ease the rules for low risk EU countries, especially as the decree was always a bit vague on the rules for Schengen area travel. Of course, it would be better if they made it crystal clear so that there isn’t any doubt – so I hope they can give you that confirmation on the 13th.
Hi Dan do you know what the rules are if someone is coming from dubai to Portugal even the islands. Do you need to quarantine at home or hotel ? I am a UK citizen but living in dubai. Emirates are very vague and no proper information. I have heard uae residents may need to quarantine in Portugal? Hope you can help. Cheers Mo
I’m not certain, but I don’t think that as a UK citizen you would be able to get in right now from Dubai, I know an EU resident who came via Dubai last week, but the consulate specifically said as they were an EU resident it was allowed – technically that’s what the flights from Dubai are for. You would maybe be able to get into Madeira if you can get a direct flight, but I guess they don’t exist. I don’t think it’s a quarantine issue, but more an entrance issue. On the 13th all the new rules are being announced – so I’d just give it two days and hopefully you can have some firm answers then.
Just read today that the court ruled mandatory quarantine illegal for a case of a lawyer from Brazil since state of emergency has ended. Wonder how that ruling will impact on the current rule of 14 days quarantine for “high risk” countries from EU? Could that possibly mean that quarantine will be removed for all countries?
That’s an interesting case indeed, it was at a lower local court level, not a supreme or constitucional court yet, which I assume means it won’t over ride any general rules with immediate effect. I’m also not sure if they were a resident/citizen in Portugal and that makes it different in terms of human rights in Portugal. As the EU directive that governs free movement of people has been suspended in some ways over the last year (to allow countries to have borders closed or travel restrictions etc under extreme circumstance clauses) that may mean that countries can impose restrictions like that on non-resident nationals still… It’s also been questioned by other judges and lawyers whether it’s a suspension of rights, or restriction of rights, which are apparently two different things in a legal framework and one of which can only be applied in a state of emergency – so if it does go to the supreme court, the decision might not be upheld.
It’s certainly not something I have the knowledge myself to personally understand, but the article I read in the Express didn’t really clarify too much about the cases details.
What I can’t imagine is that it will trigger an immediate re-opening of tourism and no isolation from any country at all – they have other options, such as red-lists and ’emergency controls’ from certain EU countries, or suspending flights completely like we have seen with Brazil and the UK in the past. It does seem though that we are only a few days away from knowing what the next official rules will be, so let’s see.
As far as I understand it, the essential travel restriction only applies for countries with over 150 cases per 100.000 capita. I am supposed to travel from Finland, where the cases are much lower, so it should be legal to travel for non-essential reasons too.
However, I have a 50 minutes plane change in Germany. Is this going to affect? Is there any place where I could have an accurate answer to this question?
I’m not too sure on the transit thing, but I know people who arrived from Germany today and had no problems, so I think you’ll be fine – you can try and phone/email SEF, but they tend to just be re-directing people to unclear website links.
Have a great trip,
Hi Dan, any updates on whether Portugal will reopen for tourism after June for UAE?
No, nothing yet I’m afraid, potentially 17th May for the EU, but I think the re-opening for other countries will happen when the ‘EU Digital Green Certificate’ launches which should be in June – as soon as there is an update I’ll post it here.
Hi Dan, any updates on whether Portugal will reopen for tourism after May 17 for EU and UK? Planning to visit around May 21 (me from Netherlands, boyfriend from UK – both of which aren’t allowed entry for tourism yet)
Hey, it’s been talked about a few times on the news, but we haven’t had any official announcement yet. Yesterday, the state of Emergency ends, so the government ministers will start setting laws/rules now without needing approval from the President so let’s see. Portugal is head of the EU this year though, and their big focus is on this ‘EU Green Passport’ so I’m not sure if they will be waiting for that. There is currently quarantine in place for arrivals from the Netherlands too and many other countries, so we are waiting to hear even when tourism re-opens, which countries will it be from. Hopefully in the next week we get an update.
Thanks Dan! Regarding Madeira, are they open to anyone from EU without the same quarantine rules as Mainland? And would they allow UK entry without quarantine as well?
Hey – yes, you’ll just need a negative PCR test which you can do before hand if connecting through the mainland, or on arrival if you have a direct flight. Madeira tourism are really quick to respond on Instagram if you want to check with them directly about travel from particular places.
Me and my girlfriend we have tickets for 7th may from Belgium to Lisbon we also booked the hotel today i saw in the news that they extended air travel restrictions and is only allowed for essential travel, we want to go there as tourist do you think they will ask us reason for coming or is it possible they refuse entry to portugal ??
thank you so much for your help
all the best !
I’m not sure, the mainland of Portugal have said that the 17th May would be the earliest date for tourism to re-open, and we are still awaiting confirmation on that. The Azores is open for travellers from Belgium (as mentioned by a comment in the last few days). Belgium isn’t on the quarantine list for mainland Portugal though, so if you are allowed to board the flight they might not be as strict, but it’s a risk you’ll be taking that you will be turned away as officially it isn’t allowed.
How did that end? Did you manage to go? (in the same situation with flight booked from Brussels on May 17th)
Very informative blog! Thanks!
Do you already have more news about the new restrictions starting today, May 1st? I read that there will be less restrictions regarding travelling. Is that correct?
Yes, for most of the country there are less restrictions for what we can do from yesterday (it was meant to be the 3rd, so I haven’t had a chance to update the article here yet) – you can see the changes here: https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/
From a travelling point of view, not much change yet. The border with Spain has re-opened, but we are still awaiting some firm answers on travel and Visit Portugals position is that it is essential travel only until the government decree says otherwise, but I think it will be this month that tourism resumes (with negative PCRS, from select countries)
What a wealth of information-am definitely saving this. A friend is very excited about leaving here (California, USA) on Monday, May 3 entering somewhere around Lisben and traveling-largely southern Portugal (he is checking out beaches and villages to consider moving to permanently.
The bug has caught me and I would like to visit to, but I will wait. I am a bit concerned as he is under the impression through time-shares and delta airlines that he is free to fly on Monday and travel for two weeks. Is this false? Upon googling-outside of your article-it just says US folks need to pass covid test within 72 hours arrival. It doesn’t say Portugal is closed to US travelers.
Thanks so much for your service and help.
Hi Meg, this is the official rules still, from the tourism board and the government decreee, copied below – we literally only reopened for people from Spain next door to come over for lunch yesterday so I’m going to be pretty surprised if he is allowed in, as certainly the ‘official’ rule is tourism from the USA (and most of the world) is still closed.
“Flights to and from other countries (which are not members of the European Union or which are not countries associated with the Schengen Area) for “essential travel” only;
– Flights intended to allow the return to Portugal of nationals or foreign citizens holding a residence permit in Portugal and flights intended to allow the return to their countries of foreign citizens who are in Portugal, provided that they are promoted by the competent authorities of those countries.”
In addition, the Delta website also says people are not allowed to enter Portugal from the USA, although it’s not that clear as it shows it on the map and that it might be possible, but when you click through to the detail page on their website they clarify all the rules and only essential travel from USA still. I really don’t see Portugal allowing travel from the USA until it is on the official EU travel list as Portugal is the president of the EU this year, so it would make them look pretty bad co-ordinating the EU response and then having their own rules. I think perhaps Croatia, Iceland and Greece are the only countries that are opening for USA travellers at the moment.
If I wanted to go to Madeira, as a US citizen, am I allowed to book a flight that goes through Portugal (not stopping there, only transferring)?
Currently I believe that if you are travelling from the US as a US citizen you still aren’t allowed to enter any of Portugal (including Madeira) for tourism reasons – I haven’t seen any update on this and the Visit Portugal portal and the US state department website say that it is only for essential travel still. UPDATE: I’m seeing on a few USA news reports that vaccinated USA travellers can fly DIRECTLY to Madeira, however, I haven’t seen this officially stated yet by official decree here.
There is talk from Madeira about extending their green-passport option to visits from outside of the EU countries, but I think this would require approval from the Portuguese mainland government, and so I’m not sure when this would happen, especially now that the EU are talking about opening to USA vaccinated travellers before the summer anyway, it might just coincide with that.
If you’ve seen an update saying otherwise then perhaps I’ve missed that – and you can also confirm with the border control SEF who manage all borders/customs for the mainland and Madeira – [email protected]
We have plane tickets from Belgium to the Azores (with a stopover in Lisbon (flying with TAP)) for May 9th. I read online that tourism is not seen as essential travel but you mentioned that some people are able to go to the Azores for tourism purpose. Any idea how they did that? Did they just take the risk and hoped for the best or…?
We both will have our dubble vaccine shot before the start of our trip but we also will have a PCR-test.
Because the Azores have their own government, they have kept different rules to the mainland in terms of tourism, and as Belgium isn’t on the high incidence list for isolation in the mainland, I believe it’s allowed to travel still – however you might want to confirm this directly (this is a good email: [email protected]) because they Azores website used to explicably state which countries it was open to, and now it does not. Assuming you can travel, please keep the below in mind:
A negative PCR test within 72 hours is needed and you can supply the details prior to arrival here: https://mysafeazores.com/
Currently in Sao Miguel, the main island, all businesses are now on a lockdown and there are curfews in place from 8pm M-F and 3pm on weekends (not sure when it will end) but the other islands have less restrictions as no major outbreaks I believe – you’ve got the island by island restrictions here: https://www.visitazores.com/en/restrictions.
If you are travelling between islands (after initial flight), or staying more than 6 days, I think you’ll also need to take another test which they provide at their clinics on the islands – also planning to head there in a few weeks :)
Thanks for the info. So for the Azores there is no ‘essential travel’ rule at the moment? Travel for tourism is still allowed?
Still have the problem that we have a layover in Lisbon. Reading the rules for mainland Portugal a ‘transit’ is also not allowed for non-essential travel. So, it would be tricky for us I think, no?
It would be easier if we had a direct flight from Belgium to the Azores.
As far as I know, the Azores (and certainly Madeira) had never shut for tourism in the same way the mainland has. That said, I spoke with the Azores tourism board today to check (regarding Belgium specifically) and they wouldn’t give me a direct answer, and said to send an email to the helpline – [email protected] – so I think your best bet is to email them to clarify your questions, and then you will have something in writing to show during your journey if you get asked any questions?
Sorry I can’t be more help, I don’t know why they aren’t being more direct with the facts and answers anymore.
I sent them an email this morning. Still waiting for an answer…
Hope tourism will be possible from May 1st!
Just received an email. This is there answer:
Despite the restrictions in mainland Portugal, travelling for tourism purpose to the Azores is still allowed, provided that transit passengers do not pass outside the departure lounge área of the airport in Portugal mailand.
Also, all passengers traveling to the Azores need to present a negative RT-PCR test for Covid-19 and this test must be valid within a period of 72h. The result of the test must be in english, french or spanish. Quarantine is not required for passengers travelling to the Azores, since they already bring a negative RT-PCR test.
Please keep in mind that these measures are updated on a weekly basis, therefore I recommend that you visit our website (https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/) or contact the Non Medical Hot Line of the Azores (800 29 29 29) for further information, regarding the date of your travel.
So, apparently is must be possible to travel to the Azores. I just find it quite tricky since I don’t know if the people at Lisbon Airport will agree with this. Do you have any idea who we can contact at mainport Portugal to verify this?
Great news, thanks for sharing.
It would be sef.pt that control the mainland airport borders and rules, but given how the Schengen arrivals are in Lisbon, coming into the same area that domestic flights to connect too, you might not have to encounter a check on arrival until later. I had my checks done last time I came in at the gate (because it was UK, so not the Schengen entry) and then again at the luggage hall (where the Schengen paperwork checks took place) but you wouldn’t reach that point as you would just stay in the arrivals/departure area (the same).
Have a great time in the Azores!
Hi Dan, this blog has been a real life saver thanks so much for the information! I am booked onto a ferry from Santander to Portsmouth on May 8th as I need to travel home to care for my mum who’s been ill. I have heard that an antigen test is accepted for travel to the UK (much cheaper than a pcr test but it has to be one approved by the UK for accuracy) but the only one I have found so far is in Albufeira (I am in the Alentejo). Do you know if the rapid antigen test offered by Joachim Chaves is accepted for travel to the UK? Any help is greatly appreciated :)
Many Thanks, Lauren
I’m really not sure, sorry, I’ve not really been tracking what the UK requires and didn’t realise they had changed from only accepting PCR tests. I’ll try and look into it, but hope you find the answer in the meantime and wish you a safe journey and a speedy recovery for your Mum.
Hello. I appreciate your updated information on travel to Portugal. I know you don’t have a crystal ball 😊 into the future of travel in these very uncertain times. However, looking for your opinion, if we make future travel plans to Portugal for tourism late July 2021 from USA (all of us will be vaccinated). Given there are no fees for changes do you think it a possibility good gamble that travel will open for Americans? Thank you!
I think that would be a good bet for July, today the EU council announced plans to open for vaccinated travellers this summer from the USA and while I think June might be a bit unlikely, July seems a much safer bet based on predicted vaccine numbers here/EU speed of getting the ‘Green certificate’ stuff organised :)
Thank you all informations!
Hello Dan. Thanks so much for sharing such useful updates from inside Portugal!
We are looking to go to Porto on the 17th May from Malta. I am quite hopeful after you mentioned that it is a date being looked at by the government right now. Of course there are still many variables.
We’ve booked accommodation with free cancellation, but decided not to buy any flight tickets yet as they’re less flexible.
My question is: How long do you think it will take for the Portuguese government to announce a date to re-open for EU tourists?
Thanks heaps. :)
I wish I could tell you. The next review and update to the decree for flights and travel is due on the 30th April, so I expect that will be the earliest date we will hear anything. A couple of regions of the country went back into a ‘lockdown’ of sorts this week, so I feel that if they were to announce reopening to tourists without focusing on reopening to citizens first it might have a bit of a backlash. Hopefully by the end of April we will get confirmation. Hopefully by then Malta is off the quarantine list too and your trip can go ahead :)
Hey Dan, first of all – thank you for your effort in updating this article on regular basis! I have been in Lisbon in September 2020 and really loved to escape for a couple of days. These are crazy times. However, I would love to visit again. Do you offer some kind of feed/newsletter for those who would like to stay updated on Portugal only? :)
I have a flight booked for May 21 from New York to Lisbon (for tourist purposes) with a stop over in Amsterdam.
From the way things are looking, will I be able enter from the U.S.?
I wasn’t clear on this.
Currently no, the restrictions for tourism from the USA are the same as they have been since last year when the borders closed.
The 17th May has been floated as a potential date to re-open for tourism (from within the EU) but as we still have a sort of ‘stay at home’ order right now, it might be a bit too hopeful.
I haven’t seen anything specifically about the USA. Given how the vaccinations are progressing quickly there, to me it seems likely that at some point in this summer tourism from the USA will open again, but we are not sure of a date and it will more than likely be taken at an EU level decision. Although individual countries can over ride this (Croatia is the only EU country currently open to USA travellers I think) Portugal is the head of the EU parliament this year, so I can’t imagine they would deviate from the general decision.
Hopefully we get some answers soon, but my personal guess is that it is slim chances for travellers from the USA in May I’m afraid – but hopefully I’m wrong!
Hey Daniel great blog about Portugal info.
Its always interesting to read your blogs, tells a clear description about a particular place.
Looking at flights from UK to Ecuador – stopover in Porto from London, then Porto to Spain and from Spain to Ecuador.
The flight from Porto to Ecuador are in one ticket through the same airline.
Just wondering if Porto will have me as a transit (on the 9th of May) so that I can collect my bag and check in for my flight outside of airside.
Hoping you can help! Not much info about transiting.. I will have the PCR Test and all evidence needed!
Thanks for your help!
I’m not 100% sure, as currently direct flights from UK to Portugal are banned, so there isn’t really any advice for what transit from the UK will look like when that ban is lifted. The current official advice is EU citizens can transit through Portugal with no restrictions (whilst staying airside) but if you are required to do land side then I believe that regular rules as if you are visiting Portugal are in place, which then depends on where you are coming from/nationality.
At some point in May we are expecting a bit of an overhaul of these restrictions as tourism re-opens anyway, so should be a lot easier, but it’s yet to be confirmed if/when these changes will happen.
Sorry I can’t give a better answer just now.
Hi Dan, thanks so much for the information. I have to travel to Portugal for professional reasons on 24 of April (coming from Germany). I cannot come by plane and therefore have to use a car. Do you know what kind of documents are required by the employer to pass the border with certainty? Thanks in advance
Hey KoKo, I’m sorry but I’m not sure on a firm answer for this in terms of proof. The border restrictions technically end on the 15th, but they are debating today an extension which will run to at least May and it’s expected to be approved.
I’d advise contacting both SEF for the Portugal side (+351 808 202 653/ [email protected]) but also the Spanish border control, as they will be patrolling on the way in too I guess? Hope you can find a firm answer from them.
Thank you so much for this information this is very helpful for a solo traveler like me. Hopefully, the world will be covid free soon. By the way, it’s always enjoyable to read your articles. Keep it up!
Great updates – thanks Dan! I went to Portugal last September – quarantine back in Canada worth it as I’m now moving there! 😊 I should arrive around July so it’s sounding like things will be much “better” – perhaps like last September – which was most lovely! Saúde!
Here’s hoping so Tammy, hope you have a smooth move over :)
Hi , Thanks for your helpful articles – clear and accessible. My 2 year old son is coming to portugal for work at a surf camp around 20/may/21. I think this will be allowed as it is paid work. He is coming directly from Mexico with a transfer in Madrid (not leaving airport). I am assuming he will need pcr test before departure and then do you think he will have to isolate for 14 days?
He will need the Negative PCR for arrival into Portugal regardless of where his is travelling from.
Regarding from Spain, there is no quarantine currently, but as the trip starts from a ‘banned’ country Mexico I believe there would be the requirement for isolation (depending when he is flying, this could of course change).
If he doesn’t have a residency visa or citizenship he will also need proof of work (contract or whatever) to show at the check-in points for the flights.
On a side note regarding transiting Spain (this isn’t a subject I know much about) I did see that they have some rules regarding who can transit, and only to their country of residence (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements#transiting – this is from th UK Gov site, I’m not sure which countries it applies too) so thats something else best to confirm with the airline won’t be a problem.
Sorry I can’t be more definitive, but I’d suggest you confirm with the airline from Mexico what kind of documents or proof they need for checkin at the airport, as it is them who will decide if he can board or not regardless of the official rules – there’s been a few reported cases where the airlines have gone beyond the official rules and declined people boarding out of over analysing the rules.
Safe travels to your Son!
Hi Dan, thanks so much for the thorough post. What I do not understand: What is “essential” travel? Am I being sent back from the airport if I do not have specific proof? I am German, and I own a small apartment in Lisbon that I need to do some maintenance on. Is this enough of a reason and do I need to proof this somehow? My partner (not married) is helping me, can she simply join? I find no info on the definition and the procedures of entry with essential reason… Thanks a lot
I think they have specifically left it quite vague to be honest, and what this means is we are seeing situations where airlines are then being more wary because they don’t want to be the ones responsible for flying people back.
The actual VisitPortugal website is also not very clear:
“Essential travel” is defined as trips allowing the transit, entry into and departure from Portugal for the following persons:
– citizens of a European Union member state, Schengen Associated countries and their family members;
My ‘understanding’ is that as a German EU national (requiring just PCR but not quarantine) you would be able to visit here as you own a property, and are travelling for reasons related to that and not tourism. Having proof of ownership of the property (deeds or whatever) would satisfy the proof requirement if anyone asked. But, as well as confirming with the border control here, it’s also essential to confirm with the airline as often they have declined people travel because they also don’t know. Regarding your partner, I’m not that sure.
I’d suggest contacting SEF (border control) and asking them to clarify, then if it is all not a problem you would have something in writing to show at the airport check-in desk – their email is [email protected].
Sorry I can’t give you more clarity, I’ve done a lot of hunting in recent weeks and never found a very clear list. I actually also have heard from friends in the Algarve that their German friends arrived for a holiday this week, so potentially they aren’t actually being so strict for countries deemed ‘medium-risk’ like Germany. Unbelievable really that a year into these it’s such a struggle to still find clear definitions.
Great info, and a lot, … but ….
1. Very UK centric.
Exactly the information I was looking for is missing — are PCR tests needed arriving via land route? As one can ALWAYS travel home within the EU (if not a UK citizen, but that is not the EU, so ….), so both ways in/out of Portugal.
<---- comment edited due to incorrect information ------>
3. But what officially tourists CANNOT do, is travel around, other than to a proven address.
1. I live in Portugal, but I am British and most of the visitors to this website are from the UK so I generally write for that audience – in addition it is written for travel and tourism purposes, not for residents/citizens of Portugal/Spain using the border.
1b – There were no PCR tests required for crossing IN to Portugal at the start of this lockdown and I don’t believe that rule has changed (I have no idea about going over to Spain, as I don’t follow that). However the borders are technically open for essential journeys only, so if you are entering the country as a tourist and not a resident or citizen, you may encounter a problem, however as you say if you are travelling out of the country to go to your home country this is of course allowed.
These are the two current decrees relating to the land border and neither of them mention PCR tests except for when flying:
And here you have the list of the current borders that are open and their times – https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/covid-19/faqs/#1594893599247-89d621c6-edb2 – if you want to double check then asking SEF would be the best option +351 808 202 653 / [email protected]
2. Re the Masks it is law. It became law on October 28th, and was then extended until April 5th. Then, as has been reported, with the two main parties supporting the extension it will continue as law until July 5th – I know people who have been fined for this, although of course how it is enforced varies a lot between cities and countryside – I didn’t really see it when I lived in Algarve, I’ve seen it much more since I’ve moved to Lisbon (News report on extension here – https://observador.pt/2021/03/17/covid-19-ar-avanca-com-uso-obrigatorio-de-mascaras-na-rua-ate-julho/). I’m going to report the actual facts on this page, so people can make informed decisions. Whether they decide to follow those or start contesting laws it’s their call – but I think it’s pretty shitty to go on holiday to another country during a pandemic and not follow their local rules and laws.
thanks for the information you shared in the articles , do Indians can visit Portugal for tourism purpose ?
its always enjoyable to read your articles. :)
Hey, currently no, travel remains restricted to Portugal for essential reasons only, and thats from any other country. Potentially from May we will see it change, but we don’t know for which countries yet I’m afraid.
Thanks Danial for best blog about Portugal info but how to go in this pandemic ? btw nice blog you have
Sadly right now, it’s not really possible – hopefully May brings us some better news!
Thanks so much for this amazing resource Dan! Do you happen to know anything about the Camino de Santiago that cuts through Portugal? I’d imagine things may be a bit different as this isn’t your typical form of tourism and usually requires stays in communal hostels/albergues/etc. Thanks in advance!
Hey KP, I don’t know too much detail, but as the borders are closed except for essential travel, the crossings are mainly only open for people with work or essential travel, so something to consider. Also, all religious spaces where residents live (such as Nun’s for example) remain closed for protection. Some guest houses and accomodations have remained open, but many are closed.
For us residents living here it would be illegal to do the Camino right now, as it isn’t an essential reason to leave the home and break the ‘Stay at home’ orders – so the same measures would apply to tourist purposes too I assume.
That said, the end of lockdown rules have just been announced today, and it looks like it will be fully possible soon – from the 5th April (if nothing changes) the level of rules then looks like you could freely do the route, visit any monument, access food easily and I believe all guest houses could reopen. When Spain and Portugal will re-open the borders is yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to be at the end of the month.
Hopefully it’s just a few weeks until we can start living a little again here :)
Hostels and camping areas are open, but of course you need to check with individual ones. When you have a booking confirmation, you can travel as a tourist. So, if you choose to walk, why not, lol.
You need to check the rules of Spain (the respective area) for walking over the border.
Thank you for the article. Any idea if I would be able to fly (from EU) to Faro, and drive to Sagres on a Saturday. I’d plan to stay in a hotel to just work and surf but not sure what the restrictions on travel between provinces looks like.
Currently on weekends we are not allowed to move between municipalities, however if you are arriving and have your flight documents and accomodation documents, these should be fine to show at any check-points to show it’s a journey to your ‘residence’ aka hotel in this case.
Do check regarding surfing in the area you are going to, I know a few councils have banned certain water-sport activities. Also consider food if you are going to a hotel, as many don’t current have food offerings, and at the weekends supermarkets and take-aways must shut by 5pm, so pick up something to eat for dinner.
Also, depending on which EU country you are coming from, you may require a covid test, or to do 14 days of isolation on arrival – you can see an up to date list a bit further down the Visit Portugal page (https://www.visitportugal.com/pt-pt/content/covid-19-medidas-implementadas-em-portugal)
Hopefully by April this will all be lifted, let’s see!
Hey Dan – do you know anything about traveling to Brazil, from Portugal, via Spain, for a British Citizen with Portugese Residency? I can see direct flights from Portugal to Brazil are cancelled on Skyscanner, but flights via Spain look ok. I’m just a bit confused if I’d actually be allowed to leave Portugal at all, and then if there would be restrictions in Spain… what a mess ahaha!
In summary, getting there is likely possible. Getting back likely a mess:
The new land border rules starting this weekend in Portugal apply to Portuguese nationals, so I assume if you have a British passport you would be allowed to get around this in law, even if not in the spirit of the rules, by leaving Portugal by road using the UK passport document at the border to travel to an airport. You would then need to check with the Spanish regions you plan to travel through to ensure you can travel smoothly, some have internal controls still.
If you are planning to come back anytime in the next months, keep an eye on the EU border rules, as more EU countries announce they are blocking flights from Brazil (and even some from the whole continent) you might find it hard to get back to Europe, repatriation flights are unlikely to be provided this time. You might not be able to fly back into Spain anyway as you aren’t a national/citizen and it seems EU Schengen rules are starting to be suspended again, thus residents of other member states are not being allowed into other countries.
Hi Daniel, This is a very important article for me. It saves my time.
Thanks a lot!
No problem, hopefully some day soon we can re-open to tourism safely!
Thank you for this useful information, Daniel! Knowing the curfew, store operation hours, transportation schedules, and other details that you have provided are very helpful! This is definitely their new normal. Safe travels for you! And I hope that we will be able to visit Portugal soon, we are just too cautious to go out of the country now because of the kids. Don’t wanna leave them for too long, but I definitely want to go there in the near future.
I hope you can when it’s safe to do so – I agree going abroad isn’t the easiest or safest idea just now :)
trying to get information regarding transit flights through Portugal. Some websites are telling there is no need to make tests prior the flight but some are telling vice versa.
Do you know which one is true?
Hey, the airline is the best person to direct this question to – as it will be them that decide at boarding if you have the right paperwork. As such, if the airline requires testing, this will over-rule any exceptions. Seen a lot of problems with people being turned away because the IATA (International airline service) or the airline itself have different rules in place, usually being more cautious than the official rules because they don’t want the risk of fines.
That said, the official rules on the Visit Portugal website (https://www.visitportugal.com/en/content/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions) state ‘This test is not asked in Portugal for those who are in transit and do not have to leave the airport facilities’ however i have also seen conflicting information else where which is why the airline, and their rules, are the most important as it’s going to be their staff at the check-in which will decide if you board. I witness people being turned away a few weeks ago from London – Lisbon because they were requiring all passengers to have tests, even for connecting flights, I assume because it’s easier this way as lots of final destinations need the test results too.
A mess I know, sorry! Also be sure depending on if where you are coming from can transit through Portugal, UK for example all passengers flights are banned now except repatriation.
The world is suffering from Pandemic and the situation is getting worse day by day. It might not be a safe time to venture around the globe.
No, indeed right now it isn’t. But this article has been updated weekly since last May, and covered times when travel was safer and very much needed for the tourism economy. There is also a large UK population living here, so it stays up to advise people on the situation for family etc – not all travel is for tourism reasons.
Hey, what’s the latest on surfing in Portugal?
I heard stricter rules are coming in
It can’t really get much stricter, we are already on a full lockdown which is deemed for a month until mid-February, but I imagine will go on longer. For now, they haven’t closed the beaches like last lockdown and excercise alone is allowed, which I guess includes surfing, but they keep adding more things not allowed so it may be soon surfing is also not covered – especially as I think staff from emergency teams that would usually support any coastal rescue are being diverted elsewhere in some cases.
thank you for posting all these useful information! We are moving permanently to Portugal in February. If we go straight to our new home and we have the rent contract with us, do you think that it will be a problem if the last regulations are still in place?
Once you are in the country you’ll be permitted to travel from the airport to your accomodation no problem, just have some form of proof of address incase of checks by the PSP.
Coming into the country the usual requirements will be needed, depending on which country you are travelling from, For example if it is from the UK the rental contract for example likely won’t be enough, unless it can be backed up with residency documents or papers from before the withdrawl agreement – from other EU countries much easier.
Safe journey, and enjoy living in this amazing country :)
Hi Dan! Thank you for this very informative article that you’ve shared with us especially this pandemic time. This is very useful for those who will be travelling there and for like me who would want to go. May you have more travels that you can share with us!
This is the most comprehensive discussion of Portugal during COVID-19 I’ve ever seen, thanks for sharing. Very annoying that the US passport used to be a decent one, but thanks to our pandemic cases, it’s now useless…
Thank you Dan for informative post.
Thank you so much for your work helping us travelers. I have a U.S. passport and currently in another Schengen country (Estonia) under visa free travel (90/180). I am thinking of flying to Faro to visit some properties for a few days just before Christmas. I don’t have EU residence card. My permission into Schengen is basically granted to enter Estonia. Any idea / guidance on whether I can fly to Faro, via Frankfurt (most likely choice) from Tallinn without issue? I have asked Faro airport, Portuguese Embassy in the U.S., without clear answer. I asked SEF but haven’t heard anything. This seems to be an “age old” problem that government rules don’t usually address at all.
Thank you very much for your feed back.
Hope you are well.
Obviously I can’t guarantee an actual answer, or know any of this as fact – but below is my view on this:
I do know my friends who live in London, but are Americans with US passports have just flown here no problem. So, I imagine it wouldn’t be a issue – especially as you’re already in the Schengen zone and would only be showing your ID to board a flight, and wouldn’t have to show a passport to enter the country. When I fly into Faro from another Schengen country I’ve always just walked/been taken by bus straight from the flight into the luggage hall with no passport or ID checks. As such, I think the only place a problem might occur is at the Estonia side, with the gate-agent or airline declining boarding based on your passport – so perhaps check with the airline/airport on that side, as that is where you’ll be showing the passport?
Cheers, and sorry I can’t give you anything more definitive.
Great article. We’re in the States and my grandfather in Viseu passed away. We’re thinking of sending my mom (Portuguese citizen) with my brother (US citizen) to Portugal through London because we can’t get the appropriate COVID test results back within the 72 hour window the airlines are asking for. Local labs are taking five days. Do you think they will need a negative test result to get on a flight from London to Lisbon? Do you think my brother will be allowed in since it’s for a funeral and he’s accompanying my mother? If they can’t they’re going to be forced to take trains or busses if they’re allowing travel. Airlines don’t seem to have an alternative for these situations.
My condolences, sorry to hear of your grandfather passing.
I can’t give any facts with upmost certainty, but I think this would fall under humanitarian reasons – my neighbours parents, US citizens, were granted permission to enter following her giving birth and needing support – although this had to be arranged with SEF in writing prior to them flying – that was direct USA > Lisbon – so you may want to get this permission letter prior to the flight to be safe?
As far as I know, in Heathrow they have been letting people transit with no testing/problem as long as they are allowed in the next country, stay airside, and have the same ticket for the journey thus not needing to check in – and I don’t believe they are then asking for test arrivals. In case of an emergency situation, Lisbon airport (maybe Porto, I’m not sure) they do have the facilities for testing on arrival with a fee as these are being used for passengers from the LusoAfrican nations.
Sorry I can’t give you any better answers, and sorry the local labs are taking so long thats terrible – perhaps it might even be worth asking SEF if in this situation they would be eligible for the testing on arrival in Lisbon airport, if paid for, I know officially it doesn’t apply for those coming from the USA, but perhaps for a citizen and the funeral they are able to make an exception?
We’ve booked accommodation at three different locations between Faro and Lagos for 27-31 December, before we drive up to Porto for 1-4 January.
Will we be permitted to cross between the relevant districts and municipalities on that drive (showing our booked accommodation in Porto) or is it likely we will be asked to turn around?
The rules as they are now (But may change with the next state of Emergency update) mean that in most of the Algarve, so those Faro to Lagos section, the regions are all in the bottom 2 of the 4 tier system, so don’t have the strictest levels of rules. On New Years Eve theres also the chance to enjoy a semi-normal night with restaurants open until 1am.
As for going to Porto on New Years Day. A circulation ban between municipalities comes into place between 00:00 on 12/31 and 05:00 on 4/01 but on New years day use of public roads is allowed until 23h00 – so I think from my understanding if you are travelling ‘home’ or in this case your accommodation, it shouldn’t be a problem – have the tickets and details to show incase of check-points. But once you arrive into Porto, you wouldn’t be able to travel to a different municipality from there.
Keep in mind as Porto is ‘very high risk’, on the weekend (so the dates 2nd & 3rd January) there is a curfew in place from 1pm, with most businesses closing and only allowed to be outside for emergency reasons or short exercise – so that will have an impact on what you can enjoy in Porto. In addition, on the 1st January Restaurants and the likes have to close by 15:30 in these high risk areas – incase any of this effects your want to be in Porto on days with such restrictions.
There could be a change of tier for any of the regions though by then, with the updated list of rules that apply to these dates would officially come into place on the 23rd December I think, so be sure to double check then on https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/ the different regional rules on the drop down, use Chrome with Translate switched on – its more accurate than the actual English version of the website.
It’s hard to know 100% the answer to this. Previously, there was a lot more bending of the rules for tourists, but understandably this led to a bit of a backlash situation that tourists were getting preferential treatment to locals so they have been a bit tighter recently. But, I think if you have the accooomodation bookings, and I assume a flight leaving from Porto, there shouldn’t be any problem with crossing the country.
Sorry that does not help much, hope it all works out.
Thanks for the great advice and articles. We’re thinking of driving from the UK to Portugal in January. I saw in your most recent post that the border with Spain is open; but am wondering if anyone else has attempted this recently and if so, what did they need to do before leaving the UK?
Currently there are testing requirements to enter Spain I believe by air, but this hasn’t been extended to land border crossing in Portugal as far as I’m aware, but there may be testing requirements for driving across the French Border I’m not sure. In addition, the different autonomous regions of Spain all have different restrictions currently as far as I’m aware, so in terms of driving into Portugal from Spain, and then driving to wherever you want in Portugal all good – the advice you’ll need will be on Spanish regions (and France) which isn’t info I know myself.
I did see someone on a Facebook group that was planning this, and they mentioned they were told by the Spain gov they wouldn’t be able to stop in Spain at all – but that was a few weeks ago and maybe things have changed. They also had Portuguese residency, so that gives more ease of travelling to Portugal as an end destination through Spain due to being essential travel.
I have a friend who did the trip in reverse, from Portugal to the UK in their camper van, but again they were a UK resident returning home, so the situation was a bit different. When they drove to Portugal it was earlier in the summer when there were not as many restrictions.
I’m sure you’ve seen these links below before, but just putting them here incase they are of help to someone else:
The generic Spain travel updates are here: https://www.spain.info/en/discover-spain/practical-information-tourists-covid-19-travel-spain/
About half way down that page, there is a map of all the regions which links out to their own regional rules and border controls – so I think it would be a matter of planning the route and then keeping an eye on each of those regions. Not sure if you are planning to ferry into Bilboa, but if it’s the tunnel then I guess French rules will also need to be considered.
Also, no idea what will have changed by January. Everyone’s a bit worried that post Christmas we might see more movement controls and curfews in Portugal. So personally I’d assume any research you do now, it will likely have all changed by January.
Of course, if you have Portuguese residency then you should be able to travel home to Portugal as that is an essential travel right.
Hope you can work it all out :)
Hi Dan, interested to hear your thoughts re the latest local lockdown in the north and ban on moving between municipalities. For my part, I am from the UK and am in a Lisbon airbnb now, but we have an Airbnb booked on Saturday night in Setubal. Is going there against the rules and do you think we’d be instantly fined on going/attempting to go over the bridge? Thanks! Nicolas
Hope you are well and enjoying Lisbon. From what I have gathered after some research, as it’s my birthday this weekend and I had planned to go away domestically too, is that I wouldn’t be able to as I am a resident, however non-resident foreigners/travellers can move between municipalities still if it is to go to pre-booked accommodation. Faro airport released a statement on Facebook saying that travelling from the airport to pre-booked accommodation is fine, just to have the proof of booking with you as there will be police checks at regional borders as there were on the bank holidays earlier this year with the restrictions. I also saw this discussed and clarified in one of the online newspapers.
I’m assuming this is in the mind of people arriving for a weeks holiday and getting to the municipality where they will spend the whole weekend, if your booking is just for one-night and then you are going back to your place in Lisbon though (not sure of your situation, but maybe you are here for a while), that might not be deemed okay by the GNR at the check point as they will maybe want to know why you are going to be moving twice during this time. If it’s one night and then going to the airport, that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a bit of a grey area in that context, but for the most part, the rules aren’t to limit tourists from going to their destinations, but to stop extended family gatherings for the days of mourning, so IMO it likely won’t be an issue regardless. Also, I doubt there would be a fine in this instance, but more a ‘turn around’ situation – the GNR in general have been great and really under standing of people and things throughout this I’ve found.
I need to update this article properly as so much has changed of late.
That is amazingly helpful – thank you Dan. We’ll proceed with caution. Many thanks, Nicolas
Great article! Do you know if it’s possible for British nationals to enter Portugal for tourism purposes (from countries outside of the EU). I’d like to visit next week with my wife (a Canadian citizen) but we’ll be flying from the UAE. Our airline suggests we can enter for tourism with a negative PCR test, but everything else I’m reading doesn’t say a definite yes or no.
Any ideas? Thanks for your help!!
Sorry for the delay in coming back to you – I wonder if you did visit? I’ve been a bit busy the last few weeks. Honestly, it’s hard to answer as there seems to be different interpetations by airlines, airports, and almost a case by case basis.
If you got in, or got an answer, I’d love to hear.
I was so longing to visit Portugal this year but the Coronavirus outbreak put a break to my plans.. Thanks for sharing this info…. will rethink about my travel plans once again…
Hi. In case that you reschedule your trip to Portugal the Azores islands well deserve your visit. 2 hours from Lisbon to Sao Miguel (the largest island on a group of 9) with a lot to see and do. If so I would like to recommend you https://www.seazores.net for tours and activities there. Take care.
This is such a helpful article! thanks
Hello, Dan. Very informative article, thank you. However, I’m still a bit confused about the municipality restrictions. Me and 2 other friends booked a trip in Portugal this coming week, 20-27, and were planning to explore a bit of both Porto and Lisbon. Are we allowed to travel by train or by bus from Porto to Lisbon on Dec 22 or 23 perhaps? Our flight is to Porto but we’re planning to spend Christmas in Lisbon and then back to Porto again by the 26th. I was just making sure that this cross-municipality is allowed during those times. Thank you in advance!
Have a great trip, see you arriving today so hope you already have the information but yes, within these dates you should be fine – as long as you return by 23:00 on the 26th. On the 27th there will be the 1pm curfew in Porto, and of course today in Lisbon, but for the rest of the week not a problem as it falls on weekdays and with the Christmas exceptions.
Please be advised that buses and trains have 2/3 capacity, and you MUST have a ticket and seat reservation to travel on these – which I would assume many would be sold out already due to family members wanting to see each other and the limited days of travel allowed. If the seats are taken you can’t board and stand up on the train like in other countries – http://www.cp.pt/ and https://www.rede-expressos.pt/en would be the place to book these tickets in advance.
Have a nice Christmas in Portugal.
I have a flight soon from EU country to Lisbon, and while preparing bumped into this wonderful and informative page.
What bothers me are two things
– If I flag the heat sensor at the airport or I look suspicious, can the authorities put me in isolation/quarantine without testing me?
– What if an another passenger’s test is positive – Will I have to isolate?
I hope you can share some information
Sorry for the delay I’ve been away.
The heat sensors would be a trigger for a test, they have testing facilities at all airports now – so if you flag it, you will be tested and asked to isolate until the results (usually 24hours) are with you. If negative, carry on, if positive, then yes obviously you will need to isolate.
Should someone else test positive on your flight, the airline/health service will contact you and ask you to have a test at a local clinic. Testing is all free.
This is such a helpful article! I also tried to write about country specific coronavirus restrictions on my blog, but it was so confusing I just gave up!!
Hey Becky, haha yes it’s a lot to keep up with they change so quickly – this now needs a complete overhaul after just two weeks!
This is so insightful. Once we can travel more freely again I definitely will come back here to check the updates! Travel is so essential for many people’s well-being. Can’t wait for things to open up safely again.
Any news regarding bars and nightclubs in Lisbon?
Yes, some had re-opened, inline with the 1am rules of the rest of the country. Nightclubs however remain essentially closed as ‘dance floor areas and spaces’ don’t meet the social distancing rules.
Hello Dan – talk about great timing coming across your article on Portugal! 😊 I’m flying there from Canada….arriving September 18th….a solo birthday/combo travel therapy kinda trip after a few losses these last few months….spending the first 7 nights in Albufeira (read the most vibrant town!) and the last four nights in Lisbon…almost two weeks and I can’t wait to hop on a bloody plane again! haha Lived in London years ago…booted around Europe and I can’t believe that I haven’t been to Portugal yet – soon to be rectified! 🤞 I have one query if you don’t mind….someone told me to perhaps stay in Sintra instead of Lisbon those last few days….and pop into Lisbon for a day trip. I was learning towards staying in Lisbon as when I travel I also love the nightlife…meeting folks in bars, etc… (if open past 8pm by the time I get there!)….would you say that Lisbon might be more suited for what I’m after…and doing day trips with Lisbon as a home base. Your article was most helpful – thank you so very much! Here’s hoping I can get there….now if I’m stuck there….I’m in I.T. so I wouldn’t mind at all! haha Cheers!
Sorry for the delay on coming back to you – I’ve been away without my laptop.
Hope you have a fantastic trip – sure my advice by now is too late and you have it all planned. Sorry about the bar restrictions still being in place – hope you still enjoy!
Anything about number of households in one villa rental ?
I haven’t heard anything about that no. We don’t have any restrictions on gatherings in houses other than the max person cap (20 or 50 I believe right now depending on location) so I don’t think that would be a problem at all – but might be worth checking with the villa rental company, incase they have their own restrictions.
Have a great trip,
i have visited portugal twice
Hope you had a great time!
Extremely helpful and interesting article, thanks for sharing! And the photos make me want to visit Portugal again even more.
Glad to help, and there’s always a good reason to return to Portugal ;)
Checking all relevant sites but still can’t find an answer….
I’m an EU passport holder and currently I’m in Israel. Need to get to Lisbon for a week. Planning on flying via Germany or France.
As a holder of EU passport will I be able to get into Portugal?
From what I know yes, there is no restrictions for EU passport holders at all, and as you’ll be coming via France or Germany, you will enter Schengen zone again there and travel to Portugal as part of the Schengen zone. As such, it will be checking the restrictions for those countries mainly, and potentially there will be a testing requirement to enter those airports.
Portugal looks and sounds amazing!
Good luck with your faces2hearts project. That looks cool, how did you find out about that, and how does one get involved ?
Thank you, it’s all wrapped up now – but they may run it again next year, keep an eye on faces2hearts.eu :)
Hi Dan great post you have here and very informative.
We have a house here in Pera, Algarve and took the decision to come over from the UK for the month of August as we believe its presently safer here than at home.
Now we have arrived, we have no regrets, everything is carried out safely with plenty of precautions in bars, restaurants and shopping centres.
We just can’t believe how quite it is for this time of year – its almost like October period? We have seen a very small number of British tourist here, but plenty of Portuguese tourist.
The current situation suits us down to the ground and feel very safe in our house and on our local beaches.
This summer we decided to drive to Portugal via ferry to northern Spain and we are glad we have done this as flying is still of concern to us.
Our only issue, is the UK restriction and whether this will be in force until we head home late August. We don’t want to have to quarantine when returning and we are hoping that the UK government will see sense over the next few weeks, though with Spain now on their list this is looking ever so doubtful.
So for those thinking about coming to Portugal this month, as long as you follow the rules as all the locals do this is definitely a safe place to be. Yes you do have the risks, however this applies whether you are at home or abroad.
Sorry your comment got caught in a filter and I only just spotted it. Indeed, it’s been very surprising (and enjoyable) without the crowds, although certainly noticed the numbers increasing this week.
I hope todays announcement and the air bridge dates work for your planned arrival home and you can avoid quarantine.
Dan, useful article – Thank you. We are a young family, 2 children, 8 and 2 and we booked flights and private accommodation in Albufeira for this Sunday back in January. Disappointed that the UK govt haven’t included Portugal in the air corridor but are encouraged by the Portuguese response, especially in the Algarve and are keen to support local business there – So we are intending to travel but are very nervous! Private accommodation with communal pool in Albufeira, daily walks to old town, beach at Albufeira, trips to Zoomarine and Vilamoura in the rental car, can we expect a “normal” experience as much as is practical? We are still hopeful of a change of status from UK govt before we return on Sunday week!
Hope you are well and have a wonderful holiday here in the Algarve! Indeed, it’s a shame the UK haven’t included us yet, but hopefully by the time you are returning it will be on the list!
For the most part, things are normal here. Beaches are open, and accesiable with the flag/traffic light system proving a success so far, and restaurants etc all good with the extra precautions. I haven’t been to Zoomarine or know anyone that has in these times, but I believe only parts of it are open currently, as some parts don’t allow for the level of scoial distancing as required by the rules.
Personally I feel very safe here, and Albufeira was quiet when I last visited about a month ago, although the tourist numbers have increased in recent weeks. As long as you are sensible with general precautions, you can absolutely have a fantastic holiday and avoid others for the most part. Have a great trip!
Any news your end no news in the UK?
Nope, just a lot of anger and disbelief this end. Even in the locked down handful of areas in Lisbon now their R is below 1 too. It’s stupid, really thought I might get to see my family in August. Hopefully, we see another list update this week, but there’s no so long patience lasts, right!
Hey Dan, even in this tough time for travel seekers you are providing information about different places and your experiences. Great post. Love reading your articles.
Thanks Nik! Hope we can all travel safely again someday!
WOOP WOOP [external link]
I don’t understand how the newspapers had the leek, and then on Friday it wasn’t on the five they said yes to – hopefully tomorrow we get the news!
this is amazing post thanks for sharing information with us
Me again, i have read and heard the 27/07/2020 there will be an announcement about Portugal, have you any further information please?
Hi Darren. Yes, the next update by the UK Government will be on the 27th, I doubt we will have any idea before then if they will change the UKs advice – the ball is very much in their court. Portugal has done everything they can to argue their case, and the case numbers are falling here so we are hopeful.
In this time of Covid-19, what should be taken care of in travel?
Sorry, I don’t understand the question fully?
Hi Dan, I am flying into Faro the middle of August and then driving over the border to my parents place in Ayemonte. Do I need to do anything as a uk citizen to cross the border please ?
Hey Sally. Nope, border is currently open with no checks. Just the normal requirements to have car insurance to drive in Spain. Hopefully by then the UKGov will have lifted the FCO advice to so travel insurance is valid in Portugal again :)
Hi Dan, now the 10/07/2020, we fly to Vale de Lobo 31/07/2020 do you think restriction will be removed in terms of the UK quarantine?
On the 27th July we expect the UK Government to re-release the air-corridor/no quarantine list. There has been a lot of ongoing discussion between the governments, and scientists, so while we all hope it is, it very much depends what the UK government decides, and as their decisions have shown so far, we can’t always predict what they will action next. So, sadly, that is a guessing game just now, the Portuguesa Gov are pushing for regional restrictions only, say arrivals from Lisbon, but really trying to have the Algarve deemed safe as the case % there is one of the lowest in all of EU, so perhaps they will agree to atleast change the rules from Faro.
As soon as I have news, I’ll update here, and I’m sure it will be announced on UK TV quickl.
Thank you very much for your prompt reply, we are on tenterhooks waiting for the decision, I think the UK government have got this so wrong.
Thank you very much for your prompt reply, we are on tenterhooks waiting for the decision.
Do you play for Man United?
What? Please don’t say Wayne Rooney lol, sometimes people say I look like here?!
Thanks for the detailed article. It helps a lot!
Thanks – will try and keep updating it!
With the current virus situation can you still use euros cash to for payment in cafes and shops or must you use plastic card.
The preference is certainly for cards as an ‘official recommendation’ however in reality, this isn’t possible. Many cafes and shops don’t even have card terminals, so it could never be fully implemented and is a suggestion rather than a law. While some businesses may make it a rule in their store, I’ve had no problem using cash in various small cafes and shops, right up to the biggest supermarkets, so you can pay in your preferred way.
Hey Dan – my wife and I are meant to travel Portugal soon. I am a British Citizen and my wife is a Mexican Citizen, but we live in London and haven’t been anywhere else in the last 4 months. I want to check if we can travel to Portugal with the COVID restrictions as my wife does not have a British/EU passport?
Hope you’re well.
You’ll need to check with your airport, your airline, and also with SEF in Portugal for individual situations like this. I know of one person who tried to fly Luton – Lisbon with a USA passport, and they were declined at the airport as the USA, like Mexico isn’t on the approved list with the EU. So, while that would indicate the answer would be no, I’m not informed enough about that situation to give a definitive answers – as perhaps, we you are a couple, and one of you have a B/EU passport, you would be in a different category to the solo traveller with a USA passport. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
Hi Dan – thanks for your response. Sure, I appreciate the advice. I’ve dropped a few emails to the tourism board and SEF to check about this. I’ll let you know when I hear more.
I tried to find some solid information and struggled, but the closest I could find related to a new decree from yesterday, about people being returned on the airline they came in on if not meeting the criteria.
The facebook post comes from Safe communities Portugal, who translate laws and information for the immigrant community here. Follow this link to see their post, and further down there is a link to their website with more information: https://www.facebook.com/scalgarve/photos/a.297134360400162/3064944636952440/?type=3&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARCwq70HzZI9kauHTr9fFB7dqj6Z7z39Iv6_gH-JNL1oQLFPVpoeOh6-43Xfs4DuEnFS5LD7uSBagJe_de9TDcgoaTxUuhVC3YERw6cVNoby99ZwVbKUMnrzCWRXFfivWnQ4niGfZSi3uNCyCe9it_XZIr6zl3p2z-fiuAXgLe6sKPoZnqrAtoiSW2Y04nvgrbdniWE-56qV2Zbi9s7nCFJpaIMsy_bgZPtPB0nj7WE1Ulvn59ZzIFwGj7jhkmqGP2oY6f2la0o35WxZmq3_KMeHoyXDnKgTLDAdb5zK_8ZFbyiF-EKTu79s12TkXSEB32fWDcTxKRCAVZa6zaDa9KxAEazmcZYte5OvIlZvE9QZbECYb9rvIcCM&__tn__=-R
This might not answer your question fully I’m not sure, but it’s relevant at least.
If you get a firm answer, could you let us know here too, that would be great.
Thanks Dan – that link is useful. I will give it a read and see if anyone in the comments is in a similar position.
Absolutely, if i find out a definitive answer on my query, I’ll share here for everyone’s benefit. Thanks again.
Hope you can soon, it’s a slow processes getting answers for sure!
Hey Dan – Can confirm my wife and i landed in Porto without any issues. We fly from LHR and were asked if we had been to Brazil or USA because then you require to be tested upon landing in Portugal. As we hadn’t been anywhere, but London in the last few months, it was a smooth journey. Thanks for the help and advice.
Thank you for the update Akhil – and hope you are having/had a wonderful time!
thank you for sharing all this info. It is really helpful. My 2 kids and I are travelling to Portugal in a couple of weeks. We had book this holiday way before Covid and have not cancelled our flights yet. We live in the USA but we have European passports (Spanish and German) We are flying to Lisbon via Frankfurt as there are no direct flights now from DC to Lisbon.
We have just been told that we need to provide proof of a negative Covid test done within 72 hours of embarking although in some places it says landing. In the USA getting one done with results issued so quickly is almost impossible. We have just found one lab where they can issue the results in 72 hours which makes it very tight for us. Do you know how strict they are being about the number of hours in the report and if this report needs to be presented on paper or can be shown digitally? Have you heard of anyone arriving from the USA in our same situation?
Thank you so much in advance
I’m really not sure what is the best advice right now, I’ve not actually encountered this situation as with most people coming from the USA, their flights have been cancelled or they have cancelled their trip because of not being able to fly on their passports.
I know in Madeira and Azores they are very strict on the 72 hour rules, but they also offer the facility at the airport for testing on arrival so it adds another level of options. On the mainland, I don’t believe they are offering this, although I may be wrong – so for the mainland I’m not sure if this is embarking or landing.
Sorry, I’ll ask around tomorrow and see if anyone knows any answers and post an update here if I find anything, but I guess SEF ( https://www.sef.pt/en/Pages/sea-contacts.aspx ) or ANA Airports (https://www.ana.pt/en/lis/passenger-guide/what-you-need-to-know/useful-contacts) would be the best people to try and get a quick answer from.
Hope it’s not too much hassle chasing down the information you need.
Thanks a lot, very helpful 😃😁
Thank you for all the provided information!
I am from the Netherlands and will fly to Lisbon on the 17th of july. I booked an appartment in Lisbon (Alfalma) till the 19th of july and after I will drive with a rental car to the Algarve to stay there for a week longer.
Due the increase of Covid-19 cases in Lisbon I guess its not a wise choice to stay in Lisbon? Currently my plan is to drive with the rental car already to the Algarve straight after my arrival on friday the 17th in the evening.
I will only be at the airport in Lisbon and then drive away to the south. Do you still think this is possible, looking at the restrictions in Lisbon right now?
I think, even if you did want to visit Lisbon you wouldn’t have a problem, as the most central parts, and Alfama, are mainly for tourism rentals now so are very empty. The infected areas are quite far out of the city, in residential blocks. But of course, you must do whats write for you.
I’m actually moving back to Lisbon, near Alfama today for my studies, and am not too concerned. The only differences is it will be an early-to-bed atmosphere with most things shutting at 8pm anyway. In the Algarve, life is much more normal, and the airports in Portugal don’t look busy at all, so I think you’ll see little problems getting your car hire and out of Lisbon airport with minimal contact. Ultimately, whatever you feel comfortable with, and of course, some things might change in the coming weeks.
I will wait for the next days if there will be any other updates regarding the news in Lisbon and make the decision.
Anyways, for sure I will enjoy my holidays in Portugal! :)
I arrived in Lisbon yesterday afternoon, and have walked around the main downtown area last night and today. There were a few more people about yesterday being Sunday, but for the most port it is empty. At lunch time today, the main streets and plazas are empty, examples: Tram 28 there was no one waiting at the stop, and just two people onboard, and at the Santa Justa lift no one around taking photos – so from a tourism perspective, I’m not concerned about the situation in downtown, and expect most of the tourist areas to be similar.
I took the metro yesterday afternoon, it was just a few people on board, I think maybe rush-hour would be different, but then I will just opt to walk. Many people are wearing masks not just inside where mandated, but also when walking around on the streets, it’s been very easy to social distance thus far.
Today they are reporting on the news a downwards trend in the residential areas for cases, so hopefully that keeps up too.
Whatever you decided, do what you’re most comfortable wish so you can have a great time in Portugal!
Can I ask, while there are flights from UK, can British nationals enter the Portugal mainland? In confused on this
Hi Sabrina, Yes they can enter from the UK – however the issue for most people from the UK isn’t entering, it’s the mandatory quarantine on the return. This looks set to be relaxed soon by England, but not the other countries in the UK. They are all working on different rules.
Hi Sabrina, Yes, UK Nationals can enter, however the issue is more on return, and the mandatory quarantine. England is looking likely to life that soon, but the other countries in the UK are operating different rules.
And as it turned out, no, they didn’t lift quarantine or FCO advice for mainland Portugal today.
Thanks for the info about Portugal that how we can manage there even in this pandamic