ICEP - Investimentos
Comercio e Turismo de Portugal
Av.5 de Outubro,
1016 Lisboa Codex
Tel: 351-1-7930103,
Telefax: 351-1-3525806


Physical geography

Continental Portugal - situated in the extreme west of Europe covers an area of 89,000km2 of the Iberian Peninsula.

Islands - The archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean cover an area of 3,102km2.


A mean climate without great variation of temperature. The winter is mild and the summer moderate.

Economic geography

Portugal is still predominantly a rural country, though industrialisation is increasing. The main crops are: wheat, maize, rye, rice, potatoes, olive oil, wine, cork and resinous products. Over 34 per cent of Portugal is covered by forest, and many reafforestation schemes are under way. Mining is of some importance (anthracite, lignite, haematite, magnetite, copper-bearing iron pyrites, rock salt, uranium and wolframite). The following industries are well developed: food processing and canning (in particular fish), rice husking and commercial preparation, sugar refining, tobacco preparation, textiles (wool, cotton, etc), the cork industry, paper manufacture, cement, basic metallurgy, plastics manufacture, shipbuilding and repairs.


The total population of Portugal (including the adjacent islands of the Azores and Madeira Archipelagos) stands at something over ten million. Population of the main districts: Lisbon: 2,048,000; Oporto: 1,652,000.

A brief history

Portugal shared its history with that of the rest of the Iberian Peninsula until a Prince of Capetian origin, Henry of Burgundy, received from his father-in-law, Alfonso VI of Castille, the land between the Rivers Minho and Mondego, in 1095. His son Alfonso-Henriques, under the title of Alfonso I, obtained the country's independence. The national territory had been greatly extended and Lisbon and most of Alentejo conquered from the Moors. By 1250 Portugal had attained the present boundaries. Then followed a period of consolidation, against the Spanish invadors after the important Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. Then came periods of navigational exploration and discovery (15th century), settlement in Africa and the East (16th) and further development of Brazil (18th). From 1580 to 1640 Portugal was governed by Spanish kings, but recovered its independence with the coming to the throne of the Braganza dynasty in 1640. In 1910 a Republic was declared.


The great majority of the population is Roman Catholic.

Languages spoken by nationals

Portuguese. Many people speak English and French.


There is no difference between the time in Continental Portugal and Central Europe countries. The time in Continental Portugal in summer is two hours ahead UTC (Universal Time) and one hour ahead in winter.


Please note that rates are subject to variations.

Official holidays

All offices and shops closed

1 January, New Year's Day - 28 March, Good Friday - 31 March, Easter Monday - 25 April, Liberty Day - 1 May, Workers Day - 8 May, Ascension Day - 19 May, Whit Monday - 10 June, Day of Camoes - 15 August, Assumption - 5 October, Proclamation of the Republic - 1 November, All Saints' Day - l December, Restauration of Independence - December 8, Immaculate Conception - 25 December, Christmas Day.

Local holidays: Lisbon (St Anthony) 13 June, Porto (St John the Baptist) 24 June.

What one should not fail to see

Lisbon: the Cathedral, the Saint Georges Castle, the Tower of Belem, the Jeronimos Monastery, the National Coach Museum, the Navy Museum, the Royal Palace of Ajuda, the National museum of Ancient Art, the Gulbenkian Museum.

Sintra: the Royal Palace, the Pena Castle. Queluz: the Royal Palace. Oporto: the Old Cathedral, the Bolsa Palace, Church and Tower of Clerigos. Coimbra: the University City. Fatima: the Church of Our Lady of Fatima. Batalha: The Monastery. Tomar: the Templar's Convent. Evora: the Cathedral, the Loios Church.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

For sojourns: 15th March to 15th October.

For touring: all year round.

How to dress

In summer the weather is warm and light clothing is sufficient, but a sweater is advisable in the evening.

Main holiday resorts

Estoril, Cascais, the Algarve coast, Sintra, Setubal (Troia), Sesimbra, Ericeira, Ofir.

Main holiday sports

Swimming, sailing, golf, fishing, tennis, horseback riding.

What to eat and drink

Portugal, although a small country, has a large, varied and rich gastronomy. Fresh fish and shellfish, seasoned meat, sweets from convents, fruits from different regions, delicacies to delight the visitor at every opportunity.

Apart from the world-famous Port and Madeira wines, both aperitif and dessert, each region has its own table wines. Mention should be made of the peculiarly Portuguese 'vinho verde' (literally 'green wine') - both white and red, a light, slightly acidulous table or refreshment wine made in the north.

What to buy

Charming local pottery from Barcelos, Caldas da Rainha, Estremoz, Molelos, Niza (pottery inlaid with limestone). Lovely lace and embroidery work from Castelo Branco (quilts), Arraiolos rugs, Guimaraes and Vila do Conde (lace and embroidery), Viana do Castelo (tablecloths and quilts). Carpets, patchwork quilts are charming too. Filigree work has become famous. Esparto mats and baskets are also made locally at Alentejo and Algarve.

Frontier formalities

Passports and visas

Passport not necessary, identity card can be used for a limited stay of 90 days: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany (F.R.), Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

No visa necessary, only passport for Andorra (90 days), Argentina (90 days), Australia (90 days), Brazil (180 days), Canada (60 days), Chile (90 days), Costa Rica (90 days), Croatia (90 days), Cyprus (90 days), Denmark (90 days), Ecuador (60 days), Hungary (90 days), Iceland (60 days), Israel (90 days), Japan (90 days), Korea (60 days), Malawi (60 days), Malta (90 days), Mexico (90 days), Monaco (90 days), New Zealand (90 days), Norway (90 days), San Marino (90 days), Poland (90 days), Slovakia Republic (90 days), Slovenia (90 days), Sweden (90 days), Uruguay 90 days), USA.(60 days), Yugoslavia (90 days), Vatican (90 days).

All others countries: valid passport and entry or transit visa. For countries with which Portugal has no diplomatic or consular relations, visas may be obtained from Portuguese authorities.

Health regulations

Applicable to anyone over one year old. All visitors (except those in transit) for Madeira and the Azores, must present a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever, if travelling from an infected area.

On leaving the country to travel to an infected area passengers must be vaccinated against yellow fever and take precautions against contracting malaria.

Customs/Customs allowances

Travellers from non-EU countries:

Tobacco products (a): - cigarettes: 200 units - (or) cigarillos (cigars weighing less than 3gm each): 100 units - (or) cigars: 50 units - (or) tobacco: 250 grams (or a proportional assortment of these products). Alcohol and alcoholic beverages (a): spirits and distilled beverages over 22 per cent vol.: one litre - (or) distilled beverages and spirits, fortified wines, alcohol, tafia, sake or similar drinks, sparkling wines, liqueurs equal to or under 22 per cent vol.: two litres - (or a proportional assortment of these products) -still table wines: two litres. Perfumes: 50gm - Toilet water: 0.25 litre.

Duty-Free allowances

Travellers from non-EEC countries (or) from a EEC country purchasing in a duty-free shop:

Tobacco Products (a): - cigarettes: 200 units - (or) cigarillos (cigars weighing less than 3gm each): 100 units - (or) cigars: 50 units - (or) tobacco: 250 grams (or a proportional assortment of these products).

Alcohol & alcoholic beverages (a): spirits and distilled beverages over 22 per cent vol.: one litre - (or) distilled beverages and spirits, fortified wines, alcohol, tafia, sake or similar drinks, sparkling wines, liqueurs equal to or under 22 per cent vol.: two litres - (or a proportional assortment of these products) - still table wines: two litres. Perfumes: 50gm. - Toilet water: 0.25 litre. Coffee (b): 500gm. (or) coffee extracts and essences: 200gm. Tea: 100gm. (Or) Tea extract and essences: 40 gm. Duty-Free allowances.

Travellers from EU countries purchasing under general conditions of tax appliances

Tobacco Products (a): - cigarettes: 800 units - (or) cigarillos (cigars weighing less than 3gm each): 400 units - (or) cigars: 200 units - (or) tobacco: 1kg.

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages (a): spirits and distilled beverages over 22 per cent vol. 10 lts - (or) distilled beverages and spirits, fortified wines, alcohol, tafia, sake or similar drinks, sparkling wines, liqueurs equal to or under 22 per cent vol - still table wines (or) (may include a maximum of 60 litres of sparkling wine): 90 litres. Beer: 110 litres or a proportional assortment.

Perfumes and toilet water: no limit.

Coffee (b) - (or) coffee extracts and essences: no limit.

Tea or tea extracts and essences: no limit.

Medicines: no limit. a) Persons under: 17 years of age are not entitled to allowances on these goods. b) Persons under 15 years of age are not entitled to allowances on these goods.

Other allowances

In addition to the allowances mentioned above, travellers entering from other countries are also entitled to allowances on other goods not of a commercial nature, to the following maximum values: 175 ECUS (c) for persons 15 years of age or over, 90 ECUs (c) for persons under 15 years of age. The value of the goods shown above is not taken into consideration in calculating the sums of 175 and 90 ECUS. (c)

When the value of the goods will be higher than the mentioned sums, and does not exceed 200 ECUS per traveller a forfeiture tax of ten per cent 'ad valorem' will be applied, if it is a commercial importation. Quantities of tobacco products that exceed the fixed limits are exempted from this tax.

Goods contained in the personal luggage of travellers and from a non-EEC country are exempt from VAT and special consumer taxes, provided that these goods are not of a commercial nature and that the overall value, including tax, does not exceed Esc. 34,000 per person. The allowance for persons under 15 years of age is Esc. 18,000. In determining these amounts, the value of the goods listed above will not be taken into consideration.

c) The counter-value of the ECU to be applied during 1996: 196,769. For more detailed information, please contact the Central and Customs Services (Servicos Centrais e Alfandegas) Directorate-General for Customs (Direccao-Geral das Alfandegas).

Main travel routes

Valencia-Lisbon (442km) - Vilar-Formoso-Lisbon (413km) - Caia-Lisbon (236km) - Vila Real de Santo Antonio-Lisbon (308km).


Pilgrimages often coincide with picturesque displays of folk dancing or singing. The most famous are: Senhora da Agonia (nearest weekend to 20 August), at Viana do Castelo: Senhora dos Remedios (8 September) at Lamego; the Colete Encarnado, bullfighting festivities at Vila Franca de Xira (July) and annual fair (October) with cattle exhibitions, bull catching in the streets, etc, the Golega fair (11 November, three days).

Representatives abroad

AUSTRIA: Stubenring 16/3. A-1010 Vienna Tel: (1) 513 2670. Fax: (1) 512 8828.

BELGIUM: Rue Joseph 11, NR. 5-Bolte 3.1040 Brussels. Tel: (2) 2305250. Fax: (2) 2310447.

BRAZIL: Av. Paulista, 2001 - 9° andar - Cj. 901, 01311-300 Sao Paulo. Tel: (11) 2888744. Fax: (11) 2882877.

CANADA: 60 Bloor Street West, Suite 1005, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3B8. Tel: (416) 9217376. Fax (416) 9211353.

DENMARK: Gammeltorv 4.1457 Kobenhavn. Tel: 33131200. Fax: 33938885.

FINLAND: Runeberginkatu, 29a 16, 00100 Helsinki. Tel: (0) 496280. Fax: (0) 408227.

FRANCE: 135, Boulevard Haussman - 2eme etage. 75008 Paris. Tel: (1) 53837593. Fax: (1) 42893074.

GERMANY: Schafergasse 17, 60313 Frankfurt am Main. Tel: (69) 234094 - 290549. Fax: (69) 231433.

HOLLAND: Paul Gabrielstraat 20 - 2596 Vg den Haag. Tel: (70) 3264371. Fax: (20) 3280025.

IRELAND: 54 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Tel: (1) 6709 133/4, Fax: (1) 6709141

ISRAEL: Asia House, 4 Weizman Street, 64239 Tel Aviv. Tel: (3) 6969153, Fax: (3) 6917803.

ITALY: Largo Augusto 3, 20122 Milano. Tel: (2) 795228. Fax: (2) 794622.

JAPAN: Regency Shinsaka, 201- Akasaka 8-5-8, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 107. Tel: (3) 34707162. Fax: (3) 34707164.

MOROCCO: 5, rue Thami Lamdaouar. Souissi, Bte postale 5050, Souissi-Rabat. Tel: (7) 75 24 72. Fax (7) 756686.

NORWAY: Nedre Slottsgate, 13 -111. N-0157 Oslo. Tel: 22413608. Fax: 22424357.

SOUTH AFRICA: 4th floor, Sunnyside Ridge - Sunnyside Drive, Parktown 2193 Johanesburg. Tel: (11) 4843487. Fax: (11) 4845416.

SPAIN: Gran Via, 27-1 - 28013 Madrid. Tel: (1) 5229354. Fax: (1) 5222382.

SWEDEN: Birger Jarlsgatan, 18 - 2 tr. S- 11434 Stockholm. Tel: (8) 6788822. Fax: (8) 6787313.

SWITZERLAND: Badenerstrasse, 15. 8004 Zurich. Tel: (1) 2410001/05. Fax: (01) 2410012.

UNITED KINGDOM: 22/25A Sackville Street, London WIX IDE Tel: (71) 4941441. Fax: (71) 4941868.

USA: 590 Fifth Avenue, 4th floor, New York N.Y. 10036-4704. Tel: (212) 3544403. Fax: (212) 7646137.

VENEZUELA: Av. El Empalme - Edif. Fedecamaras, Piso I - Urb. El Bosque - Apart. 1748. Caracas. Tel: (2) 7310539. Fax: (2) 7310543.

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Portugal thanks to the co-operation and the participation of the ICEP Tourist Information Department in Lisbon.