The international airports are Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada (Azores). The Lisbon International Airport is very well connected with many countries with several low cost operators flying from various airports in Europe to the capital of Portugal.
Metro / Subway
The city Lisbon has a very good Metro system. It has a total of four different lines, purple for “Linha da Gaivota”, yellow for “Linha do Girrasol”, green for “Linha da Caravela”, and red for “Linha do Oriente”. Tickets are inexpensive and are purchased before entering the station barriers. The Metro operates from 06.00 hrs. until 01.00 hrs. in the early morning. Many stations have been recently up-graded and have been decorated with interesting art works from contemporary Portuguese artists. The Metro stations are now worth visiting just from an art point-of-view. New stations and further line extensions are under construction.
In Lisbon, passengers can use trains, buses, electric trams, underground, taxis and public elevators. Tickets can be purchased from 08.00hrs. until 20.00 hrs. In urban areas they charge according to the taximeter. Outside these urban areas the charge is per kilometres and includes the cost of the return trip. Luggage over 30 kilos is charged at a fixed rate. All taxis drivers have in their possession their printed rates in two languages.
The local currency is Euros. Money can be changed at Banks, “Bureau de Change” (Cambio) or at one of the currency exchange machines in the streets. These facilities will offer a better rate than in Hotels and Receptions. Banks are open from Monday through to Friday, from 08.30 hrs. to 15.00 hrs. Euro Cheque is a cheaper method than a Traveller Cheque in obtaining cash. All well-known Credit Cards are usually accepted.
Banks are open from Monday through to Friday, from 08.30 hrs. to 15.00 hrs and closed on Public Holidays and Saturdays. Bank charges vary between the different Banks for the same item or service.
Costs of Living
Food & drinks: Prices vary in function of the type of establishment and whether or not the cost includes a table service or esplanade service, as a result of which the prices presented are purely indicative. An espresso coffee, which is so popular amongst the Portuguese and is normally referred to as a “bica”, costs around €0.50 to €0.60 at the counter of a traditional café. A galão (cup of coffee with milk) may cost between €0.70 and €1,20 and a cup of tea between €1 and €1.50. A glass of natural orange juice costs around €2,50 and a beer or Coca-Cola costs between €1 and €1.50. A cheese or ham sandwich costs between €1.50 and €2.50 and a slice of toast or cake will be less than €2. If you have a full meal it may be around €8 to €11 per person in a snack bar, between €13 and €20 in a restaurant and around €30 to €50 in a first-class restaurant or Fado house.
All passports must be valid for up to six months (depending on your nationality) and are required, except by nationals of the European Union and nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway and Switzerland holding valid national ID cards. British, Australian, Canadian, American and Japanese need a valid passport.
Other countries are subject to Visa controls and as regulations can change overnight it is recommended that a potential visitor should check with the Portuguese Consul in their respective country prior to making a visit to Portugal.
One of the Latin languages, Portuguese is the third most spoken European language in the world and the native tongue of about 200 million people. The Portuguese-speaking countries are scattered all over the world. Portuguese is spoken in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe), in South America (Brazil) and in Asia, (East Timor, the youngest nation in the world). In Portugal there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.
By calling anywhere in Portugal on 112 you will be connected to Fire, Police and Ambulance services. Every Fire Brigade also maintains one or more ambulances for emergencies. Chemists can give advice on simple health problems and suggest appropriate treatment. They are also permitted to sell many medicines without a doctor’s subscription. A green cross on white background denotes a chemist. A red cross on a white background denotes a “Red Cross” station. In many towns there are Emergency Treatment Centres (SAP) that will provide medical assistance 24 hours a day. Security in cities and towns is handled by the “Polícia de Segurança Pública” (PSP), rural areas by the “Guarda Nacional Republicana” (GNR), and the traffic by “Brigada de Trânsito”. On motorways and several major roads there are SOS phone boxes for help in case of an accident or breakdown.