Is it safe to travel to Portugal?

We follow the advice of the UK government and, as of 11 September, the FCDO removed mainland Portugal from the exempt list and are now advising against all but essential travel to the island. Please regularly check the FCDO travel advice for the most up-to-date information.

What is life like in the Portugal?

Most resorts are back to normal in terms of restaurants and bars being open.  Shops, supermarkets and stores require users to wear a mask when visiting them.  There may also be a queue as the number of people inside will be limited. Bars and restaurants may operate at a lesser capacity due to social distancing policies. Attractions may also have a queue and masks may be asked to be worn.

How should I keep safe in Portugal?

You should follow local regulations and continue to practice good levels of hygiene as advised by the NHS while you are on holiday. You can refer to the government website for detailed information but there are a few basic principles to follow: avoiding being face-to-face with people, keep your hands and face as clean as possible, keep indoor places well ventilated, avoid crowded spaces, use face coverings and wash your clothes regularly.

What was the COVID-19 pandemic response? 

Portugal went into a state of emergency on the 18 March 2020 to tackle the spread of Coronavirus. Measures are still in place to continue to minimise any spread of infection. To support this, the FCDO advise that social distancing of 2 metres must be observed. Using masks remains mandatory in enclosed public spaces  and on public transport.  There is also rules around maximum capacities in venues to limit the spread further.  Please refer to the FCDO for the most current advice.

Are there any pre-departure requirements in regards to visas and passports?

A visa is not currently required but you should ensure your passport is valid for your stay. You will need to complete a passenger locator card if you’re arriving into either Lisbon, Porto or Faro airports. See below for more details. 

What are the quarantine guidelines in Portugal?

Travellers arriving in Portugal directly from the UK are now usually exempt from the requirement to self-isolate. You will only need to self-isolate if you travelled outside the UK in the 14 days prior to your arrival in Madeira or you will be arriving in Madeira from a country for which there are still self-isolation requirement. If you test positive, or if you develop symptoms and/or are diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst on holiday, you will be required to quarantine for a period of time.

If I test positive for COVID-19 in Portugal, what will happen?

You may not be allowed to enter Madeira if you display signs of COVID on arrival. The FCDO advise that if you test positive while in destination, the authorities are likely to ask you to self-isolate for at least 14 days in quarantine. In the event of COVID19 symptoms being displayed, or you coming in contact with an infected person you must contact the local health department immediately. You must stay in your property and call the regional hotline. You should also notify your representative so that they can assist you – all numbers will be provided on arrival into destination.

What is the airport experience like?

Portuguese airports have implemented several initiatives in order to keep staff and passengers safe.  A body temperature measurement system is implemented on arrival and you will need to complete the passenger locator form also. Social distancing is to be followed and face masks are to be worn in the airport buildings.

What are the transfers like?

While you’re being transferred between the airport and your accommodation, you must wear a face mask.  If you are travelling in a group of three people or more, a larger vehicle will used but generally the capacity of transfer vehicles is set to two or three people. The seat beside the driver will remain unoccupied. All touch points in the vehicle will be disinfected after each transfer and vehicles are cleaned each day.

What should I expect at the hotel?

Hotels that are following enhanced hygiene and  safety measures will be awarded a Clean & Safe certificate, a scheme that has been implemented by Turismo de Portugal.  Each hotel must have a contingency plan to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 which includes social distancing and the use of face masks in public areas. Swimming pool areas will operate at a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing and there will be strict hygiene protocols in place such as wiping down sunbeds.  Beaches may have a coding system to show how busy they are and when you are on the beach you should always follow social distancing guidelines.

Do I need to quarantine in the UK on my return from Portugal?

The FCDO advises that UK nationals returning from Portugal need to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.

Forms required for travel to and from Portugal

A passenger locator card will need to be completed before you arrive and you may be asked to show it at check in. This must be completed by all passengers travelling. A UK arrival form must be completed 48 hours before your return home.