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Travel insurance for holidays in Portugal

Cheap travel insurance for holidays in Portugal

Most of us think of Portugal as being the Algarve. But there's more, much more, to this wonderful country than just golf courses and sardine lunches. Mind you, that alone, together with a lot of sunshine and some fantastic beaches, wouldn't be too bad.

Whether you go to Faro or Lisbon, Madeira or the Azores you'll still need travel insurance at a price that's right – no matter what your circumstances, age or health. That's where we come in. We offer a choice of great value policies that will give you all the benefits and cover you'll need for your trip to Portugal - whether you are looking to cover a single trip, for cheap annual cover for lots of trips or need a policy for your backpacking tour.

You can choose the level of cover you go for depending on the way you like to travel. So if you like the reassurance of up to £10 million emergency medical expenses – as well as cancellation, loss of baggage, documents and money – then our Exclusive policy will see you through. And, of course, all our policies give you access to 24/7 emergency assistance wherever you are in Portugal.

Call us on 0345 90 80 161 to chat about the cover you need for your trip or get an instant quote online now.


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Your quick guide to travelling in Portugal

Official language(s):

Euro (€) (EUR)


Emergency Services:
Police 112 / Fire 117

Dialling code:

Entry requirements: no visa required

Here in the UK we love Portugal. Whilst it doesn't get anywhere near the 12 million British visitors that its neighbour Spain gets every year, it still does alright at 1.9 million. For us it's easy to get there and even easier to get in! If you are a British citizen then you can stay for up to 3 months, as long as your passport is valid for the time you are in the country.

If you intend to stay for longer you will need to apply for a Registration Certificate from the local Camara Municipal (Town Hall).

You can bring your cat or dog but they must have a pet passport.

Laws and customs: Carrying ID, drugs, gambling

As a foreign national in Portugal you must carry, at the very least, copy of the information page of your passport when you are out and about. If you are stopped by the authorities you may also be asked to produce the real thing but this will usually suffice.

Anyone who is caught taking or possessing illegal drugs may be subject to a fine and may be subject to other sanctions such as taking possession of your belongings. Naturally, dealing in drugs will result in severe penalties.

Gambling is only legal in licensed premised in Portugal, and that includes games of chance such as lotteries or gambling slot machines. If you are caught in an unlicensed property where gambling is happening you may be fined or even imprisoned.

Currency: 24 hour cash to splash

As with much of Europe, Portugal has entered the Euro. Portugal has a national network of cash machines (ATMs) identified by the symbol MB (Multibanco), from which you can withdraw cash 24 hours a day.

Banks are open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. five working days a week.

In general Portugal is still relatively inexpensive for Brits, with most things such as meals out, beers, wine and transport costing significantly less that in the UK.

Healthcare: Travelling with medication

If you are on medication you will need to take it with you when you go to Portugal. However, some countries may restrict some of the constituents of your medication, so it's wise to get a letter from your doctor BEFORE you go that explains your condition and the medication, and to remember to carry a copy of your prescription with you when you enter Portugal. You should also take all medicines in their original packaging.

Most medications are fine to take to Portugal. However, some contain controlled drugs, in which case there are a few extra procedures to follow. If in doubt, you can check if your medication contains substances controlled by UK export law and Portuguese import law by calling HMRC (0845 010 9000) and the Portuguese Embassy in London (020 7235 5331).

If you lose your medication whilst you are away don't worry. We are specialists in providing travel insurance for people with medical conditions and so we know that taking medicines is all a part of that. Our policies cover you for lost or stolen medicines so you can replace them.

On medication? Our policies cover the cost of replacement. Get a quote now.

Healthcare: the Portuguese healthcare system

The healthcare system in Portugal consists of three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (NHS), special social health insurance schemes (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. The Portuguese Ministry of Health (Ministério de Saúde) is in charge of managing the NHS, which is financed through general taxation.

As a foreign visitor from an EU country and with an EHIC card you are entitled to the same level of care that any Portuguese citizen is entitled to that is free under the NHS system. If you haven't got one already, pick up a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the NHS website.

However, your EHIC won't cover everything, and may only cover basic health issues such as sickness and accidents and can only be used at state run surgeries and hospitals. You may be required to pay for any prescriptions, x-rays, blood tests and consultations with doctors.

Any services in the private sector must be paid for.

Also, the EHIC does not cover ongoing medical care, non-urgent treatment or medical repatriation. In other words, unless you're in immediate danger, you will have to pay for your own treatment. That can be extremely expensive. That's why it makes sense to take out a good travel insurance policy.

Our Portugal travel insurance covers up to £10 million worth of medical costs that your EHIC doesn't account for. So there's no need to worry about how you will fund treatment if you get hurt or become ill.

We can cover what your EHIC won't. Get a quote now.

Smoking: check before you light up!

Portugal banned smoking of any type in indoor public places from 1st January 2008. Anyone under 18 is not permitted to smoke or buy cigarettes.

The ban prohibits smoking in all government buildings as well as work places, public transport, schools and sports facilities, hospitals, museums, food and beverage establishments, covered car parks, theatres and libraries.

However, smaller businesses (bars and restaurants) have the choice as to whether or not they become smoking venues. This must be displayed and adhered to for both non smoking and smoking venues. Fines for people smoking in non-smoking venues can be fined up to €6750 with the owners facing possible fines of up to €1000. What this basically means is that you may be able to light up after your meal, but check first or it could be expensive!

Crime: beware the pickpockets

Portugal has relatively low crime rates and most visits to the country pass without incident. However, there have been problems with pickpockets, bag snatching and thefts from cars and holiday homes in popular tourist areas, occasionally with violence (info from the FCDO)

As usual, avoid dark or unpopulated areas at night, especially in Lisbon and the big cities, don't flaunt your wealth and keep all your valuables out of sight. If you are mugged or suffer losses due to theft, make sure you report it to the police so you can claim for it on your return to the UK.

Our policies cover your documents and valuables. Get a quote now.

Dangers: sea swimming

Many Brits head to Portugal to take advantage of the good weather and to relax in the sea or on the beach. However, be aware that some beaches may be unsafe for swimming because of strong tidal currents or rips and strong surf. If there are life guards present make sure you follow their instructions and only swim where they say it is safe. If you ignore the advice of lifeguards the Maritime Police do have the power to fine you!

Driving: tolls, fines and things to remember

Driving in Portugal is a great way of seeing the countryside and getting to remote beaches. But don't forget that the rules are different so it's wise to make sure you stay on the right side of the law – and the road. For a start, drive on the right!

You should have all your papers with you in the car, as well as reflective vest, warning triangle, spare bulbs and, if you wear glasses, a spare pair.

Some motorways have tolls that are automatic. These were introduced for the first time in 2012 and are confusing to a lot of visitors because there are no toll booths. To drive on toll roads you'll need to register a credit card (!), buy a pass for a number of days or buy a prepaid top up card. If you fail to do this you will invariably arrive home to find a letter demanding the toll plus a fine.

For people who are hiring a car it's wise to check with the hire company what their arrangements will be for your car. They may include tolls, although it's unlikely. More often than not they will charge you per day for a device that calculates the tolls and then charges you the total at the end of the hire period. You may have to ask for this - so don't forget to make sure you ask!

For more information, visit the official website.

Some other things to remember are that kids under 12 cannot sit in the front of a vehicle, you are not allowed to use your horn at night except in extreme danger, it's illegal to carry radar detecting equipment and that the drink driving limit is less than the UK: 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Finally, if caught doing something wrong you may face an on-the-spot fine.

Electricity: Powering your holiday

If you're taking a charger for your mobile phone or digital camera on holiday, the electricity voltage in Portugal is 220 AC, 50 Hz. Plugs are two pin. So you won't need a voltage adaptor, just a plug adaptor.

Portugal: Know Before You Go

For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.

See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.

Follow the FCDO on twitter HERE.

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