Covid tests in Algarve, Portugal. Where to test? How much do tests cost?

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As Coronavirus surges around the world, it is now a requirement for much of international travel for passengers to show a negative Covid 19 test result before being allowed to start their journey.

Find out how to obtain a Covid 19 test in the Algarve, where you can be tested and how much you may have to pay or when the test is free.
Find out where to do a private test for travel purposes.

If you plan to travel over the coming months, it is more likely than not, that you will need to show a negative Covid 19 test.

Current requirements to enter Portugal

If you plan to travel to Portugal, currently you will need to show:
  • a negative Covid 19 PCR (taken within 72 hours of boarding) 
  • OR a negative ANTIGEN test (taken within 48 hours of boarding).
  • OR a Digital Vaccine Certificate
  • complete a passenger location form
  • NOTE: Passengers arriving from the UK , ages 12 and over, are required to show a negative test, even if they have completed vaccination.

The above applies to all passengers from EU/Schengen space and the UK (see note)., excluding children below the age of 12, if travelling with parents/adults.

Update 28/06/2021 - those travelling from the UK, who have not been completely vaccinated, are obliged to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Portugal. Those who have completed vaccination do not need to quarantine. Those under 18 years of age, travelling with adults who have completed their vaccinations, are not obliged to quarantine.
  • NOTE: the situation is fluid and changes rapidly. If you must travel, be sure to check with the airline for their requirements, check the official information for your destination and the country of departure.

Returning to the UK from Portugal - update 08/07/2021, comes into effect 19/07/2021

Grant Shapps on return from amber/ green list countries: "I can confirm today from 19 July UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England."
They will still have to take a pre-departure test three days before they go and a PCR test on or before day two. He says this applies to people 14 days after their second jab.
He says they will no longer be required to take a day 8 test, meaning the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same.

Return to UK requirements:
  • you need to complete a Passenger Locator Form
  • take a Covid test in Portugal and have a negative result in the 3 days before your return journey
  • book a day 2 Covid test in England (for Green and Amber List requirements). Day 8 test is no longer required.
  • under-18s do NOT need to isolate on return and do NOT need a Day 8 test.
  • under-10s do NOT need to isolate on return and do NOT need any tests.
  • check with your airline if they require a PCR or lateral flow test.
Tests requirements for returning to England (source
The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.
This could include tests such as:
  • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
  • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device
Check our Coronvirus Algarve Information Resource page for links to the latest information

Covid 19 tests in the Algarve - for those visiting the Algarve
  • The Algarve Tourism board has compiled a list of test providers and approved rapid test sites which you can see here.
  • The Tourism board has also established a helpline for tourists with this and other relevant information.
  • Open daily from 08:00 to 20:00h, call 00 351 931 125 106 or 00 351 289 818 582
  • Check the information provided by the Algarve Tourism board here - there is information on the type of tests required and also the rules regarding social distancing etc while in Portugal.
  • Albufeira has a test centre located outside the Council buildings with rapid tests for travel available, price €20. Book online here - Albufeira Safe.

 Randox Health has a range of Covid Test Packs specifically for travel and for the Algarve, for UK travellers. Next day results. From £43. Get all the details here.

Several airlines and holiday operators (eg. Ryanair and Tui) have partnered with Randox to offer these testing packs which you can add to your flight or holiday package. 

Some resorts and hotels have testing facilities on-site for their guests' convenience. For example, at VILA VITA Parc both PCR and Antigen tests can be done on-site.

Update 29/07/2021 - Portugal Council of Ministers
There are test requirements to enter hotels, tourism units and AL units in all of Portugal, as well as requirements to dine in the interior of restaurants.

Synopsis - Restaurants:
  • No tests required for those with a vaccine certificate
  • No tests required when dining outdoors
  • No tests required Monday to Thursday (except public holidays)
  • No tests required for children under 12

In reality, if you want to dine out in the Algarve, the chances are you will not need a test, as you are more likely than not to be dining outdoors. So, keep on supporting local businesses.

  • a digital vaccination certificate or a negative test is required to enter any accommodation unit in Portugal. The test is required only at check-in regardless of the duration of your stay. If travelling from abroad, you will already have a test that serves this purpose, as long as it is within the accepted time frames, see below.
  • a digital vaccination certificate or negative test is required to dine indoors at restaurants, but only from 19:00h on Fridays to Sundays and on national/local holidays. No test is required Monday to Thursday (unless a national/local holiday). No test is required if dining outdoors.
  • children under 12 are exempt from these requirements.

Tests that are accepted:
  • PCR test, performed within 72 hours prior to presentation 
  • Antigen test with laboratory report , performed within 48 hours prior to its presentation;
  • Rapid antigen self-test, carried out within 24 hours prior to its presentation in the presence of a health or pharmaceutical professional who certifies that it has been carried out and its result;
  • Rapid antigen self-test, carried out at the moment, at the door of the establishment you intend to attend, under verification by those responsible for these spaces.

Tests for restaurants:
  • If you do not have a vaccination certificate, if the PCR or Antigen test you travelled on is no longer valid (72h and 48h respectively) you can opt to have a rapid self-test at the point of entry to the restaurant.
  • Restaurants are allowed to sell these tests.
  • The test requirement applies only to indoor dining.
  • Rapid self-tests can be bought at any pharmacy or Parafarmaçia - price approx. €3 - €5 per test.
  • Do not do the self-test at home and then go to the restaurant. This is not accepted. The test must be done at point of entry and verified by the restaurant's staff.

Tests can be obtained via the SNS – Serviço Nacional de Saúde for those who are displaying symptoms or who have been in close contact with a person infected with Covid 19.
Tests can also be arranged independently, through private and public health providers. There are several Covid 19 test locations in the Algarve.

Private and Public Covid 19 Tests
Covid 19 Test via the SNS
Generally, these tests will be provided free of charge by participating laboratories, when referred by the SNS.
  • You can see the full list of laboratories and contact details here. To see the English version, click the globe icon near the top of the page.

If you have been exposed to Covid 19 or are displaying symptoms, call Portugal’s national healthline on 808 24 24 24. There is an English language option available. If required, you can then be referred for a test.
Private Covid 19 Test
Without going through the national health service, there are several healthcare providers offering Covid 19 tests in the Algarve. If you need to travel or require a test for any reason, these private testing centres can provide that service. The tests need to be booked in advance and they are not free. Prices range from €50 to €150 per test and results are generally available within 24 – 48hrs.

Tests can be booked online or by phone with each provider. Please read the information from each provider as their protocols and prices may vary.
  • See a list of private Covid test centres, times and contacts here.

Covid tests at Faro airport.
The Synlabs group provides private Covid testing in several locations in the Algarve, including Faro airport.
Rapid Antigen tests (results in 30 minutes to 1 hour) are available. Price €30. Ensure these tests are accepted by the airline you will travel with and upon arrival at your destination.
Advance booking is essential.
Tel: +351 289 821 002

PCR tests (results in 3.5 hours) are available at Synlabs other locations - see here.
Scroll to the section on Zona Sul. 

Some private Covid 19 test providers (a few examples, many clinics can provide tests):
HPA Group
Covid 19 testing is available at their Alvor and Faro hospitals, also at São Camilo in Portimão, São Gonçalo in Lagos, at São Brás de Alportel and at the Centro Medico Internacional in Vila Real de S. António.
HPA also offers a Covid 19 Drive Thru test at Portimão arena. Booked in advance, simply drive to the test centre and be tested while seated in your car. A maximum of 3 people can be tested in each car.
Lusíadas Group
Testing is available at Lusíadas Albufeira and Faro. Advance booking is required. Price €100.

SE Consultório Medico
This clinic in Portimão offers PCR tests, apt for travel, with results given almost instantly. Price €50.
Advance booking is essential.

Many laboratories will carry out paid Covid 19 tests for individuals without referrals from the SNS. Check the list of laboratories (link above) to find one near you.

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All information is correct at time of publication, however please bear in mind that the situation is constantly evolving. For travel, please do check the official advice issued by each government for travel from and to specific countries.