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.

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 the EU Digital Vaccine Certificate
  • OR the NHS Covid pass
  • complete a passenger location form
Note: the NHS COVID Pass or EU digital COVID vaccination certificate must show you have been fully vaccinated with an EU approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before travel.

Update 10/10/2021 - the NHS vaccine certificate is acceptable as proof of vaccination for entry to hotels and restaurants, and also for entry into mainland Portugal. Therefore, those who have NHS COVID Pass or an EU digital COVID vaccination certificate showing you have been fully vaccinated with an EU approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before you travel, you no longer need to have a COVID-19 test to enter mainland Portugal.
  • NOTE: the situation is fluid and changes rapidly. If you must travel, be sure to check with the airline for their requirements - some may still require tests, check the official information for your destination and the country of departure.

Returning to the England from Portugal - Update 17/09/2021
The Amber List has been scrapped, meaning destinations are now either OK for travel, or on the Red list.
Portugal is OK for travel.
  • From Oct. 4th 2021, those who are double vaccinated no longer have to take a test before travelling to England. However, some airlines may still request a test - check with your airline before travelling.
  • A Day 2 test is still required. From 24th Oct. this can be a lateral flow test.
  • From 24th Oct. 2021,those who have been vaccinated, and most under-18s, can take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK.

Return to England requirements from 4th Oct. 2021 - fully vaccinated travellers:
  • you need to complete a Passenger Locator Form
  • book a day 2 Covid test in England or take a Lateral Flow test (from 24th Oct.)
  • 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.

For those who have not completed vaccination, the Department for Transport has announced that arrivals to the UK will be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in England and take two PCR tests on days two and eight (with the option of a third “Test to Release” on day five).

Check our Coronvirus Algarve Information Resource page for links to the latest information

Covid 19 tests for travel to Portugal
ZAVA  provides Day 2, Day 8 and Test to Release packs for return to the UK.
Click and Use Promo Code  MYGUIDEZAVA10 to get 10% off.
Find out more here.

Covid 19 tests for travel in the Algarve
Fit 2 Fly Portugal offers online, immediate certificates,
with self-test results verified by a technician via video call.
They also offer PCR and Antigen tests, with same-day results.
Find out more here.
  • 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.

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 30 Sept. 2021 - Portugal Council of Ministers
From 1st Oct. 2021 there are changes to several of the rules that were previously in place. Tests and vaccination certs are no longer required, for example, to enter restaurants. Night clubs will re-open with no limitations on hours, however, a vaccination cert is required to enter. There have been changes to mask usage too. However, masks are still required at the following indoor venues: shopping centres larger than 400m2, at concert halls and cinemas, indoor events and sports event venues, at health services. 

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.