Practical Information

Practical information for visitors to the Algarve.

Tourist Offices

United Kingdom

Portuguese National Tourist Office
22-25A Sackville Street, London W1X 1DE
T: +44 (0)20 7201 6666 E:

Portuguese National Tourist Office
590 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036
T: +1 646-723-0200

The Euro € is the official currency of Portugal. Euro banknotes and coins were introduced in January 2002. Banknotes are in denominations of 5,10,20,50,100,200,500 euros. Euro traveller´s cheques are widely accepted, as are major credit cards, although cash is expected in the countryside. Credit and debit cards can also be used for withdrawing euro notes from automatic teller machines (ATMs). Banks can be found in most towns, although they do not necessarily offer the best deal for changing money when charges are taken into account.

The Algarve observes Greenwich Mean Time. Basically this means that Portugal, the U.K and Ireland are all on the same time, unlike, for example, Spain or France which are one hour ahead.

Telephone booths can be found in every town and are particularly plentiful in the resorts. On rare occasions where a booth cannot be found the local bar usually has a public phone. Many phones only take phone cards or credit cards. Phone cards, including discount calling cards, can be bought at newsagents and cafes.

The international country code for Portugal is +351 

International Dialling Codes

From the Algarve to:
UK: 00 44
Rep. of Ireland: 00 353
Germany: 00 49
USA & Canada: 00 1
Netherlands: 00 31
Spain: 00 34

Post Offices
Post Offices (correios) are found in main towns. Stamps can be bought from newsagents and kiosks. Opening times: main offices Mon-Fri 8:30 or 9-6 Sat 9-12.30. Smaller offices close 12:30 to 2:30.

Health Insurance
Nationals of EU member countries can get medical treatment in state hospitals with the relevant documentation (Form E111 for UK nationals) although private medical insurance is still advised and is essential for all other visitors. Most private clinics and doctors in the Algarve will treat you in your hotel provided you have insurance cover.

Dental Services
Dental services in the Algarve are excellent (and generally cheaper than you might expect).

Chemists are open Mon-Fri 9-1 and 3-7, and Sat 9-1. Some open through lunch, and there is a late night and weekend duty rota posted in pharmacy windows. Take supplies of any drugs that you take regularly, since there is no guarantee that they will be available locally. However many drugs are available from chemists in Portugal that require prescriptions in other countries. This is partly because pharmacists are skilled paramedics, trained to diagnose a range of problems and sell appropriate medicines.

Safe Water
Tap water is safe to drink.