Unlocking the World

Travel to Portugal during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 17th September 2021
The Algarve is one of the best destinations for visitors to Portugal.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Portugal, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Portugal has been in what the government calls a State of Calamity, as case numbers and deaths have been at a four-month high, according to the government.
However, the country has now moved into a State of Contingency easing some restrictions in recognition of Portugal's vaccine rollout.
Portugal is open for tourism for EU citizens plus arrivals from countries including the US, Canada and Japan. See travel requirements below.

What's on offer

Ancient towns, some of the loveliest coastline in Europe, and plenty of pasteis de nata. Portugal has long been overlooked in favor of Europe's bigger hitters, but over the last few years, that's started to change rapidly. Capital Lisbon, with its trams rattling up hills and peerless views of the river Tagus, is the place to start. Then there's the Algarve, whose beach resorts are set atop crumbling cliffs, and the dramatic Atlantic coast, beloved by surfers, and the vast Alentejo region, whose landscapes and hilltop towns have been barely touched by tourism.

Who can go

Residents of the EU and Schengen-associated countries can travel freely to Portugal.
Also allowed in for non-essential travel are arrivals from the following destinations: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, South Korea, USA, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. See below for the rules.
Only essential travel is permitted from India, Nepal, and South Africa. Anyone eligible to come from those countries must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

What are the restrictions?

These restrictions reflect arrivals to mainland Portugal. For instructions on going to the Azores or Madeira, see here.
For mainland Portugal, those coming from the main tranche of destinations -- including EU countries -- by plane must produce either a PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding, an antigen test taken within 48 hours or boarding, or a valid EU digital Covid certificate. Children under 12 do not need to have a test. All passengers must also complete a passenger locator card before departure.
Arriving in Portugal by sea entails the same entry regulations as air.
Entering Portugal by road or train, arrivals are not subject to any entry restrictions -- unless they're arriving from India, Nepal or South Africa, in which case they have to quarantine for 14 days.

What's the Covid situation?

Portugal has had over a million cases and 17,888 deaths as of September 17.
Cases were rising over the summer months, however they now appear to be falling. There were 7,282 new cases registered in the week leading up to September 17.
As of September 17, over 15.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in Portugal. 81% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

Face masks are mandatory on public transport.
Public transport now has unlimited capacity and there are no longer rules around riding in cars -- including taxis --- with other households.
Groups in restaurants and bars are now upped to eight inside and 15 outside, while cultural facilities are capped at 75% capacity.
Alcohol cannot be sold in service areas or gas stations.
You must present an EU Covid Digital Certificate or a negative test when checking in to accommodation, eating inside restaurants on Friday nights, weekends and public holidays, and entering spas, casinos and exercise classes. PCR tests within 72 hours or antigen tests within 24 hours and certified by a medical professional are acceptable. Children under 12 are exempt.
For full details, check out the VisitPortugal website.

Useful links

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