STUDY IN portugal - Living
Social Conventions: The Portuguese
way of life is leisurely, and old-fashioned politeness
is essential. Warm, Latin hospitality is the norm.
The country has a deeply individual national character,
although each province has its own traditions
and folklore. Casual wear is widely acceptable,
although beachwear should not be worn in towns.
In restaurants, it is usual to smoke only at the
end of the meal. Smoking is prohibited in cinemas,
theatres and on buses. Tipping: Generally 10 to
15 per cent. Taxi drivers are tipped 10 per cent.
Special Events: Portugal has
many festivals – for a complete list, contact
ICEP/Portuguese Trade and Tourism Office. Below
is a selection of events celebrated in
- Feb-Mar - Fantasporto (International Fantastic Film
- Feb - Carnival, Torres Vedras,
Sines, Loulé, Sesimbra, Nazaré and
- Mar - International Lisbon Half-Marathon.
Apr Tennis Estoril Open, Oeiras
- Apr - Holy
Week Festivities, Braga. May Queima da Fitas (burning
of ribbons at Coimbra University)
- May - Pilgrimage
to Fátima. Jun Tróia International
- Jun-Jul - UEFA Euro 2004 (European
Football Championship), various locations
- Festival of St Anthony, Lisbon
- Jun - Festival
of St John, Porto. Jul National Handicrafts Fair,
Vila do Conde; Festas dos Tabuleiros, Tomar; Faro
International Motorcyclists Meeting; Sardines
Festival, various locations
- Jul-Aug - Classic Music
Festival, Vila Real; Estoril International Handicrafts
- Aug - Our Lady of Agony Feast, Viana do Castelo;
Seafood Festival, Olhão
- Aug - Festival
do Sudoeste (Rock Music Festival), Zambujeira
- Aug-Sep - Feast of Our Lady of Remédios,
- Oct - National Gastronomy Festival, Santarém
- Nov - Guimarães Jazz; National Horse Fair,
- Dec - Magical Night (St Silvester
Local Customs & Culture
Food & Drink: Seafood is
popular, especially in Lisbon, but can be expensive.
Soup is a main dish. Typical Portuguese dishes
include sopa de marisco (shellfish soup cooked
and served with wine), caldo verde (green soup
made with finely shredded green kale leaves in
broth) and bacalhau (dried cod, cooked in over
100 different ways). Caldeirada is a fish stew
with as many as nine kinds of fish, cooked with
onions and tomatoes. Also typical is carne de
porco á Alentejana, in which bits of fried
pork are covered with a sauce of clams stewed
with tomato and onions. Puddings include arroz
doce (rice pudding), Madeira pudding and nuvens
(egg custard). Portugal’s sweet pastries
(available in most cafes) are also worth a try.
Table service is normal.
Portuguese table wines are good value. There are
47 wine-producing regions, the most popular regional
names are Dão for red wines and Bucelas
and Colares for white wines. Sparkling rosé
wines are mostly produced for export. Mateus Rosé
is a famous lightweight rosé. Portuguese
brandies are also good; the best are produced
around Oporto, where Port wines come from. There
are no licensing hours.
Nightlife: The large towns offer
every kind of entertainment. There are many nightclubs,
theatres, cinemas, stage shows, folk dancing and
music performances. The traditional Fado can be
heard in many restaurants, and performances begin
at about 2200. The theatre season is from October
to May. Gambling is authorised and Estoril, Figueira
da Foz, Espinho, Alvor, Vilamoura and Monte Gordo
have casinos. The elegant Estoril Casino is the
Shopping: Items include leather
goods, copper, ceramics, handcrafted silver and
gold, embroidery and tapestry, woodcarving, cork
products, porcelain and china, crystal and glassware.
Shopping hours: Generally Mon-Fri 0900-1300 and
1500-1900, Sat 0900-1300 (and 1500-1900 in December).
Shopping centres are usually open Mon-Sun 1000-midnight.
RAIL: Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses (Portuguese
Provides a rail service to every town. The tourist
areas of Cascais and Sintra are connected to Lisbon
by frequent express trains. High-speed Alfa trains
run between Lisbon and Porto via Coimbra and Aveiro.
Fertagus trains cross the River Tagus in Lisbon,
operating between Entrecampus station to Fogueteiro
(on the south bank).
Cheap fares: On ‘Blue
Days’, usually Monday afternoon to Thursday,
special rates are available. There are also special
fares (with 20-30 per cent reductions) for groups
of ten or more (Bilhetes de Grupo), travelling
for a minimum distance of 75km/47 miles (single
journey) or 150km/94 miles (return journey). Application
should be made 4 days in advance by the group
leader. Tourist Tickets (Bilhetes Turisticos)
for 7, 14 or 21 days of unlimited travel are also
available. The Rail Cheque (Cheque Trem), obtainable
in four different values, can be in one name or
a company’s name and has no time limit;
it gives a reduction of 10 per cent and can be
used both for purchasing tickets and many other
An International Youth Ticket (BIJ) entitles those
aged 12-26 to a discount (subject to certain conditions)
in 25 countries for 2 months, including Portugal.
Senior citizens are entitled to 50 per cent
reduction on production of proof of age. Children
under 4 travel free. Children aged between 4 and
11 pay half fare.
Family Card, Inter-Rail Card, Rail Inclusive
Tours, Euro Domino and Special Tourist Trips are
amongst other offers from the Portuguese Railways
(Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses), Calçada
do Duque 20, 1249-109 Lisbon Codex (tel: 2132
12900 or 321 5700; fax: 2132 15879;
Rail information is also available from ICEP/Portuguese
Trade and Tourism Office; see Contact Addresses
ROAD: Traffic drives on the
right. Every town and village can be reached by
an adequate system of roads. Petrol stations generally
stay open 0700-2000, although some are open 24
hours. Travel by motorway is subject to a toll
according to distance covered and type of vehicle.
A small tax may be added to petrol bought with
a credit card. Bus: There are
frequent coach services between all Portuguese
For further information, contact Rede
Nacional de Expressos - Website: http://www.rede-expressos.pt/
Taxi: Charges are according to
distance and taxis are all metered. Taxis are
usually painted beige (although some taxis painted
in the old colours of green and black still exist).
In the city, they charge a standard meter fare;
outside the city limits they charge per kilometre
and are entitled to charge for the return fare.
There is a surcharge for carrying luggage in the
Car hire: Available from main
towns and airports, with or without driver. Regulations:
Minimum age for driving is 18 (but might be older
if hiring a car). Cars may be imported for up
to 6 months. Traffic signs are international.
Headlights should be dipped in built-up areas
and side lights used when parking in badly lit
areas. Children should not travel in the front
seat. Seat belts should be worn. Warning triangles
are compulsory. It is forbidden to carry cans
of petrol in vehicles. Speed limits are 50kph
(30mph) in built-up areas, 90kph (56mph) outside
built-up areas and 120kph (70mph) on motorways.
Visitors who passed their driving test less than
one year previously must display a yellow disc
with ‘90’ on it on the rear of their
vehicle and must not go faster than 90kph (56mph)
(or lower where appropriate). Permitted speeds
will vary if trailers are being used.
Driving Permits or foreign driving licences are
accepted. Third Party insurance is compulsory
and a Green Card must be obtained. Under the requirements
of the Portuguese Road Code, those wishing to
drive a car must possess a valid national/international
driving licence, other official documentation
with photograph, log book or rental contract and
adequate car insurance. Failure to produce, on
request to the authorities, any of the above will
result in an on-the-spot cash fine. A Carnet de
Passage is needed for a van.
There is a wide range of accommodation available
all over the country, ranging from luxury hotels,
pensions, boarding houses and inns to simple guest-houses,
manor houses, campsites and youth hostels. The
government-run pousadas offer very good value
and are often situated in places of scenic beauty
in converted castles, palaces or old inns.
HOTELS: Most hotels have a private
swimming pool and serve international cuisine
as well as some typically Portuguese dishes. During
the low season, hotels normally grant substantial
reductions. There should be an officially authorised
list of prices displayed in every bedroom, and
children under eight years of age are entitled
to a reduction of 50 per cent on the price of
full meals and 50 per cent on the price of an
extra bed – if sharing parents’ room
or apartment. Further information can be obtained
from the Associação Hotéis
de Portugal, Avenida Duque d’Ávila
75, 1000 Lisbon (tel: (21) 351 2360; fax: (21)
357 0485). Grading: Classification of hotels is
according to the international 1- to 5-star system
and their prices are officially approved. Apartment
hotels are classified from 2- to 4-star, motels
from 2- to 3-star and boarding houses from 1-
to 3-star (with 1-star being the best); there
are also 4-star albergarias.
POUSADAS: The pousadas are a
network of inns operated by the Government, and
housed in historic buildings, castles, palaces
and convents, or sometimes built especially for
the purpose. They have often been geographically
sited in regions not on the usual tourist itinerary
to give people the opportunity to visit the whole
country. The architecture and design of the pousadas
has been carefully studied in order to give visitors
a better knowledge of the cultural traditions
of the various regions of the country, with particular
attention paid to handicrafts, cooking and wines.
A guide to pousadas can be obtained from ENATUR,
Pousadas de Portugal, Avenida de Santa Joana-a-Princesa
10, 1749-090 Lisbon, tel: 2184 42001; fax: 2184
42085; website: http://www.pousadas.pt
PRIVATE HOUSES: Rooms are available
in private houses and on farms all over Portugal.
Some of the old manor houses are now open to visitors
and provide good opportunities for tourists to
make contact with Portuguese customs and people.
For further information, contact ICEP or local
SELF-CATERING: There is self-catering
tourist accommodation in deluxe, first- and second-class
tourist villages and tourist apartments, particularly
on the Algarve. Tour operators can arrange a wide
variety of villas for self-catering parties.
YOUTH HOSTELS: Youth hostels
are located to give young people the opportunity
of visiting towns, countryside, mountains and
coastal areas. Tourists can obtain accommodation
and meals. For further information, contact MOVIJOVEM,
Rua Lucio de Azevedo 29, 1600 Lisbon (tel: 21
723 2100; fax: 21 723 2101)
provides camping and caravan parks near beaches
and in thickly wooded areas. Some have model installations
including swimming pools, games fields, supermarkets
and restaurants. For further information, check
http://www.roteiro-campista.pt or http://www.orbitur.pt).
A guide published by the ICEP and DGT give the
names of existing parks and details of their classification,
equipment and capacity. For further information,
contact Federação Portuguesa de
Campismo, Avenida Coronel Eduardo Galhardo 24D,
There are full state-provided health facilities,
but private practices are allowed to co-exist.
There are approximately 34,389 doctors and 40,700
hospital beds. There are reciprocal health agreements
with most European countries. The agreement with
the UK allows free in-patient treatment in general
wards of official hospitals to those presenting
UK passports (other EU nationals must present
form E111). Secondary examinations, X-rays and
laboratory tests may have to be paid for. A nominal
charge will be made for medical treatment at health
centres (Centro de Saúde). There may be
a charge for prescribed medicines. All dental
treatment must be paid for. This agreement is
also effective in Madeira and the Azores (although
in Madeira a fee must be paid for a GP consultation,
which can then be refunded by an appointed bank).
Those wishing to take advantage of it should inform
the doctor prior to treatment that they wish to
be treated under EU social security arrangements.
Private treatment must be paid for in full. Medical
fees paid whilst in Portugal cannot be reimbursed
by the British NHS.