The official language in Portugal is Portuguese.
The country’s official name is Portugal.
Portugal has been a member of the European Union since 1984.
Portugal is Western European Time (GMT). Daylight saving time starts on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday of October. When DST starts the clocks move ahead and fall back one hour when DST ends.
Counting and numbers
Dates in Portugal, as well as in entire Europe, are written with the day first, then the month, then the year. Hence, 25/03/08 is the 25th of March in the year 2008.
With written numbers, commas and decimal points are swapped from what you might be used to in the US. So, ten Euro and thirty cents is written €10,30 and four housand five hundred Euro is written €4.500.
Portugal uses the Metric system for measurements and Celsius for temperatures.
You can find a conversion tool here
Electricity and plugs
The power supply in Portugal is 230V/50Hz. You might require an adapter for the round tow-pins sockets used in Portugal unless your electronic appliance takes 100-240V. Otherwise, if you live in a country with 110V electricity –like US- make sure to bring an adapter with you. You also might need a transformer to be able to use your electrical appliances. The plugs are also different than the ones in the US, so you will need an adapter.
Make sure to carefully read the information on your electrical appliances –laptop, camera, so on –before you plug them anywhere.
Portugal uses the Euro (€). The banknotes are exactly the same all through the Euro area. They come in seven denominations: 5, 10, 20,50, 100, 200 and 500. One face of the coins is common to all countries and the other face shows national symbols of Portugal.
Check this conversion rate tool before planning your vacation.
Banks and ATMs
Banking hours in Portugal are normally 8:30 AM to 3 PM from Monday to Friday. Banks are usually closed during the weekend. You will find ATMs all over Portugal, including in small towns. Credit and debit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere with a preference for Visa and MasterCard. Make sure you keep all the receipts for a few months just in case.
Before you leave for Portugal, check if you have a withdrawal limit through ATMs (the case of credit cards). And also check the fees associated with withdrawing money in a foreign country.
Using the telephone
The country code for Portugal is 351. To call Portugal from the U.S., you will first need to dial out of the U.S. and then into Portugal – so that is 011 + 351 and then the phone number itself (using the local area code). To call to Portugal from another European country, you will dial 00 + 351 and then the local number or just +351 and the local number. To call a Portuguese number from within Portugal, simply dial the local number as you have it. To call the U.S. from within Portugal, dial 00 + 1 and then the area code and telephone number.
Most travelers prefer to use their mobile phones when they travel, which is easy if you just activate the roaming feature. That’s very useful if your mobile carrier is a widely used one and you will be able to get really good deals when using the roaming feature. Portugal uses GSM 900/1800 mobile phones, a system which is compatible with the rest of Europe, but not with North America or Japan.
Public phones in Portugal use either coins or cards. Telephone cards can be purchased at newsstands, post offices and other locations.
Useful telephone numbers
Citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, Andorra, Liechtenstein and Malta require an Identity Card in order to enter Portugal.
Nationals of Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Korea (Rep), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau (SAR), Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela do not require a visa to enter Portugal.