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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Portugal - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Portugal.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place.
From midnight on January 15, 2021, to 11:59 p.m. on January 30, 2021, you must remain in your home or accommodations unless you need to perform essential activities. These movement restrictions will not apply to travel necessary to vote on and before January 24, 2021.
You must wear a face covering in public.
If you violate the restrictions, you could be fined for endangering public health.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
COVID-19 response - Government of Portugal (in Portuguese only)
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs. Thieves are very skilled and often work in groups. Be particularly vigilant in these public areas:
- all tourist sites and attractions
- hotel lobbies
- transportation hubs, including bus and train stations
While crime occurs mostly in larger cities, thieves can strike anywhere, including in small towns popular with tourists and, in particular, towns along the coast. Be particularly careful in the greater area of Lisbon:
- Sintra and Queluz
- Costa da Caparica beaches
- Guincho beach
- Cabo da Roca and Boca do Inferno
Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents are secure at all times. Pay attention to your surroundings, avoid wearing or carrying expensive watches, jewellery, cameras, etc. and don’t carry large sums of cash. If possible, carry only the documents, cash and belongings you will need for the day; leave all other items in a hotel safe.
In Lisbon, exercise caution at all train, bus and underground stations, and particularly on electric trams numbered E28, to Castelo de São Jorge (São Jorge castle); E25, to Prazeres; and E15, to Belém.
In Porto, don’t walk alone after dark, especially along the Douro River Waterfront.
If you are robbed, go to the nearest police station to report the crime and obtain a police report. There are tourist police stations in Lisbon, Porto, Praia da Rocha (Portimão) and Cascais. Local establishments, such as hotels will be able to direct you to the police station.
Violent crime targeting tourists is rare in Portugal.
On the road
Theft from cars occurs. Thieves often target rental cars and vehicles with foreign licence plates. Don’t leave personal items and documents (especially passports) in plain sight in a vehicle.
Use secure parking facilities, particularly overnight. Ensure windows are closed and doors are locked at all times. As a precaution, remove or place items in the trunk of your vehicle before arriving and parking at your destination.
Be suspicious of anyone (other than the police) signalling you to stop on roads or highways. Thieves use this tactic to steal valuables, unattended bags and even the vehicle.
If you experience car trouble, stop at a gas station or rest stop. Be aware of your immediate surroundings and keep a careful watch on bystanders, including those who offer to help.
Official assistance and road monitoring vehicles are present on Portuguese highways. They will come to your assistance. When possible, wait for these service providers to arrive or if you are in sight of an SOS phone (which are spread along the highways), use it to call for help.
Tourists staying in rental homes have been the victims of break-ins and burglaries. Choose well-secured homes and avoid unsavoury neighborhoods. Whether you are staying in private or commercial accommodations, make sure you lock windows and doors securely at night and when you are away.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities and further attacks are likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Demonstrations and labour disruptions
Demonstrations and labour disruptions can occur in larger urban centres. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Excessive speeds, tailgating, unpredictable driving habits and reckless motorcyclists pose hazards. Slow-moving machinery can also pose a hazard and you may come across them in both rural and national roads.
When walking around in the cities, be careful with the uneven and often slippery pavement “calçada”. Cross only at pedestrian cross walks. Always be alert and make sure vehicles have stopped before crossing.
Public transportation is generally safe.
When using taxis, particularly from the Lisbon Airport into the city, negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter, as you may be overcharged. Baggage fees and toll charges are added to the final bill.
Take note of the number or licence plate of the taxi in case you need to report unsatisfactory service, reckless driving or if you leave items behind by accident.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Beaches and water activities
Always obey warning flags at beaches, lakes and rivers. The main warning flags used in Portugal are:
- Green: calm waters, swimming allowed
- Yellow: agitated waters, no swimming allowed
- Red: dangerous waters, it is forbidden to swim or enter the water
- Checkered blue and white or checkered black and white: life guard is temporarily off duty
The flags are there for your own safety. The Portuguese Maritime Police could fine you for disobeying a flag warning.
Don’t dive into unknown water, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death.
In the fall and winter months, be cautious when walking along beaches close to the water’s edge because waves can be very unpredictable in size and may come onto shore further than expected and with strong undertows.
Don’t visit beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings. Exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion. Falling rocks are a hazard, and authorities can fine those who ignore warning signs.
In marine areas, coral, jellyfish and other ocean life found along reefs can poison, sting or cause infection if touched or stepped on. Ask local authorities about the presence of such species and whether they are dangerous. If you get hurt, immediately seek medical assistance.
Ports and beaches weather conditions – Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere
COVID-19 - Entry requirements
Travellers arriving from Canada are not allowed entry to Portugal. However, certain travellers may be allowed entry if they can prove the essential nature of their travel.
It is your responsibility to verify this information with the appropriate foreign diplomatic office and to ask if you may be allowed entry, based on your individual circumstances and your itinerary.
Local authorities may impose additional requirements without notice and your travel plans could be severely disrupted. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Portuguese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Portugal is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days (see Schengen area for details)
Business visa: Not required for stays up 90 days (see Schengen area for details)
Work visa: Required
Student visa: Required
If you arrive in Portugal from a Schengen area country and you are staying in private accommodations, you must register your presence in the country within 3 business days of arrival. You can register at any immigration office or police station.
Customs officials may ask you to show them proof of a return ticket.
Children and travel
Minors, under the age of 18, who are travelling alone or with adults other than their parents or legal guardian must carry an authorization letter from the parent or parents not travelling. The letter must indicate who will be taking care of the minor during their stay in Portugal, and specific dates of travel.
More about travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - January 16, 2021
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs,monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is very good. Services are available throughout the country but may be limited in rural areas. Many private hospitals and clinics require advance payment prior to treatment. Keep all receipts of payment to reclaim expenses from your travel insurance company.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Canada and Portugal are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Portugal to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Portuguese authorities.
You must carry photo identification when in Portugal. To minimize the risk of your passport getting lost or stolen, carry a photocopy of your passport or other form of valid photo ID with you. Leave your passport in a safe location. If required, the police may escort you to retrieve your passport from safekeeping.
If you carry your passport as official ID, keep a photocopy or digital copy in a separate, safe place, should the original be lost or seized.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect fines, administrative sanctions or jail sentences.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Portugal.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Portugal, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in Portugal.
You can drive using a Canadian driver’s licence for up to 180 days. You should carry an international driving permit.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, car seizure and a jail sentence.
In some areas, traffic radar registers violations and municipalities send tickets to the offender by mail. This includes out-of-country offenders. Fines for traffic violations are substantial. If you are stopped by a police officer, you must pay the fine on the spot or the vehicle may be impounded until the fine is paid.
The use of mobile telephones while driving is illegal, unless the phone is fitted with a hands-free device.
The use of a seatbelt is mandatory for the driver and all passengers in a car. Children up to 135 cm tall or under 12 years old must ride in appropriate car seats.
You must use low-beam headlights at all times.
If you are involved in an accident, you must not move the vehicle and you must immediately report the accident to the police.
In case of car trouble or an accident, you must immediately wear the reflective vest that should be found in all vehicles and set up and place the warning triangle up to 30 metres behind the vehicle. These items are mandatory in all vehicles.
- More about the International Driving Permit
- More information about driving in Portugal - European Commission
The currency of Portugal is the euro (EUR).
If you are carrying more than €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs upon your entry or exit to the European Union. The sum can be in cash, cheque, money order, traveller’s cheque or any other convertible asset. This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
More information about cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
High temperatures can create dry conditions, which can lead to large fires throughout continental Portugal. Fires can cause disruptions to communications and transportation networks. They can also cause road (including major highway) closures.
In case of fire, stay away from the affected area. Always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel. Monitor local media for up-to-date information.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments.
Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence, punishable by heavy fines or imprisonment.
Extreme weather changes result in heavy rain and wind storms in the fall and winter months. Rogue waves pose a hazard along the entire west coast.
Portugal is located in an active seismic zone. While seismic activity is rare, it can be devastating.
Information about active events - Portugal’s National Authority for Civil Protection (primarily in Portuguese)
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Lisbon - Embassy of Canada
Faro - Consulate of Canada
Ponta Delgada - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Lisbon and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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