Azores travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Azores - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in the Azores.
Safety and security
The crime rate is low in the Azores. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, though uncommon, does occur. Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
In some areas, streets may be poorly lit and deserted at night. Be vigilant and avoid walking alone after dark.
While beaches are generally considered safe, don’t leave your belongings unattended. Coastal waters can be dangerous. Drownings occur.
- Exercise caution
- Don’t visit beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings
- Don’t swim at beaches that link to/from rivers, as the water currents can be very strong
- Don’t dive into unknown water, where hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
- Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities, including 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 black and white: life guard is temporarily off duty
The maritime police have the authority to fine bathers who disobey the lifeguard’s warning flags.
In the fall and winter months, be careful when walking along beaches close to the water’s edge because waves can be very unpredictable in size. Waves may come onto shore further than expected and with strong undertows.
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 cut or sting if touched or stepped on. If you suffer an injury, seek medical assistance immediately.
Exercise caution on country roads due to narrow streets, blind curves and corners, as well as hidden driveways. Poor lighting and wandering livestock also pose a hazard on some roads.
Taxis are equipped with meters, which may not be visible. To avoid complications, always ask the driver to turn on the meter. If the taxi doesn’t have a meter or you are travelling outside the city, agree on a price before getting in the taxi.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
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 the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
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.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: not required for stays up 90 days*
Residency visa: required for long-term stays and employment
Student visa: required
* The 90-day period begins upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country within any 180-day period.
If you arrive in Portugal from a Schengen area country, don’t have EU citizenship 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.
Children and travel
Children under the age of 18 who are travelling alone 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.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
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.
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.
* 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.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are good. Medical evacuation to mainland Portugal is provided in case of serious illness or emergencies when needed. Advance payment is required.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
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. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Penalties for selling or trafficking illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect prison sentences and heavy fines.
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.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Portugal.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Portugal, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the portuguese court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Portugal to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You should carry an international driving permit, although you can drive using a Canadian driver’s licence for up to 180 days.
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in Portugal.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, car seizure and a jail sentence.
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.
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.
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 is found in all vehicles and set up and place the warning triangle up to 30 meters behind the vehicle. These items are mandatory in all vehicles.
The currency of Portugal is the euro (EUR).
If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:
- banknotes and coins
- bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
- bonds, shares
- gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
- gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
- any other convertible asset
This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
EU cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Seismic activity on São Jorge Island
Since March 19, 2022, the island of São Jorge has been affected by thousands of small earthquakes. This increased seismic activity may trigger stronger earthquakes or a volcanic eruption of the fissure of Manadas.
Local authorities have implemented preventative emergency measures and are closely monitoring the situation. Seismic activity may also occur on other islands.
During a volcanic eruption, magma and ash can disrupt essential services and transportation. The air quality may deteriorate and affect your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments.
If you are on São Jorge:
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on seismic activity
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- follow the instructions of local authorities, including any evacuation orders
The Azores is located in an active seismic zone. While seismic activity is rare, it can be devastating.
Storms and flooding
Severe rainstorms occur and can cause flooding and landslides, which can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services to isolated towns and villages. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged. Excessive rainfall, violent winds and high waves usually occur in the Azores from June through November. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.
- More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Information about active events - Portugal’s National Authority for Civil Protection
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Ponta Delgada - Consulate of Canada
Lisbon - Embassy of Canada
Azores, MadeiraAppointment Book your appointment online
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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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