Algarve Hints

Banks Hints

Normal Hours:
8.30am-3.0pm Monday to Friday
Weekends: Closed all day
Commission Charged per transaction regardless of amount

Climate Hints

The Algarve has a warm climate with over than 3,000 hours sunshine a year, more than the Costa Brava, Mallorca or French Riviera.

Summer temperatures are however below the extremes of those in the Mediterranean countries and see breezes keep temperatures down in the evenings.

The ideal time to visit is spring, in April and May the countryside is lush and green with a profusion of wild flowers. But to see the almond trees in blossom you need to visit Algarve in January or early February.

Clothing Hints

Take light clothes in summer, plus a jersey or two for cool evenings. In winter it is wise to take a warm jacket or coat, though during daytime you are likely to need no more than a jersey, if that. Casinos and some luxury restaurants prefer men to wear jacket and tie. Elsewhere casual wear is the norm. Whatever time of year you go, remember to take sunglasses.

Currency Hints

The Portuguese currency is the Euro.

Travellers' cheques are the safest way to carry money. If lost or stolen they can be replaced. The exchange rate for traveller's cheques are more favourable than they are for cash.Eurocheques, with card are widely accepted in hotels and good restaurants. Automatic cash dispensers generally available. Nearly all restaurants and shops change traveller's cheques, but the commission tends to be higher than the bank rate. Major credit cards are accepted by larger hotels, restaurants and shops, and most petrol stations.

Driving Hints

  • EU driving licences or international driving licences are valid in Portugal.

  • Have your documents with you.

  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road

  • Seat belts must be worn.

  • Car speed limits:
    • In built up areas 50km/h
    • Side roads 90km/h
    • Highways 100km/h
    • Motorways 120 km/h

  • Alcohol limit: 0.5 gm/l, which is lower than in UK. Any fines must be paid on the spot.

Electricity Hints

The supply is 220/240 Volts AC.

Plugs have two round pins and most British and American appliances will need an adaptor. The larger hotels will usually supply these

Emergencies Hints

Dial 112 free from anywhere to contact

  • Police
  • Fire brigade
  • Ambulance

Health Hints

  • Vaccinations: No vaccinations are officially required for visitors from EU or USA
  • Pharmacies: Will advise on minor matters. There are reciprocal arrangements within the EU on free treatment in clinics and hospitals. When requesting treatment, show your passport, or an E11 or E12 form.
  • Hospitals: in Faro , Portimao and Lagos
  • Health Clinics: deal with less serious problems
  • Private doctors: British, German and Dutch as well as Portuguese will give more personal treatment but without insurance it can be expensive

Insects Hints

Ants are out and about all over the Algarve during the warm months and will home in on any scraps of food left lying around. They are easily deterred by insecticide powders which can be bought from supermarkets. Use repellants to deter mosquitoes from zeroing in on exposed flesh at sundown and after dark

Language Hints

Portuguese is the official Language of Portugal. Knowledge of Spanish or French will help to understand written Portuguese, but the pronunciation is not as easy.

On the coast English is widely spoken, but north of N125 you are likely to need at least a smattering of Portuguese.

Mastering even few key words is invaluable:

I don't speak Portuguese: Nao falo portugues

I don't understand: Nao compreendo

Yes/No: Sim/Nao

Where is..? Onde e..?

When..? Quando..?

How much does it cost..? Quanto custa..?

Do you have a room..? Tem um quarto livre?

Good morning: Bom dia

Good afternoon: Boa tarde

Good night: Boa noite

Hello: Ola

Goodbye: Adeus

Please: Por Favor

Thank you: Obrigado/Obrigada

Lost Property Hints

To report or inquire about air travel baggage gone astray in transit, phone Faro airport lost property office (289) 818302.
Property lost in Portugal should be reported to the nearest GNR police station

Tipping Hints

Although restaurant bills normally include service it is quite common to leave a bit extra, particularly if you think the service warrants it.
Hotel bills include service but doormen will appreciate a few escudos.
If you knock on the door of the local priest to see a church, or the sacristan to go up a tower, it is customary to leave something towards the upkeep of the church buildings.
A taxi driver will be delighted with a tip but won't necessary expect one.

Transport Hints

By air : TAP Air Portugal and British Airways operate a regular service direct to Faro Airport from Heathrow, Gatwick and all major UK airports.
The flight takes approximately 2 1/2 hoursTo book a flight.

Visas and Passports Hints

All the visitors to Portugal from Europe, United States of America and Australia need only their passport for up to 3 months visit.
EU residents may use excursion passes or visitor's passports.

Water Hints

Mains tap water is treated for health reasons, so it is okay to drink but it doesn't taste good. Drink bottled mineral water.
As the Algarve is in a low rainfall area there is a shortage of water, and so it is important not to waste tap water.
Water cuts are not as common as they used to be, but may come without notice during the summer.
Many apartments and villas are equipped with reserve tanks to tide you over a short period.