Travel to Portugal: latest Covid rules and holiday advice once you are there

No tests, no forms and (almost) no masks. Portugal is ready and hoping for hordes of Britons to fly in for a hassle-free summer break, 2019-style.

While Portugal’s Covid-19 rules were often harder to predict than its famously warm weather over the past two years, the bright spring sunshine has chased away most of the remaining pandemic clouds.

If April can offer a forecast of the warmer months to come, expect beach days knocking back plates of garlicky clams and jugs of white wine. Faces are expected to be clear indoors and out, with only scattered mask use on public transport and in taxis.

Travellers will need to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test to enter the mainland.
Family breaks in Portugal are fairly straightforward too, with children aged 11 or under exempt from entry requirements and over-12s who are not fully vaccinated permitted to enter with a negative test result or proof of recovery from Covid.

What’s more Portugal has become the first major EU country to break Brexit protocols by treating British travellers in broadly the same way as EU citizens at its borders – British tourists are now able to bypass the dreaded ‘other passports’ queue and use fast-track e-gates at the country’s key airports.

Take note that Portugal’s autonomous island region, Madeira, has different rules to the mainland and the Azores. The major difference being unvaccinated travellers may need a weekly test to enter venues or restaurants.

Here’s what you need to know when planning a trip to Portugal.

Can I go to Portugal? 

Yes, Portugal is welcoming British arrivals, however, there are some restrictions in place (see below).

Are flights operating? 

Direct flights between the UK and Portugal are currently operating. Jet2, Ryanair, British Airways and easyJet are among the airlines currently flying to Portugal.

Will I be insured if I go? 

As the FCDO doesn’t warn against non-essential travel to Portugal, insurance policies are easier to come by.

Do I need to take a test before travel to Portugal?

To enter mainland Portugal and the Azores, travellers need to show proof of vaccination, a pre-departure laboratory test or a recovery certificate. Yes, fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to enter Portugal without taking a test. Unvaccinated travellers need to take a PCR within 72 hours of flight departure, or a rapid antigen (lateral flow) within 24 hours. Children under 12 are exempt.

Madeira has no restrictions on entry and requires no documents. If you are unvaccinated, visitors may need to show proof of a rapid antigen test, valid for a week, at restaurants, bars and hotels around the islands.

Do I need to fill in any forms? 

Yes, all arrivals must fill in a passenger locator form.

What are the rules for children?

Children aged 11 or under are exempt from entry requirements and over-12s, who are not fully vaccinated, are permitted to enter with a negative test result or proof of recovery from Covid.

Portugal’s beaches might tempt you this spring

Credit: Carol Yepes
/Moment RF

Do I need to self-isolate on arrival? 

No, you do not need to quarantine if you can provide proof of a negative test, vaccination or recovery from Covid-19.

Madeira doesn’t require any documentation for entry, or to avoid quarantine.

Essential tick-list: What do I need to travel to Portugal?

Make sure you have the right paperwork and documents for your trip:

Before travelling, you will need:

  • For mainland Portugal and the Azores: Proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid or a negative test. Those that need a negative test for entry must take either a PCR in the 72 hours before arrival or an antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure.
  • Any additional non-Covid related visa/entry documents.

Do I need to wear a mask? 

No, with one exception. Portugal dropped the requirement to wear masks in all indoor spaces – shops, restaurants, bars and hotels – in late April.

Unless you plan to walk everywhere, travellers will still need to carry a mask to wear on public transport and in taxis or rideshare vehicles. 

In Madeira, wearing a mask is still mandatory in enclosed spaces.

What are the rules for restaurants, bars, shops and hotels?

There are no longer any restrictions in restaurants, bars, shops and hotels throughout Portugal. That means no masks, no testing or regulations.

In Madeira, unvaccinated persons may need to show a rapid antigen test, valid for seven days.

The rules for dining indoors and out are complicated

Credit: Matteo Colombo
/Digital Vision

What are the rules on public transport?  

If you want to ride the bus, train, ferry or tram, wearing a mask is still mandatory. Try to carry small change or acquire a transit card – like the Viva in Lisbon – as some modes of transport will not give change or accept cash or card.

Shall I take cash, or pay for everything on card? 

Definitely take cash. Since the pandemic, more small businesses have started accepting cards, but Portugal has a unique banking system and many restaurants, shops and bars will only accept the local card or cash.

Can I play golf?

Yes, golf courses are operating as normal.

Can I visit a museum or attend an event?

Cultural spaces, concerts, events and festivals have returned without restrictions. Portugal’s festival circuit is returning this summer, and large-scale concerts and sports matches are already underway.

Do I need to do any paperwork before travelling back to England?

No. The UK Government has removed all Covid travel restrictions, meaning arrivals no longer have to fill out a passenger locator form or take any tests, regardless of vaccination status.

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