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Travel to Portugal during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Travel to Portugal during Covid-19: What you need to know
before you go 1

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Portugal, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Portugal is in a State of Calamity until August 8, with case numbers and deaths at a four-month high, according to the government. However, it is open for tourism for EU citizens plus arrivals from countries including the US, Canada and Japan.

What’s on offer

Ancient towns, some of the loveliest coastline in Europe, and plenty of pasteis de nata. Portugal has long been overlooked in favor of Europe’s bigger hitters, but over the last few years, that’s started to change rapidly. Capital Lisbon, with its trams rattling up hills and peerless views of the river Tagus, is the place to start. Then there’s the Algarve, whose beach resorts are set atop crumbling cliffs, and the dramatic Atlantic coast, beloved by surfers, and the vast Alentejo region, whose landscapes and hilltop towns have been barely touched by tourism.

Who can go

Residents of the EU and Schengen-associated countries can travel freely. Also allowed in for non-essential travel are arrivals from the following: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, South Korea, USA, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Moldova, Northern Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine and Hong Kong. See below for the rules.

Arrivals from the UK are also allowed, but further restrictions apply: see below.

Only essential travel is permitted from Brazil, India, Nepal, and South Africa. Anyone eligible to come from those countries must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

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What are the restrictions?

These restrictions reflect arrivals to mainland Portugal. For instructions going to the Azores or Madeira, see here.
For mainland Portugal, those coming from the main tranche of destinations, including EU countries, must produce either a PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding, an antigen test taken within 48 hours or boarding, or a valid EU digital Covid certificate. Children under 12 do not need to have a test. All passengers must also complete a passenger locator card before departure.
From the UK, travelers aged 12 or older must also show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, or an antigen test taken within 48 hours. However, they must then either produce a vaccination certificate, showing completion of the cycle over 14 days ago, or quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine must be approved by the European Medicines Agency. Unvaccinated under-18s may skip quarantine if accompanied by vaccinated adults. Those undergoing quarantine should register at travel.sef.pt.

Arriving by sea entails the same entry regulations. Arriving by rail or train, those coming from the main list of destinations have no restrictions. Again, those coming from the UK must either show proof of vaccination or must quarantine for 14 days.

What’s the Covid situation?

Portugal has had over 972,000 cases and 17,378 deaths as of August 3. The 17,348 new cases registered in the week leading up to August 3 are a far cry from the record 86,389 in one week of January 2021, but cases are rising — both new infections and deaths are at a four-month high, according to the government.

What can visitors expect?

Face masks are mandatory on public transport. Passengers must sit in the back seats only of taxis. If renting cars, vehicles with more than five seats have a capacity limit of two thirds, unless travelers belong to the same household. Groups in restaurants and bars are limited to six inside and 10 outside, while cultural facilities are capped at 66% capacity. Alcohol cannot be sold in service areas or gas stations.

You must present an EU Covid Digital Certificate or a negative test when checking in to accommodation, eating inside restaurants on Friday nights, weekends and public holidays, and entering spas, casinos and exercise classes. PCR tests within 72 hours or antigen tests within 24 hours and certified by a medical professional are acceptable. Children under 12 are exempt.

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