Vacationing in Portugal? Here is what to know before travel

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Holidaymakers to Portugal don’t need to quarantine on return to the UK

Travel to Portugal has finally restarted. The popular holiday destination, including its islands, is now welcoming back tourists from the UK.

The country has made it onto the green list in the last selection round, which means that holidaymakers enjoying their long-awaited vacation don’t need to worry about quarantining on their return. So, what are the exact rules on traveling to and from Portugal and why visit in the first place?

Sun-kissed cheeks are one of many reasons to travel to Portugal

Lagos is known for over half a dozen sandy beaches, coves, and dramatic cliffsLagos is known for over half a dozen sandy beaches, coves, and dramatic cliffs — Shutterstock

The country has long been a sought-after destination for many Brits and for valid reasons. Flying into one of the international airports in the country — Lisbon, Porto, and Faro — you’ll get the first glimpse of everyday life in Portugal. Lisbon is known for its iconic trams that come in handy after a day of walking through the hilly capital. 

If you’re after beaches, Lagos is known for over half a dozen sandy beaches, coves, and dramatic cliffs. Here you find almost every water sport imaginable.

For the adventure seekers, the country recently opened the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge with a length of 516 meters hanging 175 meters above the river Paiva underneath. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy epic hiking trails in Madeira that itself sits on top of a volcano in the Atlantic Ocean.

What to keep in mind when traveling to Portugal

The good news is that from 17 May, it’s become much easier to travel to Portugal and back to the UK. However, there are still certain measures one should take into consideration.

Before leaving for Portugal, passengers above the age of two will need to show a negative PCR test for COVID-19 that’s no older than 72 hours. Without a valid test, the airline will likely not allow you to board the plane.

You’ll also need to fill out a passenger locator form before arrival in the country.

Madeira and Porto Santo have also been green-listed

Madeira has epic hiking trailsMadeira has epic hiking trails — Shutterstock

The Atlantic islands Madeira and Porto Santo fall administratively under Portugal, which means they’re now open to travelers from the UK.

To visit Madeira, it’s necessary to first fill out a traveler questionnaire — an official health-tracking app “Madeira Safe” that will generate a QR code to enter Madeira. Alongside a set of questions, you’ll be asked to upload a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours.

Madeira also accepts proof of completed vaccination and proof of recovery in the last 90 days.

If you’re planning on hopping between Madeira and Porto Santo, you’ll need to show a valid PCR test carried out maximum 72 hours before boarding.

Traveling to the Azores from the UK

 

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Under the current traffic light system, it’s likewise possible to go on vacation to the mid-Atlantic Azores. 

Holidaymakers above the age of 12 will need to show a paper or digital PCR test with a negative result taken within 72 hours of departure for the Azores. Along with the test, the archipelago requires vacationers to register in the “My Safe Azores” app.

It is also possible to travel to the Azores without a test and take one on arrival for free. However, if you decide to go this way, you’ll need to self-isolate while waiting for the result (up to 24 hours).

Depending on length of stay, travelers will be retested for free on day six and again on day 12.

Arrange for an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure

It is not recommended to take the NHS test before travel. Travelers should arrange for a private RT-PCR test that states clearly their name, the type of test, and the dates of testing and result. 

The tests are not covered by insurance and their cost ranges from approximately £100 to several hundred pounds. Some providers deliver tests right to your home and courier them to a lab.

Returning to the UK from Portugal

There is no quarantine requirement on return to the UKThere is no quarantine requirement on return to the UK — Shutterstock

Finally, once it’s time to say goodbye to all the beautiful sights of Portugal, you may return to the UK without having to quarantine. It is, however, necessary to undergo a COVID-19 test before traveling back to the UK and have another one on or before day two of arrival. Returning passengers also need to fill out a passenger locator form (PLF) online.

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