Useful Information for Travelling Around

The Algarve region, located at the extreme south of Portugal is perhaps the most international destination of the whole country. Most likely you won't be having any issues speaking English, French and German in main tourist facilities. Portugal is in the same time zone as UK and Ireland (GMT).

Overall the Algarve regions is fairly crime-free, most like the whole country. It's common to see police on the streets, and specially during the high summer season it's fairly reinforced and you will easily spot special police and their dogs on the street. Nevertheless be alert and aware for the common petty theft, mainly avoid leaving valuables exposed in your car and never carry large amounts of money with you. In case you need assistance you can use the Algarve Tourist Help Line: (+351) 808 78 12 12.

Mostly all services, shops and supermarkets operate from 9AM to 7PM from Monday to Friday, and 9AM to 1PM on Saturdays. Restaurants open for lunch around 11 or 12PM and for dinner around 6 or 7PM. Services, restaurants and shops inside shopping Centers tend to operate until later times (usually 11PM).

Police and Emergency

There are two main police forces in Portugal, PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública) and GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana). Usually PSP will deal with mots public matters, while GNR is more a highway and traffic police. At any point if you need police or emergency assistance you can call the national emergency number 112, and then choose which service you want to request. Be aware that pranks and fake calls are not tolerated in any situation. Unless you're on a mobile phone, the call is free of charge and can be answered in: Portuguese, English or French. In case you require non-emergency medical assistance you can go to any local Health Care Centre (Centro de Saúde).

Algarve main Hospitals are in Faro Lagos and Portimão:

  • Faro Hospital local number: (+351) 289 891 100
  • Lagos Hospital local number: (+351) 282 770 100
  • Portimão Hospital local number: (+351) 282 450 330
  • Algarve Red Cross local number: (+351) 289 899 900

Money Exchange and Goods

Portugal is in the Euro since January 2002, if you are an European resident in the Euro zone no money exchange is required and you will likely be using your home country currency. If you are a non-Euro zone resident you will be able to use ATM machines that will exchange money automatically for you, which is very convenient, although you might not get the best money exchange deal.