Is it Safe to Travel to Portugal Right Now?

Let’s break this down as easy as possible. Like many countries that heavily rely on the tourism industry, Portugal has been hit hard during COVID-19. Currently, Portugal is one of the easier and more welcoming international countries to go to right now.

The first question you might be asking…

Is there a ban on travel to Portugal right now?

The answer is no. While the EU has taken the United States off its list of safe countries, its merely a suggestion that you should not travel to Portugal. It does not mean that you cannot travel to Portugal. While this news from a few weeks back shook those that had plans to travel to Portugal, this was not made an official law. The EU is a governing body, they do not create laws for the individual countries, including Portugal.


The EU legislation is divided into primary and secondary. The treaties (primary legislation) are the basis or ground rules for all EU action. Secondary legislation – which includes regulations, directives and decisions – are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the treaties.

What does Portugal currently require to visit?

Non-essential travel (i.e., tourist travel) from the United States to Portugal is currently permitted for travelers with proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding your final destination flight to Portugal. For our flight to Lisbon, we chose to get a PCR test done at a local Walgreens and had the results in 24hours, a day before our flight at ORD (O’hare International Airport- Chicago). We tested on Wednesday morning, got our results Thursday afternoon and were able to board our Friday evening flight.

Since we were connecting in London, we had to fill out a passenger locator form, which only took about 5 minutes or so.

Note- we could check in to our flight 24hours before departure but we could not get our boarding pass. This is because the airlines (British Airways) needed to verify our negative COVID-19 result and passenger locator form at the gate.

Passenger Locator Form
https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk

Mandatory Quarantines and Testing Requirements in effect. Attempts to exit customs or board a flight with a positive COVID test will result in a ten-day quarantine at the traveler’s expense. U.S. citizens using the same day testing option at the airport and receiving a positive COVID test result will be detained, sometimes for hours, until transportation and quarantine accommodation can be arranged at the traveler’s expense.  For this reason, I strongly discourage same day testing at the airport.

Azores and Madeira may have different requirements than mainland Portugal. Please consult the specific sections below for additional requirements in effect for these autonomous regions.

Testing Requirements
Testing Requirements for Passengers Boarding Flights*
Entering PortugalEntering the US
Testing Requirement: EU Digital Vaccination Certificateor NAAT test within 72 hours. A negative SARSCoV-2 lab result of a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), for example a PCR test, performed at least 72 hours before boarding, or TRAg test within 48 hours. A rapid antigen test (TRAg), performed within 48 hours of boarding. Passenger Locator Card must be completed and submitted. (Different airlines require completion of form before take-off. We advise completing and printing prior to scheduled travel)Testing Requirement: Negative test within 72 hours. A negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel, or Provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Attestation confirming one of the two options above is true.
Quarantine Requirements
Travelers who test positive for COVID can be required to quarantine for up to 10 days. Due to increased instances of mandatory detention by health authorities, we do not recommend same day airport testing.
Accommodation Requirements*
Proof of vaccination or Negative COVID Test required at some accommodations: Hotels, Guesthouses, and private vacation rentals (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). One of the following is now required upon check-in:Mandatory submission of an EU Digital Vaccination Certificate orA negative COVID test result (PCR 72 hours; antigen 48 hours; rapid test before health official 24 hours) orA rapid test immediately on arrival in front of an employee at offering hotels.

*Please Note: Requirements change rapidly. It is your responsibility to confirm requirements with your airline, accommodations, and other events/activities before travel.

Related: My Favorite Travel Credit Cards to Fly for Free

Portugal Transportation

All of Portugal’s transportation systems are open and running. Note Face masks are required on all public transit. Public transport now has unlimited capacity and there are no longer rules around riding in cars — including taxis — with other households. This includes but is not limited to intercity trains, interconnecting city trains, trams, buses, taxi’s, Uber and electric scooters. Wearing masks outside is still encouraged.

Portugal Restaurants

Most restaurants have implemented social distancing and an indoor mask mandate in bigger city restaurants (Lisbon, Algarve, Porto) throughout Portugal. You should wear a mask on your way to be seated and if you get up for any reason. While seated with your party, it’s OK not to have a mask on while consuming a beverage or food. Groups in restaurants and bars are now upped to eight inside and 15 outside, while cultural facilities are capped at 75% capacity.

There are some restaurants or places, like the Time Out Market in Lisbon, that require proof of a negative COVID-19 result or proof of vaccination.

Portugal’s Current COVID-19 Situation

Portugal has had over a million cases and 17,914 deaths as of September 20. Cases were rising over the summer months, however they now appear to be falling. There were 272 new cases registered in the week leading up to September 20 . As of September 20, over 15.5+ million vaccine doses have been administered in Portugal. 81% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Cases & Deaths. September 2021
Portugal COVID-19 Google Case Data. September 2021.
Useful Links

Current Entry Regulations – VisitPortugal.com

US Embassy & Consulate in Portugal

Passenger Locator Form – EU

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2 Responses to “Is it Safe to Travel to Portugal Right Now?

  • Portugal has a great reputation. I need to go there soon, especially Porto. Good details.

    • It’s often overlooked by Spain and I’ll admit, I was one of those people who chose to explore Spain first. They are similar but different in many ways. Both lovely countries to take a nice road trip!

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