The latest Portugal travel advice on holidays, flights and quarantine rules as air bridges to be announced

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 11:00 am
A surfer at Supertubos beach near Peniche, central Portugal in 2018 (Photo: FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP via Getty Images)
A surfer at Supertubos beach near Peniche, central Portugal in 2018 (Photo: FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP via Getty Images)

As lockdown restrictions across all parts of the UK slowly but surely ease, the public is itching to get away from it all and go on holiday.

But just how likely is it that we can travel to Portugal this summer in the wake of the rule changes?

Here’s everything you need to know:

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What are the lockdown restrictions in Portugal?

At the time of writing, the nation of Portugal has recorded 42,141 cases of Covid-19, and 1,576 deaths from the disease.

In light of its coronavirus outbreak, Portugal declared a state of emergency, which has since been downgraded to a state of “public calamity” since the end of April.

That downgrade kicked off a three-stage de-escalation plan to gradually ease confinement and mobility measures, and the latest big changes to the rules came on 1 June.

They included the reopening of shopping centres, nurseries and preschool facilities, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, and auditoriums – with social distancing.

Nightclubs and bars, spas, swimming pools, gyms, casinos and bingo halls, and bullrings remain closed, while indoor sports events and public events/gatherings with more than 20 people are still not allowed, except for religious ceremonies and family events, such as weddings and christenings.

Current restrictions also include mandatory confinement for sick people; everyone else can leave their homes or accommodation provided they respect the measures in place on social distancing and hygiene.

This means remaining two metres apart from other people when in public; the use of non-surgical masks is mandatory in enclosed spaces, such as supermarkets, shops, beauty salons, schools, public services, at the airport, in taxis and on public transport.

Are there any local lockdowns?

In the Greater Lisbon Metropolitan Area, lockdown measures are slightly stricter due to localised outbreaks of Covid-19.

There, private and public gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people, shopping centres, shops and services will close at 8pm, and the consumption of alcohol in public places, except on pavement cafes and restaurants, is banned.

Do I have to quarantine on arrival to Portugal?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises British people against all non-essential international travel, though this advice is “being kept under constant review.”

If you do travel to Portugal, entry requirements differ depending on where you are travelling to.

If you are travelling by air to mainland Portugal, your temperature will be checked on arrival, and if it is high or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities.

Travel to the Madeira and the Azores is slightly different, and passengers there are subject to a health screening on arrival and 14-days’ mandatory quarantine in a hotel.

Cruise ships can berth at ports on mainland Portugal, but passengers can only disembark if they are Portuguese nationals or residents.

Cruise ships are allowed to dock in Madeira and Porto Santo for a maximum period of 48 hours, but passengers and crew are not allowed to embark or disembark.

For more information on travelling to Portugal, head to the FCO’s website

Do I have to self-isolate when I return to the UK?

A two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving back in the UK – including UK nationals – has been in place since 8 June.

Passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train will have to provide an address where they will remain for 14 days.

On 29 June, it was announced the UK government will “shortly” begin to ease the measures, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival.

This will allow people in the UK to travel to select countries in Europe that have a low infection rate and where coronavirus is under control, and would allow tourists to travel freely between a number of approved countries without being forced into mandatory quarantine on either end of their journey.

A full list of the countries and territories from which arriving passengers will be exempted from self-isolation requirements will be announced later this week.