Banks are open Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 15.00 but closed on Saturdays and Sundays. All banks change traveler’s cheques and sterling. When changing money or cashing traveler’s cheques, one will need his passport. The majority of hotel and self-catering complexes, also have exchange facilities at reception. Most banks will give you Euros on credit cards.
Most of the credit and charge cards are accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants. It is advisable to check first whether or not your card is accepted, when in smaller towns. Some petrol stations may not accept credit cards or will make a small charge for taking credit card payments.
Beaches are saved but never swim when the red flag is flying. This means that the sea conditions are too dangerous for bathing. Although officially illegal, topless sunbathing is common practice, but nude sunbathing is not permitted.
If on a charter flight, one should confirm his flight 24 hours before, in order to assure that there have been no changes to the departure time. Prior to leaving the hotel or apartment, one should ensure that he holds passports and flight tickets and that the room key has been handed back to reception. If flights are later in the day, it is likely that one will still need to checkout at noon, but generally, the accommodation will have a secure area where one can leave his cases.
When driving in Portugal it is recommended for wearing seatbelts and there are substantial fines for speeding. Alcohol levels related to driving are lower than those in other countries and considered a criminal offense. A hire car should always carry the car documents given on arrival, and the driver his Driving Licence and Passport. One should not leave any items showing when one parks a hired car
To use UK electrical equipment one will require an adaptor, to convert to 220 volts A.C. One can buy adaptors in any local electrical shop inexpensively.
For Emergency Services in Portugal, the equivalent to the ‘999’ emergency telephone number is ‘112’. The operator will connect you to the Police, Fire Brigade, or Ambulances, according to your report of the emergency.
The Portuguese equivalent of V.A.T is called I.V.A and is included in all restaurant, car hire, and hotel bills. On items, I.V.A is 23% but services are 6%.
If in need of Medical Services during his stay, there are medical centers. For insurance purposes, one should get a receipt for any money, one pays out and inform his representative.
Most towns and resorts have at least one Post Office ‘Correio’ and the letters C.T.T identifies these. The main post offices in Faro and Portimão are open on Saturday mornings, but all others are open generally between 09.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00 Monday to Friday. All offices have public telephones and email-internet facilities. Stamps may be obtained at most hotels, tobacconist shops, or souvenir stands
Security - most hotels have safes/safety deposit boxes that one can rent. One should not leave valuables in hired cars. If ever something is stolen, one should report it immediately to the nearest police station, and ask for a police report, in order to claim back from the insurance.
Most shops are open 09.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00, Monday to Friday, and 09.00-13.00 on Saturdays. Many of the markets are also good for a large range of goods.
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