Portugal's Silver Coast 2 - Frequently Asked Questions
Portugal is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Like most European countries, Portugal has daylight savings time. It moves its clocks ahead an hour in late spring and an hour back in the fall, corresponding roughly to daylight saving time in the United States, but the exact dates vary. When it's noon in Lisbon, it's 7am in New York and 4am in San Francisco.
NEW YORK CITY
There are so many beautiful things to bring back with you from Portugal, so make sure you have space left in your suitcase. Very few places have formal dress codes in Portugal. Some people do dress up if they are visiting high-end restaurants and bars, but this is optional. Some churches may require that you cover your bare shoulders and legs when entering, so it's useful to carry a light scarf with you.
A valid passport is needed for visitors from the US, Canada and Australia. Visas are not required for Americans, Canadians or Australians for visits of less than 3 months. If you are a citizen of another E.U. country, you do not need a passport, only an identity card. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the European Union. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, your driver's license and your credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a trusted person and another in your suitcase.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE INFORMATION
This tour starts in Lisbon (airport code LIS) and ends in Porto (airport code OPO), Portugal.
The tour starts at 2:00PM on Sunday, October 8, 2023 in Lisbon, and your flight should arrive no later than 12:00PM. You'll probably depart North America on Saturday, October 7, 2022. We have arranged for individual airport transfers on arrival, and you will be met by a chauffeur on your arrival in Lisbon.
This tour ends after breakfast on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 in Porto, and we have arranged for individual airport transfers to the airport in accordance with your departing flight.
If you need assistance with pre- and post-tour arrangements, you can contact the Sights and Soul Travels' wonderful travel agent: Lisa Francois. You can contact Lisa through her travel portal: https://www.labelletravel.com, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 910 660 0960.
To avoid jet lag (common when crossing more than five time zones) drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids and eat light meals. Upon arrival, get exposure to natural sunlight, exercise and readjust your schedule (for meals, sleep and so on) as soon as possible.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT AND ROOMMATES
To avoid paying the single supplement, we offer guaranteed roommate matching, and we will try to match you with a roommate of similar age. Otherwise, there are several single rooms available on this tour, but they tend to fill up early. Please keep in mind that all shared rooms are non-smoking.
THE TRAVEL GROUP
The Portugal group is limited to the maximum of 16 women + the tour director. The minimum group size is 6 women + the tour director. In addition to the tour director, the travelers will be taken care of by private local guides and a bus driver, who will accompany the group throughout the tour.
Portugal does not offer free medical treatment to visitors. Travelers from Canada and the United States must pay for medical services rendered, but you will be reimbursed by your travel insurance. There are very few health problems encountered while traveling in Portugal. The tap water is generally safe to drink, the milk is pasteurized, and health services are good. Occasionally, the change in diet can cause some minor diarrhea, so you might want to take along some anti-diarrhea medicine. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the first few days of your trip and between 11am to 2pm. Use a sunscreen with a high protection factor and apply it liberally. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage, and carry prescription medications in their original containers, with pharmacy labels, otherwise, they won't make it through airport security. Also bring along copies of your prescriptions in case you lose your pills or run out. Don't forget an extra pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses. Carry the generic name of prescription medicines, in case a local pharmacist is unfamiliar with the brand name.
Tap water is generally potable throughout Portugal unless you are warned otherwise. Bottled water is inexpensive and readily available for sale.
Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in Portugal. Please be aware that sometimes a small fee is required to access public toilets, so you should always have some coins in the local currency with you to pay for them. Bring your own supply of toilet paper, soap or hand sanitizer as these aren't always provided.
Though Portugal has a relatively low rate of violent crime, petty crime aimed at tourists is on the rise in continental Portugal. Travelers can become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, particularly at popular sites, in restaurants, and on public transportation. In general, visitors to Portugal should carry limited cash and credit cards and should leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents in the hotel safe. Travelers should also avoid using ATMs in isolated or poorly lit areas.
During the Portugal's Silver Coast tour in Portugal, we will travel by bus and on foot. To be able to enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 4 miles throughout the day. You need to be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes, you need to be able to climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles without assistance and manage your own luggage without assistance. Overall, this trip is not strenuous, although it is busy. You must be prepared for a couple of full days and early starts.
Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. Yearly temperature averages are about 55°F in the north and 64°F in the south. Spring and summer months are usually warm and sunny, with July and August averaging maximums between 86°F and 95°F. The months of September and October are two of the best times to see Portugal as the weather is usually still warm and pleasant, and the attractions are less crowded than during the peak months of July and August. It's also a wonderful time to visit many of the wineries as the grape harvest is in full swing.
Portugal's cities have Internet access available in internet cafes, hotel lobbies and in some public places. Internet access in rural areas may be available, but it varies widely. Cellular phone coverage is generally very good in Portugal's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. All hotels where we’ll be staying have Wi-Fi Internet available for their guests.
Voltage in Portugal is 200 volts AC (50 cycles) and the plug is the typical European plug with two round prongs. Many stores in North America sell the appropriate transformers and adapters, and they can also be purchased on arrival in Lisbon airport. If you bring a hair dryer, it should be a dual-voltage one, and you'll need an adapter plug. Any heat generating appliances that you bring need a transformer, and they may still not work properly with the different voltage.
The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. It looks similar to Spanish, but sounds very different. Portuguese used in Portugal is much different than Portuguese used in Brazil. English is often spoken in the major resorts and at first-class hotels; in smaller places, you'll often need the help of a phrase book or dictionary.
Some people like to bring local currency with them when traveling to a foreign country, but it is not needed, and depends on what you're comfortable with. The easiest way to get local currency is on arrival at the airport ATM. ATMs are common throughout Portugal. You'll find them inside and outside all banks, in major shopping centers, in supermarkets and gas stations. The Euro, the single European currency, is the official currency of Portugal. Each Euro is divided into 100 Eurocents.
Hotels add a service charge (known as serviço), which is divided among the entire staff, but individual tipping is also the rule. Tip 1€ to the bellhop for running an errand, 1€ to the doorman who hails you a cab, 1€ to the porter for each piece of luggage carried, and 1.50€ to the chambermaid. If you used the concierge’s services, he/she will present you with a separate bill for extra. A gratuity is expected in addition to the charge. Figure on tipping about 20% of your taxi fare for short runs. Restaurants include a service charge and government taxes of 18%. Add about 10% to the restaurant bill. Washroom attendants get .50€.
Merchandise from all over Portugal ends up in Lisbon stores. Products made of cork, which range from place mats to boxes, are good buys. Collectors seek out decoratively glazed tiles. You also might find good buys in Lisbon of porcelain and china, fishermen's sweaters from the north, and Fado recordings. Intricately woven lightweight baskets make attractive, practical gifts. Pottery is one of the best buys in Portugal, and pottery covered with brightly colored roosters from Barcelos is legendary. Blue-and-white pottery is made in Coimbra and often in Alcobaça, and yellow-and-green dishes in the shape of vegetables (especially cabbage), fruit, animals, and even leaves, come from Caldas da Rainha. Atlantis crystal is another good buy, as is suede and leather. The best buy in Portugal, gold, is strictly regulated by the government. Jewelers must put a minimum of 19.2 karats into the jewelry they sell. Filigree jewelry in gold and silver is popular in Lisbon. Portugal is also famous for Arraiolos carpets, fine woolen rugs that have earned an international reputation.