Affinity Villas Blog

Algarve Useful Information Before You Travel

Our passion is the Algarve, therefore, whether you are a loyal customer of Affinity Villas or a holidaymaker visiting this wonderful region in Portugal for the first time, our comprehensive travel guide will certainly help you enjoy your trip. Below is Algarve information at a glance covering car hire, climate, driving, restaurant tipping etiquette, insurance, emergency assistance and more.


British Citizens require a passport for travel to Portugal and it should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. Children under the age of 18 and infants must travel with their own passports and must either be accompanied by a parent or guardian, or be met at the airport or point of entry by a parent or guardian, or if not accompanied by parent or guardian, carry a letter of authorisation to travel from that parent or guardian. The letter should name the adult in Portugal who will be responsible for the child during their stay. All other nationalities should check with their Embassy for entry requirements.


It is strongly advised that you take out adequate travel insurance to ensure that all members of your party, including yourself are covered should the unexpected happen. It is your responsibility to ensure any policy meets your needs, including the cost of cancellation by you and assistance overseas if you suffer accident or illness. Even with travel insurance, all individuals in your party should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Please take this and your travel insurance policy with you on holiday.


If you are hiring a car in Portugal, please remember to take your current driving licence, a valid credit card and a spare pair of glasses if you usually wear prescription lenses when driving.

In Resort



The official currency is the Euro. A small amount of Euros will be useful but please remember most insurance companies will often only cover up to the equivalent of £200 in the event of loss or theft. Most towns have cash point machines and credit, charge or debit cards are widely accepted. It is advisable to check that your preferred payment method is accepted before attempting to make a purchase.


The voltage is 220 Volts. You will need a European plug with two circular metal pins. LANGUAGE The official language is Portuguese, although English is widely spoken and understood.


Tipping is discretionary but as a general rule 10% in a restaurant, a few small coins from your change in a bar or café.

Driving in Portugal


The rules of the road in Portugal are similar as in most other European countries and penalties for speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, the use of mobile phones whilst driving and illegal parking are heavy. Special importance is also given to the use of child safety seats and seat belts in the rear of the vehicle.

✦ The Portuguese drive on the right hand side of the road, give priority to the left and overtake on the left.

✦ Seatbelt use is compulsory in the front and rear of all cars.

✦ Children under 12 years of age must travel in the rear of a car.

✦ Babies and children under 12 years of age and/or under 1.5m tall must use an approved child or baby seat.

✦ Non-European licences must be accompanied with an International Driving Permit.

✦ Driving licence, passport and vehicle documentation should be carried at all times.

✦ Traffic police can legally carry out spot checks and ‘on-thespot’ fines can be imposed.


Built-up areas 50 kph / 31 mph

Major roads outside towns 90 kph / 56 mph

Motorways 120 kph / 74 mph


Do not park your hire car within 18 metres of a road junction, 15 metres of a bus stop or within 3 metres of a tram or bus stop as it is against regulations and could incur a fine. Be sure to park your car in the same direction as the traffic moving on your side of the road. Do not leave any valuables in the car, and nothing whatsoever on display inside as hire cars are often targeted by opportunistic thieves!


The blood/alcohol limit in Portugal is 0.05%, which is lower than the UK. A blood/alcohol reading of more than 0.12% will result in imprisonment. DO NOT drink and drive!


All accidents must be reported to the police and to your hire car company immediately. Take the full name, address, car registration and insurance details of anyone else involved and under no circumstances should you admit liability or pay any money. It is important not to move the car until instructed to do so by the police. A warning triangle should be provided and must be placed in the road at least 30 metres behind the vehicle. It is also compulsory to wear a yellow reflective jacket while waiting for assistance, even in daylight.


The A22, which stretches the length of the Algarve, is a toll road and your journey may well include driving on this road. The tolls work by capturing the number plate of each car that passes under the gantry’s which are located at intervals along the motorway.

Many hire cars are equipped with the automatic charging boxes fixed in the cars which will report the tolls with payment deducted from your credit card. Please make sure you understand how you will be charged with your car hire company. Heavy fines are imposed for those who do not or cannot pay toll fees.

Emergency Assistance

In case of emergency call 112 from any phone, this includes your UK mobile phone. You should also have 24-hour emergency numbers provided by your travel insurer. In the event of credit or debit card theft, it’s a good idea to bring along bank or other insurer phone numbers. As is the case globally, mobile phones are often innocently lost or in some cases stolen, again, it’s worth collating phone provider information to block phones should these events occur.


In the event that you lose your passport or serious medical emergency, the location of the nearest British Embassy is Lisbon. Please see address and phone number listed below.

Rua de São Bernardo 33, Lisbon 1249-082, 00 351 21 392 4000