Travel Tips Part 1
A trip to or through Portugal can be a delight. As a smaller country to its neighbour Spain, it has a more personal and endearing character and bilingual staff man all tourist offices.
Shopping hours are normally from 09.00-19.00 Mondays-Fridays, Saturdays 09.00-13.00. There are some shops that extend their hours and days of opening. Shopping Centres open 09.00-23.00 all week except for certain Public Holidays. This also applies to large supermarkets which variusly close between 20.00 and 22.00.
There is a great a lack in past design and facilities to provide their needs. Happily, awareness is now is evident in reserved parking spaces in public areas and special toilets at airports, stations and entertainment centres. For those arriving elsewhere in Portugal before visiting the Algarve, in Lisbon (217 585 676) and Porto (226 006 353), there is a ‘dial-a-ride’ disabled bus service. Also in Lisbon (218 155 061), Braga (253 684 081) and Coimbra (239 484 522), there are taxi services for disabled persons.
The current all over Portugal is 220 volts AC – two-pin plug. The plug today acts also as an earth except in older buildings that use older models.
By calling anywhere in Portugal on 112 you will be connected to Fire, Police and Ambulance services. Every Fire Brigade bombeiros also maintains ambulances for emergencies. Chemists farmacias display a green cross on white background and can give advice on simple health problems and suggest appropriate treatment. They are also permitted to sell many medicines without a doctor’s subscription. A red cross on a white background denotes a Red Cross station. In most towns, there are Emergency Treatment Centres (SAP) providing 24 hour medical assistance.
Security in cities and towns is handled by the Policia de Seguranca Publica (PSP), rural areas by the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) and in traffic by Brigada de Transito. On motorways and several major roads, there are SOS phone boxes for help in accidents or breakdowns.
Corpus Christi (Early June)
It is traditional for each municipality (concelho), to reserve a holiday for its commerce, when restaurants open but most shops close.