Area: 92,090 km ²
Climate: Mediterranean climate
Population: 10,647,763 (est. July 2010)
Government Type: Parliamentary republic GDP: $234.945 billion (est. 2010)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $ 22,027 (est. 2010)
Information for Foreign Students in Portugal
Getting There Almost all major airlines fly to Portugal (British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa), besides the country's own TAP Portugal. However, there are some cheap fares to be had from the no-frills airlines, like Aer Lingus, Monarch, easyJet, Ryanair and Vueling who have recently started flying to Lisbon (LIS), Porto (OPO) and Faro (FAO) at good prices. There are three international airports in the mainland: Lisbon/Portela (in the north of the city, and not far from the centre), near Loures; Porto/Pedras Rubras/Sá Carneiro (also north of the city and relatively close to it), in Maia; and Faro, in the Algarve.
Obtaining a Visa Portugal is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will need a passport for entry. Visit your local Portuguese embassy for more information regarding prolonged stay visa information.
The youth hostel network has a great number of hostels around the country. If budget is a concern, and you want a true 'typical-portuguese' experience, gather your courage and try one Residencial, the home-like hostels ubiquitous in cities and most towns. In most places you can get a double room for €25-€35 (Oct 2006). Be sure, however, of the quality of the rooms. The 'Casas de Campo' (Turismo de Habitação, Turismo Rural, Agro-Turismo), when traveling through the countryside, are also an affordable, picturesque and comfortable B&Bs. Don't expect them to be open all year round, and try to contact them beforehand if your itinerary depends on them.
The currency of Portugal is the Euro. ATMs accepting international cards can be found everywhere, and currency conversion booths spring up wherever there is a steady flow of tourists (although the closer they are to tourist attractions, the worse the rates they offer). To authorize your payment with a credit card, you are frequently presented a device with a keypad where you should type PIN code and also confirm amount--even for Visa Classic or MasterCard. This is different from many other countries in Europe where a card is taken , and tends to be safer as the card doesn't go out of your sight and there's therefore no chance that its magnetic strip will be copied and someone steal your money months later.
Portugal is most likely one of the safest countries to visit, and some basic common sense will go a long way. There are no internal conflicts to speak of, no terrorism-related danger and violent crime is not a serious problem, as it is generally confined to particular neighbourhoods and is rarely a random crime. Also, there is a refreshing lack of boozy stupidity at the weekends, despite the profusion of bars open to all hours in the major cities.
Rail travel in Portugal is usually slightly faster than travel by bus, but services are less frequent and cost more. The immediate areas surrounding Lisbon and Porto are reasonably well-served by suburban rail services. Lisbon and Porto, the two largest urban cities, have clean, modern and air-conditioned metro systems (underground/subway and light railway).