The currency of Portugal is the Euro, which you can obtain by changing money at cambios (currency exchange centres) or in shops or hotels in popular tourist destinations across the country, such as Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve coast.
The best way to order Euros for your holiday in Portugal
This is much more cost effective than ordering at the airport, where Pound to Euro exchange rates are much less competitive, meaning you’ll get less for your sterling. Exchange rates at hotels also tend to be uncompetitive, so it’s definitely best to get your Euros at home rather than waiting to order your currency in Portugal.
Using cash machines in Portugal
You’ll find cash machines (ATMs) throughout Portugal, especially in popular holiday destinations, so if you need some extra cash, you’ll have little trouble withdrawing it. You’ll find automated cashpoints at the majority of bank branches, as well as most large supermarkets and shopping districts, railway stations and airports. Use your British debit or credit card to withdraw your Portugal money or pay for products and services by card.
If you visit more remote areas of the country, such as the beautiful Peneda-Gerês National Park in the far north, it’s a good idea to bring cash before you travel. ATMs may not be widely available in these areas, and it will be harder to find cambios for exchanging your sterling to currency in Portugal. Some businesses in rural areas may not accept card payments, so make sure you have enough Euros for food, and bring emergency cash with you just in case.
Other useful advice
Some shops may require a minimum card payment, such as 10 Euros, and the maximum amount you can withdraw from any cash machine in Portugal in one transaction is 200 Euros. However, you can withdraw more cash in subsequent transactions in the same day, although bear in mind that your bank’s maximum daily withdrawal limit still applies if you’re taking out cash abroad.
Many banks in smaller Portuguese towns and villages are closed during the siesta period in the early to mid-afternoon, and all banks close at weekends and bank holidays.
Expect a small surcharge for making a cash withdrawal in Portugal, which will usually be no more than about 3% of the total transaction. Unfortunately, you can incur hidden fees when you get Portugal currency at cambios, and it can be very difficult to find places that will accept Traveller’s Cheques in the country. However, when you need some Portugal money at short notice, cambios can come in handy, as they are open every day of the week in the country’s main tourist destinations.