Portugal: a high value vacation for the budget traveler

Portugal: a high value vacation for the budget traveler

Portugal once was a great naval power and later one of the poorest countries in Europe. Joining the European Union has brought the country great prosperity, but it still is one of the least expensive countries in Europe for a vacation. Its mountainous countryside has helped to isolate it from its neighbor to the east, Spain, and this has given rise to a unique culture with fantastic architecture and numerous sites and activities for travelers.   Getting in, out, and about Portugal   A US traveler only needs a passport that will remain valid for at least three months beyond the planned duration of your stay. As a party to the Schengen Agreement, Portugal allows visa-free entry for up to 90 days within any country in the Schengen area for any period within six months. This also allows you to travel across borders into any other Schengen country with only your passport.   If you enter Portugal through another European country, you may have to register your presence with the local officials within 72 hours of your entry. This law is spotty and not enforced for everyone. If your travel plans include travel to Portugal from another European country, consult with a local Portuguese consulate or the US State Department travel website for additional information: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/Portugal.html.   For LGBT travelers, Portugal has a progressive attitude and has recently legalized same-sex marriage. However, outside of the larger cities, you may encounter intolerance. The Portuguese tend to be extremely welcoming to travelers, and outside of the typical instances of petty theft and pickpocketing, Portugal has a low instance of crime. Since austerity measures were introduced in 2012, there are instances of public protests. These tend to be non-violent, but travelers should steer clear just in case. Terrorist activity is uncommon, but the open borders provided by the Schengen Agreement make it possible for terrorists to get in easily. Always remain aware of your surroundings and exercise a modicum of common sense and your vacation should remain safe.   In the event of an emergency, Portugal uses the 112 phone code as their equivalent to the US 911. The health care inside of urban areas is generally excellent, although this may not be the case in more rural locations. Stay up to date on your routine vaccinations. Although there are no required vaccinations for entry into Portugal, some travelers find it expedient...

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