Currency in Portugal

Countries  »  Portugal  »  Local Currency

Currency and Money in Portugal

Currency, ATMs, Exchange

Portugal has the euro (EUR, €) as its sole currency along with 23 other countries that use this common European money. These 23 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (official euro members which are all European Union member states) as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. Together, these countries have a population of 327 million. 

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

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).

Credit Cards

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.

Haggling

In smaller (non-high-street) shops you can try some haggling, especially if you offer to buy multiple items. You might want to check your change, though: although not a widespread practice, some shopkeepers might "accidentally" overcharge tourists.

Tipping

Tipping in restaurants is optional. Waiters earn wages in Portugal and a 'tip' is considered a note of appreciation, not a means to make up for a tiny salary - if you are not too happy with the service, don't tip. Keep in mind that whilst tipping, most people in Portugal would just round up the total bill to the next euro. Even in expensive restaurants more than 2 to 3 euro would be hardly justified.

Tipping taxi drivers and daily tips for hotel staff are not customary in Portugal.

What to Buy

Designer clothes Although not widely known internationally, Portugal has several independent fashion designers. The list includes: Fátima Lopes, Maria Gambina. Some of them have dedicated shops in Lisbon. There is an amazing number of other things you can buy, either at sophisticated commercial facilities or at fairs and more popular places. Handicraft is a good example. Handmade leather purses or clothes, toys, home utensils, glass items, decoration, etc. You can find them at popular touristic places or at better prices in fairs and popular parties in small towns. Almost all major brands can be bought in major cities, all luxury articles are available, but there is not a clear advantage in buying them here as prices are equivalent to all other places.

Regional specials Dolls in Nazaré, also the Galo de Barcelos.

Cork products Being one of the top world exporters of cork, design products made using cork are becoming quite popular. Stores such as Cork and Company in Bairro Alto offer such products.

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