After several months at home and possibly some cancelled trips, you must be as eager as us to travel again! The majority of the team of SeaBookings lives in Portugal and this is also where the company was founded. There are many reasons to visit Portugal bus now, given the current circumstances, we’d like to share some special reasons to visit Portugal this summer.
In fact, Portugal is ready and prepared to receive you for summer holidays. Check out our 7 reasons to visit Portugal this summer:
1. Beaches in Portugal are already open for the practice of sports
Since May 4th, we can enjoy the beaches again, not to sunbathe yet, laying on a towel, but to walk, run or practice any other watersports like surfing. We can already enjoy the beach! Let’s cross our fingers that very soon, we can freely enjoy the beach again.
According to the Algarve Travel Board, beaches will open in June, with health regulations and procedures in place. A maximum number of people per beach is one of the possible measures. Let’s see.
And if you like waterparks, the Algarve Travel Board points to June and July to reopen these, again with special health measures. The park’s capacity will, therefore, be reduced and have compulsory use of masks in closed areas like restaurants and stores.
2. Golf courses, marinas and some hotels are already open in Portugal
Portugal was rather quick to adopt preventive measures at an early stage of the pandemic. As such, Portugal has fewer cases than other European countries; with only 11 reported deaths per 100 000 population (May 14th, according to the ECDC). And looking within Portugal, the Algarve, our favorite destination, is one of the least affected regions in Portugal.
Some golf courses, marinas and car hire businesses are already open with strict health protocols in place, of course. Regarding hotels, over a third of hotels in the Algarve are open and the local tourism board expects this to rise to 75% in June and most to be open in July.
3. Delicious Portuguese Restaurants
During these times, you might want to book a hotel or apartment with a kitchen so you can cook some meals at home and use your time outdoors to enjoy nature. Take-away and delivery services have been open during the whole period of lockdown in Portugal and work very well.
The good news is also that as of May 18th, restaurants can reopen with 50 per cent capacity restrictions.
4. Sea experiences will resume very soon in Portugal
Thanks to the large effort by the national authorities and also local agents, Portugal defined a set of best practices in terms of safety and security, to restart its tourism sector. The “Clean & Safe” seal is one of these measures.
Turismo de Portugal, the Portuguese Tourism Board, recognizes companies in the Tourism sector that comply with the recommendations of the local health authority to avoid the contamination of COVID-19.
All tourism companies that wish to obtain the “Clean & Safe” seal must comply with a set of provisions. Of course, most of our local tour providers in Portugal have already obtained this seal and are ready to have you once the local authorities give us the “OK” to resume our sea experiences (it should be in the coming days). In fact, in Madeira, nautical experiences will restart already on May 20th! So if you visit Portugal this summer, you’ll be able to experience the sea to its fullest!
In addition to local tour providers, other sector agents are also strongly committed to reopening in a gradual, responsible and safe manner and commit to the seal. According to João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism, the Algarve already has 271 hotels, 176 tourist entertainment companies and 177 travel agencies, duly certified by this initiative of Turismo de Portugal, that pioneered this worldwide.
5. Safety measures upon arrival in Portugal
The reopening of borders and air traffic is the main factor that still remains undefined, preventing the return of tourism in full. For now, travel from and to outside the EU will at least be banned until June 15th in Portugal.
Portugal seems to be the right bet as several international airlines and tour operators are showing great interest in resuming their flights to Portugal. Some airlines already even taking reservations.
Regarding the local airports, some measures are being implemented upon arrival to ensure the protection of passengers and staff. The possible measures at airports in Portugal include:
- Temperature measurement at arrivals;
- Hand sanitizers at all points of the terminals;
- Mandatory use of a mask at the terminal;
- Warnings for the need for extra hygiene care and the need for physical distance;
- Installation of personal protections in service counters (acrylic and glass);
- Reinforcement of cleaning of spaces and equipment with hospital-level disinfectants and use of UV equipment, among other measures.
6. Local culture in Museums, Monuments and Cinema in Portugal
According to the Portuguese reopening plan (Plano de Desconfinamento), as from May 18th, museums, monuments and palaces, art galleries and the like will reopen with reduced capacity and physical distance. The use of masks might also be mandatory in some places.
And from June 1st, cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls should be open again. Be aware that these will have marked seats, reduced capacity and physical distance.
The sad news is that summer festivals have been banned until September 30th.
7. Face masks and hand sanitizer are widely available in Portugal
A few days after the use of masks in schools, public transport, shops and other closed spaces with a lot of people became mandatory in Portugal, the VAT rate was reduced from 23% to 6% on this kind of protective equipment, as well as disinfectant gel. Masks and hand sanitizer are available at pharmacies but also at big supermarkets like Continente, Pingo Doce, El Corte Inglés and Mercadona. The supermarkets Intermarché and Bricomarché stand out as they sell disposable masks and other personal protective equipment at cost prices “without any profit”.
According to ECO newspaper, the disposable masks are available for 0.40 cents a unit and a pack of 50 masks costs 20.15 euros. A 50 ml bottle of hand sanitizer is 4.90 euros and prices are monitored weekly in order to have the best price on the market.
We know that traveling in these “new normal” times can be a bit scary, but we truly believe Portugal is a good bet. If you’ve got any doubts or tips about traveling to Portugal this summer, feel free to contact us at any time.