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Currency in Portugal

Taking a holiday in another country is always an adventure. When planning a trip, it’s always important to understand the currency used in your destination.

Over the past months, the TransferGo Blog has published a number of posts concerning currency rules and acceptance in various countries. In this instalment, we look at currency in Portugal.

What currency does Portugal use?

The official Portugal currency is the euro.

The euro was first adopted as the official Portuguese currency on 1st January 1999, replacing the official currency, the escudo. As is the case with many countries that adopted the euro, the escudo was accepted alongside the euro for several years. It was eventually removed from circulation on the 28th of February 2002.

Those needing to exchange currency in Portugal should take note that some banks no longer offer foreign exchange. However “cambios” (Bureaux de Change) are common. Hotels and many shops also offer exchange services. The best exchange rates are found in the larger cities.

British visitors are advised that they will get a rate that is around 2% better if they exchange pounds for euros before leaving the UK. It should also be noted that some travellers have reported that some cambios and shops have refused to accept Scottish currency.

Carrying large amounts of cash is not recommended in Portugal. ATMs are very plentiful even in the smaller towns. Most ATMs charge as small fee for each withdrawal so limiting withdrawals to one per day will save money.

Tipping in Portugal

Tipping is common in Portugal but, unlike some other countries, it’s not considered mandatory.  When paying by credit card, it’s preferable to leave the tip in cash to ensure the person receives the tip.


A 5-10% tip is standard and is left for good service. At coffee shops, tapas bars and takeaway sandwich shops it is customary to round up to the nearest euro.


Taxi drivers are usually not tipped. If you hire a private driver a tip of 2-5 euros is standard.

Private guides

If you hire a private guide a tip of 10-40 euros is standard depending on the level of service and the length of time the guide spends in planning and escorting you.


Typically, a tip of 1-2 euros per day is left for cleaners.

Top Places to Visit in Portugal

Portugal is a relatively small country yet has a remarkably varied landscape. Portugal’s beaches are beautiful and very popular.

If this is your first trip to Portugal here are some of the more popular destinations.


Located on the Algarve coastline, Lagos offers beaches that are considered by many to be the most beautiful in the country.  The area has retained much of its historic charm and has not been compromised by mass tourism.


Porto is the birthplace of port and the beverage plays an important role in the area’s history. The waterfront is excellent and the historic architecture is wonderful. It rains a bit more in Porto than in some of the other popular Portuguese destinations, but should still be considered.


Lisbon is an incredibly modern city which has not forgotten its historic past and heritage. Lisbon is divided into a number of very distinct districts each with its own flavour, architecture and history. There are lots of pedestrian areas, shopping streets and a great nightlife.

The TransferGo Blog regularly publishes guide for making the most of travel opportunity, working in a new country, saving money and finding new ways to enjoy your leisure time.



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