2 March 2021

Portugal managed to sidestep the worst of the pandemic. Mainland Portugal, Azores and Madeira lockdown is over; new reported cases of COVID-19 are low. Businesses remain cautious, but almost all hotels, shops, theaters, offices, factories, schools, and retail outlets have reopened. So have most tourist attractions and restaurants.

State-run tourism agency Turismo de Portugal has introduced a hygiene label to be awarded to operators meeting government-controlled standards. Portugal Trails and all its partners/suppliers comply with these standards and have been awarded the Clean & Safe label. Portugal is now considered one of the easiest and safest post-pandemic holidays currently on offer.

Self-guided and self-driven tours become dominant

Group and guided-tour packages have dramatically declined in popularity: McKinsey survey shows that only 10 percent of travelers would be likely to take big group tours for their next trips. Sixty-eight percent regard them as impossible even to consider. This is a fundamental shift.

Portugal Trails has been offering self-guided tours for 11 years now. If long ago we considered this was the way to travel, now we are certain that is not only the most enjoyable but also safest option!

How do we foresee Summer 2020 in Portugal?

Tourists are welcome in Portugal this summer! The Iberian Peninsula is looking like the place to be this summer, as Portugal has joined neighbors Spain in announcing that tourists won’t need to quarentine when visiting. As another European country keen to restart their crucial tourist economy, Portugal – like Italy and Greece – will be open for tourists this summer, and the lack of quarantine is likely to make it an attractive option.

In an interview with Observador (local newspaper), Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva stressed that “to tourists who come by air, Portugal will not impose a quarentine”, instead focusing on “minimal health controls” to keep travellers and locals safe.

Travel recovery after September 2020

According to a McKinsey survey, a few intrepid people expect to be traveling in early summer, but the majority of respondents do not plan to venture until late September and early October. We are ready to welcome all our travelers and provide a safe and memorable vacation!

Air Travel

International commercial flight options currently exist in Portugal. On flights, all magazines and newspapers have been removed. For food and beverages, travelers get packaged snacks and bottled water. Airports check temperatures both when passengers arrive and right before they board their flights. More information here. The border restrictions for non-essential travel have been lifted on the 1st of July 2020, the same date in which the land borders with Spain have been reopened.

Air Travel 

Some airlines with flights from/to Portugal:

For questions on travel eligibility, please consult your airline. For questions on visa eligibility for transit/entry, please contact Portuguese immigration authorities at (SEF).

Most Relevant Measures to ensure Physical Distancing and Improving Hygiene

  • Hotels modified their procedures—for example, by closing buffets and increasing the distance between tables in restaurants. Staff all wear personal protective equipment (PPE); some hotels require it for guests in public areas, while others only encourage it;
  • Tourist sites, such as museums, monuments or even theme parks, have reduced their capacity by 30 to 50 percent of previous levels and continue with social distancing measures;
  • Restaurants, cafés, pastry shops and terraces may choose to limit capacity to 50% or can allow maximum capacity with a physical barrier between customers and staff, and a mandatory space of 1.5 m between tables.
  • Shops over 400 square meters or in shopping centers, cinemas, theaters, auditoriums, concert halls are open – Marked seats, reduced capacity and physical distancing;
  • Beach season began on June 6, there are restrictions on the number of people per beach but you can download a mobile app that will show the current situation in each beach;


What can the world learn from this?

Although the recovery will differ country by country, there are common themes. People still want to travel. Many are calling this “revenge travel”: bookings for cruises in the United States—arguably one of tourism’s hardest-hit sectors—remain strong for 2021. Economy travel will recover more quickly. And outdoor and nature-related destinations will be more popular than congested cities. This is why Portugal is the perfect place to go first! Travel will return. By acting early and flexibly, companies can better adapt to the changing needs of travelers. China’s early signs of recovery provide useful lessons for the whole travel industry.



We are a local tour operator specialized in custom Self-Guided Tours in Portugal & Spain

Our local team will craft a tailor-made trip plan with an itinerary and a selection of hotels, activities and transportation based on your interests and budget. We offer a turnkey package and take care of all the logistics. While you are travelling, our local team is available by phone 24/7, so that we make sure you have a hassle-free vacation.

We also want to guarantee you have all you need when you are on tour. You will get a personalized roadbook with your day-to-day planning designed especially for you and an exclusive guidebook written by our team on Portugal with additional information. To ease the driving, you will receive a pre-programmed GPS with preloaded coordinates for all of the above.

We know sometimes life gets in the way, so all our tours are fully-refundable until 5 working days prior to your arrival – money back guarantee, no questions asked.

After we receive your enquiry, we will send you a free proposal, that can be changed as many times as necessary until meeting your expectations. Start planning your trip today!


Topics: iloveportugal, portugal, portugal trails, portugal travel agency, portuguese travel agency, self-drive, self-drive in portugal, visitportugal

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