Portugal holidays: Can Brits travel to Portugal?

The Foreign and Commonwealth office is still advising UK nationals against all but essential international travel, but this is due to change when the air bridge countries are announced. Will Portugal be on this list?

Most of mainland Portugal went into alert on July 1, with the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon now in a state of contingency.

A range of restrictions are in place across Portugal, requiring people infected with the virus to stay at home or in hospital.

Social distancing rules apply, citizens are required to wear masks, and gatherings are limited to 20 people.

Rules are stricter in Lisbon, with gatherings limited to 10 people and a curfew in place for most establishments.

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At the start of June, Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva said anyone in the UK wishing to travel to Portugal this summer will be “most welcome”, but will the air bridge deal be secured?

Portugal is waiting a decision from the UK Government on whether or not the two countries can establish a mutual agreement.

Pedro Siza Vieira, the Portuguese Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition said: “We continue to discuss with the British authorities in order to explain that Portugal, as a whole and in parts of the country, such as in the Algarve and the north of the country, are safe destinations and therefore it does not make sense to have discrimination in these terms.

“Portugal continues to have a mortality rate much lower than that of the United Kingdom, we continue to have a great response from our health services and we started to act to lessen the effects of Covid-19 before the United Kingdom and other countries.”

Most European countries have chosen to monitor the situation based on Coronavirus cases, but the Government official said other indicators must be considered.

For example, Mr Vieira thinks the level of contagion in the population, death rate, the level of hospitalisations and the response in capacity of health services should be considered.

He feels that Portugal is being discriminated against with the UK Government so unsure about allowing an airbridge between the UK and Portugal.

What is an air bridge?

An air bridge, also known as a travel corridor or transport corridor, is an agreement between two countries that allows tourists to travel without restrictions.

Airbridge agreements mean that UK holidaymakers can visit countries with low COVID-19 infection rates without having to quarantine for 14 days when they return home.

The agreement is reciprocal, with people in those countries free to travel to the UK without having to quarantine on entry.

The UK Government is due to announce which countries it has made an agreement with any day now.

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Will the UK have an airbridge with Portugal?

Travel expert Simon Calder revealed to the BBC on Thursday June 25 a list of countries he expects the UK Government has made an air bridge deal with.

The countries supposedly on the list include:
• France
• Italy
• Greece
• Spain
• Bermuda
• Gibraltar
• Belgium
• Austria
• Germany
• The Netherlands

Calder said Portugal could also be on the list, but after a surge of cases in Lisbon this may not be safe.

The announcement was meant to happen earlier this week, so should be any day now.

Can Brits travel to Portugal?

At present, you can travel to Portugal if you want to go against the FCO advice.

It isn’t against the law to go to Portugal right now, but you will find it hard to get suitable travel insurance.

If an air bridge is secured with Portugal, you will be free to go to Portugal with adequate travel insurance.

If you travel to Portugal, you will be subject to health screening on arrival.

This means your temperature will be checked and if it is high or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities.

In Madeira and the Azores, all arrivals are still subject to a 14 day mandatory quarantine in a hotel.

Flights are running to Portugal, and you could hop on a Wizz Air, Ryanair or EasyJet flight this weekend with your face mask on.

Hotels are reopening across the country, and Airbnb properties are open and ready to book.

Restaurants are open but with social distancing restrictions, reduced capacity and al-fresco dining.

If the UK and Portugal do not reach an agreement and you still decide to go, you will need to quarantine on return for two weeks.

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