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UPDATE: What are the new rules for travelling to Portugal from Spain?

UPDATE: What are the new rules for travelling to Portugal from Spain?
Lisbon currently has restrictions as a result of its very high infection rate. Photo: Luiz Felipe/Unsplash
The border between the two Iberian nations did open at the start of May, but Portugal has seen Delta variant cases spike again in July. Do people in Spain need to get a PCR test to travel to Portugal and are there any other new restrictions to keep in mind?

In late June Portuguese authorities redeclared a ‘situation of calamity’ in the country –  the equivalent of Spain’s state of alarm –  following a rapid increase in the number of Delta Covid-19 cases, which now represent more than 70 percent of infections. 

In around a month, Portugal’s fortnightly infection rate went from being lower than 50 cases per 100,000 people to 160 infections per 100,000 on June 29th, with 1,000 new Covid new infections being recorded on a daily basis. In July cases have continued to rise – with averages of 3,000 new infections a day – and the fortnightly infection rate stood at 355 cases per 100,000 people on July 16th.

As a result, the Portuguese government has tightened coronavirus restrictions, with the latest changes affecting people travelling from Spain, where the infection rate is even higher and has now reached 600 cases per 100,000 people.

Portugal’s state of alarm is in place until at least July 25th. 

What are the new requirements for people travelling from Spain to Portugal?

As of July 17th, Portuguese authorities require people travelling from Spain who stay at hotels or other tourist accommodation in Portugal to show either a negative PCR or antigen test or the EU Digital Covid Certificate proving that they have been fully vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in the past six months.

Showing the EU Covid Certificate or providing proof of a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test in the last 48 hours will also be needed to eat or drink inside bars and restaurants, but not for terraces. Self-tests can be used as well, but these must be carried out at the premises in front of restaurant or bar workers.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from this requirement.

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People travelling from Spain will also be required to show proof of testing or vaccination to enter the 90 municipalities (concelhos) that are currently classified as high risk or very high risk due to their Covid infection rates. 

These are Alcobaça, Alenquer, Arouca, Arraiolos, Azambuja, Barcelos, Batalha, Bombarral, Braga, Cantanhede, Cartaxo, Castro Marim, Chaves, Coimbra, Constância, Espinho, Figueira da Foz, Gondomar, Guimarães, Leiria, Lousada, Maia, Monchique, Montemor-o-Novo, Óbidos, Paredes, Paredes de Coura, Pedrógão Grande, Porto de Mós, Póvoa do Varzim, Rio Maior, Salvaterra de Magos, Santarém, Santiago do Cacém, Tavira, Torres Vedras, Trancoso, Trofa, Valongo, Viana do Alentejo, Vila do Bispo, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Vila Real de Santo António, Albergaria-a-Velha, Albufeira, Alcochete, Almada, Amadora, Arruda dos Vinhos, Aveiro, Avis, Barreiro, Benavente, Cascais, Elvas, Faro, Ílhavo, Lagoa, Lagos, Lisboa, Loulé, Loures, Lourinhã, Mafra, Matosinhos, Mira, Moita, Montijo, Nazaré, Odivelas, Oeiras, Olhão, Oliveira do Bairro, Palmela, Peniche, Portimão, Porto, Santo Tirso, São Brás de Alportel, Seixal, Sesimbra, Setúbal, Silves, Sines, Sintra, Sobral de Monte Agraço, Vagos, Vila Franca de Xira, Vila Nova de Gaia or Viseu.

Travellers from Spain also have to factor in the restrictions in place in these locations. 

Restrictions in high-risk concelhos:

Curfew between 11pm and 6am
Bars and restaurants close at 10.30pm with a maximum of four people indoors and six on the terrace. Customers have to present a negative test or vaccination certificate on weekends and on public holidays
50 percent capacity for weddings, baptisms and first communions
Closing of shops and supermarkets at 9pm
Public entry to sporting events is banned

Restrictions in very high-risk concelhos:

Curfew between 11pm and 6am
Bars and restaurants close at 10.30pm with a maximum of four people indoors and six on the terrace. Customers have to present a negative test or vaccination certificate on weekends and on public holidays.
25 percent capacity for weddings, baptisms and first communions
Closing of shops and supermarkets at 9pm and at 3pm on weekends and public holidays
Public entry to sporting events is prohibited

What are the other requirements for people in Spain who want to travel to Portugal?

If you’re driving to Portugal from mainland Spain you still do not need to show a negative Covid-19 test or other proof of vaccination or recovery at the land border.

Portugal lifted police checks at the border with Spain on May 1st, allowing for travel without justified reasons between both countries for the first time since late January.

At first, there was some confusion over whether this included holidays but Portuguese and Spanish authorities have since confirmed leisure trips are allowed without the need for a PCR test, except in the municipalities listed above.

However, if you fly to Portugal from Spain you do need to present proof of a negative PCR test at the airport (taken within 72 hours before travel) or an antigen test (taken within 48 hours before travel).

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from this requirement. 

The introduction of the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate on July 1st means that this digital or paper document can be used by fully immunised travellers from Spain who completed their vaccine more than 14 days before travel, those who have been tested for Covid and those who can prove they recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months (more info here). 

You will also need to fill in a passenger locator form you can find here

If you fly to the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores for more than a week, you will also be required to undergo a second PCR test on day six, and again on day 12 if it’s a longer stay.

The Azores and the Portuguese Island of Madeira offer the test for free in mainland Portugal through authorised government labs, so if you drive to mainland Portugal before going to the islands, you can save on costs in this way. 

In the Portuguese capital, mobility is restricted to essential journeys so holidaymakers are required to present a PCR or antigen test or the EU-approved Digital Covid Certificate to move around the metropolitan area. 

Before you return to Spain you need to complete a health control form on the Spain Travel Health website or app if you’re travelling by sea or air, but not if you’re travelling back on land (car or train). 

If you are going back to Spain by ferry or plane, you will also need to show either proof of vaccination, a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours, or an antigen test taken within the last 48 hours, or a recovery certificate.

To find out more information from the Spanish government about travel between Spain and Portugal, click here


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