Before Portugal joined the Eurozone and adopted the euro, it used the escudo as its currency. Now however it uses the euro, which is split into 100 cents. These are sometimes referred to as euro cents but most people simply refer to them as cents.
One thing worth mentioning about the euro is that each member country of the EU is allowed to create its own design (adhering to certain parameters) for one side of the coin. Therefore the Portuguese euro has its own design on the so called national side, while the common side (the reverse of the coin) looks the same as it would on any other euro. The good news is you can use euros from other European countries that use them in Portugal too, so if you already have some you can take them on holiday with you to Portugal.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
There are eight euro coins in use at present. The smallest is the one cent coin and the largest is the two euro coin. Between these two you also have the two cent, five cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent and one euro coins.
You can also use seven different banknotes. The smallest is the €5 euro note, while the largest is the €500 euro note. Between these two there is the €10, €20, €50 and €100 notes.
From past to present – the history of the Portuguese euro
The euro was first brought into play in 2002. While some countries were not able to join the single currency at the very start, Portugal did manage to meet all the requirements asked of it to join at the beginning. Ever since then its people and visitors have used the currency in their daily lives.
How to get hold of the Portuguese euro
As you might suspect, it is very easy indeed to get this currency in readiness for a holiday to Portugal. It is one of the most frequently used currencies in the world, so if you are heading abroad to Portugal you can easily get some euros to take with you before you go.
Check your local bureau de change outlets to see which one will give you the best deal. You can also take traveller’s cheques if you would like to cover all your bases. Finally you can also take your credit and/or debit cards with you in order to make sure you can withdraw more cash at ATMs whenever you need to. As you might expect there are plenty of these around to use. You can also make card payments at all kinds of locations for food, drink and purchases while you are in the country.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Portuguese euro
The latest exchange rate will always be available online. Select a website that updates its information as often as possible – some do this every few minutes or so. Look at the conversion rate between your own currency and the euro to get the latest information. Be aware that when you exchange your own currency for the euro you will pay a commission on the transaction. This means the rate you will get will be different to the usual one quoted. You may also have to pay an additional fee on top so shop around to get the best possible deal.
To get more information ahead of travelling to Portugal it is wise to visit the official website for the Embassy of Portugal in the UK. You can access it at http://portuguese-embassy.co.uk/en.html.
Travelling safely with the Portuguese euro
The good news is that Portugal is a safe country to visit. There is a mild terrorist threat but other than checking the latest information prior to travel there is not too much to worry about. Nearly two million people from Britain alone choose Portugal as their holiday destination every year, and the vast majority come back with no issues at all.
One of the common problems that can occur is of course pickpocketing. As is the case in every tourist location you can think of virtually the whole world over, you will find there is a chance of being pickpocketed if you are not careful. Take basic precautions here, such as to keep your money in small amounts in several different places. Most pickpockets will pick one pocket on a person and then move on, so if you separate your cash you won’t lose it all if you are unlucky enough to be targeted.
If you have a bag on you with a wallet or purse inside, make sure you keep that safe too. Don’t keep it undone or open as someone can easily dip their hand inside for money, phones or whatever else they can find.
Where to spend your euros in Portugal – and what to spend them on
Portugal has long been a popular country for people to visit on holiday each year. While many people stick with nearby Spain, Portugal has lots to offer and should not be ignored. Once you pay it a visit you might be surprised at the wealth of delights it has to share with you.
Portugal shares a border with just one country, which is Spain. By far the most popular area to visit for many people is the Algarve. Portugal itself is a long thin country and the Algarve occupies the area at the far south. The main airport, Faro, is also here, giving people a relatively short trip to their final holiday destination in the country if they choose to stay here.
The Algarve is filled with lots of superb places to go. Places such as Albufeira, Carvoeiro and Portimao are popular places to stay in, while they also provide lovely scenic positions on the southern coastline. Portimao is known as a fishing village and it is the ideal place to wander around for the day.
The capital of the country is Lisbon, which can be found partway up the western coastline. The city has been there since around 1256, so you can see it boasts a lot of history. If you have time to pay it a visit, make sure you do so. There are many signs of past times in the city, and it is fascinating to see some of them. Look out for the Castle of Sao Jorge, which dates from as long ago as medieval times.
Let’s get back to the Algarve now though, because there are many sights and attractions here that draw in the visitors every year. The coastline here is stunning and there are lots of beaches that visitors flock to. One of the finest and perhaps most famous is called Marinha Beach. Praia da Rocha is a fine example of one of the resorts in the Algarve area, which can be found in Portimao.
One thing you will find plenty of in the Algarve is golf courses. Indeed you can actually book a holiday here that is specifically designed to let you play on several different courses! The scenery is so good though you may not improve your handicap while you are away.
Tavira Island is a popular trip away from the mainland if you wish to explore in more detail. The island hugs the mainland on a map but it requires the use of a boat if you are going to reach it while on holiday. Needless to say the island does have a variety of great beaches so it is worth the trip even if only for the day.
Portugal is a great place for families to go during the summer months because there is lots to do to keep the kids amused. For example there are three water parks available for you to visit, and with great weather almost guaranteed you can enjoy a superb day there. These parks are Aqualand, Aqua Show and Slide and Splash. With white water rafting (in an inflatable tyre!) to more white knuckle water rides such as the Kamikaze, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
Food in Portugal varies a lot depending on what you want to eat. You could enjoy the entire time you are there without having anything but English food if you wish. However you do have the chance to try something a little different if you are brave enough. For example, salt cod is a top favourite among locals, and when it is prepared beautifully with locally caught fish it really is well worth having. Other examples include caldo verde, a comforting soup style dish featuring potatoes, onion and chorizo among other things.
If you have never been to Portugal before it is well worth making the trip. You can explore the country beyond the Algarve but many people make do with this thin strip at the bottom of the country because it has such a lot to offer. Where would you head for if you decided to visit Portugal, and how much would you spend there?