Holiday Accommodation in Portugal

Going on vacation in Portugal? Information on finding the right place to stay: self-catering, bed and breakfast, hotel or youth hostel, find out more...

Portugal welcomes over 12 million tourists each year, and the tourist industry is developing rapidly. In some areas of Portugal, for example, the Algarve and Lisbon, the tourism industry is already very well developed. There are many types of vacation accommodation available.

Note: Accommodation providers are required by law to record the personal details (including travel document information) of all non-Portuguese guests and their children. For detailed information on the law on registration of non-Portuguese guests, see Rules on Renting out Holiday Accommodation in Portugal

Hotels

Portuguese tourist authorities rate hotels with one to five stars, with five star being the top category. There is a fixed set of criteria covering most aspects of comfort that the ratings are based on. Views, staff and other subjective criteria are not taken into account. Rated establishments should have a sign displaying the rating, but this is not always the case.

Pousadas

This concept of holiday accommodation began in the 1940s when the Portuguese government set up a national network of state-run country inns. There are now over 40 Pousadas in Portugal classed into two categories: regional and historic. Often situated in rural and scenic locations, they offer high quality accommodation mainly in restored historic castles, monasteries or convents, and hospitality within the style and traditions of the region where they are located.

Pensões

This type of hotel accommodation can be described as a modern guesthouse. They are always housed in shared premises and can often be part of a residential building. Portuguese tourist authorities rate pensões in four categories:

  • Albergaria (top rating)
  • 1st category
  • 2nd category
  • 3rd category

Hotels and pensões should provide meals. If they provide breakfast only they should have residencial added to their name.

Estalagens

Estalagens in Portugal are privately owned inns and offer high-class accommodation. Often situated in renovated, historic buildings they are frequently outside of the city and must have a garden. Many estalagens have restaurants serving local cuisine and Portuguese wine.

Bed & Breakfast

The definition of B&B accommodation can vary but the term Turismo de Habitação (TH) describes manors or historic houses. The term Turismo rural (TR) covers accommodation in country houses in or near a village. Agroturismo (AG) covers accommodation in farms and Casa de Campo (CC) are country houses that provide lodgings where the owners may be in residence.

Hostels

Youth hostels in Portugal (Pousadas de Juventude) are open all the year round; it is advisable to book during the summer. In all there are under 25 youth hostels in Portugal. Movijovem, the head office of the Portuguese Youth Hostel Association, can provide information regarding hostels:

  • Movijovem (in Portuguese)
    At: Avenida Duque de Avila 135-6, 1050-081 Lisbon
    Tel: 213 521 466

Camping and Caravanning

There are over 100 official camping sites in Portugal and independent camping is not allowed. Campsites have an official classification from one to four stars with four being the best rating. An international camping carnet is obligatory, available from motoring organisations. For further information on camping and caravanning contact the Portuguese Federation of Camping (Federação Portuguesa de Campismo e Montanhismo de Portugal):

Disabled Travellers

The Portuguese National Tourist Office (Direcção-Geral do Turismo, DGT) provides a list of hotel accommodation for the disabled.

Campsites and hostels sometimes have facilities for the disabled, a list is available from the National Secretariat for the Rehabilitation and Integration of People with Disabilities (Secretariado Nacional de Reabilitação e Integração das Pessoas com Deficiência, SNRIPD). The website is entirely in Portuguese, however some staff at the offices speak English.

Further Information