Hours of Operation
Lunchtime is taken very seriously throughout Portugal. Many businesses, particularly outside urban areas, close between 1 and 3 and then reopen for business until 6 or 7. Government offices are typically open 9–noon and 2–5. It's worth noting religious and public holidays, as most businesses grind to a halt, and even the local transport service may be reduced. Also, if the holiday falls on a weekend, then typically a Friday or Monday will also be a holiday.
Banks are open weekdays 8:30–3, with some branches open Saturday. Money exchange booths at airports and train stations are usually open all day (24 hours at Portela Airport in Lisbon).
Most gas stations on main highways are open 24 hours. In more rural areas, stations are open 7 am–10 pm. Note that gas stations can seem few and far between away from the towns and cities, so if you are planning to explore in the hinterland, always start out with a full tank of gas.
Museums and palaces generally open at 10 and close at 5 or 6, though some stay open into the evening; a few still close for lunch from 12:30 to 2. The 23 sites of the nationwide Directorate General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) are closed Easter Sunday, May 1, December 24 and 25, January 1, and municipal holidays.
Pharmacies are usually open weekdays 9–1 and 3–7, and sometimes Saturday 9–1; 24-hour pharmacies operate in shifts; timetables of 24-hour pharmacies will be posted on the door.
Most shops are open weekdays 9–1 and 3–7, and Saturday 9–1. In December, Saturday hours are the same as weekdays. Shops often close Sunday. Hipermercados (giant supermarkets), supermercados (regular supermarkets), and shopping centers are typically open seven days a week from 10 am to midnight. In the seaside resorts of the Algarve, many shops, including souvenir shops and supermarkets, open all day between May and September.
New Year's Day (January 1); Mardi Gras (better known as Carnaval, held during the last few days before Lent); Good Friday; Easter Sunday; Liberty Day (April 25); Labor Day (May 1); Corpo de Deus (varies late May–early June); Camões Day (June 10); Assumption (August 15); Republic Day (October 5); All Saints' Day (November 1); Independence Day (December 1); Immaculate Conception (December 8); Christmas Day (December 25).
If a national holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many businesses also close on the Monday or Friday in between, for a long weekend called a ponte (bridge). There are also local holidays when entire towns, cities, and regions grind to a standstill. Check the nearest tourist office for dates.