To call Portugal from abroad, dial the international access code (00), then Portugal’s country code (351), then the number. All domestic numbers have nine digits, and there are no area codes. Most public phones accept phone cards only – available at most news stands – though a few coin-operated phones are still around. You can also make calls from booths in Portugal Telecom offices and some post offices – pay when your call is finished.
Long-distance and international calls are cheaper from 9pm to 9am weekdays, all weekend and on holidays.
Directory Inquiries & Reverse-Charge Calls
Portugal’s directory inquiries number is 118; operators will search by address as well as by name. The international directory inquiries number is 177.
To make a pagar no destino (reverse-charge call) with the help of a multilingual operator, dial 120.
International Calls & Cards
From Portugal Telecom, you can get a PT Hello Card in denominations of €5 or €10, which offer good long-distance rates. You call an access number then key in the code on the back of the card. There are lots of competing cards offering much the same service. Note that peak and off-peak periods vary from company to company.
Local, Regional & National Calls
The cheapest way to call within Portugal is with a Portugal Telecom cartão telefónico (phone card). These are available for €3, €5 and €10 from post and telephone offices and many newsagents. A youth or student card should get you a 10% discount.
Local calls cost around €0.10 per minute to land lines and €0.30 per minute to mobile phones. Numbers starting with 800 (linha verde; green line) are toll free. Those starting with 808 (linha azul; blue line) are charged at local rates from anywhere in the country.
Local SIM cards can be used in unlocked European, Australian and quad-band US mobiles.
Portugal uses the GSM 900/1800 frequency, the same as found in Australia, the UK and the rest of the EU. Mobile-phone usage is widespread in Portugal, with extensive coverage provided in all but the most rural areas. The main domestic operators are Vodafone, Optimus and TMN. All of them sell prepaid SIM cards that you can insert into a GSM mobile phone and use as long as the phone is not locked by the company providing you service. If you need a phone, you can buy one at the airport and shops throughout the country with a package of minutes for under €20. This is generally cheaper than renting a phone.