While in Portugal, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodations considerably different from what is available in the United States. General information on this subject is available on the website of Portugal’s Tourism Board.
Public transportation: Public transportation vehicles in general have specially reserved seats for individuals with disabilities, but some vehicles may not be equipped to load and secure wheelchairs mechanically.
Trains: The State Railway Operator, Caminhos do Ferro Portugueses (CP) has a service called “integrated mobility service” (SIM) aimed at helping passengers with reduced mobility. English-speaking customer service representatives can be reached by phone at 351 808 208 746 (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday-Friday). SIM staff provide for train and station accessibility; assistance during boarding/exiting or during the train ride; and they also assist with trip planning. Some train stations are equipped with elevators. Note that while SIM service is free of charge, requests for information or assistance must be made at least 48 hours before travel. Additionally, CP offers discounts to residents of Portugal of up to 25 percent upon presentation of the “cartão do deficiente” (disabled person’s card). The card is available from CP ticket offices and is valid for two years. To qualify, applicants must have a Portuguese taxpayer ID number and provide certified proof of disability and proof of annual income. For additional information, please visit CP’s website.
Subway (Metro): Thirty-one of Lisbon Metro’s 52 stations offer full accessibility to people with disabilities. There are no reduced fares for passengers with disabilities. There are, however, elevators and moving walkways at main stations that provide access from the platform to street level, as well as payment machines adapted for passengers with disabilities and/or visual impairment. Passengers with visual disabilities can travel with their guide dogs as long as their service animals are leashed and muzzled. Check Lisbon Metro’s website for more information.
Porto’s new metro system affords accessibility for passengers with disabilities system-wide with a network of elevators, ramps, and spaces for wheelchairs onboard metro cars. Check Porto Metro’s website for more information about accessibility available only in Portuguese.
Airports: All Portuguese airports provide wheelchairs and bathrooms to accommodate disabilities.
Parking: Parking for people with disabilities, designated with a wheelchair symbol, is available in most supermarkets and commercial centers. Some lots offer free parking to vehicles displaying a disabled parking sign. There are no discounts for street parking.
The National Help Line for the Disabled (Linha Nacional de Apoio à Deficiência) can be reached by phone at 35121 795-9545 (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday). Assistance is only available in Portuguese.