Algarve Municipalities Introduce Tourist Tax for Overnight Stays

Algarve Municipalities Introduce Tourist Tax for Overnight Stays

The City Council of Portimão, situated in the sunny Algarve region of Portugal, has just hopped on board with other municipalities by introducing a tourist tax for overnight stays.

As of March 14th, Portimão has begun charging visitors a fee, following in the footsteps of Vila Real de Santo António, Faro, and Olhão.

Supporting local infrastructure and attractions

The tourist tax is intended to help fund expenses and investments related to tourism in the region. This includes initiatives such as:

  • Environmental sustainability

  • Promotion

  • Preservation of historical heritage

  • Cultural entertainment

  • Beach cleaning

  • Maintenance of public equipment

By collecting these fees, municipalities aim to make the tourist experience better while also maintaining and improving local infrastructure.

Rates vary by season and municipality

In Portimão, the tourist tax is set at €2 per night during the high season (April 1st to October 31st) and €1 per night during the low season (November 1st to March 31st). 

Likewise, in Albufeira, a new regulation is set to start in May. During the busiest time of the year, from April to October, tourists will be charged €2 per night.

Tourist enterprises to collect and deliver fees

Tourist businesses like resorts, hotels, campsites, and caravan parks are in charge of collecting taxes from tourists.

These businesses are required to deliver the collected fees to the municipality. If they don’t, they might have to pay administrative penalties ranging from €500 to €10,000 for natural persons, and €1,000 to €20,000 for legal entities.

Failure to charge the fee can result in even higher penalties, up to €20,000 for natural persons and €40,000 for legal entities.

Algarve Intermunicipal Community supports unified tourist tax

In 2019, the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL) decided to add a tourist tax in all 16 areas within the Faro district.

Earlier this year, AMAL suggested having a fixed rate of €2 per night for tourists across the region. This way, no matter where tourists go in the Algarve, they would pay the same amount, making it easier to understand and plan for.

Vila Real de Santo António was the first Algarve municipality to implement a tourist tax, beginning the process in 2016 and ultimately charging €1 per night.

Faro did the same in February 2020 but charged €1.5 per night. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic starting soon after, some municipalities paused introducing this tax temporarily.

Olhão and Portimão were among the municipalities that postponed the implementation of the tourist tax due to the pandemic.

However, Olhão resumed the process and began charging €2 per night in May 2023, while Portimão’s tourist tax came into effect last Thursday.

More fees on top of existing ones

The introduction of tourist taxes in the Algarve region of Portugal might make travelers worry about how much they will be spending on their trip.

With the upcoming launch of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in mid-2025, travelers will already be required to pay a fee for the visa waiver. 

The additional tourist tax could strain budgets, especially for those planning extended stays or traveling with family. 

Algarve’s commitment to sustainable tourism

As more municipalities in the Algarve adopt tourist taxes, visitors to the region can expect to contribute to the development and maintenance of local tourism infrastructure through these fees.

With Albufeira set to join the growing list of participating cities in May, the Algarve continues to prioritize sustainable tourism and the enhancement of visitor experiences.