The postal service in Portugal was introduced in 1533 by King Manuel I. Today CTT (Correios e Telecomunicações) is the national postal service. Many expats claim that the postal service in Portugal is better than that in the UK. CTT stands for Correios, Telégrafos e Telefones. There are over 1,000 post offices (correios) in the country. Most of them are open on weekdays from 08:30-18:00 and on Saturday mornings until 12:30. People who live in rural areas prefer to rent an apartado (post office box) and collect mail themselves.
Portugal’s state-owned monopoly postal service offers a number of services, including:
• Collection and delivery of letters
• Economy, Normal, Priority or Express postal services
• Money transfer
• Payment of bills
• Sending and receipt of faxes
• Public phone booths
• Insurance packages
• Mail forwarding
• Advertising mail
• Delivery of specific parcel products
• Online auctions
Most cities have two or more post offices. Customers can pay utility bills and taxes, exchange currency, and send faxes from the local post office. Some offices have automatic machines where you can buy stamps. The standard envelope shape is rectangle and does not exceed five millimeters in thickness. It should be sealed with clips or staples. The maximum weight limit for parcels is 20 kilograms, for books it’s five kilograms, and for correspondence is two kilograms.
Correios e Telecomunicações offers a wide range of services for companies, including electronic mail, postal banking, and express post services. Items sent via regular mail in the country should arrive within three days. In addition to regular maul, customers can opt for registered mail services, which include EMS9, EMS12, EMS18, EMS Advantage, EMS Pronto, and Quick National. Another option is same-day delivery. This service is available to customers in Porto, Lisbon, and Braga.
If you send a parcel to a country outside the European Union, you will be required to make a customs declaration. Portuguese citizens are not allowed to send or receive psychotropic substances and narcotic drugs under international control, animal products, live animals, meat, fish, cut flowers, and certain medications. These goods will be destroyed, seized, or returned to origin.
Postal services in Portugal cost up to five percent less than those in other EU countries. The national postal system follows the trends in other European states. The staff from smaller post offices rarely speaks English, so you should either go there with someone who speaks Portuguese or head over to a larger post office in the metropolitan area.