Although there isn’t an Amazon Portugal (yet!), you can use Amazon in Portugal. I’ve been doing it for more than a decade. It isn’t always as straightforward as I’d like it to be, but (hopefully) this article is packed with lots of different tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years.
Amazon isn’t always as easy to use from Portugal as it is in other countries, but it is normally the best option for anyone living in Portugal that wants to shop online. No other retailer, Portuguese or international, comes close to offering the same selection and deals that Amazon does. And, if ever there’s a problem, Amazon’s customer service is usually pretty good as well.
Does Amazon deliver to Portugal?
Yes is the short answer. Although there’s no Amazon.pt, you can order from any of the other regional Amazons like Amazon Spain, Amazon Germany, or Amazon UK and get your order delivered to your address in Portugal.
In practice, there are a few issues that you might run into. Some sellers won’t ship to Portugal, for example, while others charge a lot of money for shipping.
That’s why I’ve put together this “how to” article. Some of the problems I’ve tried to address include:
- Which “Amazon” is the best for people in Portugal? Amazon Spain, Germany, or Amazon UK?
- What to do if a seller won’t ship to Portugal (or charges an exorbitant amount for delivery to Portugal).
- What to do if you’re having problems getting your orders delivered to your address in Portugal.
Which Amazon Website is best for people living in Portugal?
Most people living in Portugal shop at Amazon.es (Amazon Spain), and this is normally the best option for people living in Portugal. Not only is it closest geographically, but they also offer free shipping on a lot of products: normally €29 for most orders or €19 for books.
It’s also a good idea to check on Amazon.de (Amazon Germany) as this is now the largest Amazon in Europe and you can often get your orders delivered in as little as one day.
Up until recently, Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom) was the best option for shoppers in Portugal. That’s changing now, and Brexit might change it even further.
Anecdotally, Amazon Germany seems to deliver to Portugal faster than Amazon UK and, more importantly, it seems to have a higher success rate of arriving.
For second-hand books in English and certain products, however, you may still be better off shopping at Amazon UK.
If you buy a lot of English-language books, I would actually recommend getting a Kindle. There’s an upfront cost, sure, but you’ll save money on shipping in the long run.
Amazon US is definitely a last resort for most shoppers in Portugal as buying from the US usually means paying additional import fees as well as increased delivery costs (although this doesn’t usually happen with books). Many sellers also won’t ship to Portugal and, if they do, they charge high shipping fees for doing so.
Note: If you’re buying appliances, it makes most sense to buy them from Germany or Spain so that you get the European plugs.
Is Amazon.es Available in English?
Amazon Spain is only available in Spanish, however, it’s possible to translate Amazon Spain into English using Google Translate or a browser plugin.
Is Amazon.de Available in English?
Yes, you can change the language settings on Amazon.de to English. You can also change it to other languages like Dutch, Polish, Turkish and Czech.
Note: It doesn’t translate everything, though, and you’ll probably end up needing to translate the product description using your browser.
Amazon UK and Amazon USA are both available in English as standard, which is one of the reasons a lot of expats living in Portugal use them – especially Amazon UK.
What should I do if the item can’t be shipped to Portugal?
- Find a seller that does deliver to Portugal.
- Use a package forwarding company who will provide you with an address in the UK/Germany/the US and then will forward your order onto you.
- Use eBay instead – it’s a little easier for international shopping).
Now, the Amazon Echo pictured above is actually a special case. Amazon doesn’t deliver them internationally, so you’ll either need to use a package forwarding company or buy one from eBay (which is often easier to shop with as an international shopper than Amazon).
For most items, however, it’s usually possible to find another seller.
Find another seller
There’s usually more than one company selling the product that you’re looking at: below the “add to basket” button, there’s another button which says “Other Sellers on Amazon”.
Unfortunately, finding another seller can be very time-consuming: often you need to put the items into your basket and go to the checkout to see if the item can be delivered to Portugal (and also how much postage will cost).
If I’m in a rush, I sometimes just use eBay. Although I’d prefer to shop with Amazon as their customer service is better, eBay is easier for international shoppers as it automatically shows you everything that can be delivered to Portugal.
Use a package forwarding company
Package forwarding companies give you an address in another country, like the UK, USA, or Germany. Rather than getting your Amazon order sent to your address in Portugal, you send it to the package forwarding company and they forward it onto you.
I’ve had mixed results with package forwarding companies. All of my orders have arrived, but my shipping costs have often ended up being more expensive than the pricing estimator predicted they would be.
Unfortunately, there’s no definite way of knowing how much your shipping costs will be until the package forwarding company have weighed and measured it. If you can, I think it’s better to look for another seller as then you know what your costs will be upfront.
UK package forwarding companies
- Algarve Express – Based in Alcantarilha in the Central Algarve, this company brings orders out from the UK every week. The benefit of this company is that they handle the entire delivery rather than passing it between couriers and you can go and pick your order up.
- Algarve Removals – Has several depots in Portugal (including Lisbon and several locations in the Algarve) and can also deliver to your door. Like Algarve Express, the benefit of this company is that they handle the entire delivery rather than passing it between couriers and you can go and pick your order up.
- Direct Transport – Similar to both Algarve Express and Algarve Removals, this company allows you to send your order to their address in the UK and pick it up from their depot (near Porches).
- Forward2me – I’ve used Forward2me a few times, but every time I’ve used them the amount I’ve ended up paying has always been higher than their estimate (usually double), so they’re a last option. I definitely wouldn’t use them for sending a large item like a bike as I got stung with very high costs.
US package forwarding companies
- Planet Express – I’ve used this company to forward books and other small parcels from the US as they’re one of the few that allow you to forward via snail mail rather than a courier company. They have a (sales) tax-free warehouse in Oregon.
German package forwarding companies
- A list of package forwarding companies that ship to Portugal (Portugalist)
Tip: Need a more permanent address in the UK?
If you shop at Amazon UK a lot, it may make more sense to get a permanent UK mailbox rather than use a package forwarding company – especially if you need to keep an address in the UK.
Expost, for example, allows you to keep a permanent UK address for £20 per month. Designed for expats, the address works as a residential address so you can receive all your bank statements, driving licence, and everything else there, along with your Amazon orders (a £3 handling charge applies for packages).
- Tip: Use the code SAVER to get 1 month free when you sign up for 12.
- Tip #2: Send your order with a courier and not Royal Mail.
In theory, it shouldn’t really save you that much money. In practice, however, it can. It also just makes sense to get all of your post (bank statements and everything else) forwarded to you whenever you put an Amazon order in – something that’s not possible with a package forwarding company.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for people living in Portugal?
As there is no Amazon.pt (the future Amazon Portugal website) yet, Amazon Prime isn’t going to be a lot of use for most people.
That said, Amazon Prime may be worth it if you regularly shop on Amazon in another country (e.g. the UK, Germany, or Spain) and use a package forwarding company to send those items to Portugal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer better rates or shipping times for sending items directly to Portugal – it just means that you can get your order from Amazon to the package forwarding company in the UK, Germany, or wherever faster.
As well as faster shipping, you also get access to TV shows and movies which you can stream in Portugal (similar to Netflix). You also get Amazon Prime Music, a limited version of Amazon Music (similar to Spotify), which gives allows you to stream 2 million songs ad-free.
Prime members get a slightly discounted rate on the full Amazon Music streaming membership (around €2 less per month), but you still have to pay for it separately.
Ignoring the Amazon Video and Music components, you would probably need to place 1-2 orders a month on Amazon to make Prime worthwhile.
Amazon does normally offer a free 30-day trial of Prime in each country, so you can test it out for free to see if it’s worthwhile. Just be sure to cancel your subscription before the 30 days are up if you don’t think you’re going to use it.
Note: Your Amazon Prime account is tied to one country. If you have Amazon Prime in the UK, for example, you won’t have Amazon Prime in Spain or Germany as well.
Can I watch Amazon Prime Video in Portugal?
Yes, if you have Amazon Prime in another country you can watch Amazon Prime Videos from Portugal.
At least, I was able to watch Amazon Prime Videos on a UK Amazon Prime account.
Does Amazon deliver to Madeira? What about the Azores?
Unfortunately, even if companies ship to continental Portugal, they don’t always deliver to the Azores or Madeira.
This must be particularly frustrating for those living on the Portuguese islands as they are actually some of the biggest online shoppers in Portugal due to the fact that it’s often hard to buy what they want offline.
As with everything else, the advice is the same.
First, look for another seller who will ship to you. Take a look at the other regional Amazons and have a look at eBay as well.
Another option is to send the order first to continental Portugal, and then to get someone to forward it onto you. The cheapest and best option is to send it to someone that you know who lives in mainland Portugal but, if that’s not an option, use Parcl instead (note: this can work out expensive).
Another option again would be to use Grabr.io to find someone in the UK, Germany, or the US who is coming to the islands and would be able to bring your order to you. While this is probably going to be cheaper than Parcl, in practice it can be difficult to find people travelling to the Azores or Madeira.
It has to be said that neither of these solutions are ideal.
What can I do if the shipping costs are extortionately high?
The joy of finding a seller that ships to Portugal is often quickly replaced by the glum feeling of seeing how much they charge for shipping.
If the delivery costs are too high, you have a few options (the same as above):
- Find another seller that’s cheaper
- Use a package forwarding company
This is the same advice as above: see the tips there.
My Orders Aren’t Getting Delivered. What can I do?
Even if you are able to get your order delivered to Portugal and the delivery costs are reasonable, sometimes your order just won’t show up.
This is particularly an issue with one courier company, GLS, and it’s best to avoid them if you can. Unfortunately, they’re partnered with Royal Mail in the UK so, if your order is sent with Royal Mail, it’ll be handed over to them. Even if it costs more, it’s better to send your stuff with a courier like DPD (Chronopost) or DHL.
Update: As of October 2019, CTT (the Portuguese Post Office) will deliver Amazon orders.
- Order from companies with good customer service who’ll refund you if your order doesn’t show up (Amazon is one example).
- If you live in the rural Algarve, use one of the removals companies listed below.
Of course, sometimes things just take a long time to get delivered – often because it’s buried in the back of the courier’s van or in the parcel depot centre. So, your order may turn up if you give it a bit more time.
Live in the countryside? Live on the 5th floor?
If you live in the countryside in Portugal, as a lot of expats do, your letterbox might not be attached to your property: it could be a mailbox that’s down the road somewhere.
The problem with this setup is that while these mailboxes are fine for receiving letters, they’re not big enough to receive a package – say an order from Amazon. If your order is being sent via CTT Correios de Portugal (the Portuguese postal service) you’ll normally get a card in your mailbox and you can go and pick it up 24 hours later.
Couriers, on the other hand, don’t seem to leave these cards. It’s questionable whether they even go to the mailbox at all. Many will even say that your address doesn’t exist at all.
If you live in the rural Algarve, this is easy to get around: just send your order via a company like Algarve Express, Algarve Removals, or Direct Transport (depending on which one has a depot near you) and go and pick it up from the depot.
- Algarve Express: Depot in Almancil.
- Algarve Removals: Depot in Alcantarilha, Almancil, and Tavira.
- Direct Transport: Depot in Porches.
For everyone else, try the tips below.
- Try to put your Portuguese phone number on the label (if they phone, they’re usually close by and the best thing that you can do is to go and drive to where they are).
- If you’re sending via a courier, it may be better to not put the CP box number on the address.
- If you can get it sent somewhere else, such as an office or a shop, get it sent there instead.
- Consider putting a note on your mailbox telling the courier where your house actually is.
- Make friends with your courier drivers.
There’s no guarantee that either of these two things will work, but it’s better than nothing.
If you live in an apartment and you live high up, you may run into problems as well. This is especially true if you don’t have an elevator in your building: some couriers don’t deliver to apartments that are on the top floors.
The same sort of advice applies. If you can, get it delivered to a shop or office closer to the ground floor.
Also, go to the courier (especially if you don’t have an elevator). If the courier knows that you’ll come down to get your delivery, they’re more likely to ring the buzzer.
Ordering from Amazon Pantry
As well as just delivering books, Amazon in the UK and US is increasingly moving into the grocery delivery space – particularly for long life food products. As there isn’t an Amazon in Portugal yet, this really isn’t an option at the moment.
There are a few ways around it, though.
- Order to Amazon UK, but get your order forwarded with a package forwarding company.
- Order from an “expat grocery shop” like British Cornershop who’ll deliver to Portugal.
- Order your groceries from a Portuguese supermarket (note: if you’re looking for specific British or German products, you might struggle to find them).
An overview of the different Regional Amazon Websites
Amazon Spain is the most popular Amazon website for shoppers in Portugal, followed by Amazon UK and Amazon Germany.
- It’s the closest Amazon warehouse to Portugal.
- Free shipping or at least super cheap shipping is often available (typically on orders over €29 or just €19 for books).
- Almost all of the products can be delivered to Portugal.
- Express delivery (as quick as 1-2 days) is available on many items but, in general, expect your delivery to take around a week to arrive.
- It’s in Spanish which, if you speak Portuguese, is relatively easy to understand (if you don’t, click here to read how to translate Amazon Spain into English).
The downsides of using Amazon España are:
- It doesn’t have the same range of products that Amazon UK or Germany have.
- Sometimes, items are more expensive than on Amazon UK and Amazon Germany.
So, if you can’t find what you’re looking for on Amazon Spain, you’ll need to look at one of the other alternatives
Amazon UK is probably the second-most popular stop for Amazon shoppers in Portugal. This is possibly a little bit due to the large number of English speaking expats living in Portugal, but mainly due to the fact that it’s so good.
- Generally has the biggest range of products available.
- It’s often the cheapest (although not always).
- Great for things like books, especially second-hand or rare books.
As with Amazon Germany (below), the downsides to Amazon UK are:
- Delivery can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
- You normally have to pay for shipping.
- Some items can’t be shipped (or sellers charge an exorbitant amount to ship to Portugal).
- Royal Mail work with GLS who regularly don’t deliver packages at all (Update: As of October 2019, CTT will deliver Amazon orders in Portugal).
Amazon Germany is usually the next fastest after Amazon Spain, and it’s often the continental European site that’s the best value for money as well. It doesn’t always have the same range as Amazon.co.uk, but it’s definitely getting there.
- Is often cheaper than Amazon Spain (and sometimes Amazon UK as well).
- It’s available in English as well as German.
- It has a great range of products.
Amazon.com is the biggest Amazon site in the world. Items are usually cheaper on Amazon.com, but be aware that goods imported from outside the EU are liable for customs duty. This means they usually end up as expensive as buying from one of the European Amazon sites, and with a lot more hassle as well. A lot.
Some items don’t get stopped. Many small, low-cost items like books get through fine, but electronics and more expensive items are likely to get stopped at Portuguese customs.
Even if you use Amazon’s Global program, a program where Amazon collects the customs duties in advance, the item is still going to get held up for a few days. You won’t be liable for any more taxes, but your order will still be delayed and you may be contacted and asked to provide the receipt and your fiscal number (Número de Identificação Fiscal). Naturally, this applies to other companies like eBay as well.
In terms of shipping times, books usually take around 2-5 weeks to come from the United States. Other items can arrive faster but, the more expensive they are, they more likely they are to get held up in Portuguese customs.
Is it possible to avoid import and customs duties when shopping at Amazon US?
If you order with any kind of expedited or courier service, you should expect to pay import and duty costs. Companies like Fedex and DHL work pretty much directly with customs.
If you order by snail mail, there’s a good chance that it’ll slip through – especially if it’s a low value product (say €20 or less). More expensive products, however, almost always get caught in customs.
One potential way to get around customs would be to use a service like Grabr.io and have someone bring you your order rather than sending it via a courier.
If you’re buying something expensive like a new phone or laptop, however, it might be worth taking advantage of some of the cheap flights to the US that keep cropping up (usually from Madrid or Barcelona rather than Lisbon) and going there and buying it yourself.
Can I use Amazon Gift Cards in Portugal?
There’s no Amazon Portugal yet obviously, but you can buy (and use) Amazon gift cards for any of the other Amazon websites e.g. Amazon Spain, Amazon UK, or Amazon Germany.
Are there Amazon Lockers in Portugal?
There are no Amazon lockers in Portugal yet, and that’s partly because Amazon hasn’t properly launched here yet.
Amazon was supposed to be partnering with Repsol (article in Portuguese) and putting collection points in Portuguese petrol stations, but so far this has only happened in Spain.
Currently, there are no alternatives to Amazon lockers.