Sending and receiving packages in Portugal


As an expat, there are inevitably certain items you might want or need from back home, and around the holiday period, many people like to send gift packages.

How easy is it to send and receive packages in Portugal?

Is the public postal system efficient?

Do people tend to prefer using private shipping services? Which ones?

How do the costs of the private shipping services compare?

How long does it take generally to receive packages from abroad in Portugal?

Do you have to pay taxes on items received by mail from abroad?

Are packages delivered right to your doorstep, or do you usually have to go collect them somewhere?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


Hello, we have lived in Portugal for about 6 months now. Here is what we know.   Our experience with the postal system (CTT) is good.   Our deliveries when we order from Amazon Spain or Germany come directly to our home by a contracted service that Amazon uses here in Portugal.  If the package does not fit into your mail slot, you will need to be home to receive it.  But mostly you know what day to expect it.  (I have seen DHL trucks so assume they operate here fine).  Now, here's the important part about receiving packages from overseas...don't or you may be stuck paying exorbitant custom fees.   We have heard several stories from people whose well meaning friends and families sent them "stuff" from America or their countries only to find out they must pay to get their package.  So it's very dicey.  Everything goes through customs so is subject to the laws of the country in terms of what will be accepted.   We haven't tried to send anything from Portugal back to the USA so I am not sure how that would work but I suspect it may be the same issue in reverse.   Hope this helps a bit. 

You say stuff from Amazon comes to your home, but doesn't that also go through customs?  Wouldn't  DHL packages also go through customs?  I'm trying to figure out how to send personal items to Porto and was considering using DHL instead of a moving company by sending individual packages....maybe not a good idea.  Any advice?

@DCretiree, if you're sending personal items i.e. moving your goods to your new home, you can circumvent the customs duty by stating that. Once your packages/boxes arrive and you receive the notice from CTT, go onto their website, register yourself, then you can clear the items through customs yourself. You need to fill in a value declaration form; attach copy of passport; customs exemption form, signed; and residence card or proof of your residence here in Portugal. Make sure you do all of this first. I made the mistake of clearing the first few boxes through customs on the CTT website, and they were delivered to our house within about two days after that! They really are fast, these guys. BUT - because I hadn't added all the extra docs, there was customs duty payable on each box...approx €60 (the exact amount that I had paid back home to ship each one). It's taken a few calls and a visit to CTT Lisbon to get them to cancel the customs duty and re-deliver all of the boxes. I'm waiting now for that re-delivery with baited breath...
I would suggest you contact Alfandega Aeroporto (customs) beforehand to request the exemption and the forms to complete. I can only give you the Lisboa email add: aalisboa-ep[at]

Good luck!

Hi, I fully agree with what was written before on the subject of CCT, our experience was really good so far: fast, efficient and reasonably priced also for domestic deliveries.
I can't only recommend using their services. 
As to Amazon Spain (this is not first-hand experience) 4 of our friends told us they had serious problems to get their parcels delivered at all.

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