Parcels sent from the UK to Portugal

Missing Christmas presents?

Many people have trouble receiving parcels sent by family or internet shops such as Amazon here in Portugal, below we try to offer some information and advice:

When people in the UK go to the Post Office ie the Royal Mail to send a parcel to Portugal there are a few options available, for future reference we recommend you always choose one which provides you with a “Tracking Number” sometimes called a bar code. This is a 13 character reference starting with 2 letters then 9 numbers and then 2 letters. If the sender gives you this number you can track the progress on the Royal Mail website:

from your computer in Portugal. The counter staff should be able to advise the sender which service is which.

The Post Office send the parcel by plane to a Company called GLS who operate Europe wide so sometimes the parcel comes to Portugal via Germany etc etc.

Once the parcel is received by GLS you can track progress using the Royal Mail number on the GLS website in English at:

for their own purposes GLS also issue the parcel with their own reference number “Track Id”.

The following link to their website explains in English how the system is supposed to work.

I say supposed to work because they are totally dependent on the address being exactly correct. Plus if they cannot actually knock on your door or ring your bell (for instance if you live in a condominium without a good doorbell system) or you are not in they have a dilemma. If you have a mailbox which is clearly marked they will leave a card in there saying what they have done with the parcel. It could be left with a neighbor if there is one, or most likely left at a local shop which acts as a “Parcel Shop” as well as carrying on it’s own business. In the case of Vilamoura it is a stationers in Quarteira called Papelnet, it will stay there for 9 days and then be sent back to the GLS depot. If they cannot find your house or your mail box they will return the parcel to their depot. If the parcel is not collected it will eventually be returned to sender.

As they are a huge operation carrying thousands of parcels you can’t get anywhere on the phone without a reference number. Having said that their Portuguese land line number is 707200607 and they can speak English if you ask. Their website has a facility to locate the nearest depot or parcel shop to you. If you are using their website there is a facility to change to English by clicking EN at the top right of each page.

Here is the crux. We have found that if the driver has a Portuguese phone number for you they will ring you and arrange to meet. We always instruct family to make the phone number part of the address so it is on the label stuck to the parcel. Our driver regognises the fact that it is a Portuguese mobile and uses his initiative to ring it. I believe Amazon actually have a place in the address fields for a phone number.

Here is their “Frequently Asked Questions” page in English

Below I show a real case of one of my Christmas presents, sent from Southampton (It was addressed to our office but this was closed for Christmas so a  card was left in the post box and it was collected from the parcel shop next day)

Royal Mail website first, read from the bottom up:

Royal Mail

Once the parcel arrived at the first GLS depot their site starts to show the progress updated as the parcel moves: (read from the bottom up)




I hope this may help anyone missing their Christmas presents!

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Norton & Mackenzie offer a comprehensive portfolio of property management, long term rentals and quality holiday lets in Vilamoura.

In addition we are fully conversant with the new law regarding renting out holiday properties in Portugal should you require advice about getting a license and being compliant. Previously there were no active checks carried out, no action actually taken and hence no penalties transpiring. Under the new regime the newly appointed authorities (ASAE) have full transparency from analysing internet advertising to physical visits to properties to check who is in residence. More importantly they have the resource to do this which the local councils never had. There is evan a liaison between the tax office and  utility Companies to cross check consumption in “empty” properties.




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