European ClockNearly everyone I speak to in the UK on the phone asks “what time is it where you are?” The first time they ask they are shocked to hear the answer, “Exactly the same time as it is where you are.”

Yes, the time in Portugal is the same as the time in the UK. We’re so used to flying east when we go to Europe on holiday and putting our clocks forward that it’s easy to forget Portugal is actually south of the UK. Not only that but it’s a little bit west as well.

What is confusing, though, is that Spain IS an hour ahead of both the UK and Portugal. This can be a problem if, say, you are driving from Portugal to catch a ferry in Santander or Bilbao. As soon as you cross the border in Chaves or Vilar Formoso into Spain, you have to put your watch forward an hour. If your ferry is leaving at noon, that means 11am in Portugal.

This is odd, but of course it’s because Spain covers a wider area and it goes by Central European Time.

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