Portugal

Driving in Portugal

Portugal Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Portugal drives on the right and you can use the photo licence of any country to drive here, providing it’s written in Roman alphabet. Drivers from other countries need their own licence plus an international driving permit. Speed limits range from 120kmh on motorways to 90kmh on other roads and 50kmh in urban areas.

Portugal has one of the most well developed and efficient road networks in Europe with over 3000km of motorways or Autostrada, designated by a letter A and a road number. There are over 40 roads in the country designated as motorways with the main routes –

A1 – Autoestrada do Norte -Lisbon – Santarém – Leiria – Coimbra – Aveiro – Porto

A2- Autoestrada do Sul – Lisbon– Marateca – Alcácer do Sal – Grândola – Ourique – Albufeira

A3- Autoestrada do Minho -Porto – Famalicão – Braga – Ponte de Lima – Valença

A4 -Autoestrada Transmontana Porto – Penafiel – Amarante – Vila Real – Mirandela – Bragança – Quintanilha

Most motorways and some other roads in Portugal have sections of toll road. Charges can be paid at the barrier  or electronically via the EasyToll system. More details can be found here.

Main roads are well maintained and in good condition. Even minor roads are generally in good condition. Driving style is typical of Southern Europe- drivers may seem fast and sometimes aggressive to visitors from Northern Europe or USA. Roads in the ‘old town’ areas of many cities can be narrow and congested. In the coastal resorts, expect large numbers of foreign self drivers who will be unfamiliar with local roads and driving practices. Drive defensively and expect the unexpected – its not unheard of for one of the many British visitors to forget they aren’t at home and drive on the left hand side of the road! In general driving abroad in Portugal shouldn’t cause too many problems for most drivers and the country offers some great scenic drives such as the 900km Atlantic Coastal route; the N246 and N118 roads following the Tagus River and the route from Porto to Pinhão through the Douro valley.

See Madeira section for info on driving there.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Portugal Car Rental –

Not surprisingly Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National,Budget,Avis,  Thrifty all operate here. Also usually features on Web discount sites such as ebookers.com. or Expedia and all car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire.

We currently have no local car rental partners in Portugal. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com

See Madeira page for info on car rental on the island

Portugal Self Drive Rules

Most of the big companies allow cars to be driven to mainland Western European countries and UK. There may be restrictions on taking cars to Eastern Europe and also taking cars on ferries.

 

2 comments


  1. Peter Roberts

    Just been on the A22 (big mistake). We have a rented car without a transponder so came off the motorway as soon as we realised as we weren’t told about the toll charges by the rental company. We went through about 3 toll areas which should have been about 3 euros. Went to pay 2 days later cost 15.65 euros. Yes I complained but was anyone interested..NO. So what do I do now. Well never get caught again. It’s the N125 front now on. Where do we go from here..

  2. Driver Abroad

    I’ve got away with it once myself Peter but that was a couple of years ago and as you say, all the rental companies in Faro now have a transponder on all cars- they should tell you about the system though. If it was one of the big international rental companies, I’d write to their customer service department when you get home and complain. If it was a smaller Portuguese company theres probably not much you can do unfortunately.

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