Driving In Portugal
Portugal’s unique culture, language and countryside make it an excellent choice for a road trip holiday. The cities are lively and stuffed with history, the climate warm and the landscapes varied with green mountains in the north to near-desert vistas in the south. Driving Portugal is the best way to experience it all, and we aim to offer a wide range of rental options at great prices to help you do just that!
Once you have found the right vehicle, here are a few tips to help make exploring Portugal by road easy and enjoyable.
The minimum age for driving a rental vehicle in Portugal is generally 23. A non-European foreign license should be accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit, and third-party insurance is compulsory for everyone on the road- this should be arranged through the rental company.
Speed limits should be respected in Portugal as they are strictly enforced. 50 kph is the standard speed limit in built-up areas, 100 kph on open roads and 120 kph on motorways. Children under the age of 12 or under 150cm tall are not permitted to sit in the front seat, and baby or booster seats are required for all children up to that age or height. Seat belts are of course obligatory at all times, and the blood alcohol cutoff is 0.5%. Mobile phone usage while driving is forbidden.
British and antipodean visitors beware- in Portugal they drive on the right!
As with anywhere in the world, drivers in Portugal should use common sense. If you are feeling tired, pull over and take a break. Be aware of the weather and adjust your speed to the visibility and state of the roads. Be courteous to other drivers and drive defensively.
Portugal has plenty of things going for it as a tourism destination! It is a relatively small country, so you can cover a lot of it in one trip. It offers great value for money with low prices when compared to other European destinations. It is a golfing mecca with fourteen courses in Europe’s top 100, and at 900 years old, it is the oldest country in Europe with the same borders.
Portugal’s primary language is Portuguese, and the currency is the Euro. The legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine, and 18 for spirits. Schengen Visas are required for non-EU tourists and are valid for up to 90 days. Citizens of countries on the White Schengen List do not require a visa for a period of up to 90 days.
Wondering where to go whilst in Portugal? Lisbon and Porto are two of Portugal’s major cities and both excellent places to start or finish a road trip. Lisbon is the country’s capital which is fast becoming a player on the European stage. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the city is built on a relationship with the water. It is a bustling port and contains many great beaches. Lisbon’s bleached limestone houses and red roofs make for a unique and charming look, and there are plenty of spectacular churches, parks and bridges in the central city which is based around the main square, Rossio.
There is plenty to do in the city- visit museums and peruse buildings, enjoy the nightlife, wander in the Jardim Botanico, shop on the Baixa and taste the best of Portuguese cuisine in the Chiado area.
Porto is in Portugal’s north, a busy centre of commerce and industry with a mercantile heart which still shows through today. It isn’t a very big city, but it has a big presence, with its inhabitants holding themselves culturally apart from the rest of Portugal- they are hardworking, down-to-earth and friendly types.
In Porto you can see the city’s World Heritage site by the river, shop for fresh produce at the Mercado do Bolhao, cruise upriver, take a wine tour, or just sit on the beach and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean.
The Algarve region in Portugal’s south is the country’s premier tourist destination. Take a detour down to the area for some real Portuguese delights- sun, sand and surf being chief amongst these. Beach resorts and picturesque towns are strung along the coast and the population triples during the holiday peak season.
Relaxation is always on the menu in Algarve, and so is action- there are plenty of golf courses, biking and hiking paths and water sports available.