Travelling Portugal By Car: All you need to know

Portugal is a country rich in history, culture, beautiful landscapes, warm people, and amazing food. The go-to places in Portugal are usually Lisbon, Algarve, and Porto but Portugal offers much, much more. With its location in the southwestern part of Europe, it enjoys a long coastline, facing the Atlantic. That alone will give you lots of amazing places to visit. And what better way to go around Portugal than through a car rental. You avoid the hassle of catching public transport and rushing about, and car hire Portugal is made easy by 

When traveling by car in Portugal as a tourist, be mindful of these things: 

  • Make sure you have your passport (a photocopy will do), photo ID (like a driver’s license), European Health Insurance Card (if you are from the EU) or some form of travel insurance (in case of emergencies), driver’s license and International Driver’s Permit. By the way, you have to be 23 to 25 years old (depending on the car hire company) to rent a car in Portugal. 
  • Plan your itinerary well. There are so many places to visit and a lot of things to do but if you have limited time, best to choose key places you want to see. It is best to have a GPS to guide you so you won’t get lost. But even if you do, these accidental side trips give you more chances to explore the country. 
  • Schedule your trip wisely. The summer season (i.e. July to August) is always super busy, especially in popular tourist destinations. The cost may be quite higher too. But if you know the right places to visit, you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg even if you come during the peak months. Make sure you book your accommodations and car hire early, especially if you are coming during the peak season, as they become fully-booked quite fast. 
  • You have to pay toll as you go on toll roads. You may only find toll booths on certain roads, so to avoid any problems, or go through the hassle of paying at the post office, and/or paying extra for fines, make sure your rental has toll tags.  
  • Before going on the road, make sure you familiarize yourself with traffic and road rules and regulations. Watch your speed as police use mobile and fixed speed cameras and will flag you down when you don’t follow speed limits (and they ask you to pay on the spot). Drive defensively to prevent road accidents. Portuguese drivers can sneak up on you on blind spots. Ditto for pedestrians. Most roads have poor lighting and lots of potholes so drive slowly. You may see people walking in the middle of the roads as they don’t have sidewalks for pedestrians to walk on.

As long as you keep these in mind, you will have a memorable trip in Portugal.