The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Portugal

Portugal has countless things for visitors to see and do, making it a very popular vacation destination. You can visit the National Palace of Pena, the Costa Vincentina National Park, the historic district of Porto, the Peneda-Geres National Park, the Monastery of Alcobaca, and so much more. The country is a treasure trove of attractions.

Why rent a car in Portugal?

If you want to see as much of Portugal as possible and you want to experience the beautiful landscapes, small villages, and the larger cities, a rented vehicle is a convenient way to do it. Drivers need to be at least 18 years old. You will need to have your national driving permit and international driver’s license. Make sure you have the appropriate rental papers with you as well.

All of the vehicles in Portugal need to have a red reflective warning triangle, as well as spare bulbs, a spare tire, and tools to change the bulbs and tire. The vehicle also need to be equipped with a reflective vest. It can be yellow, red, or orange.

When you rent a vehicle in Portugal, you have the option of also renting a transponder. This will help make it easier to use the toll roads. Instead of paying the tolls as you go through them, they will be charged to your credit card. Many of the rental companies have prepaid transponders with a 20 Euro credit. You can speak with the rental company about what they offer. Make sure you get their contact number as well.

Road conditions and safety

The roads in Portugal are in good shape with no major issues, so travel along them should not be a problem. You can drive from the north part of the country all the way to the south without leaving the highway except for excursions and to refuel. The roads once you get into the cities and towns can be narrow though, so be careful. The drivers are usually respectful, but you should still be driving defensively.

The traffic moves on the right side of the road, and you will pass vehicles on the left side. All of the drivers and passengers in the vehicle need to have their seatbelts on, and the driver is responsible for making sure they wear them. Children who are under 12 years old are required to ride in the backseat, and kids need to be in child seats unless they are 150cm or taller. You are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving, unless it is a hands-free system. In addition, you cannot use earphones while driving.

When you are driving and you enter a tunnel, even in the daytime, you are required to have your headlights on.

Speed limits

Pay attention to the posted speed limits on the roads in Portugal and abide by them. The following speed limits are common for various types of roadways.

  • Motorways – 120 km/h
  • Main trunk roads – 100 km/h
  • Built up areas – 50 km/h
  • Rural and secondary roads – 50 km/h

Rent a car in Portugal to make your trip the best it can possibly be. A rental is convenient and more comfortable than using public transportation or relying on tour buses.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Poland
Poland Poland has a lot more to offer to travelers than many realize. Once you start to see all of the interesting ( things there are to do and see in the country, you can see why it is starting...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Spain
Spain Spain is a dream vacation for many people. Perhaps you want to spend time exploring Barcelona and sights such as the Basilica of the Sagrada Family and Casa Batllo. You can visit the Prado Museum in Madrid, Plaza de...
Summertime Road Trip Checklist
Stay cool on road trips in hot weather by maintaining your car air conditioning, carrying water bottles, and checking road conditions.

Related questions

My car shakes when it gets up to about 60 miles per hour feel like the tire is going to fall off
This may be caused by a variety of possibilities, however, I would start with checking tire pressure in all the tires checking to be sure the lug nuts ( on every wheel are tight and checking for any bubbles or...
Engine code P0130 - Oxygen sensor
The code ( is for the oxygen sensor not putting out enough voltage, causing the vehicle to run rich all the time since the computer thinks it is running lean until the computer reaches its rich limit. Check the oxygen...
how to find the engine number for accord v6 2000
Hi there. The engine code and VIN number are not the same thing, however, when a dealership looks up parts for your vehicle by the VIN number, the engine code will show up on their screen. To locate the engine...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 ·