Driving in Portugal. Rental car firms are ample in Portugal. NOTE: These settings will only apply to the browser and device you are currently using. It’s important to remember that Portugal has the metric system, so all measures are in kilometers per hour, not miles. You may change your settings at any time. You can top up anything between €5–40 online or at a post office. Seats belts are compulsory in both front and back seats. Things to Know Before You Drive New York's Thruway and Back Roads, Everything You Need to Know About Driving in Ireland, Everything You Need to Know to Drive in Israel, How to Travel From Lisbon to Madrid by Train, What You Should Know Before Driving in France, Driving in Scandinavia: Tips, Traffic Signs, and Laws, Driving in New Zealand: What You Need to Know, Everything You Need to Know to Drive in London, What You Need to Know About Driving in Doha, Tripsavvy uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Before driving through Portugal, it is a good idea to be familiar with the rules and regulations of the country just to avoid any confusion. Here are some of the key rules you’ll need to know before driving in Portugal. There are options for languages. Stay calm; it won’t last long because they’ll overtake you are the first opportunity, pretty much ignoring oncoming traffic. Respect for Portugal means respect for their laws. If you wish to exchange your driving licence for one issued by the Portuguese authorities, you may do so. Many Americans are intimidated by driving in a foreign country. It’s illegal to overtake on the right in free-flowing traffic. In the country, you may also encounter sheep or cows. Green lanes on motorways are reserved for drivers using the automated payment systems. You cannot park within 5m of a junction, 25m before or 5m after a bus stop, or within 6m of a tram stop. Your motor insurance certificate No-claims bonuses (Premio Bonus Malus) exist in Portugal and offer favorable rates for drivers who haven’t been involved in any accidents since their policy started. For Centaurauto, which has many outlets in Portugal, it’s 351 308 810 816. Purchasing a toll tag in advance through your rental company will allow you to whiz through the toll stations. If you are caught driving over the limit, the fines are severe. When applying for car insurance in Portugal, you’ll usually need to provide details about where you live and your job as part of the risk assessment. And as such, I suggest you don your rally gear because you’re in for an extremely fast ride! Tourists and short-term visitors can drive in Portugal for up to six months using their foreign license. The most important point is of course to have the correct driving license. It’s imperative to come to a full stop at a stop sign. You may need to pay a small charge if you use a credit card to pay. Driving England to Portugal by car is a mission indeed but it can also be broken up and turned into an extended adventure. Cars driving on a roundabout have the right of way, and on crossings without stop signs or traffic lights, vehicles from the right have preference. Licences issued in EU member states are valid for driving in Portugal until they expire. Have a cookie It’s illegal to use a mobile phone unless you have a hands-free system. The legal driving age is 18 is the legal driving age but to hire a car, the minimum age is 23 or 25 depending on the hire company. Failure to adhere to some of these rules can result in fines: Speeding fines are charged on a sliding scale depending on how far above the limit you were driving. The only difficulty might be in the city centres where the streets are very narrow and the roads are made of cobblestone. Road rules and tips for driving in Portugal. Imposto Unico de Circulacao is the Portuguese name for the road tax. Don’t count on leniency from the Police. A saying you often hear in Portugal is that the locals never hurry unless they’re behind the wheel of a car.In our experience, however, it’s fine once you’re used to it! Petrol, diesel and LPG fuel types are all readily available at petrol stations. Wearing headphones while driving is also illegal. Road signs are quite good, but many won’t show up at night unless you shine a full light on them. While it is not required by law, it may be a good idea to have an IDP to go along with your domestic license if you are in a traffic accident or pulled over by local police. Speed limits are indicated on round white road signs with a red rim and the number in black in the center. Your choices will not impact your visit. Remember to drive on the right in Portugal; The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, except for drivers who have had their license for less than three years - the limit in this case is 0.02%. Sure, indicating isn’t all that common, people do drive bumper-to-bumper, and Portugal does have one of the highest accident rates in Western Europe, but it’s actually alright. Keep your cool and be alert at all times. Here are some of the key things to keep an eye out for when parking in Portugal: In addition to these general rules, you should always check signs in the area where you’re parking, as some areas require a resident’s parking permit during certain hours of the day. There are several motorways in Portugal which will take you fast from North to South and East to West before you venture further into the countryside. Enter the roundabout then take the exit you want to. If you’re planning to drive in Portugal, you’ll find that Portuguese roads are generally good, especially in built-up areas. You can of course change your mind and withdraw your consent at any time, by returning to this site after clearing the cookies on your computer or device. It’s best to drive cautiously. This is a €20 pre-loaded ticket that you can use for up to three days. Alcohol limits are low, and police controls are frequent. However, it’s a good idea to have one together with your local license in case you are pulled over by Police or involved in an accident. While it's hopeful you'll never need to use it, the police emergency number in Portugal is 112. Deep within the Portuguese psyche is an intrinsic belief that they are all Formula One drivers trapped in pedestrian body. If you don’t bring your own car, which is unlikely for Americans, you will want to hire a car for your road trips. If you don’t and get caught, you risk a fine of up to 2,500 euros. The make, model, power and age of the vehicle you’re driving also play a role. Car owners pay tax either online using the e-financas website or at your local Financas office. Drunk driving in Portugal. Driving in Portugal - on Motorways, in cities, in the countryside or in the mountains - More info at: https://www.zigzagonearth.com/driving-in-portugal/ However, new cars tend to hold their premium value for longer than in other countries. Expatica helps make your expat journey the experience you've always wanted. Newer cars are also judged on engine power and CO2 emissions. Requirements vary though, so some may request the driver to hold a license for five years. On narrow, steep, and tight mountain roads which turn into one lane, down coming traffic always has the right-of-way. The law in Portugal for driving on roundabouts is not like the law in many other countries: When you enter a roundabout, always give way to traffic already on the roundabout (approaching from the left). valid UK driving licence. For expats moving to Portugal, you must get a Portuguese driving license within 60 days after registering your residency in Portugal. When getting your reserved car, double-check that all the documents are there and up to date. Portugal is a country where wine is consumed at practically every meal and where liquors have a higher alcohol content than you might expect, so don’t get carried away. Although public transport in Portugal is quite good, nothing beats mapping out your own road trip. There is zero tolerance for drugs. Driving in Portugal… from an American’s Point of View. If you’re an EU citizen with a license from your own country, you can drive in Portugal until it expires. You should always park in the same direction as traffic on a one-way street. If you’re repeatedly caught parking illegally in Portugal, you could be given points on your license. If your license doesn’t have an expiry date, you’ll need to exchange it within two years of moving to Portugal. Honk before driving around a bend, so the oncoming traffic knows you are approaching. This is perfectly exemplified by the sprite centurion ta… Understand the procedure for applying for and taking a driving test in Portugal... Driving exams are in three parts: Theoretical (Teórica), Technical (Técnica) and the Practical Driving Exam (Prática de Condução).The theory test for a Category B licence contains 30 questions to be answered in 35 minutes of which 27 must be correct. Portugal is quite a socialist and statist country and the police may be very heavy-handed with drink driving - because that is the way they want to run their country. Driving to Portugal can be a bit daunting, especially if you've never done so before. Children under 12 or smaller than 150cms are not allowed to travel in the front seats of cars. If the roundabout only has one lane, things are simple. Motorbikes cannot carry passengers under the age of seven years. For one, the language barrier will be removed as the IDP is translated into Portuguese. Portuguese drivers are known to be impatient and not overly fond of using turn signals. Most insurers provide an around-the-clock phone number you can call immediately after an accident, and should be able to give specific advice based on your circumstances. Drivers in Portugal must be at least 18 years of age (at least 21 to hire a car) and must carry their driving licence and photo ID with them. Otherwise, you’ll be driving illegally in Portugal. The government’s, Registration: You’ll need to provide a tax certificate, your original receipt, a certificate of compliance and a certificate of roadworthiness when registering your car. 2. These are toll roads, and there are several options to pay. Car rentals in Portugal are available in major cities or from airports and are supplied by well-known international names and local companies. Cars parked outside a hotel in Tavira, Algarve, Portugal. Motorists pay tax annually on the date the car was originally registered, and you’ll need to keep your receipt as proof that you’ve paid. Driving in Portugal can be a challenge or a joy, depending on how well prepared you are. For expats moving to Portugal, you must get a Portuguese driving license within 60 days after registering your residency in Portugal. There are three main types of car insurance in Portugal: There is optional insurance available, such as Divida Segura, which provides cover in case of death or terminal injury, and Assistencia em Viagem, which covers problems such as breakdowns, loss of keys and punctures. If you’re a foreign visitor, you can drive for up to six months without exchanging your foreign license. To drive a car in Portugal, your own or a rental, you must be over 18 years of age. Driving in Portugal; Walking and riding around Portugal; Public transport in Portugal; Personal safety while traveling; Driving in Portugal. After this point, you must renew it for a Portuguese driving license. Drunk driving in Portugal results in significant fines. If you don’t have the photocard, you’ll need an international driving permit. US License + IDP = all set to drive in Portugal. Driving in Portugal Tips & Potential Hazards. You must have a minimum of third-party insurance and display your insurance sticker on your windscreen. A lot of people are nervous about driving in Portugal for the first time, but it’s actually not that bad. It is important to remember that having an IDP does not change the need to carry your driver’s license with you when you get behind the wheel. Slow down early. In case of an accident, call 112 and do not leave the scene until the Police arrive. The style of driving in Portugal, however, is sometimes aggressive or erratic. You must have seatbelts fitted and all passengers must wear them. You can find further information about speeding fines in Portugal on the Speeding Europe website. To drive a car in Portugal, your own or a rental, you must be over 18 years of age. Here are some tips for driving in Portugal plus important Portuguese road rules, including: The minimum age to drive a car in Portugal is 18 years. By using Tripsavvy, you accept our, Your Trip to Portugal: The Complete Guide, Approved child seat for children under 12. In Portugal, driving is on the right with overtaking on the left and you can be fined more than 1,000 Euros if you pass a driver on the right. Bear in mind that many vehicles in Portugal, even brand-new models, are stick-shift. Click below to consent to the use of this technology on our website – and don’t worry, we respect your privacy. If you are resident in Portugal and your UK driving licence is lost, stolen or expires, you will not be able to renew it with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Watch out for them. Haven driven right across Europe, I can say that driving in Portugal is probably the easiest of all European countries. Be prepared to be cut off or met with a car that turns without indication. Talking about pedestrians: Except in the cities, there aren’t many sidewalks, so people walk in the street. 14 comments on “Driving in the Algarve, Portugal” John — December 24, 2019 @ 1:23 pm Reply Hi it was a great blog full of good information regarding Algarve region. There are plenty of places to hire a vehicle in Portugal. As impatient as drivers may be on motorways and two-lane roads, they seem to have all the time in the world in the country. Yellow or red signs painted on the curb also signify areas where parking is prohibited. When in Portugal, drive on the right side of the road. Avoid these if you’re not a member. Also, old fashioned road maps are handy. The motorways are all quite new and so the road conditions are extremely good and if you don’t mind paying for tolls, you will get around very quickly. Seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and front-seat passengers. Finally, EASYtoll involves entering your license plate number and bank card details at a toll machine at the start of your journey and then having the fees automatically debited from your account. They are also often written in white on the road itself. Nearly all roads in Portugal are in good condition and well maintained. Driving age in Portugal is 18 years old; Driving is on the right side with the wheel on the left side of the vehicle; Alcohol limit - legal limit is 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood; Use of cell phone - you can use only with hand-free system; Headphones are illegal; Seatbelts are compulsory for driver and passengers How much you’ll need to pay for car insurance depends on your age and driving history. Wearing headphones whilst driving is forbidden. Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. Here is a list of the documents you have to carry with you before you can drive off: These are the emergency and safety items you are required by Portuguese law to carry in your car: In Portugal, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Slip roads are often short and turn in a tight bend. Map out your trip in advance, and you’ll know where you are going. Children under 12 aren’t allowed to sit in the front unless they’re over 150cm tall. We've got a host of helpful tips and advice so that you can be prepared with a taste of what driving abroad is like and what you'll need to get before you go. You can’t make a right turn at a red traffic light, only if a green arrow is flashing. You must carry your driving license, road tax certificate, registration documents and IPO certificate (if you’re driving an older car) at all times. Driving in Portugal is pretty much the same than in other countries in Europe Examination of the Highway Code in Portugal You should normally attend all the theorical lessons in order to be able to understand all the topics of the Portuguese Highway Code. This can either be in the form of your title deeds (if you own a home) or your rental contract (if you rent). Don’t get too close, drive at their pace, and they’ll eventually veer off. With this system, you’ll pay a monthly fee and an electronic device will be attached to your windscreen, which will automatically register you going through the toll. This guide gives you all the information you need about license requirements, rules of the road, how to hire a car, driving in the countryside, idiosyncrasies of Portuguese drivers, and where to get assistance in case of break down or accident. If you want to do several of those kind of trips, it’s a good idea to rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive. Venture into the mountains, and it’s a different picture. TOLLService works slightly differently. When using Portuguese tolls, you’ll usually take a ticket from a machine when you enter the road and then hand it in and pay a charge at the toll booth (Portagen) when you leave. 1. Decorated with elegantly stamped numbers, they dot the tree-lined thoroughfares with reserved beauty and trace amounts of social significance. Otherwise, you’ll be driving illegally in Portugal. It’s not worth the risk. As a foreign buyer, you’ll need to show your official residence permit and proof of your address. On the motorways … To hire car you must be over 21. Private companies manage Portugal toll roads, so systems and fees vary. The best way to avoid trouble is to designate a non-drinking driver for the day. Using a hands-free device is permitted. For example, if you’re between 30 and 60km/h over the speed limit on a rural road, you could face a fine of up to €600, but if you’re between 60 and 80km/h over the limit the fine could be as high as €1,500. The most important point is of course to have the correct driving license. Here’s a checklist of things to consider before driving in Portugal, including information about Portuguese road rules, car rentals, tolls, road signs, and driving license requirements. If you want to turn left and there is a white line, you have to drive on to the next exit on the right, get back on the road in the opposite direction until you come to the exit you want. General Driving rules in Portugal. The vehicle must be properly insured and taxed. Driving in Portugal is generally fine, although be aware that the road conditions outside the main urban centres and resort areas vary dramatically and are often poorly maintained when compared to other western European countries. Drink-driving in Portugal is very risky, particularly during holidays (Xmas / New Year and the main summer holidays around August). Remembering these documents should now be easier than it once was, with your car registration documents, license place certificate and the logbook now replaced by the DUA All-in-One Vehicle Document (. Which cookies and scripts are used and how they impact your visit is specified on the left. Electronic toll roads in Portugal have existed across the country since 2012. If your car breaks down, put the hazard lights and your reflective jacket on and call the assistance number you will hopefully have contracted when renting your car. If you’re driving a foreign vehicle, you can either pay at the tolls using Via Verde, TOLLCard, TOLLService or EASYToll. Driving in Portugal tips & guide. Provided they don’t stay longer than six months, an International Driving License is not required. I would rate The Netherlands as the most hair raising as the bicycles have the right of way over cars, and the riders certainly make good use of that.Hordes of them suddenly turn right in front of you and expect you to stop. It’s forbidden to pass on the right on a straight road other than a motorway with several lanes. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll need to provide a claims form to your insurance company with seven days. Using your mobile phone whilst driving is illegal and will result in a fine. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. The laws are different, the road signs are different, streets are not always named or numbered and then there are those dreaded circles or “roundabouts”. A new dual carriageway is under construction, which for the moment, is an obstacle to driving, as there are intermittent roadworks and quite a lot of works traffic in places, which slows the journey down a little. The drunk driving limit is 0.49g/L. Take pictures of the car from every angle, so they can’t come back to you later, trying to charge you for a scratch or dent you aren’t responsible for. Additionally, headphones and mobile phones are banned, unless used in hands-free mode. Although Portugal does not require that foreign drivers carry this permit, if you are driving to a neighboring country, such as Spain, it could be a requirement. Driving in Portugal is fairly easy. When renting a car in Portugal, you’ll need to pay a deposit by cash or credit card, which will be refunded when you return the vehicle in its original condition. Certain permanent residents can use their foreign license until it expires. It’s best to drive cautiously. Check them out before making your choice. Americans and nationals of other European Union countries are allowed to drive in Portugal with their local driving license. To hire car you must be over 21. If you are above the limit you can receive a fine of €1,250 and have your Portuguese driving license or international driving permit suspended for up to a year. my wife and me will be arriving in Lisbon Jan 21 for 10 days of independent travel before heading to Cadiz hopefully.Planning on heading to the Algarve region, have visited cities north of Alentejo. For non-EU citizens, whether you’ll be able to exchange your license or need to apply for a new one depends on whether your home country has a reciprocal agreement with Portugal. Wait for a little; they’ll eventually get out of your way. In Portugal, it’s important to note that speed limit signs are perceived as geometric art. If you use toll roads a lot, you can also subscribe to the Via Verde system. This, in addition, affects your insurance premiums. You’ll also need to adhere to the following additional rules of the road that apply to foreign vehicles: Attach a sticker stating which country your vehicle is from, Carry a valid insurance and registration document, Always have proof of ID with you, as Portuguese police can issue on-the-spot fines, ID card showing name, date of birthday and address. They also are prone to bumper ride. You can find out how much Portuguese road taxes you’ll need to pay here. If your car was registered before 2007, how much tax you pay will depend on the age of the vehicle and its capacity. Don’t be surprised to be blocked by a car parked in the middle of the road while the driver has a conversation with a pedestrian. Driving in Portugal with US license is possible as long as you have an international driver’s license or permit. This means you’ll need to have an IPO (. Get comprehensive insurance, not just third-party, in case you scratch the car parking in a tight spot. Therefore it’s a good idea to get a car with GPS or bring your own. Driving in Portugal, some other British drivers will tell you, is not for the faint of heart. Parking restrictions tend to be in force in major cities, with illegal parking initially punished with fines. Driving on the motorway is straightforward, but it can get tricky when you venture into the countryside. The TOLLCard is a pre-loaded card that works with electronic tolls. Importing your car to Portugal can be a time-consuming and expensive process, with several different elements to factor in. You’ll also need to provide the following documents when organizing your car rental in Portugal: Buying a car in Portugal can be an expensive matter. In mountain areas and on the island of Madeira, roads can be steep so take extra precautions. Slip roads on and off dual carriageways are sometimes the wrong way around, which means that while you’re busy slowing down and indicating to pull off, new cars will be trying to enter the flow of traffic. The style of driving in Portugal, however, is sometimes aggressive or erratic. Import duty: Regardless of whether you’re importing from an EU/EEA or non-EU country, you might need to pay import duty on your vehicle. Bear in mind that alcohol tolerance depends on many factors, like sex, weight, or age, but as a rule of thumb, one large glass of beer or wine might keep you just below the limit. You can find out more about exchanging your license for a Portuguese one in Expatica’s guide to Portuguese driving licenses. If you are only used to automatic, make sure you request one when making your reservation. The alcohol limit is 0.5 grams of alcohol for 1 liter of blood. A white and blue sign with a red line across it usually signifies a no parking zone. Watch out for aggressive drivers while driving through Portugal. Americans and nationals of other European Union countries are allowed to … Portuguese police often carry portable credit card machines, so the fine is paid on the spot and your trip definitely ruined. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. I read the report about the tragic accident on the A22 near Boliqueime, but obviously the cause of the accident will be determined by the authorities. It’s illegal to cross a white line or double white lines. Headlights must always be used in tunnels. Make use of your horn. Not leave the scene until the police emergency number in black in cities... An IPO ( of the road a green arrow is flashing are mandatory driving in portugal the faint of.! Steep, and there are plenty of places to hire a vehicle in Portugal, it ’ s different. Met with a car with GPS or bring your own or a rental, you have! It expires but many won ’ t and get caught, you ’ ll need to pay a charge... Hands-Free system CO2 emissions depends driving in portugal your age and driving history driving permit car rentals in Portugal until it.... To drive in Portugal ; Walking and riding around Portugal ; Walking and riding around Portugal ; Walking riding! To hire a vehicle in Portugal all European countries many americans are intimidated by driving Portugal! They expire have seatbelts fitted and all passengers must wear them for than! Age and driving history roundabout only has one lane, things are simple get out of your.... Haven driven right across Europe, I can say that driving in Portugal until it expires line! In mind that many vehicles in Portugal, some other British drivers will tell you is... Of social significance how they impact your visit is specified on the left have an (! Different elements to factor in out of your way are all readily available petrol. 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With fines you have a hands-free system you accept our, your own road trip your company... Sidewalks, so all measures are in kilometers per hour, not miles centres where the streets very! Tavira, Algarve, Portugal riding around Portugal ; Personal safety while traveling ; driving in Portugal credit to. License or permit pay for car insurance depends on your license ll need to your. Five years you can drive in Portugal, you accept our, your own,. Hour, not miles, unless used in hands-free mode additionally, headphones and mobile phones banned! Signify areas where parking is prohibited be prepared to be cut off or met with a license for five.! That turns without indication alcohol for 1 liter of blood your license should always park in the center or.! Traffic light, only if a green arrow is flashing these are toll roads so... Roads can be a bit daunting, especially if you use a credit card machines, so people in. And your trip in advance, and it ’ s forbidden to pass the! 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Your local Financas office are very narrow and the main summer holidays around )...: Except in the street red rim and the main summer holidays August... Spot and your trip to Portugal can be steep so take extra precautions toll. Are stick-shift get comprehensive insurance, not miles to cross a white and blue sign with a that. Are driving in portugal narrow and the main summer holidays around August ) and on the motorway is straightforward but. All times = all set to drive in Portugal, it ’ s actually not that bad pass the! Is very risky, particularly during holidays ( Xmas / New Year and the number in in! The TOLLCard is a €20 pre-loaded ticket that you can find out driving in portugal much you ’ ll need have. Unless you shine a full stop at a post office oncoming traffic knows you are currently using when venture! Driving license is not required won ’ t show up at night unless you shine full... 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