Guide to Driving in Portugal

Although Portugal's road safety record is not the best, huge improvements have been made over the past few years and it is safe to drive taking, of course, the necessary defensive mesures. If you drive with caution you can enjoy beautiful road trips in Portugal and discover all its beauty. When driving in the cities it can be a little bit stressful, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

Hiring a car and driving around Portugal is simply the best way to discover it. There are lots of hidden beaches in the Algarve and along all the extensive west coastline and beautifully set villages hidden in the Portuguese countryside that simply need to be discovered.

Most of the motorways in Portugal are toll roads and they generally do accept all major credit cards, these are usually good roads and kept in good order with plenty of service stations and places to stop. The Mediterranean Coastal Motorway (A-7/E-15) toll road that runs from Lisbon all the way along the mediterranean coast to Monte Carlo, is a recently built 4-lane motorway that makes a very enjoyable drive along the Mediterranean Coast.

Seat Belts must be worn at all times, by all occupants of the vehicle.

Children aged 12 and under or less than 1.5m (4 feet 9 inches) are not allowed to travel in a car unless supported in an approved child seat or harness.

A reflective vest must be kept in the vehicle at all times and worn when examining/repairing a vehicle at the roadside.

A warning triangle must be displayed at the rear of the car if you have stopped at the side of the road as a result of breakdown or problems.

If you have held your license for less than 12 months then you must not exceed 90kph (55mph) and display a yellow "90" disc at the back of the car.

Useful terms for when refueling your car.
Unleaded Regular - Gasolina Sem Chumbo
Diesel - Diesel

Mobile Phones
The use of a mobile phone in a car is only allowed if you have either a hands free kit or a headset.

You must park in the same direction of traffic, parking facing on-coming traffic is illegal.

Drink Driving Limit in Portugal is 50mg per 100 ml of Blood (Less than the UK. Portugal Cars recommend that you don't drink before you drive.

Portugal Speed Limits

Urban areas - 50 KPH = 31 MPH

Major roads - 100 KPH = 62 MPH

Motorways - 120 KPH = 74 MPH

Useful Phrases

Fronteira Border
Gasoleo Diesel
Itinerario principal Main road
Limite de velocidade Speed limit
Portagem Toll

Sem chumbo


Unleaded petrol

Petrol - your portugal car hire choice