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Need to know when hiring a car in Portugal
- Portugal has over 70,000km of road network, ranging from motorways and highways to smaller regional roads. The maximum motorway speed is 120km/h, on expressways it’s 100km/h. In built up areas the speed limit is 50km/h. Keep in mind there are further restrictions, for example in areas where there are schools the limit drops to 25km/h. It’s important to take notice of relevant signage as you drive.
- Portugal has some spectacularly scenic roads. In 2015 the N-222 route from Peso de Reguna to Pinhao was voted the world’s best road. Even though it is just 27km in length, it offers a superb combination of bends and straights, alongside unparalleled views of the Douro Valley wine region and UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Toll roads are the fastest way to get around Portugal. You can save up to an hour on a journey between the capital Lisbon and the popular Algarve town of Albufeira. Portuguese toll roads can be confusing, so it’s worth spending a little time researching before you go. Check out this useful information.
- If you’re not in a rush, check out some of Portugal’s non-toll roads. Meandering along these is a sure-fire way to discover unexpected towns, villages and beautiful scenery. It really is a wonderful way to explore a gentler side of Portuguese life. Make sure you don’t get lost though, remember to add a Sat-Nav to your booking.
Some Portuguese rules of the road:
- You must be 18 or older to drive
- Drive on the right
- Always carry your driving license when driving
- It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving
- Children must be aged 12 or above, or over 150cm tall to sit in the front of the car.
Car hire in Portuguese airports
Booking your hire car in advance offers a couple of advantages; you’ll save money and have a far greater choice with regard to the type of vehicle. Car hire in Portugal can start from as low as €10 a day (depending on your requirements) but costs vary throughout the year, being more expensive in the high season of spring and summer. Car hire companies at Portuguese airports include MasterKings, Europcar, Enterprise, Drive4Fun and Centauro. You can find further information about specific airports here Faro, Lisbon, Funchal.
Remember: Make sure you understand what is required of you when driving in Portugal, such as toll roads and speed limits, the information on this site is a good starting point, but it’s important to do your own research.
Guide to Portugal
Portugal is in the same UTC/GMT time zone as the United Kingdom. It has a population of 10.31 million and wonderfully diverse and vibrant blend of cities, towns and tiny villages. Portugal has a long history of exploration and was a major colonial power. Links to Africa are evident through much of the nation’s culture, nowhere more so than in the food, with spices such as Peri-Peri being a major feature in Portuguese cuisine. Portugal’s long and varied history can be seen through its wide range of architecture, from Gothic churches to the Moorish-inspired chimneys and tile-work, still common in the country today.
Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, is a beautiful coastal city, unlike anything else in Europe. The city offers everything you might want in a capital; fine food, theatre, museums and nightclubs. It is full of glamour yet manages to simultaneously offer a calm serenity and allow you to truly breathe.
The Algarve is a popular region for holiday makers of all tastes. Whether you’re looking for stunning beaches and water-sports or golfing and wine tasting, this region truly has it all. Its location along the southern coast also offers a beautiful route into the Andalucía region of Spain. You can drive from Albufeira to historic Seville in less than two and a half hours.
Art and music have always had a special place in with Portuguese culture. Paula Rego, born in Lisbon, is a world renowned contemporary visual artist, having had solo exhibitions in most major world cities. Portugal’s traditional folk music is Fado, and the most famous performer is the ‘Queen of Fado’ herself, Amalia Rodrigues. However, it is not only homegrown talent the country inspires, many international artists have fallen under the spell of this beautiful country. The Doors song Spanish Caravan recalls travelling between the Portuguese Algarve and Andalucía in Spain. More recently, pop star Madonna took inspiration from Batuque, a Cape Verde music genre, on her Madam X album.
Places to visit in Portugal
Lisbon is without a doubt the ‘world city’ of Portugal and an entire holiday could be spent exploring what it has to offer. St Jerome’s Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; built in celebration of Vasco da Gama, an explorer who journeyed to India in 1498. This ornate building offers a glimpse into the ‘Age of Discoveries’. Another Lisbon treat is a ride on Tram 28, it’s extremely cheap and takes you through some of the most scenic of capital’s neighbourhood routes.
There are also a wealth of gems away from the capital. In the popular resorts of the Algarve, alongside the vast array of wine tasting and golfing opportunities there are countless family friendly attractions including Albufeira’s Aqualand, open from June-September, children and adults will enjoy hours of wet and wild fun. If travelling with children, take advantage of our additional equipment hire such as infant and child booster seats.
If the beach (Praia in Portuguese) is more your thing, the Algarve has you covered. For pure beauty the best beach is Praia da Marinha in the Lagoa municipality, rated as one of the top ten European beaches in the Michelin Guide, you’ll be surrounded by stunning orange toned cliffs and the majestic blue sea. If you’re a water sports fan head over to Arrifana, which offers brilliant surfing opportunities for any skill level.
History & Culture
For historians and cultural explorers, the city of Evora will tick so many boxes. With the remains of a Roman temple, small art galleries and a cathedral within walking distance of each other, you won’t wander far without something exciting to discover. For those with a slightly more macabre taste in sightseeing, be sure to visit the Chapel of the Bones, built by Franciscan monks in the 1500s this chapel is decorated with bones and skulls, it has similarities with the catacombs of Paris or Rome, but far less queuing!
If you want to get away from the mainland you won’t go far wrong with a trip to the Madeira. Geographically closer to Morocco than Portugal you can have the sense of being in the middle of nowhere without foregoing modern world comforts. There is something here for everyone, whether heading out on a boat trip in search of dolphins or taking a leisurely stroll around the botanical gardens, Madeira is packed with things to do. The island is also a wonderful place to explore the natural world. The north of the island is home to the internationally significant Laurissilva forests, which have existed for 1.8 million years.
Getting to and from Portugal
The Portuguese mainland is served by three international airports; Lisbon near the capital, Faro in the heart of the Algarve and Porta in the north. The island of Madeira is served by Funchal airport. The national airline is Air Portugal though many companies, including several budget carriers, have direct routes to the main airports.
However you get in to Portugal, hiring a car with Enjoy Car Hire will give you the freedom and flexibility to discover, explore and fall in love with this magical country.
Driving in Portugal useful stats
FAQs about car hire in Portugal
How much does it cost to hire a car in Portugal?
This is dependent on the time of year. At the height of summer, you will be looking to pay around €16.00 (€13.67) per day for a small car. In the winter the same car would start from €5.00 (£4.27) per day.
What is the cheapest car hire in Portugal?
The cheapest car hire with Enjoy is usually SurPrice car rentals, but you’ll find all the options on our website which are calculated daily.
What is the maximum speed limit in Portugal?
The speed limit on the motorways is 120 KM/H (74 MPH), 80 KM/H on the main roads, 50 KM/H in built up areas and 25 KM/H on school roads.Always obey local signage.
How old do you have to be to hire a car in Portugal?
The legal driving age in Portugal is 18, however the car hire companies have their own rules, and often add a surcharge for under 21s or under 25s.
How much will it cost to hire a BMW in Portugal?
You can hire a BMW X1 from around £22.
How much does it cost to hire a Transit van in Portugal?
You can hire a Ford Transit van from £19.17 per day.
How much does it cost to hire an economy car in Portugal?
You can a Fiat 500 or similar from around £5 per day depending on the time of year.
How much does it cost to hire a car in Portugal for a week?
It depends on the time of year and the type of car but expect prices to start from around £48 (£6.90 per day).
Which car hire companies are in Portugal?
How much is 120 KMH in Miles per hour?
120 KM per hour is 74.6 miles per hour
How much is 1 Euro in British pounds?
1 Euro (EUR) is equal to roughly 89p however this fluctuates daily depending on the exchange rate.
How much is £1 GBP in Euros?
£1 (GBP) is equal to roughly 1.13 Euros however this fluctuates daily depending on the exchange rate.
Also, check out more about
Popular Portugal car hire destinations
Popular car rental suppliers
Popular airports and airlines
- Faro Airport (FAO)
- Lisbon Airport (LIS)
- Madeira / Funchal Airport (FNC)
- British Airways
- TAP Portuguese Airlines
- Fly easyJet
- Fly Ryanair
- Busiest airports in Portugal