Driving in Portugal is probably the best way to explore both the mainland and the islands. The roads are well maintained and you won’t have problems driving here. Renting a car allows you to enjoy the open spaces and stop whenever you want to. You are not stuck following schedules either.
Prices and cars
Even if you’ll rent a car for a longer period of time, it’s still not very expensive. The insurance (complete with accident and theft) is included in the price. The minimum rental age is 21 years old (for economy cars) or 23 years old (for compact cars). You have to show your drivers license, passport and a credit card at the time of pick up.
As in the case of any city, it’s typically more expensive to rent a car directly from the airport. So, take the public transportation to the hotel and then rent a car. Likewise, if you book online, choose the pick up/drop off at the hotel, not at the airport.
When it comes to what car to rent, ask yourself what you plan to do. Compact cars are excellent in the cities and for shorter driving distances. Larger cars are great if you plan to carry the tent or have a lot of luggage. Just , please, don’t try to drive a stick if you are used to automatic!
Prices start at as low as €10 per day and very from one city to another. Typically you’ll be able to rent an economy car for prices starting at €27 per day.
Some of the car rental companies in Portugal include:
Driving in Portugal
For someone used to the American highways, driving in Portugal might be strange, at best. Portuguese are renowned for being aggressive drivers. Passing is tight and tailgating is common, mostly due to the narrow roads. Speaking of roads, the modern highways are in very good shape but you can still find roads that are less maintained.
Driving is on the right. Give way to the traffic coming from the right. Seat belts are required both in front and in the rear.
The driving speed limits in Portugal are: towns: 50kmh/31mph, outside built-up areas: 90/100kmh/56/62mph, motorways: 120kmh/74mph. The blood alcohol limit is 50mg.