We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Driving in Portugal and Spain

Toronto, Canada
3 posts
Save Topic
Driving in Portugal and Spain

Does anyone out there have experience driving in Portugal or Spain? I'm used to big city and big highway driving and also in the south of France. Will I be freaked out by using a car in those countries, mostly for rural and town driving?

Thank you.

Evie

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
419 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving in Portugal and Spain

Apart from the obvious differences in details, you will probably not notice any difference at all. Driving in Portugal and Spain is no longer very different from the rest of Europe, except from the northern countries. French have actually a worse reputation, although it is also a matter of the past.

Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Azores, Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
18,201 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving in Portugal and Spain

You'll probably find more highways in Portugal than in the south of France.

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
Level Contributor
47,532 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving in Portugal and Spain

You may find, that even in not so rural areas, that once off the main road signposts are few and far between. Also, as my bicycle will testify, there are a lot of potholes on the minor roads where the councils have no money to repair them.

The rules of the road in Portugal are a little different to those in France, so best be aware of them. A website like the British AA website (www.theaa.com) will have useful summaries of the essential do's and dont's.

A friend came up with these only slightly untruthful additional rules :

It is compulsory to use your cellphone while driving, using your other hand to make wild gestures. (I have even been on buses where drivers use their cellphones while taking a bus full of passengers along the road.)

It is compulsory to drive within 5 metres of the vehicle in front (tailgating) regardless of traffic speed and weather conditions.

The raised areas beside town roads, known as pavements or sidewalks in other countries, are parking areas. Any inconvenience caused to pedestrians is unimportant.

(On a serious note, parking in certain areas eg outside a post office or police station s an absolute no-no. It doesn't matter if there are no signs.)

One important thing is that ID must be carried when driving. The police make routine stops for document checks and woe betide if you cannot show ID. Even worse if you are in an accident.

Having said that, much of Portugal has very little traffic compared with most of Europe. Friends who drive actually say it is almost enjoyable to drive around here.

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
419 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving in Portugal and Spain

An exelent post cubsur! All true, but nothing to stop you from driving here.

I did however remember a very important difference when driving in Spain: unlike every other country to my knoledge (including Portugal), in Spain when you enter a multi-lane roundabout you have to stay right unless you are overcomming, and you have the right of way. In Portugal on the other hand, while on the right lane you have to take the first exit. If not you must use the inner ones. However, this is not exactly what you see in practice... just use caution.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
30,477 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving in Portugal and Spain

Note that in Spain non EU citizens require an International driving permit.

Route planner www.viamichelin.com

6. Re: Driving in Portugal and Spain

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 28 February 2014, 06:17