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 a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

Level Contributor
4 posts
59 reviews
Save Topic
Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

Planning a trip with friends we've driven through Spain with on two earlier occasions, planning to rent a car in Madrid (our airport arrival) and driving through Western Spain and into Portugal for around two weeks' stay there. But every book I've consulted has had a very negative cast to its description of driving there: bad roads, erratic drivers, worst accident and traffic death record in western Europe, corrupt police… the list goes on. What has your experience been? I found driving in Spain, large areas of it, mostly manageable and never had trouble. How does Portugal compare? Should we revise our plans and reconsider modes of transportation?

Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Lisbon
Level Contributor
2,543 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

That was the picture 20 yrs ago. Since then Portugal has built one of the top high-way network in Europe, death and wounded have fallen dramaticly and are now au pair with the rest of Europe. Btw corrupts cops was not true then has its not now.

However there is a hefty charge for renting a car in an european coutry and leaving it in another. Check prices.

Algarve, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
Level Contributor
14,174 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

It used to be quite something but this is no longer the case. I find driving in Spain more aggresive. As said above, we have a very good highway network. Just pay attention as people do not always pay attention when they enter the highway.

Let us know which country you live and other travelers (from your country) may give you their view?

Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
156 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

Bad or outdated books...

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
Level Contributor
48,238 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

Outside the big cities the highways here are deserted by most European standards. Untold hundreds of millions has been spent in the last 20 years on highways criss-crossing the country, built to the best standards.

There are some singular rules of the road to be learned and understood (see theaa.com/motoring_advice/…portugal.pdf ) and the situation regarding those highways with electronic only toll payment has been done to death here.

The police can and do stop you at random checkpoints for paperwork examination (a lot of people here cannot afford insurance and need to be found) but provided you are all in order you will have no problems.

Parkingrules in towns and cities are sometimes a problem for the unitiated. Just because local people park on the pavements (sidewalks) doesn't mean you can. Seek advice!

London, Canada
Level Contributor
89 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

Just returned from three weeks in Spain and Portugal. We rented a car in Malaga and used it to tour Costa Del Sol area. Very busy in that area but we got along fine but you have to be on your toes. We found the roundabouts a bit tricky at first but after two weeks we were almost pros. It is very expensive or impossible to rent a car in Spain and drop it in Portugal so we went to Portugal via train and bus and rented another car in Faro, Portugal dropping it at Lisbon airport. Driving in Portugal was a breeze in the Algarve area. Beautiful roads. Our car had a transponder which meant there were no tolls to stop and pay as was very common in Spain. We did have to pay a toll from Albufeira to Lisbon. Just make sure before you set off that the car has the safety features you are supposed to have and an International Drivers Lisence just in case you get stopped or have a problem. Good luck and have a great trip. Both countries are beautiful.

6. Re: Driving a Rental Car in Portugal: what's the real story?

-:- 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: 11 November 2014, 05:17