Driving in Portugal. The make, model, power and age of the vehicle you’re driving also play a role. Watch out for them. The law in Portugal for driving on roundabouts is not like the law in many other countries: When you enter a roundabout, always give way to traffic already on the roundabout (approaching from the left). You can find out how much Portuguese road taxes you’ll need to pay here. When renting a car in Portugal, you’ll need to pay a deposit by cash or credit card, which will be refunded when you return the vehicle in its original condition. Seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and front-seat passengers. A saying you often hear in Portugal is that the locals never hurry unless they’re behind the wheel of a car.In our experience, however, it’s fine once you’re used to it! Using your mobile phone whilst driving is illegal and will result in a fine. Road rules and tips for driving in Portugal. The most important point is of course to have the correct driving license. If you want to turn left and there is a white line, you have to drive on to the next exit on the right, get back on the road in the opposite direction until you come to the exit you want. The style of driving in Portugal, however, is sometimes aggressive or erratic. If you don’t bring your own car, which is unlikely for Americans, you will want to hire a car for your road trips. If you’re a foreign visitor, you can drive for up to six months without exchanging your foreign license. Bear in mind that many vehicles in Portugal, even brand-new models, are stick-shift. Yellow or red signs painted on the curb also signify areas where parking is prohibited. However, it’s a good idea to have one together with your local license in case you are pulled over by Police or involved in an accident. Driving in Portugal is fairly easy. Motorbikes cannot carry passengers under the age of seven years. The TOLLCard is a pre-loaded card that works with electronic tolls. They are also often written in white on the road itself. The motorways are all quite new and so the road conditions are extremely good and if you don’t mind paying for tolls, you will get around very quickly. Cars parked outside a hotel in Tavira, Algarve, Portugal. Certain permanent residents can use their foreign license until it expires. The legal driving age is 18 is the legal driving age but to hire a car, the minimum age is 23 or 25 depending on the hire company. If you wish to exchange your driving licence for one issued by the Portuguese authorities, you may do so. Talking about pedestrians: Except in the cities, there aren’t many sidewalks, so people walk in the street. Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. Petrol, diesel and LPG fuel types are all readily available at petrol stations. When applying for car insurance in Portugal, you’ll usually need to provide details about where you live and your job as part of the risk assessment. For Centaurauto, which has many outlets in Portugal, it’s 351 308 810 816. Your choices will not impact your visit. A lot of people are nervous about driving in Portugal for the first time, but it’s actually not that bad. This is a €20 pre-loaded ticket that you can use for up to three days. These are toll roads, and there are several options to pay. We've got a host of helpful tips and advice so that you can be prepared with a taste of what driving abroad is like and what you'll need to get before you go. Remember to drive on the right in Portugal; The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, except for drivers who have had their license for less than three years - the limit in this case is 0.02%. To drive a car in Portugal, your own or a rental, you must be over 18 years of age. US License + IDP = all set to drive in Portugal. Driving in Portugal; Walking and riding around Portugal; Public transport in Portugal; Personal safety while traveling; Driving in Portugal. Tourists and short-term visitors can drive in Portugal for up to six months using their foreign license. To hire car you must be over 21. Slip roads on and off dual carriageways are sometimes the wrong way around, which means that while you’re busy slowing down and indicating to pull off, new cars will be trying to enter the flow of traffic. General Driving rules in Portugal. Driving in Portugal… from an American’s Point of View. Additionally, headphones and mobile phones are banned, unless used in hands-free mode. The only difficulty might be in the city centres where the streets are very narrow and the roads are made of cobblestone. Here’s a checklist of things to consider before driving in Portugal, including information about Portuguese road rules, car rentals, tolls, road signs, and driving license requirements. It’s best to drive cautiously. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll need to provide a claims form to your insurance company with seven days. Avoid these if you’re not a member. 1. Failure to adhere to some of these rules can result in fines: Speeding fines are charged on a sliding scale depending on how far above the limit you were driving. Green lanes on motorways are reserved for drivers using the automated payment systems. If you want to do several of those kind of trips, it’s a good idea to rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive. Finally, EASYtoll involves entering your license plate number and bank card details at a toll machine at the start of your journey and then having the fees automatically debited from your account. You can find out more about exchanging your license for a Portuguese one in Expatica’s guide to Portuguese driving licenses. Be prepared to be cut off or met with a car that turns without indication. Enter the roundabout then take the exit you want to. NOTE: These settings will only apply to the browser and device you are currently using. If the roundabout only has one lane, things are simple. Driving in Portugal tips & guide. Purchasing a toll tag in advance through your rental company will allow you to whiz through the toll stations. Driving in Portugal is generally fine, although be aware that the road conditions outside the main urban centres and resort areas vary dramatically and are often poorly maintained when compared to other western European countries. This guide gives you all the information you need about license requirements, rules of the road, how to hire a car, driving in the countryside, idiosyncrasies of Portuguese drivers, and where to get assistance in case of break down or accident. Your motor insurance certificate Importing your car to Portugal can be a time-consuming and expensive process, with several different elements to factor in. When using Portuguese tolls, you’ll usually take a ticket from a machine when you enter the road and then hand it in and pay a charge at the toll booth (Portagen) when you leave. Here is a list of the documents you have to carry with you before you can drive off: These are the emergency and safety items you are required by Portuguese law to carry in your car: In Portugal, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. If you use toll roads a lot, you can also subscribe to the Via Verde system. Map out your trip in advance, and you’ll know where you are going. If your car breaks down, put the hazard lights and your reflective jacket on and call the assistance number you will hopefully have contracted when renting your car. There are three main types of car insurance in Portugal: There is optional insurance available, such as Divida Segura, which provides cover in case of death or terminal injury, and Assistencia em Viagem, which covers problems such as breakdowns, loss of keys and punctures. Honk before driving around a bend, so the oncoming traffic knows you are approaching. You may need to pay a small charge if you use a credit card to pay. Portugal is quite a socialist and statist country and the police may be very heavy-handed with drink driving - because that is the way they want to run their country. Children under 12 aren’t allowed to sit in the front unless they’re over 150cm tall. Motorists pay tax annually on the date the car was originally registered, and you’ll need to keep your receipt as proof that you’ve paid. You must have seatbelts fitted and all passengers must wear them. Otherwise, you’ll be driving illegally in Portugal. Understand the procedure for applying for and taking a driving test in Portugal... Driving exams are in three parts: Theoretical (Teórica), Technical (Técnica) and the Practical Driving Exam (Prática de Condução).The theory test for a Category B licence contains 30 questions to be answered in 35 minutes of which 27 must be correct. No-claims bonuses (Premio Bonus Malus) exist in Portugal and offer favorable rates for drivers who haven’t been involved in any accidents since their policy started. To hire car you must be over 21. If you are above the limit you can receive a fine of €1,250 and have your Portuguese driving license or international driving permit suspended for up to a year. I would rate The Netherlands as the most hair raising as the bicycles have the right of way over cars, and the riders certainly make good use of that.Hordes of them suddenly turn right in front of you and expect you to stop. If you are caught driving over the limit, the fines are severe. As impatient as drivers may be on motorways and two-lane roads, they seem to have all the time in the world in the country. Licences issued in EU member states are valid for driving in Portugal until they expire. The drunk driving limit is 0.49g/L. Driving on the motorway is straightforward, but it can get tricky when you venture into the countryside. There are several motorways in Portugal which will take you fast from North to South and East to West before you venture further into the countryside. Car owners pay tax either online using the e-financas website or at your local Financas office. It is important to remember that having an IDP does not change the need to carry your driver’s license with you when you get behind the wheel. Remembering these documents should now be easier than it once was, with your car registration documents, license place certificate and the logbook now replaced by the DUA All-in-One Vehicle Document (. Driving in Portugal, some other British drivers will tell you, is not for the faint of heart. Seats belts are compulsory in both front and back seats. In the country, you may also encounter sheep or cows. Sure, indicating isn’t all that common, people do drive bumper-to-bumper, and Portugal does have one of the highest accident rates in Western Europe, but it’s actually alright. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. This, in addition, affects your insurance premiums. To drive a car in Portugal, your own or a rental, you must be over 18 years of age. Venture into the mountains, and it’s a different picture. The style of driving in Portugal, however, is sometimes aggressive or erratic. Although Portugal does not require that foreign drivers carry this permit, if you are driving to a neighboring country, such as Spain, it could be a requirement. With this system, you’ll pay a monthly fee and an electronic device will be attached to your windscreen, which will automatically register you going through the toll. If you’re driving a foreign vehicle, you can either pay at the tolls using Via Verde, TOLLCard, TOLLService or EASYToll. Driving in Portugal can be a challenge or a joy, depending on how well prepared you are. A new dual carriageway is under construction, which for the moment, is an obstacle to driving, as there are intermittent roadworks and quite a lot of works traffic in places, which slows the journey down a little. There is zero tolerance for drugs. Import duty: Regardless of whether you’re importing from an EU/EEA or non-EU country, you might need to pay import duty on your vehicle. If your license doesn’t have an expiry date, you’ll need to exchange it within two years of moving to Portugal. Portuguese police often carry portable credit card machines, so the fine is paid on the spot and your trip definitely ruined. Before driving through Portugal, it is a good idea to be familiar with the rules and regulations of the country just to avoid any confusion. Headlights must always be used in tunnels. When getting your reserved car, double-check that all the documents are there and up to date. I read the report about the tragic accident on the A22 near Boliqueime, but obviously the cause of the accident will be determined by the authorities. The best way to avoid trouble is to designate a non-drinking driver for the day. Decorated with elegantly stamped numbers, they dot the tree-lined thoroughfares with reserved beauty and trace amounts of social significance. For one, the language barrier will be removed as the IDP is translated into Portuguese. Although public transport in Portugal is quite good, nothing beats mapping out your own road trip. However, new cars tend to hold their premium value for longer than in other countries. They also are prone to bumper ride. Wearing headphones whilst driving is forbidden. Deep within the Portuguese psyche is an intrinsic belief that they are all Formula One drivers trapped in pedestrian body. It’s important to remember that Portugal has the metric system, so all measures are in kilometers per hour, not miles. Children under 12 or smaller than 150cms are not allowed to travel in the front seats of cars. Drivers in Portugal must be at least 18 years of age (at least 21 to hire a car) and must carry their driving licence and photo ID with them. Here are some of the key rules you’ll need to know before driving in Portugal. You can of course change your mind and withdraw your consent at any time, by returning to this site after clearing the cookies on your computer or device. Wearing headphones while driving is also illegal. Stay calm; it won’t last long because they’ll overtake you are the first opportunity, pretty much ignoring oncoming traffic. You must have a minimum of third-party insurance and display your insurance sticker on your windscreen. On the motorways … It’s not worth the risk. Wait for a little; they’ll eventually get out of your way. There are options for languages. On narrow, steep, and tight mountain roads which turn into one lane, down coming traffic always has the right-of-way. Driving to Portugal can be a bit daunting, especially if you've never done so before. Drunk driving in Portugal. This can either be in the form of your title deeds (if you own a home) or your rental contract (if you rent). 2. Don’t be surprised to be blocked by a car parked in the middle of the road while the driver has a conversation with a pedestrian. Private companies manage Portugal toll roads, so systems and fees vary. Many Americans are intimidated by driving in a foreign country. Respect for Portugal means respect for their laws. How much you’ll need to pay for car insurance depends on your age and driving history. If you don’t have the photocard, you’ll need an international driving permit. You’ll also need to provide the following documents when organizing your car rental in Portugal: Buying a car in Portugal can be an expensive matter. Expatica helps make your expat journey the experience you've always wanted. Don’t count on leniency from the Police. Portuguese drivers are known to be impatient and not overly fond of using turn signals. You can find further information about speeding fines in Portugal on the Speeding Europe website. my wife and me will be arriving in Lisbon Jan 21 for 10 days of independent travel before heading to Cadiz hopefully.Planning on heading to the Algarve region, have visited cities north of Alentejo. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. If your car was registered before 2007, how much tax you pay will depend on the age of the vehicle and its capacity. While it is not required by law, it may be a good idea to have an IDP to go along with your domestic license if you are in a traffic accident or pulled over by local police. Check them out before making your choice. Portugal is a country where wine is consumed at practically every meal and where liquors have a higher alcohol content than you might expect, so don’t get carried away. The laws are different, the road signs are different, streets are not always named or numbered and then there are those dreaded circles or “roundabouts”. When in Portugal, drive on the right side of the road. Road signs are quite good, but many won’t show up at night unless you shine a full light on them. 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