Car rental in Lisbon Guide

Car rental in Lisbon: Everything you need to know in 2024

If you're planning a trip to Lisbon in 2023, you may want to consider renting a car to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace. However, renting a car can be a daunting experience, especially if you're unfamiliar with the local rules and regulations.

In this article, we'll provide you with everything you need to know about car rental in Lisbon in 2023, from the best rental companies to the most scenic routes.

Why rent a car in Lisbon?

There are several reasons why you may want to rent a car in Lisbon. Firstly, a car gives you the freedom to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace, without having to rely on public transportation or taxis.

Secondly, a car allows you to access more remote areas that are not well-served by public transportation, such as Sintra or the Arrábida Natural Park.

Finally, renting a car can be more cost-effective than taking taxis or joining organized tours, especially if you're traveling with a group or planning to stay in Lisbon for an extended period.

How to rent a car in Lisbon

Car rental in Lisbon Things To Know
Car rental in Lisbon Things To Know

Renting a car in Lisbon is easy, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth experience. Firstly, you must be at least 21 years old and have held a valid driver's license for at least one year. Secondly, you'll need to present a credit card in your name to cover the rental deposit and any additional charges. Thirdly, you'll need to purchase insurance, which is mandatory in Portugal.

To rent a car in Lisbon, you can either book online in advance or visit a rental office in person. There are several international and local rental companies operating in Lisbon, including Hertz, Europcar, Avis, and Budget.

Prices vary depending on the type of car, the rental period, and the insurance coverage. It's worth shopping around and comparing prices before making a reservation.

Best time to rent a car in Lisbon

best time to rent a car in Lisbon
best time to rent a car in Lisbon

The ideal time to rent a car in Lisbon relies on various factors such as your travel itinerary, personal preferences, and budget constraints. During the high season, which spans from June to September, Lisbon experiences a surge in tourism. Consequently, booking a rental car in advance is highly recommended to circumvent steep price increases and limited vehicle options. With pleasant weather and numerous events taking place, this period is perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

On the other hand, the low season, which runs from October to May, offers the opportunity to find more attractive deals and lenient cancellation policies on rental cars. Since the number of tourists decreases during this time, you can explore Lisbon's attractions with fewer crowds and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. Nevertheless, it's important to consider that the low season can bring unpredictable weather conditions, including occasional rain showers and cooler temperatures. In addition, some tourist attractions may have reduced operating hours or be closed altogether.

Ultimately, the best time to rent a car in Lisbon depends on your individual priorities and flexibility. If you're seeking more competitive prices and a quieter atmosphere, the low season may be a better fit. However, if you prioritize sunny weather and a lively atmosphere, the high season might be more suitable. Whichever time you choose, planning and booking your rental car ahead of time can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Tips for driving in Lisbon

Road Rules in Portugal
Road Rules in Portugal

Driving in Lisbon can be challenging, especially if you're not used to narrow streets, steep hills, and aggressive drivers. Here are some tips to help you navigate the city safely and confidently:

  • Familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and regulations, such as speed limits, traffic signs, and parking restrictions.
  • Pay attention to the road signs and follow the directions carefully, especially when driving in the historic center, where some streets are one-way or restricted to residents.
  • Be prepared for heavy traffic and delays, especially during rush hour or on weekends when many tourists flock to the city.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, cyclists, and scooters, which are common in Lisbon and may not always follow the traffic rules.
  • Use a GPS or a map to navigate, but be prepared for unexpected detours or road closures due to construction or events.

Best scenic routes in Lisbon

One of the best things about renting a car in Lisbon is the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas, which are rich in natural beauty, history, and culture. Here are some of the best scenic routes you can take from Lisbon:

  • The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: a stunning coastal route that takes you through the picturesque towns of Cascais and Estoril, and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged cliffs of Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe.
  • The Arrábida Natural Park: a scenic drive that takes you through the lush forests and pristine beaches of the Arrábida mountain range, with panoramic views of the Sado Estuary and the Troia Peninsula.
  • The Douro Valley: a wine lover's paradise, located about 300 km north of Lisbon, with terraced vineyards, quaint villages, and historic estates that produce some of Portugal's finest wines.
  • The Alentejo region: a land of vast plains, rolling hills, and fortified towns, dotted with castles, megaliths, and cork trees. Highlights include Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Monsaraz, a medieval village perched on a hilltop overlooking the Guadiana River.

Cost of car rental in Lisbon

The cost of renting a car in Lisbon varies depending on several factors, such as the type of car, the rental period, the insurance coverage, and the rental company.

Generally, you can expect to pay around €20-30 per day for a compact car and €40-50 per day for a larger vehicle. Additional fees may apply for extras such as GPS, child seats, and additional drivers.

It's important to read the rental agreement carefully and ask for clarification if there's anything you don't understand.

The easiest and most convenient way is to rent a car with Discover Cars, as you can easily compare all the rental car companies and get the best price.

Parking in Lisbon

Parking in Lisbon
Parking in Lisbon

Finding a parking spot in Lisbon can be challenging, especially in the historic center, where many streets are narrow and steep. Here are some tips to help you park your rental car in Lisbon:

  • Look for public parking lots and garages, which are usually located outside the historic center and offer hourly or daily rates.
  • Use a parking app or website to find available spots and compare prices. Popular apps include ParqueLisboa and EMEL.
  • Avoid parking in restricted areas, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and bus lanes, which may result in fines or towing.
  • Be aware of the parking meters and pay the required fee in advance. Some meters accept coins only, while others also accept credit cards or mobile payments.

Things To Know When Renting A Car In Lisbon

  1. Exploring Lisbon and its surroundings by car allows you to discover some of the best beaches in the area. From the stunning coastline of Cascais to the secluded beaches of Arrábida Natural Park, there are plenty of beautiful spots to visit during your trip. Pack a picnic, a beach umbrella, and your sunscreen, and enjoy a day by the sea.
  2. When renting a car in Lisbon, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the different types of insurance available. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP) are commonly included in rental agreements, but it's worth considering adding additional coverage, such as Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI), for added peace of mind during your trip.
  3. If you're planning to explore Lisbon's vibrant nightlife scene, it's important to remember that Portugal has strict drink-driving laws. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.05%, and penalties for driving under the influence can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. To stay safe, it's best to use public transportation, taxis, or rideshare services when going out at night.
  4. When driving in Lisbon, keep in mind that Portugal uses the metric system for distances and speed limits. Speed limits are typically 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (56 mph) on rural roads, and 120 km/h (75 mph) on highways. Be sure to adhere to these limits to avoid fines and ensure a safe driving experience.
  5. For travelers looking to explore Portugal beyond Lisbon, the country offers a wealth of attractions and destinations to suit every interest. From the stunning landscapes of Madeira and the Azores to the historic cities of Porto and Coimbra, there's something for everyone. Don't hesitate to extend your car rental and embark on a memorable Portuguese road trip to fully experience the country's beauty and charm.

What are the popular car rental companies in Lisbon?

car rental companies in Lisbon
car rental companies in Lisbon

In Lisbon, you can find several car rental companies that cater to the needs of tourists and locals alike. Some of the most popular ones include:

  1. Europcar: Europcar is a widely recognized international car rental company with a presence in many countries, including Portugal. They offer a range of vehicles at competitive rates.
  2. Sixt Rent a Car: Sixt is a German car rental company with a presence in Lisbon. They have a variety of vehicles available for rent, from economy cars to luxury vehicles.
  3. Avis Rent A Car: Avis is another well-known international car rental company with locations in Lisbon. They offer a variety of cars for rent, including compact, midsize, and luxury options.
  4. Hertz: Hertz is a global car rental company with several locations in Lisbon. They offer a wide range of vehicles, from small economy cars to large vans and luxury cars.
  5. Budget Rent a Car: As the name suggests, Budget offers affordable car rental options in Lisbon, with a range of vehicles to choose from.
  6. Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Enterprise is a popular car rental company in the United States, and they also have locations in Lisbon. They offer a variety of cars and vans for rent at competitive prices.
  7. Goldcar Rental: Goldcar is a Spanish car rental company with a presence in Lisbon. They offer a variety of vehicles at reasonable prices.
  8. Guerin Car Rental Solutions: Guerin is a Portuguese car rental company with locations in Lisbon. They offer a range of vehicles for rent at competitive prices.

Keep in mind that availability and prices may vary depending on the time of year and demand. It's always a good idea to compare rates using car comparison sites like Discover Cars to get the best price and cars.

Frequently Asked Questons

Is it safe to drive in Lisbon?

Yes, it's safe to drive in Lisbon, but you should be aware of the local traffic rules and regulations, especially when driving in the historic center.

Do I need an international driver's license to rent a car in Lisbon?

No, you don't need an international driver's license to rent a car in Lisbon if you have a valid driver's license from your home country.

Can I rent a car in Lisbon if I'm under 21?

Most rental companies in Lisbon require renters to be at least 21 years old, but some may allow younger drivers with additional fees and restrictions.

What should I do in case of an accident or breakdown?

In case of an accident or breakdown, you should contact the rental company immediately and follow their instructions. Most rental companies provide 24-hour assistance and roadside support.

Can I drive from Lisbon to other parts of Portugal?

Yes, you can drive from Lisbon to other parts of Portugal, but you should know the distance, the road conditions and the toll fees. Portugal has a well-developed road network, but some roads may be narrow or winding, especially in rural areas. It's important to plan your route in advance and take breaks if you're driving long distances.


Renting a car in Lisbon can be a great way to explore the city and its surroundings, but it requires some planning and preparation. By following the tips and advice provided in this article, you'll be able to rent a car in Lisbon with confidence and enjoy a memorable driving experience. Whether you're interested in scenic routes, historic towns, or culinary delights, Lisbon and its surrounding areas have something to offer for every taste and budget.

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