A beautiful country located in the south of Europe; Portugal has several hidden destinations that can be best explored by car. The country is well-known for its charismatic natural beauty and is home to one of the most stunning coastlines in Europe.
If you are planning for a holiday to Portugal, it is advisable to rent a car and explore its hot-spots at your own pace. Olive oil and wine are the two most famous products of Portugal and the best way to taste and check them is to visit the vineyards and olive grove. Similarly, to enjoy the authentic cuisine of Portugal, it is recommended to drive to the interiors of various cities, rather than visiting the nearby restaurants.
Renting a car in Portugal is easy. There are innumerable car rental companies online, so you can spend some time in comparing their rates and select the best one. Alternatively, there are numerous self-drive services available outside the airport, so you can book one instantly.
Things you should know to make it a successful trip
Before you start preparing for your holiday, it is recommended to check out this guide on how to plan a road trip to Portugal. These driving tips will surely help you to plan a road trip to Portugal and make it a memorable one.
- July and August are the peak touristy season of Portugal. So, if you want to avoid the crowds and traffic, you should plan a road trip in the month of May or October. Depending on the number of travel days, you should choose your destinations wisely. There is a lot to discover in Portugal, so at least a two week travel time would let you explore the most attractive spots.
- You will require an EU valid license and International Driver Permit to drive in Portugal. Always carry the vehicle registration documents, third party insurance papers, your passport, driver permit, and license while driving. Make sure that you are carrying the requisite car tools like spare bulbs, wheel, reflective warning triangle, etc. Also, driving is on the right side of the road. You will come across some roads with tolls, so ensure that your rented car has an Emovis tag. This tag will let you pay your motorway toll without stopping at the toll plazas.
- Driving in Portugal is easy as most of the roads are well-maintained. However, some villages on hills will have narrow roads. So, it is advisable to park your vehicle outside and explore on foot. You should be at least 18 years old, and should never drink and drive. Seatbelts are compulsory and it is illegal to overtake on the right in free-flowing traffic. Using headphones is illegal and you can use your phone only with hand-free system. In case of an accident, call 112.
- Always carry a road map and GPS so that you reach your destination safely. Keep an eye on the traffic signs that are located on the side or top of the road. Follow them accurately so that the traffic can proceed safely and smoothly. The national speed limits are 50km/h in residential areas, 90km/h on rural areas, and 120 km/h on highways. However, if the weather conditions are bad, then you should reduce your speed considerably. Road surfaces are much smoother in bad weather conditions like rain so the tires have lesser grip.
- At nights, many roads are not very well lit, so it is better to avoid driving in the dark. Moreover, you may find difficulty to park your vehicle in some popular tourist destinations like Lisbon and Porto. The parking lots available are in limited quantities and are very expensive. It is advisable to have a short stay in these places so that you can park your car in the hotel parking area. Also, make use of public transportation to explore the interiors of such destinations.
A road trip to Portugal will definitely be one of the most satisfying holidays you will ever experience. So, make use of the aforesaid driving tips and have a wonderful time in this beautiful country.