DRIVING IN PORTUGAL & CAR RENT
Get to know every important info, from speed limits to rent a car in Lisbon
Driving in Portugal can be tricky for newcomers, and Lisbon, with all its hills, has traps for inexperienced drivers in each corner, so here you have some helpful tips:
- Portuguese drive on the right side of the road.
- Portuguese speed limits: 50km/h inside towns, for main roads with only one lane it’s 90km/h and on highways you can drive up to 120km/h. Tolerance up to 10km/h.
- Within towns and on national roads, there are often police radars, so be aware. On highways, they are rare, but driving over 160km/h will catch the police attention. Portuguese drivers will seldom let you know of a police radar or patrol car by turning on and off the high beam when passing by.
- Driving and drinking is not recommended. When you drive the legal maximum alcohol level is restricted to 0.5g/l, the equivalent of a small beer.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone when driving, and if you will be caught doing that you will be fined. Also, all occupants of the vehicle must wear seat belt!
- The use of blinkers (turn signals) has never really caught on in Portugal so by all means use them as you would normally, just don’t expect anyone else to do it.
- Lisbon and other big towns and cities are crawling with self-appointed parking ‘helpers’ who will point out and wave you into available spaces, hoping for a tip. It is advised to leave them something (up to 2€), as they will be looking out for your car and sometimes even go to the trouble of putting money in the parking meter if yours is running out and a city meter attendant is in sight.
- In rural areas, don’t be surprised to find a car stopped in the middle of the road and the occupants catching up with local gossip. They will usually wrap up their conversation and drive off when they see you, but may need a little encouragement in the form of a gentle beep. Another rural practice, especially in villages with single track roads, is for people to stop the car in the middle of the road and leave it there while they go on their lives. If your path is blocked by an abandoned car, honk loudly and someone will come out and move it so that you can pass.
- Unbroken white lines are not to be crossed, especially not double ones, which means that if you want to turn left onto a road with double white lines, you can’t. You have to turn right into the direction of traffic and use the next roundabout to change direction. If you don’t, you will be strongly yelled at by local pedestrians or fined by the police.
- Some of the highways (‘A’ roads with blue signs) are now toll roads (for instance, the one that leads up to Serra da Estrela and the one that crosses Algarve). First of all, check with your hire company if they have the proper device and the toll booth expense will show up in your credit card or if you’ll have to pay it by yourself (at a post office, a few days later – just keep the plate number). That device can also be used to drive through the ‘Via Verde’ lane without stopping at the toll booths, but you have to check with the car hire company beforehand if the device is active, or you will be up for in a big fine!
Rent a car in Lisbon is a must for all who want to go for a ride in this beautiful country. Like in other capitals, you will find a lot of car hire companies right at the Airport, but getting a vehicle in the city can be cheaper. We gathered an extensive list of companies that operate in Lisbon, their websites and reservation numbers.
With the ELL card you have discounts in
- Good Rent
Low cost Car & Scooter rentals. Rent a car from 23€/day and a Scooter from 24€/day. Additional 10% discount with ELL Card!
Phone: +351 213 431 051 or +351 925 990 836
City drive is an application for a car sharing service. It works very easily; search for a car nearby using your phone or tablet mobile app and book the closest one to you. The first 15 minutes of your booking are free of charge, and you only pay exactly for what you drive. There are no setup fees because fuel, parking and insurance will all be included in the final price of what you pay.
- Indie Campers
“Indiecampers provides camper vans for up to four people. For an affordable price you can rent a van to explore Portugal’s west coast and beyond or simply go surfing.“
Phone: +351 916 924 146
Other renting companies
Car and van rental with or without driver. They have a station at the airport and another at the city, in Rua Castilho, 72 Lisbon.
Phone: +351 808 202 038 (local reservations) or +351 219 426 385 (international reservations)
International car hire company. Vehicles available include economy, family, luxury and vans.
Address: Av. António Augusto Aguiar, 24 Lisbon
Phone: +351 219 407 790
Low cost car rental offering several insurance options and reduced cost for early bookings. Main station at Santa Apolónia train station.
Phone: +351 219 426 220
Budget, family, commercial, luxury car and van hire without driver, fleet service, chauffeur. Short to long term rental.
Address: Avenida Defensor Chaves 89, Lisbon
Tel: 217 995 390
- Avis – Rent-a-Car
National car rental company for tourist and utility vehicles.
Address (central offices): Avenida Marechal Craveiro Lopes 2, Lisbon
Phone: +351 217 547 800
- Ausocar Rent-a-Car
Car rental agency with a range of cars from economical to luxury models. Opened from 9:00-13:00 and 15:00-19:00.
Address: Rua Diogo Bernardes 17 D, Lisbon
Phone: +351 217 815 750 or +351 919 591 920
- Rupauto Rent-a-Car
Rental of cars, vans and minibuses. Special rates available for commercial van hire.
Address: Rua da Beneficiencia, 99 Lisbon
Phone: +351 217 933 258
- Auto Jardim
Wide variety of vehicles and motorbikes to hire.
Address: Lisbon Airport, Building 125, Floor 0, Room 3 and Rua Luciano Cordeiro, 6.
Phone: +351 218 462 916 (Airport) or +351 213 549 182 (City center)
- Solcar – Rental Car
Daily, weekly rental of cars and vans.
Address: Rua S. Sebastião da Pedreira 51, Lisbon
Phone: +351 213 139 070
- Guerin – Car Rental Solutions
Car and van hire with and without driver. Also provides business services.
Address: Lisbon Airport and Avenida Álvares Cabral 45B, Lisbon
Phone: +351 707 272 007
Limousine service and luxury car hire.
Address: Avenida Paris, 4D Lisbon
Phone: +351 217 267 118
- Specialimo Travel Group
Rental of luxury vehicles, minibuses, buses. Organization of tours and event management. Business services, weddings, anniversaries, meetings and conferences, tours and transfers.
Phone: +351 217 552 861 or +351 968 497 129
- WH-Executive Service
Luxury vehicle hire, chauffeur service, company mobility service and limousine hire.
Address: Rua Joao de Freitas Branco 23A, Lisbon
Phone: +351 217 276 117 or +351 912 202 320
Personalized chauffeur and concierge service. Executive and coach hire, sightseeing tours, events, confidential VIP Services, roadshows, transfers, themed tourist itineraries and excursions. Licensed drivers speak English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.
Phone: +351 967 001 700 (24 hours)
- PortugalTopCars – Luxury Car Rental
Renting high-end cars such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Lamborghini, Porsche and Range Rover. Pick up or delivery of vehicle arranged.
Phone: +351 967 640 361
- Strawberry Autos
Low cost car rental in Lisbon. Possibility to hire cars in one place and return in another. Offices at Lisbon airport.
Phone: +351 291 762 421
- Argus Car Rental
Launched in 1996, this website compares car rental prices from up to 450 car hire companies for 11,000 locations in 134 countries worldwide. Rentals throughout Portugal can be booked online on the English language version of the site.