Driving in Portugal can be a nerve-wracking affair, but is a great way to see the country. Pay attention to the traffic around you – locals tend to drive very fast and often fail to indicate.
A few things you should know before renting a car in Portugal:
- Drive on the right side of the road.
- Safety belts are compulsory for drivers and passengers.
- The speed limit is 50 km/h (30 mph) in most urban areas, 90 km/h (54 mph) on rural roads and up to 120 km/h (72 mph) on motorways (auto-estradas).
- The maximum blood alcohol level is restricted to 0.05% and penalties for drink driving can be high.
- Toll roads are common on motorways connecting major areas.
- Nationals of EU countries only require their home driving licences to drive in Portugal. Others should consider getting an International Driving Permit as well.
- If your car breaks down, do not exit the vehicle without first putting on a reflective safety vest. Your rental car should also contain a reflective warning triangle, which should be placed at a safe distance from the rear of the vehicle to alert other drivers.
- Petrol stations are usually open from 7:00 to 22:00, but there are a number of 24-hour service stations. Unleaded petrol is called gasolina sem chumbo and has an octane rating of 95 or 98. Diesel is called gasóleo. LPG is called GPL or gás líquido.