Driving in Portugal- Know Rules of the Road

An awe-inspiring coastline, vibrant city life, traditional villages, and rich culture make Portugal a worth seeing holiday destination in Europe. Whenever you plan a holiday in this part of the world, you can book a car rental for Portugal to explore its strikingly beautiful surroundings. Moreover, all the major roads are 3-laned and clean. Cars are supposed to be driven in the middle lane as per the rules of the road.

The road network in Portugal comprises of toll roads including A1 Lisboa to Santarem, A1 Fatima to Coimbra and others. Some of the local drivers do irresponsible driving here, thus making car driving slightly unsafe. However, there are some driving rules, regulations and advices to be considered for safe transit. Read below.


Documentation Needed

When driving in Portugal, maintaining appropriate documentation is the foremost thing. Be it any time of the day, you need to carry with yourself vehicle registration document (V5), third-party insurance and certificate of motor insurance. The driving license is also important.

If you possess the old-style green license then it is to be accompanied by an International Driver's Permit. The green/pink license of EC format is also acceptable. Do carry your passport as an identity proof.


Car Equipment to be Carried Along

The warning triangle is mandatory for every car driver. A reflector vest (specifically, legal) is a must-carry and has to worn by the person who is repairing car by roadside. A bulb-set is compulsory, although first-aid kit is optional. Therefore, one need not carry too many articles.


Basic Rules & Regulations

  • Always drive on right side of the road in Portugal.
  • It is mandatory to wear seat belts for occupants on the front and rear seats. Kids under 12 and height less than 1.50m have are not allowed to be seated on front seat. A special child restraint system is to be used for them in accordance with their size.
  • Hands-free mobile phones can only be used when driving, or else you are likely to be punished upto 600Euros, if found guilty.
  • The permissible blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Exceeding this limit makes you liable for punishment as- 0.05-0.08: Fine and withdrawal of license from anywhere between 1 month to 1 year. 0.08 & above: Fine and license withdrawal for any time period from 2 months to 2 years.
  • The minimum permissible age for renting a car in Portugal is 19 year*.

*The age may differ from one supplier to another as some of them allow online car hire for Portugal at the age of 18.


Speed Limit

One of the most strictly implemented driving rules is regarding speed limit, which is 50Km/h in well-built areas, 90-100Km/h on rural roads. For motorways, the maximum limit is 120Km/h. radar traps and police cars implement the limits.


Know these Phrases while Driving

  • Aluguer- Rental car
  • Auto Estrada- Motorway
  • Sentido Unico- One way
  • Limite de Velocidad- Speed Limit
  • Pare- Stop
  • Posto de gasoline- Fuel Station
  • Lento- Slow
  • Saida- Exit

Park your Car Safely

A car is to be parked on the right side of the road in the direction of traffic flow. If parking is done at places other those reserved such as unmarked pavements then the vehicle is likely to be immobilized or impounded as the situation may be**

**Time period may vary from one month to one year.