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All About Portugal | March 7, 2021

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Tips on driving in Portugal

Tips on driving in portugal header
Clara Campos

Driving in Portugal may be considered challenging. However this post gives you some useful tips that will help you to get by without a worry.

Driving in Portugal is not as challenging as many may think. Although some of the Portuguese drivers may be considered somewhat aggressive, the majority is polite and law obedient.
So, whether you are coming to Portugal by car or are planning to rent a car as soon as you arrive, there are a few basic rules you need to follow to get along just fine. Here are they:

Simple tips on driving in Portugal

  • Remember that all traffic flow takes place on the right side of the road;
  • You need a valid driving license that uses the Roman alphabet; if yours doesn’t fulfill this requirement you just need to get an International Driving Permit in English;
  • Drive on the right trying not to obstruct fast lanes;
  • Both front seat and back seat passengers are obliged to wear seat belts that are fitted;
  • Children under 12 cannot travel in the front seat and must always wear seat belts as well as appropriated seat:
    • Rearward-facing Baby Seats
      • Group 0: for babies up to 10 kgs (22 lbs) roughly from birth to 6-9 months, or
      • Group 0+: for babies up to 13kg (29lbs) roughly from birth to 12-15 month;
    • Forward-facing child seat
      • Group 1: for children weighing 9-18 kgs (20-40 lbs) roughly from 9 months – 4 years.
    • Booster seats and booster cushions
      • Group 2: for children weighing 15 – 25 kgs (33 – 55 lbs) roughly 4 to 6 years.
      • Group 3: for children weighing 22 – 36 kgs (48 – 79 lbs) roughly from 6 – 11 years.
  • A warning triangle as well as a reflector jacket must be carried at all times;
  • The use of mobile phone without hands free is forbidden;
  • Drinking and driving results on heavy fines, loss of driver’s license and/or prison sentences. The Portuguese law allows 0.005 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood.
  • Comply with the speed limits to avoid heavy fines as they are enforced and controlled by radar. By the way, radar detectors are illegal;
  • Fines are charged on the spot in cash or by credit. If the driver has neither, the car may be confiscated until payment is made;
  • For further information on the new Portuguese tolls system, go to our post Electronic tolls in Portugal;
  • If you are planning to rent a car, check our post Car Rental in Portugal to get some useful tips.

Speed Limits on Portuguese roads

  • Motorway 120 km/h
  • Open road 90 km/h
  • Town and villages 50 km/h


  • Always park on the right side of the road so that your car does not face the traffic;
  • Always obey the parking signs to avoid clamping and on-the-spot fines;
  • Double-parking, parking on crosswalks, curves and crossroads, as well as under bridges and flyovers is forbidden.

Fuel types available in Portugal

  • Unleaded petrol
  • Diesel
  • LPG

And the most important tip…

Relax! You’re on holidays. Enjoy this lovely country…

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