This year I did my first road trip ever. When we travelled to Portugal last month we decided to rent a car for a couple of days and drive south from Lisbon to Faro. I would highly recommend to rent a car in Portugal. It is so much easier to stop everywhere you want and there are a lot of hidden spots you just cannot see without a car unless you spend large amounts of money on day trips. Renting a car in Portugal is definitely the best way to explore the country to the fullest.
Speed limits in Portugal are quite similar to Germany. You are allowed to drive 120 km/h on highways, 90 km/h on country roads and 50 km/h within towns.
You can choose to drive on highways or country roads. Highways often include tolls (see below). They start with the letter A while country roads start with an N. The main road within the Algarve is N125. The country roads are the more scenic roads passing almost every coastal town so you can stop wherever you want. You can drive from Lisbon to Faro without using highways at all.
Portugal introduced tolls on highways. They have two kind of tolls you have to pay: The usual ones where you have to pay directly at a certain spot (we actually didn’t see those but they said they are still existing) and the electronic tolls. When renting a car you have two options. You can rent an electronic device (recommended option) which automatically stores the information when you pass a toll station. They then debit the toll fee from your credit card. If you don’t want to rent such a device as it costs an additional daily rent as well, you can go to a post office in Portugal to pay your toll. The toll is stored on your number plate and you can go to the office at least two days after you passed such a toll spot and not after five days to pay the due amount there.
Be prepared to drive through some narrow streets where hopefully no one approaches you from the other direction. It’s also hard to find parking spots in some cities. Portugal seems to be like Spain and Italy when it comes to driving, so don’t lose your calmness. And don’t worry it’s only within the city centres where it gets a bit confusing, outside the city centres it’s totally fine to drive.
Have you done a roadtrip through Portugal before? Do you have any tip to share? Please let me know in the comments.