When you rent a car in Portugal, it's best to fly to the specific region that interests you and pick up a rental from the airport. Alternatively, you could start at the top, say in Porto, and head to the Algarve in the south, taking in the breadth of beaches, villages and historic landmarks along the way. Lisbon Portela Airport, the largest in the country, is at the heart of Portugal, toward the coast. Faro, Southern Portugal's main airport, is the gateway to the beaches and resorts of the Algarve region. Alternatively, if you're looking to tour Portugal's main cities, start at Bragança Airport in the northeast and work your way down to Faro. The main cities of Portugal, which is largely rural, are located on the coast. Exploring the interior villages is a great way to get off the beaten track in your car.
There's plenty to do in this charming and vibrant country. Most visitors choose to base themselves in Lisbon or the Algarve to explore their surroundings. The Lisbon region and its surrounding towns encompass the capital and majestic Sintra, with its fairytale castles. Be sure to try the local queijadas, deliciously sweet cheese pastries. Within Lisbon are the hilltop São Jorge Castle and the Christ the King statue (similar to Rio's Christ the Redeemer). Faro, the biggest city in the Algarve, is a fantastic destination for keen golfers and active travellers looking to take to the water on jet skis, kayaks and more. Check out Porto, the home of internationally appreciated port wine. With a car, you can easily explore the urban and rural areas of this small but stunning country. Compare Portugal car hire deals, and you'll soon be embarking on an unforgettable trip.
Portugal is a typical southern European country in all the best ways, boasting warm weather, great beaches and delicious food. Due to Portugal's maritime history and expansive coastline, many of its specialities include seafood. Sardines, shellfish, or bacalhau (codfish) cooked following any of a thousand traditional recipes are particular treats here. When wandering the towns, head to the local pastelaria (patisserie) when you're craving a pick-me-up: sugary pastries such as pastéis de nata (Portuguese cream tarts), custard donuts and strong espresso coffee will set you up for more sightseeing. Portugal's geography and climate are very well suited to long car trips, with warm weather that's usually tempered by a pleasant Atlantic breeze along the coast. Wander outside the busier cities to amazing areas such as the town of Évora, home to remarkably well-preserved Roman ruins, and the Serra da Estrela mountain range east of Lisbon toward the Spanish border.
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Renting a car in Portugal is a pleasure thanks to its gorgeous landscapes. Here, you'll drive on the right side of the road, and can get behind the wheel from the age of 18. The blood alcohol content limit is 0.05%, or 0.02% for those with less than three years' driving experience. Bring your passport, driving licence, MOT certificate and insurance documents. You should also have a GB sticker, a warning triangle, reflective jacket, headlamp converters and a spare bulb kit. Drivers who have been on the road for less than a year will need to get a '90' sticker from the ACP, Portugal's motoring club, and if you wear glasses or contact lenses for driving, you should have a spare pair in the car. The speed limits are generally 50kmph in urban zones, 90kmph on open roads and 120kmph on the motorway.