Car rental in Portugal
Rent a car in Portugal

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A fairly compact yet beautiful country, Portugal has a fantastic range of geography and urban cultures to discover. Explore its long Atlantic coastline, climbing the unique Bom Jesus do Monte church steps in Braga, touring the port wine caves of Porto, witnessing the history of Lisbon and hitting the beaches of the Algarve. Portugal is a friendly country where locals' of English is excellent, the food is superb and the choice of sights virtually endless.

It’s your choice: Where to go in Portugal?

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.

Things to do in Portugal

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.

Important Info about Portugal

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.

Weather in Lisbon, Portugal
Country Portugal
Language Portugese
Currency Euro
Time-Zones Western European Time
Capital Lisbon

Recommended day trips in Portugal

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.

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Our tour suggestion for Portugal

There's a huge range of driving routes available in scenic Portugal. If you're a wine lover (and have a designated driver happy to take your group around), touring the majestic Douro region will be a real treat. Douro wines are often cited as the country's finest, and the area also encompasses Porto, so you'll be spoilt for choice, with tasting opportunities at vineyards and wine caves. Around Lisbon, you'll find many of the country's most interesting historic hotspots. Head to nearby Sintra to climb to the hilltop Pena Palace and look out across the green rolling hills and forests that characterise the region – you'll soon see why English Romantic poet Lord Byron declared Sintra one of the world's most wonderful towns. Alternatively, stick to the coast when you rent a car in Portugal, and explore superb beaches including surfing favourites such as Peniche and Sagres.

What to bring to your friends from Portugal

Whether you're taking family holidays in Portugal, enjoying Portuguese beer with a group of friends or embarking on a romantic trip for two, you'll find plenty of opportunities to pick up mementoes or gifts. Portugal produces most of the world's cork, and many handcrafted goods made with this traditional material can be found in its markets. Pretty tiles, dolls and other toys depicting traditional dress, and of course, bottles of wine, all make great gifts. In shops and markets, look out for vinho verde (green wine), a Portuguese speciality. The green-hued white wine is slightly sparkling, and absolutely delicious enjoyed with seafood or on its own during sunny afternoons. Opting for a car rental in Portugal gives you the chance to make lasting memories and pick up amazing local foods and gifts.