Portugal Car Hire

Cheap car hire deals in Portugal

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Essential Tips for Car Hire in Portugal

Portugal is a wonderfully diverse and vibrant blend of cities, towns, and tiny villages. The country has a long history of exploration and was a major colonial power. Links to Africa are evident through much of the nation’s culture, nowhere more so than in the food, with spices such as Peri-Peri being a major feature in Portuguese cuisine. Portugal’s long and varied history can be seen through its wide range of architecture, from Gothic churches to the Moorish-inspired chimneys and tile-work, still common in the country today.

Discover the country’s mesmerising cities, peaceful coastal regions, and historic towns with your own vehicle. Here are some tips for car hire in Portugal:

Time your visit right: If time is on your side, opt to visit during the off-peak season. December to April is generally the cheapest time to visit. However, for sunshine and long days, the shoulder season (September to November) offers great deals.

Pick up your car from an airport: You can secure excellent deals when picking up your hire car from an airport, such as Lisbon Airport or Faro Airport. With a wider selection of car hire suppliers and vehicles, you’ll find the perfect fit for your requirements and preferences.

Budget-Friendly Car Hire in Portugal

Lagos Portugal

Find low-cost car hire with Enjoy Travel, where we source the best deals out there. Whether you’re cruising down coastal roads in the Algarve or zipping through mountain villages, you can trust Enjoy Travel to find suitable budget-friendly car hire.

Securing the Best Deals

Portugal is a popular car hire destination, so it’s important to book in advance to secure the best deals. The time of year also comes into play when finding good deals. For example, the average car hire cost starts from £13.04 per day in July, and that drops to £8.08 per day in October.

Understanding Portugal’s Driving Regulations

Rules of the Road for Renters in Portugal

Parking in Portugal: A Guide

There are a few things to consider when parking in Portugal. Look out for a round white or blue round sign and a red diagonal cross through hit – this is a ‘no parking’ sign. If there are red or yellow lines on a curb, this also indicates a ‘no parking’ zone. Always park in the direction of oncoming traffic on one-way streets, and do not park within 6 metres of a tram stop, 5 metres of a bus stop, and 5 metres of a road junction.

Most Portuguese cities feature street parking, with designated parking zones that require a fee. Always carry cash in case the parking meter does not accept a card. Look out for signs indicating residential or permit holders only – parking in the wrong area could incur a fine of up to €200.

Finding Convenient Parking Sports in Portugal

Depending on where you visit, parking is straightforward. Apps like GoogleMaps, EasyPark, and ParClick help you find convenient parking spots in the area. However, you’ll find parking to be trickier in Lisbon and Porto.

You might see locals parking directly under ‘no parking’ signs, on crosswalks, and facing the wrong way on the street. However, we recommend sticking to the Portuguese laws and rules to avoid being fined.

Top Attractions in Portugal

Lisbon tram Portugal
Sintra Palace

Discovering the Country’s Highlights

Lisbon: The capital city is without a doubt the ‘world city’ of Portugal and an entire holiday could be spent exploring what it has to offer. St Jerome’s Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in celebration of Vasco da Gama, an explorer who journeyed to India in 1498. This ornate building offers a glimpse into the ‘Age of Discoveries’. Another Lisbon treat is a ride on Tram 28, it’s extremely cheap and takes you through some of the most scenic of the capital’s neighbourhood routes.

The Algarve: If the beach is more your thing, the Algarve has you covered. You’ll be surrounded by stunning orange-toned cliffs and the majestic blue sea. If you’re a water sports fan head over to Arrifana, which offers brilliant surfing opportunities for any skill level.

Alongside the vast array of beaches, wine tasting, and golfing opportunities, there are countless family-friendly attractions. That includes Albufeira’s Aqualand, open from June to September, children and adults will enjoy hours of wet and wild fun. If travelling with children, take advantage of our additional equipment hire, such as infant and child booster seats.

Evora: For historians and cultural explorers, the city of Evora will tick so many boxes. With the remains of a Roman temple, small art galleries, and a cathedral within walking distance of each other, you won’t wander far without something exciting to discover.

Madeira: If you want to get away from the mainland you won’t go far wrong with a trip to the Madeira. Geographically closer to Morocco than Portugal you can have the sense of being in the middle of nowhere without foregoing modern world comforts. There is something here for everyone, whether heading out on a boat trip in search of dolphins or taking a stroll around the botanical gardens, Madeira is packed with things to do. The island is also a wonderful place to explore the natural world. The north of the island is home to the internationally significant Laurissilva forests, which have existed for 1.8 million years.

Transport Options in Portugal

Sintra Portugal Initiation Well

Metro Services: Quick and Extensive Coverage

Lisbon and Porto are currently the only cities in Portugal with a metro system. Lisbon’s metro is extremely well connected with four lines and 52 metro stations. Porto has six metro lines, with one directly to the airport.

Buses: An Extensive Network Across the City

Portugal’s cities, towns, and villages are interconnected by buses. Other than driving, it’s the country’s primary mode of transport. You can usually pay by contactless card or cash.

Taxis: Convenient for Direct Routes

Get where you need to be quickly in a taxi. They’re a great option for those who don’t want to rely on public transport, but they are considerably more expensive.

Best Day Trips in Portugal

Douro Valley: Visit Portugal’s most famous wine region, characterised by rolling hills, vineyards, and medieval castles. It’s an excellent road trip from Porto.

Sintra: Explore fairytale castles and palaces in Sintra. Surrounded by rolling mountains and dense forests, it’s a truly magical place.

Nazaré: Witness some of the world’s biggest waves in Nazaré. The town is in the Oeste region, around 90 minutes from Lisbon. The best time of year to catch the huge waves is October to March.

Planning Your Adventure

An unforgettable adventure awaits you in Portugal. Be prepared and plan your trip by downloading navigation tools – maps.me is a free, offline map tool. Make sure that your driving licence is at least 6 months from its expiration date, and brush up on your knowledge of local driving laws. Another important thing to remember is emergency numbers: dial 112 for all emergency services.

Optimal Driving Times in Portugal

Portugal’s main cities, including Lisbon, Porto, and Faro, are particularly busy during rush hour. The roads will be busier when people go to and return from work, mainly between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM, and again between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM on weekdays.

Weighing the Benefits of Car Hire in Portugal

Pros: Advantages of Personal Mobility

From lush vineyards to orange-tinged coastal cliffs, Portugal has so much to offer. Hiring a car allows you to explore every corner of the country, with access to places that aren’t well served by public transport. The roads are well-maintained and easy to drive on, and the views are incredible. And most importantly, you are running on your own schedule. No need to work to timetables and rely on public transport.

Cons: Potential Drawbacks of Hiring a Car

If you plan on sticking to cities like Lisbon and Porto, then you might find driving through the city streets frustrating. The roads are old and narrow, and parking is difficult. Additionally, Portugal has many toll roads. The highways are extremely well-maintained and well-connected but come with a toll price. Most hire cars will have a built-in toll reader that will charge your card every time you go through a toll road, so bear these costs in mind when budgeting.

Variety of Rental Vehicles in Portugal

You can find a variety of vehicles to suit your Portugal journey. From luxury vehicles, like a Mercedes C-Class, to economy cars, like the Volkswagen Polo, there are plenty of options.

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Needs

Whatever your journey entails, you’ll find the perfect vehicle to suit you. Those travelling in a group or with family would be comfortable in a 5-seater vehicle, like the Nissan Qashqai. Alternatively, couples zipping through towns and coastal areas might prefer a smaller car, such as a SEAT Ibiza.

Partnering with Portugal’s Premier Car Hire Providers

We work with a wide selection of car hire providers in Portugal, including Avis, Alamo, Budget, Centaruo, Enterprise, Europcar, Thrifty, and many more. The exact car hire suppliers will differ depending on the pick-up location. The pick-up locations with the most varied supplier selection are Lisbon Airport and Faro Airport.

Selecting a Reputable Company

When you choose Enjoy Travel, you know you’re working with a trusted, reputable organisation. We only work with car hire suppliers that we trust to deliver a first-class service. For further confirmation that you’re working with a reputable company, check out reviews and ratings on our site.

Got a Question? Chat with our UK support team

Online chat help is open 08:30am to 17:00 weekdays. Email: [email protected]


FAQs about car hire in Portugal

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in Portugal

This entirely depends on the type and size of vehicle you are hiring, where in Portugal you are renting from, and how far in advance you book. Small cars can start at around £2-£6 per day in the main cities of Lisbon, Porto, and Faro; however, larger and luxury cars may start from around £20 per day at the cheapest price.
Currently, the cheapest car you can rent on Enjoy Travel is a VW Up! or a Peugeot 208, which have a starting price of £2.36-£2.89 per day, respectively, or around £15-£20 a week. Choosing smaller vehicles is a great way to not only save on the price of the car but also on fuel too. Sticking to large cities like Lisbon, Faro, or Porto is a great way to keep costs low.
Portugal’s maximum speed limit is around 75mph on larger roads like motorways, and a minimum speed limit of around 30mph. For inner city built-up and urban areas, the speed limit tends to stay around the 30mph mark. Make sure that every passenger in the car wears a seat belt at all times during the journey.
Many countries have their own specific age requirements for hiring cars, with the general minimum age requirement ranging from 21-25. In Portugal, to drive a car you must be 18 and over, and the general age requirement is 21. Some car hire companies may charge drivers under the age of 25 extra for car hire.
This depends on where in Portugal you are looking to hire from. In Lisbon, you can hire a BMW 3 series for around £70 per day. If you are looking to rent a BMW for a week or longer, the prices can be around £500. Additionally, from Faro Airport, you can rent a BMW 318D, BMW Series 5, and BMW 520 with prices starting from £101 per day.
This depends on where in Portugal you are hiring from. From Lisbon Airport, a Ford Transit van costs around £68 per day, and over £400 for a week-long hire. This appears to be the only place that you can hire a transit van in Portugal. However, you don’t need to make the drop-off location the same.
Compared to other European countries, Portugal enjoys relatively cheap prices. You could comfortably budget around £90-£100 (approx. €105-€115) a day not including accommodation, which can bring the cost up considerably. To keep your trip as cheap as possible, consider travelling in off-peak seasons of the year.
It is absolutely worth renting a car in Portugal, as public transport may not always be available or relied upon. While larger cities like Lisbon and Faro will have public transport, it may not run to certain areas or run regularly, which may not coincide with your itinerary. In this case, hiring a car will give you the freedom to explore the country according to your own timings.
Portugal is known for its easy-to-navigate and drive-across roads, beautiful scenery, and exceptional maintenance and upkeep of roads. Driving in inner cities can be quite hectic and traffic can be heavy, but driving outside of cities is usually very hassle-free and convenient, as is parking around the country.
Travelling from North to South is usually a popular way to see Portugal. Head to large cities like Lisbon, Faro, and Vila Nova de Gaia for the largest array of activities and attractions, however in every city or town you will find an abundance of cultural, historical, and architectural sights to help make your trip memorable.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys hot weather, then travel to Portugal from May-August when temperatures can reach up to 31°C. If you’d prefer to visit simply for the attractions, or at a time when there are fewer tourists, then head to Portugal around December-March. The weather will usually be cold and mild, but still pleasant during these months.
This entirely depends on the time of year, what type of car you are renting, and where you are renting from. However, the lowest cost for a week-long car hire can start from £19 in Porto, £21 in Lisbon, and £24 in Faro for small cars. Of course, booking in advance is a great way to ensure the prices remain low too, but generally, you can expect the prices to be reasonable.
If hiring from Lisbon, a month-long car hire with a small car can cost around £170 per month, which is £5.80 per day as the cheapest option for this city. It depends on where and when you book your vehicle from. If you want to choose a luxury car, prices for a month can start at £2,000, which is around £70 per day from Lisbon city centre.
On average, prices of fuel can cost around 1.20-1.60 EUR per litre. This may vary across the country, however, the price range most likely will not be too far out from the average prices. To keep fuel costs lower, try to opt for a small vehicle to hire and enjoy the lower prices. Smaller vehicles tend to be more budget-friendly to hire, too.
Drivalia, SurPrice, Keddy, Budget, and OKMobility car suppliers are generally the cheapest suppliers you can find in Portugal, with prices per day ranging from £2-£8 for small cars. If you want to hire a luxury or 7-9 seater car, then the supplier may change to accommodate the difference in pricing and car type.
The longer you leave it to book your vehicle, the more likely it is that the car you want will increase in price. Generally, if booking in advance, you can expect small cars to start at around £2 per day which can go up to around £20-£25 per week. Luxury cars and larger cars of course will be more expensive, but you can keep the costs within your budget by booking in advance.
Yes, there are several suppliers and cities within Portugal that allow you to hire a 7-9 seater minivan or minibus of varying makes and models. Minivans can be popular with people travelling in large groups or with families to accommodate any extra space you may need. 7 seaters tend to be more expensive than small cars.
As with many other European countries, the VW Up! or the Peugeot 208 are the cheapest cars available on Enjoy Travel for hire around Portugal. However, most of the small cars that you see on our site have starting prices around the same figure (per day) as the cheapest cars on offer, but might be around £2-£3 more.

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