Please sign in to post.

car driving in Portugal

Are the rental cars in Portugal left hand or right hand drive?
What side of the road do they drive on?

Posted by
329 posts

All cars drive in the right lane like North America with the driver sitting on the left.

Posted by
6138 posts

A car facing Northbound will have the steering wheel on the West side of the car and will drive northbound on the East side of the roadways centerline

If you are familiar with how it is done in the Americas, it is like that.

Posted by
4806 posts

You question answered, I will add some other basics:

  • Most rentals will be Manual transmissions (Stick), higher end models may be automatic, if you really need automatic, reserve well ahead.
  • Rules of the road are mostly the same. Good common sense will get you around without problems.
  • Paying the extra for a Toll Pass will save money if you will be doing much driving North and South, however even without much driving, it is worth the ease of use and freedom from worry.
  • Roads are actually in really good condition, modern freeway type roads, most are not busy or crowded by any measure.
  • We typically do not rent a car, but for Portugal it was a good decision, glad we did, allowed us to see much more in fewer days, saw things we would not have by Public transport. If you were going fewer places, then maybe it would not make sense, as Public transport is great, and if you are only looking at Porto and Lisbon, then no car needed, but it was great for us.
Posted by
49 posts

Driving in southern Portugal last fall was a pleasure for me because it is just like in the states—-left hand drive and in the right lane. One major difference from California is that there are lots of roundabouts or traffic circles. It took a bit to feel comfortable with them because at times there was quite a lot of traffic. The highways are very well-paved and signed. Would definitely rent a car again in this lovely country.

Posted by
13933 posts

I had a car for 10 days in Portugal just a year ago. Driving on the toll roads is easy, but as someone said, a toll reader is well worth the money, since you will almost certainly use them a lot. I would not want to have a car Lisbon or Porto - lots of one-way streets, trolley cars, hills, and traffic all make it miserable. You should also have GPS, a decent map, and lots of patience. I used Garmin and sometimes it was completely wrong and sometimes just sent me on alternate routes that ended up being bad. Others had similar experiences. If you aren't driving on the toll roads, expect your travel time to be at least 25% and often as much as 50% more than what GPS or an app like google maps says. Almost all the roads I drove on were narrow and and without shoulders. Locals are familiar with the roads and are comfortable driving at the speed limits, I never was except on straight stretches (not very many of those) when there was no oncoming traffic.

Posted by
5641 posts

Driving around Portugal for two weeks was easy, no problems at all. Picked car up leaving Lisbon, dropped it off before entering Porto.

Posted by
1099 posts

The rules of the road are in some cases very different and you need to learn the road signs. Otherwise you can get an unpleasant surprise.

Posted by
5641 posts

I always print a copy of European Road signs and tape it to the dashboard while driving over there. There is always one I don’t remember so this helps.

Posted by
1 posts

I believe cars drive on the right in Portugal! Whatever you do, drive safe!