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Dodging toll roads the legnth of Portgual? Worth it?

In another Portugal post, a forum contributor said, "If you rent (a car) in Spain check out the portugaltolls website (https://www.portugaltolls.com/en#sistemas-portagem). It provides everything you need to know for paying tolls with a foreign registered vehicle."

Since we're driving a rental car through Portugal from Santiago de Compostela to Sevilla, I checked out the site... Good information there. It doesn't appear to difficult or expensive. I also checked Google Maps to see if we could avoid the toll roads entirely, which we can apparently... I wonder, though, how much more (if at all) desirable the non-toll roads may be. It appears via Google Maps that non-toll roads take cars mostly along the coast. To me coastal drives always are more appealing (unless one is driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California on a summer holiday!).

Avoiding Portuguese toll roads will add time in the car, but that seems to be the only downside... And that is offset by driving on those less traveled roads -- seemingly along the coast.

Thoughts?

Posted by
6998 posts

Honestly, the toll highways are a massive timesaver.
Average speed on the toll-free national roads is perhaps 40 mph given the number of villages and how curvy roads typically are in the country. And those roads are not always that scenic. As an example, the seemingly coastal N13 from the Spanish border is scenic until Viana do Castelo but not really beyond towards Porto.

Posted by
79 posts

We were in Portugal off season (November) and drove from Coimbra to Lagos, and found even then that non toll roads were very busy and slow, and not fun for the driver, especially along the Algarve coast. If the destination is more important to you than the journey take the toll roads; easy with a transponder and allows for quicker movements between most major destinations….and not that expensive for the added-value!

Posted by
6725 posts

That may be my comment you referenced with the toll website link. We’ll be entering Portugal coming from Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain going to Penalva do Castelo, Portugal. Taking the toll road would take approximately 1.5 hours and 4.3€ while the non-toll road would take an additional 30 minutes. I also looked at the non-toll way using street view and it wasn’t in the best repair in places. For that stretch I’ll pay the money. However, from Penalva to Lamego I’ll take the non-toll route as it is much more direct and we’ll have plenty of time. So, for us, it will be a mix of roll and non-toll roads. The toll roads will cost some money, but the non-toll roads will cost time.

Posted by
323 posts

Thanks everyone for your input! We'll have a little of the toll roads and little of the slow roads!

Posted by
41 posts

Hi gbrennan, we live here, in Setubal, have a rental car, and absolutely love having the Via Verde transponder which allows us to zip thru the toll booths. The toll highways are the better roads, have a lot less traffic (sadly that's a comment on the low minimum wage here), plus we don't like scrambling to find the correct amount of euros when traffic is heavy, like when the rain is coming down and the Vasco da Gama bridge is heavy with rush hour traffic, and we're running late to pick up someone at the Lisbon airport... We can always choose to take a (more) scenic road less traveled road when we want, as it's not an all-or-nothing choice. Oh, and there are no sheep on the toll roads ;)

Posted by
6725 posts

With a Spain registered vehicle, a via verde transponder isn’t an option. Your options are stated on the website.