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Driving in Portugal

Home of Euro 2004 football

Key rules, regulations and things to know

Portuguese Car Hire Tax Rules - March 2015

A "collection fee" of €15 (Fifteen Euros) has been levied on all car rentals at Portuguese airports from Sunday March 1st 2015 according to a report in the "The Irish Times" of the 7th March.

The Portuguese Airport Authority (ANA) has levied the tax on car hire suppliers who operate out of airport car parks rather than the terminals.

In Faro, the gateway airport to the Algarve, this affects roughly eighty per cent of all car rentals, as the majority of suppliers work out of the airport's Car Park 4.

The new charge currently only applies to mainland airports including Lisbon, Oporto and Faro, but ANA is considering also applying the surcharge to offshore airports in Madeira and The Azores. Source: The Irish Times

Driving: Drive on the RIGHT overtake on the left, however it is illegal to overtake on the right in moving traffic.

When approaching a roundabout give way to traffic already on the roundabout (as in many other countries).

Speed limits: Motorway: 120km/h - Town: 50km/h - Open Road: 90-100km/h - The police patrol for speeding motorists using unmarked police cars, speed cameras and radar traps. The minimum motorway speed limit is 50km/h (31mph).

Tolls: Most of the motorways in Portugal have tolls (Portagem). A1 Lisboa to Santarem - A1 Santarem to Fatima - A1 Fatima to Coimbra - A1 Coimbra to Aveiro - A1 Aveiro to Porto - A2 Lisboa to Marateca - A3 Porto to Braga - A4 Porto to Amarante - A5 Lisboa to Cascais - A6 Marateca to Montemor-o-Novo - A8 Lisboa to Torres Vedras. You can purchase an automatic toll device from some motorway service stations and Via Verde shops. You must return the device prior to leaving Portugal.

Seatbelts: Seat Belts must be worn at all times, by all occupants of the vehicle. Children aged 12 and under or less than 1.5m (4 feet 9 inches) are not allowed to travel in a car unless supported in an approved child seat or harness.

Dogs: must be properly restrained in a car. Either by a harness as on the left or in a cage or section of the car behind a grill

Driving Age: The legal age for driving a car is 18 years. The minimum age to hire a car is 23

Driving Licence: If you have held your licence for less than 12 months then you must not exceed 90kph (55mph). It is compulsory for the driver to carry a driving licence (Carta or Título de Condução). A valid Portuguese / EU country driving licences are currently accepted in Portugal. Certain non-EU licences are accepted for a period of time if accompanied with an International Driving Licence. You must carry photographic proof of identity at all times. Minimum Driving Ages European Countries - Here

It is illegal to drive with headphones connected to a sound device like an ipod/player / phone / CD player

Mobile phones: (Telemóveis) The use of a mobile phone in a car is only allowed if you have either a hands free kit or a headset. Don't risk using one as you can receive a heavy fine in most countries and more important cause a serious accident.

Radar Detectors: Are not permitted in the vehicle.

Drink and Driving: Don't be tempted to do it even if you are on holiday in The Algarve and drive to a restaurant it can be very tempting to have a couple of beers and and some wine. The limit is 0.05 and if you are over it could face anything from a severe fine, withdrawal of your licence or even imprisonment. More information Here

Suitcases and baggage carried on the vehicle must not exceed the vehicle's length by more than 45cm at the rear and 55cm at the front.

Headlights The use of dipped headlights when the visibility is porr during the day and also in tunnels is compulsory

Motorcyles: It is not legal for a motorbike to carry passengers under the age of seven

Parking: You must not park on the pavement or a place that is not a a designated parking place/bay. If you do you can risk having the car / vehicle impounded. You must park in the same direction of traffic not against it i.e. parking facing on-coming traffic is illegal.

Trams: Take great care when driving in Lisbon.. The trams have priority and in some of the narrow streets around the city there is not a lot of room for passengers to get off so car drivers must be patient.

Fines: Motorists can receive on the spot fines from the Police in Portugal.

Accidents: If you are involved in a car accident the driver must stop and help injured people. Ideally calling the Emergency telephone numbers: Police/Fire/Ambulance Service - 112.

Credit Cards: Credit cards are accepted throughout Portugal. A tax of €0.50 is added to credit card transactions.

Emergency telephone numbers: Police/Fire/Ambulance Service - 112

Warning Triangles/ Reflective vests +A reflective vest must be kept in the vehicle at all times and worn when examining / repairing a vehicle at the roadside. A warning triangle must be displayed at the rear of the car if you have stopped at the side of the road as a result of breakdown or other problems.

Disabled Parking: The Blue Badge is recognised in all European countries - More information Here

Warning about some car hire companies Fuel Policy: Like certain car hire companies in Spain and Cyprus, you need to check the car hire company's fuel policy as several of these are now working on collect full, pay for a full tank of fuel at their price and "return empty". This can prove quite expensive if you do not hire the car for several days and use up the fuel. There is also the risk that you might also run out of fuel beforing returning it to your car hire destination (often airports) and then miss your flight.

Part information source: Economy Car Hire | Anglo Info Portugal | Holiday Autos

Kiss FM Algarve radio - This station broadcasts in English and Portuguese 95.8 FM and 101.2 FM in the Algarve areaor on line. Visit website Here

Automovel Club de Portugal - (ACP) - To enter the site, click on the image above left

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Information from holiday autos about Portugal

After a leisurely round of golf, sit back, listen to some Fado and sip some Port. Portugal isn’t just a haven for aspiring Jack Nicholsons, this sun-kissed country has something to offer everyone. Book car hire in Portugal and see for yourself. Be aware of the age restrictions when booking cheap car hire in Portugal as it varies between suppliers.

car hire in Lisbon - Young, cultural and lively. Portugal car hire is a must as there’s plenty to see in and around Lisbon. Jump in, hit the accelerator and drive up the coast to the seaside towns of Cascais and Estoril. Worn out your bucket and spade? Take the car a little further north and visit Sintra’s castle atop the mountain.

car hire in the Algarve - The Algarve - a favourite holiday destination among us Brits. But you’ll need to get up early to grab a sun lounger in the summer months. Most visitors fly into Faro, put on the bikini and head down to the beach. Great if you like it cosy. Book car hire in Portugal and check out the less crowded spots instead. There’re great places like Lagos, Sagres and Albufeira only a short drive away n

top driving tips - The policeman is pointing at you for a reason – ignore him and you’ll lose your licence. Also Crossing white lines and jumping red lights are subject to losing a licence to drive from two months up to one year. Watch your speed and the hidden cameras.

Key Info

Capital - Lisbon

Currency: The Euro (€) Currency Conversion Here

Language: Portuguese

Distance between London and Lisbon: 1,585 km

Time Zone: As Ireland and the UK

Visa Requirements: EU nationals may remain in Portugal as a tourist for up to three months. If you intend to stay for longer, you must apply for a Registration Certificate from the local Camara Municipal (Town Hall) or from the nearest office of the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (Portuguese immigration authority)

Must Sees in Portugal

The Algarve Coast : The Algarve Coast is a siren that bewitches travellers with its beauty. Dramatic cliff faces and rocky outcrops decorate the beaches, making it feel like you're on holiday somewhere between Mars and Heaven. The only thing that brings you back to earth are the crowds - which swell in summer and take the nightlife scene to new heights in cities like Lagos. But with hundreds of miles of otherworldly landscapes to explore, you can find your own place in the sun if you go looking for it.

Living History In Lisbon: Lisbon is one of those cities that would stand out on any list - whether it's for historical sights, gastronomy, nightlife or retail therapy. There is a vibrant mix of history and cutting edge modernity, right on top of one another. The castles, museums, cobble stone streets and Medieval architecture will bowl you over - it's hard to believe that everything around you is almost as old as the hills. You could sip a cafe latte in the Belem district, imagining a procession of knights on horseback galloping across the cobbled streets, on their way to the tower for a quick meeting.

Visions Of Mary In Fatima: The sleepy town of Fatima experienced a series of legendary events that took place in 1917, when three young shepherd children saw visions of the Virgin Mary on the thirteenth of each month, from June to October.

Port Tours In Porto: Porto is the birthplace of Port (as one can vaguely deduce from the name) and a great low-cost point of entry for people flying in to Portugal - several budget airlines offer direct flights to Porto from the UK. Porto tourism ranges from walking tours of the caves where the wine is cured, coupled with tastings, to full scale day trips up the Rio Douro all the way to Peso da Regua, in the heart of the Douro Valley - where the magnificent vineyards are located.

Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival Of The Trays) in Tomar: Tomar has two main claims to fame, and both are worth travelling to Portugal for. The Convento de Cristo, or Convent Of The Order Of Christ, was built by the Templar Knights as a fortress against the Moors during the twelfth century. Over the next four hundred years, its name would change (to Convent de Cristo), features would be added and the Templar knights would eventually be disbanded. But the castle and church remains absolutely magnificent

The second is the Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival Of The Trays), which takes place once every four years. Imagine all of the passion and pride that you see Portuguese football players and fans exert during the World Cup, concentrated into a town of 20 thousand people. It's an incredible occasion that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists to Tomar - be sure to book your hotel and air ticket years in advance.

It Certainly Does Rain in Lisbon (Lisboa) Portugal in February - A few days in Lisbon in February can be wet as you are still very much in the rainy season. Lisbon is a fascinating city, excellent transport, probably could do with a better selection of restaurants, but a great place for a city break.

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FACT FILE — Portugal :

Portugal has been a very popular destination for many years. It lies between Spain and the Atlantic coast in the south western corner of the Iberian pensinsula. Mountains and river pierced valleys to the north and seemingly unending plains in the central and eastern regions. Then there is the rugged Atlantic coastline.

Portugal was the host country of Euro 2004 football.

The capital is Lisbon (Lisboa) located on the west coast on the River Tagus. It is approximately 300km from the Algarve in the south and 400km from the Spanish border in the north.The population in Lisbon is about 536,000 and the population of greater Lisbon is 1,836,000 and that of of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley is 3,327,000 is about of Lisbon's total poulation.

The Algarve is a very popular area as it has year round warmth, fine sandy beaches and plenty of golf and tennis facilities. The main airport in this area is Faro. This section of the coast is well served by villa and apartment developments. It stretches from east of Faro to Sagres in the west taking in such resorts as Luz, Albufeira and Vale do Lobo. (see section below) .

The west coast area (where Lisbon the capital is located) is now becoming more popular. These include Estoril and Cascais. The country enjoys a reputation of providing a holiday climate all year round. The scenery is beautiful and varies a great deal from area to area. The country now has a very good network of roads. The main towns and cities also include Oporto and Lagos.

Renting a villa in the Algarve is an ideal way to explore the Northern ranges and the long sandy beaches of the Southern Algarve coastline.

Places of Interest

Faro: The capital of the district, with a medieval wall and a large number of monuments: Cathedral (Romanesque-Gothic origin), Nossa Senhora da Assunção Convent (Renaissance), São Francisco Church (16th-18th centuries). Museums to visit: Infante Dom Henrique, Regional Ethnographic, Ramalho Ortigão and Antoniano (next to Santo António do Alto Chapel). Also worthwhile visiting are the beautiful churches of São Pedro da Misericórdia and Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Roman ruins of Milreu in the suburbs.

Lagos: Enclosed within 15th century walls, with its Manueline window, are the magnificent churches of São Sebastião (Renaissance portals and 17th and 18th century tiles), Santa Maria or Misericórdia (16th-19th centuries), Santo António (Baroque) and the very old São João Chapel (8th-9th centuries). Other points of interest: Regional Museum, Governors’ Palace, Pau da Bandeira Fortress and the old slave market. Charming marina.

Monchique: Amongst the beautiful houses on the slope stand the mother-church (Manueline), the Misericórdia Church (with a Baroque retable) and the Senhor do Pé da Cruz Chapel (17th century). Nearby, look for the famous thermal spa of Monchique and Fóia for (902 m high), overlooking the hills and the ocean.

Olhão: The square-shaped flat-roofed houses, with their Moorish-style terraces, are this fishing town’s ex-libris. Behind the mother-church (17th century) you will find the Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos Chapel.

Portimão: In this fishermen’s town, visit the mother-church (14th century, rebuilt in the 18th century), the Colégio Church (17th century), and the Town Hall. In the suburbs, the renowned Praia da Rocha (with its Santa Catarina de Ribamar Fortress), and the Roman ruins of Abicada.

Sagres: It was here that five centuries ago Prince Henry set up a school of navigation, which played a crucial role in the Portuguese Discoveries. Apart from the Nossa Senhora da Graça Chapel, you can visit the magnificent fortress (originally built in the 14th century, and later altered) and the 15th century rosa-dos-ventos (a 43 m-diameter compass card). Nearby, on the extreme southwestern tip of the European continent, is Cabo de São Vicente (Romans’ Promontorium Sacrum), opening on to a vast horizon of sea and sky.

Silves: Stones of different times and cultures overlap in this town: the castle and walls are of Arab origin; the Gothic Cathedral (having undergone several restoration works) was built on the site of an ancient mosque; the 12th century bridge was built where formerly stood a Roman bridge. The Cross of Portugal also deserves special mention (16th century religious sculpture), as well as the following examples of Manueline motifs: the Nossa Senhora dos Mártires Chapel and the Misericórdia Church. The Archeology Museum is built around an almost unique Arab water cistern, dating from the Almohad period.

Tavira: With its inviting long beaches, typical roofs and chimneys, this picturesque town offers a beautiful view over the Gilão river and its Roman bridge. Churches to visit: Santa Maria do Castelo (13th-18th centuries), Misericórdia (Renaissance), Nossa Senhora das Ondas (17th century), São José (with Gothic and Manueline elements), São Paulo and Carmo (17th-18th-centuries).

If you are browsing along the Travessa de Dona Brites, you will see beautiful medieval houses, with Gothic windows and portals. In the suburbs, in the village of Luz there is a Renaissance church, which has been a pilgrimage place for many centuries.

Algarve Holiday Destinations Porches and Armação de Pêra

The picture-postcard village of Porches lies just off the EN125 main road, midway between Alcantarilha and Lagoa. The area is noted for its classic white regional-style houses punctuated with striking decorated chimneys. Life in Porches revolves around the local pottery industry, in which many of the local population are employed.

The Porches Pottery Factory was founded in 1968 to revive a local craft and preserve ancient Iberian and Moorish patterns. Each piece is hand-glazed and painted in a free-flowing style in blue, green and turquoise. The town’s parish church has replaced an older 16th century church from which the chancel still remains.

The nearby town of Lagoa (5 km to the west) is the centre of the Algarve’s winemaking industry. Tours of the vineyards can be arranged through the local tourist office. Lost in time, the sleepy village of Alcantarilha to the east of Porches is famous for its bone chapel located by the side of the parish church. The entire interior is made up of the remains of some 1,500 parishioners.

A short drive to the south Armação de Pêra. Not very long ago this town was nothing more than a collection of small shacks where the local residents from the nearby town of Pêra used to maintain their fishing boats. It is quite probable that the name "Armação" is a link with the distant past of the great Tuna fishing industry that existed along the Algarve from the 15th Century and before. This later fell under the protection of a small 18th Century fort that still remains in part to this day.

The nearby rural village of Pêra remains as a reminder of the un-spoilt typical sleepy Algarve. Boasting one of the finest longest sandy beaches in the Algarve this is a popular location for tourists.

On the beach close to the eastern side of the town are a number of fish restaurants that pride themselves on their fresh fish. Happily, the major area behind this beach is now a zone protected against development of any kind. The spread of building from Armação de Pêra has been mainly to the west with the creation of several holiday apartment complexes above the very charming beaches of Senhora da Rocha - The information provided here is given in good faith and should not be relied on for accuracy and has been contributed by a jmlvillas.com advertiser 04/06

Currency: — Euro (€) Currency Conversion Here

Population 2006: 10,566,212

Land Area: 92,391 Km2

Electricity Voltage: 230Volts European round 2 prong plug

Telephone Country Code: +351 (Including Azores & Madeira)

Source jmlvillas.com - (some of this information has been provided by jmlvillas.com clients)

It Certainly Does Rain in Lisbon (Lisboa) Portugal in February - A few days in Lisbon in February can be wet as you are still very much in the rainy season. Lisbon is a fascinating city, excellent transport, probably could do with a better selection of restaurants, but a great place for a city break More Info Here

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Emergency Telephone number: pan-EU Emergency 112 Can be used in all EU Countries and it can be dialled from a locked mobile or a mobile with no sim card. We have driving guides for those countries marked in red below (plus other non EU member European countries).

Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta- Netherlands - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - United Kingdom

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Drink Drive Laws - Examples of what can be drunk at present

It is not a lot and in some countries even to drink the glass on the right would be breaking the law if you drove afterwards in others a sip would be too much see "Wine" below

"Wine - even a sip will send you over the limit and invalidate your insurance in Parkistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Romania, Jordan and Nigeria, according to Rhinocarhire.com which produces a comprehensive guide." The A to Z of car hire - The Independent - August 2010

See this guide for further information

Finally, Don’t forget your excess cover and buy it before you set off

Excess charges could cost you up to £1,000 or more. Protect yourself by organising your insurance4carrental car hire insurance before you head to Europe.

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