Car rental Portugal
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Why rent a car in Portugal?
Portugal is a great place to explore by car. From cities like Lisbon and Porto to beaches of Algarve, historic attractions like Sintra, and surfing meccas like Penice and Nazaré, there are countless places to visit and explore, and having your own ride will allow you to go see them all during the same trip.
This article is about the mainland Portugal and the Madeira island. For information about the Autonomous Region of Azores Islands, see the article of Portugal-Azores.
Top ways to enter Portugal
- Lisbon Airport: Portugal’s largest airport serves flights to and from nearly all European countries, as well as destinations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
- Porto Airport: Large, modern, and well-connected, Porto Airport is popular with low-cost carriers like easyJet and Ryanair.
- Faro Airport: Well-connected to the rest of Europe and especially active during summers, Faro Airport serves the southern region of Algarve.
- Madeira Funchal Airport: Located on Madeira’s western coast, Funchal Airport connects the island not only to the mainland Portugal, but also to many destinations in Europe, and is served by more than 40 different airlines.
- By land: If your rental car provider permits it, it’s possible to rent a car in a neighboring country and then drive to Portugal. Some large international airports near Portugal are Malaga Airport, Seville Airport, and Madrid Airport in Spain.
Top cities and places to visit
- Lisbon: Portugal’s capital is often mentioned as one of the most interesting cities in Europe, and that’s for a good reason - its culture, food, and nightlife won’t let anyone leave disappointed.
- Porto and the North: Different in looks and atmosphere from its large southern rival, Lisbon, Porto is just as fascinating. A metropolis of arts and architecture, it is the capital of Northern Portugal, a region worth exploring in its own right.
- Madeira: Madeira is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean and an Autonomous region of Portugal. It is best reached by plane, but, once you land in its capital Funchal, getting a rental car is the best way to travel around Madeira to explore its fantastic volcanic landscapes and distinct culture.
- Algarve: Portugal’s southernmost region is famous for its beaches, as well as charming little towns like Albufeira, Lagos, and Sagres on the Atlantic Coast. Traveling the roads less traveled that lead inland and higher up into the mountains to towns like Monchique can be just as rewarding.
- Sintra: Just a scenic 30 minutes drive away from Lisbon, the whole town of Sintra and its surrounding nature have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main attractions include Sintra National Palace and the Moorish Castle, as well as other monuments of architecture.
- Aveiro: A city dating back to pre-Roman times, Aveiro is known for its canals (and like Venice, gondalas traveling through them), art noveau archetectirue and its cathedrals. The beaches nearby aren't bad either.
Most popular rental car
The most popular rental car in Portugal is the VW Polo, but travelers also tend to pick the Ford Fiesta and the Fiat 500 a lot.
Portugal has a land border with only one other country, Spain. Like Portugal, Spain is a member of the European Union (EU) and the Schengen Area, meaning that the entry requirements for Spain are the same as for Portugal.
Some car rental providers allow you to cross national borders and even drop off your car in a different country, while others don’t. If you’d like to cross a national border during your rental period, make sure to check the terms and conditions before booking a car. Learn more about cross-border rentals in our FAQ section.
Most popular types of rental car
The most popular rental car type in Portugal is an Economy, followed by Compact and Mini.
Top driving routes
- Porto - Lisbon (313 km / 194 mi) The distance between these two can be done in about three hours, although you might be tempted to stop in the historic city of Coimbra or make a small detour and visit Nazaré on the Atlantic Coast, one of the top surfing spots in Europe.
- Lisbon - Faro (278 km / 173 mi) It takes less than three hours to go from the capital to the largest city of Algarve. Knowing that you’ll be passing the wine-making region Alentejo on the way, however, might make you want to break up this trip into two or three days.
- Lisbon - Madrid (629 km / 381 mi) The capital of Spain, Madrid, is about six hours drive away from Lisbon, meaning you can have your breakfast in one and dinner in the other. On your way you’ll pass through the interior of Portugal and Extremadura in Spain, two regions that are sparsely populated and not frequently visited by tourists, but have lots of beautiful nature to explore. Note that you’ll have to cross a national border, so check with your car rental provider first to make sure they allow it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do a number of things to get a good car rental deal in Portugal:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Portugal is the cheapest in March when renting a car is about 50% cheaper than the yearly average and a whopping 66% cheaper than renting a car in November.
Top 19 Most Popular Cities in Portugal
Top 20 Most Popular Locations in Portugal
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Portugal?
What’s the average rental length in Portugal?
What’s the most popular time for renting a car in Portugal?
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