Everything to Know Before Renting a Car in Porto, Portugal

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This is the ultimate guide for renting a car in Porto and exploring all of Portugal!

renting a car in porto

Porto, Portugal is a beautiful and historic city that is definitely worth exploring. While there are many ways to get around the city, renting a car can be a great option for those who want to explore beyond the city limits and see more of the surrounding areas.

However, renting a car in a foreign country can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the local laws and customs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the process of renting a car in Porto, Portugal.

We’ll cover renting a car in Porto and more!

This post is all about renting a car in Porto.

Renting a Car in Porto:

Is renting a car in Porto necessary?

Before you decide whether to rent a car, it’s important to consider whether it’s necessary for your trip. Porto has a good public transportation system, including buses and the metro, so it’s possible to get around Porto itself without a car, especially as many of Porto’s main tourist attractions are located in the city center and are easily accessible by foot.

You can also travel by train to Lisbon and a few other major cities throughout Portugal. If you take this route, it may be easy if you stay within the city center. However, there is so much more to see in Portugal, and getting off the beaten path is worth the extra effort. Try the Douro Valley for wine tasting, the Algarve coast for stunning beaches, Évora for charming medieval towns, and so much more! 

If you plan to explore the surrounding areas or want the freedom to travel on your own schedule, renting a car can be a great option.

Requirements for renting a car in Porto

If you do decide to rent a car, there are a few requirements you should be aware of. First, the minimum age for renting a car in Portugal is 18, although some rental companies may require you to be 21 or older. You’ll also need a valid driver’s license and a credit card to rent a car. Finally, it’s important to ensure adequate insurance coverage before you hit the road.

We always book our rental cars through DiscoverCars and purchase their Full Coverage insurance option to ensure we are fully covered. They have a great price and excellent customer service.

Top Activities in Porto

Considerations before renting a car in Porto

Before you rent a car, there are a few things to consider. For example, think about the size of the car you’ll need. If you’re traveling with a group or plan to do a lot of driving, you may want a larger car with more space. Additionally, decide whether you want a manual or automatic transmission. Manual cars are more common in Portugal, so make sure you’re comfortable driving stick if you rent a manual car. Parking in the big cities (Porto, Lisbon, etc) can also be a challenge, so consider where you’ll be staying and whether parking will be available. You can always ask the hotel or accommodations where the best place to park is.

If you plan to rent a car in Porto, it’s important to be aware of toll roads and fees. Portugal has a number of toll roads that require payment, either through a toll transponder or at a physical booth. Some rental car companies provide transponders for their customers, while others may require you to pay for tolls separately. It’s important to check with your rental car company about their toll policy before you hit the road.

Additionally, it’s important to note that toll fees can add up quickly, especially if you’re driving long distances. To save money, consider taking alternative routes that don’t have tolls. You can select the “Avoid Tolls” option on Google Maps, and not only will you save on tolls but the drive will be infinitely prettier! Alternatively, you can purchase a Via Verde toll transponder, which can be used on all toll roads in Portugal and may offer discounts on toll fees.

Overall, being aware of toll roads and fees is an important part of renting a car in Porto. By doing your research and planning ahead, you can avoid unexpected fees and enjoy a smooth rental car experience in Portugal.

Tips for renting a car in Porto

To make the most of your rental car experience, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First, do your research when it comes to car rental companies. Look for reputable companies with good reviews from previous customers. We love booking with DiscoverCars as they have reviews for each company, so you know you are booking with a reliable company.

Additionally, book your rental car in advance to ensure availability and potentially save money. Check for discounts and promotions that may be available to you.

Finally, inspect the car carefully before you rent it to make sure there are no existing damages. We always recommend taking photos of the car before you leave the lot. Be sure to get photos of all the current damages you see so they can’t blame you (and charge you) for them.

>> Check out our full cost breakdown of our 2 weeks in Portugal!

Driving in Portugal

Finally, if you’re going to be driving outside of Porto and through the rest of the country, it’s important to understand the road conditions and traffic laws. Roads in Portugal can be narrow and winding (especially off the highways), so be prepared for some challenging driving conditions. Additionally, make sure you’re familiar with Portuguese traffic laws, including the speed limit, requirements for seat belts, and rules for parking. Lastly, ensure you have a good navigation system or map to help you get around. We used Google Maps the entire time, and it worked great for us!

This post was all about our top tips to renting a car in Porto, Portugal.

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