Driving in Portugal



While driving in Portugal remember to keep a legal reflector vest and a warning triangle in your vehicle at all times. The roads in Portugal are wide and well maintained. You will have to pay a toll to use several of these.

Roads & Gas Stations

Roads in Portugal are wide, and most of them have three lanes. While driving one should remember that the middle lane allows cars to pass in either direction. Several roads like the A1 Lisboa to Santarem, the A1 Fatima to Coimbra, the A1 Santarem to Fatima, and so on are toll roads.

Gas Stations are open from 7 am to 10 pm, and some are open till midnight. Unless otherwise indicated they are usually open for business round the clock. All major credit cards are accepted subject to a fee for using the facility.

Driving License

Holders of non-EU licenses and old style green licenses may face some problems in Portugal unless they carry an International Driver's License. An EC format pink/green license is accepted. The minimum age for drivers in Portugal is 17 years.

If you have held a license for less than a year then as a foreigner in Portugal, you will have to obtain a yellow sticker from the ACP motoring club with the number 90 on it. This indicates that you are allowed a maximum speed limit of 90 kph.

If the foreign driving licence cannot be exchanged for a Portuguese one, you will need to take the full driving test. This includes theory, practical and, for some categories of licence, oral, examination in Portuguese. This applies to anyone applying for a licence for the first time.

You will have to apply at the IMTT or through a driving school for the registration form for a driving licence (Licença de Condução). The form must be completed and submitted to the IMTT. In case of minors, a parent or guardian (Authorização do Poder Paternal) must sign the form. Driving lesson prices vary from school to school.

The following documents must be taken to the test: Passport, Residency Card or Authorisation to Residency Certificate, Learner's Driving Licence (Clicença de Aprendizagem), Instruction Manual (Caderneta de Instruendo), and ID Card.


Headlights must be dimly lit while traveling. Children less than 12 years of age are not permitted to sit in the front and must be seated in the back seat with a seatbelt. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers. 

Adhere to speed limits at all times. The prescribed limits being: 50 kph in built-up areas, 100 kph outside built-up areas and 120 kph on expressways.


The blood alcohol limit in the country is 50 mg.

The use of mobile phones while driving is banned, and there is a heavy fine if you are caught using one while driving.

Do not be tempted to litter the roads by throwing trash out of your car as such an act will attract a fine of €300.

Parking laws in the country are very strict, and you are not permitted to park your vehicle facing oncoming traffic. The police are empowered to collect on-the-spot fines for parking law violations.

Drivers in Portugal are reckless and aggressive, and this is why the country is one of the most dangerous places to drive in Europe. Be alert and cautious.

The police have the authority to collect fines for traffic violations on-the-spot in cash or by credit card.

In Case of an Accident

Should you have the misfortune of being involved in an accident, contact the general emergency number 112. Set up your warning triangle and wait for the police to arrive.