Portugal, located on the southeastern side of Europe, is like a tourist magnet, thanks to its stunning landscapes and panoramic vistas. It is a dream destination for most travelers because of the charming towns and picturesque cities where one can look forward to a myriad of activities and excursions.
The best way to explore and enjoy the beautiful country at your freedom and pace is in your own vehicle or car. Renting a car in Portugal is an excellent choice as most companies offer the customers the option of one-way rentals that give them added freedom to travel and explore the country and discover its hidden gems at their own pace.
However, there are some essential tips to remember when renting a car in Portugal to enjoy a smooth and enjoyable experience, both off and on the roads.
Tips For Renting a Car in Portugal
The driving permit
It is highly recommended to carry a translated copy of the driver’s license of your country and present it with your original license. Those who carry a US license are allowed to drive rental cars if visiting for less than six months in the country. Hence, you may or may not need an international driver’s license based on which country you are from. Even if Portugal may not demand an international driving permit from foreign drivers, it may be necessary if you plan to drive through neighboring European countries.
Avoid peak season
Always book in advance, and you are likely to face acute shortages of rental cars, especially during the peak tourist seasons when travelers flock to the stunning Portugese coastline. Visiting the country in the season and booking in advance will ensure that you will be able to get more options and find the best deals on car rentals in Portugal.
The essential documents
When renting a car in Portugal, make sure to bring the required documents, such as your ‘driver’s license from your country, your ID, a Credit card, and International Driver’s Permit. Most car companies require you to be at least 21 years old and hold a valid license for at least a year.
Know the required insurance
Insurance is essential when renting a car in Portugal, and it is a must to have basic third-party liability insurance. Most car rental companies include a Collision Damage Waiver in the car rental, which is deducted from your credit card. Getting additional coverage such as Theft Protection, Personal Accident Insurance, and Super Collision Damage Waiver is a good idea for complete peace of mind.
Understand the terms and conditions
Read the rental policy carefully and thoroughly study the terms and conditions to avoid any unwelcome surprises. Pay close attention to aspects such as age restrictions, mileage limits, fuel policies, and additional fees. You must return your rental car in perfect condition and with the same level of fuel. If you want to extend the rental period, you must inform the rental agent. Keep in mind that rental cars in Portugal are allowed only on paved public roads and not on dusty, uncovered roads.
Grasp the driving rules and inspect the vehicle
Before driving off, you must scrutinize the rental car and examine the vehicle for any existing damage. Take a video of the car and look for any scratches or dings that should be noted in the rental agreement. Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the country before hitting the road. Pay close attention to the parking rules, road signs, and speed limits to avoid fines.
Select the right car and use a navigation app
It is of utmost importance to select the right vehicle based on the kind of terrain you will be traveling through. You will need a smaller car to explore the city and a bigger car, such as an SUV or a convertible if exploring the countryside. As it can be challenging to drive through some parts without directions, use a GPS or a navigation app to be sure of where you are going.
Check for toll roads and hidden costs
Watch out for any hidden fees, such as airport surcharges or driver fees, which can increase the costs. Understand how the network of toll roads works in the country and whether your rental car is provided with a transponder or not, or you may need to pay tolls separately. Those hidden costs can increase fast and can increase your car rental expenses exponentially.