Renting a car in Portugal - Things you should know

Driver licenses requirements and tips to rent a car in Portugese. How to avoid sneaky extra charges.

driving in Portugal

Driving in Portugal


All licenses issued in the European Union are accepted.

Driver's licenses from non-EU countries (except Switzerland) are accepted if you have a visa in your passport and at the time of hire have not been in Europe for longer than 6 months. Longer than that, you need to get a driver's license from an EU country.

If your domestic driver's license is printed with non Roman Alphabet (Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic etc), an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation in English is required when you drive in Portugal. Please note that an International Driving Permit (often referred to as an International Driving Licence) does not replace the requirement for a regular driving licence. And you must carry your current overseas driver’s licence, IDP or translation with you all the time when driving in Portugal.Note that your international driver's license is valid only if it's accompanied by an authorized license from your home state or province.

To drive in Portugal, the driver must present a valid national driver's license that has been held for at least 1 or 2 years (according to different car rental company).


Tips to rent a car


Traffic circles in Portugal


You can get some fantastic deals on car rentals in Portugal if you book well ahead. The later you leave it, especially at peak holiday periods, the higher the cost will be.

Use a comparison website like Rentalcars to see what’s available and compare prices between rental companies e.g. Hertz, EuropeCar, Budget and others you may not have heard of. You can filter for a specific supplier, location or rating as well as other important features.

If you need a car for 5 or 6 days, try altering your search to see how much it would cost over 7 days. You may find a cheaper weekly deal and there’s nothing to stop you returning the car before the end of the hire period.

Some Portuguese car rental companies require you to have a photo ID license. If your foreign licence does not have a photo ID, you should get an IDP before travelling to Portugal if you intend to rent a car. UK drivers with the new-style photo card licence will need both the paper counterpart and photo card. UK licence holders who have a paper license only will also need an official photo for identification when driving in Portugal.

Age Requirement

To rent a car in Portugal you must be at least 19 years old (age may vary by car category). Each car rental company has its own age requirements and a deviation from the minimum age is possible depending on the vehicle. If you're 19-25, you are likely to have to pay a young driver fee.

*Attention! Some car rental companies would have different requirements. Please check Terms and Conditions during the booking process.