Car Hire in Lisbon
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Lisbon is stylish and contrasting. You can easily explore this charming, hilly city on foot or take the iconic tram number 28. This tram has been rumbling through the streets of Lisbon since before World War II, serving many beautiful neighbourhoods, such as Alfama and Baixa. It stops near the famous shop called A Vida Portuguesa, where you can buy just about anything your heart desires. And the best part? It's all local. Head to Commerce Square and admire the many remarkable buildings there. And last but not least, visit the Padrao dos descobrimentos in the Belem district, a monument commemorating the Portuguese explorers' departure for the New World.
If you are considering renting a car in Lisbon and exploring the surrounding cities, you will have no problems. There are a variety of car rental companies, such as SadoRent, Centauro, Europcar and others.
Basic info and car hire in Lisbon
- Location: North-west of Portugal.
- Population: 2.971,587 (2021)
- Official language: Portuguese and Mirandese.
- Currency: Euro (€)
- Weather: Mediterranean climate. Warm summers (above 68°F / 20°C), mild winters (54°F / 12°C) and pleasant spring and autumn (above 59 °F / 15°C). Read more about the weather in Lisbon »
- Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés are mostly equipped with Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Roads are quite poorly maintained in some areas.
- Car hire in Lisbon: Prices for a daily rental are 9€ in summer, 7€ in autumn and 6€ in winter and spring. The most common location for vehicle pickup is Lisbon Airport. Please note that rental prices vary frequently. It is best to book a car 3 to 8 weeks in advance of your pick-up date - this will ensure you get the cheapest rental rate. Alternatively, it is also possible to get a cheap last-minute deal. Find the best deal on car hire in Lisbon!
Driving in Lisbon
There are two toll systems in Portugal. The traditional one is called Via Verde (Green Lane). These toll lanes are marked with green V signs. You can pay with cash, credit cards or prepaid cards while driving. To use a Via Verde lane, you must purchase or rent an electronic transponder or vignette at all CTT Post Office and Via Verde stores. Do not use the Via Verde lanes if you do not have the Via Verde transponder. Other roads have electronic tolls only, meaning there are no toll booths and you cannot pay while driving. The devices placed at the beginning of these highways detect passing vehicles. They are marked with a black car with three expanding bars. Most car rental companies in Portugal have Via Verde transponders pre-installed in their vehicles. If you want to rent a car in Portugal, you should still check with the car rental company about how their systems work with both toll systems.
Driving in Lisbon is challenging as drivers are impatient and there is little road signage. Heavy traffic can also be a problem. However, car rental in Lisbon is easy and affordable. The best time to visit Lisbon (weather-wise) is spring, as temperatures are not as high as in summer. However, summer is the peak season. The maximum BAC is 0.05% for drivers of private vehicles. There is a zero-tolerance law for novice drivers who have held a licence for less than two years and for young drivers under 21.
- Age limits: 21 (minimum age may vary according to car hire companies. A Young Driver fee will apply to drivers under 25 years of age. In order to hire a car, it is required that a driver has held a driving licence for more than one year).
- International Driving Permit: Yes, if you are a non-EU licence holder.
- Additional papers: Identification (passport), a valid driving licence and valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to buy insurance at the car hire agency in case your policy doesn't cover you while driving in Portugal).
- Additional requirements: Warning triangles, reflective vests and hands-free equipment with hearing aids are required while driving and talking on the phone
- Children in the car: All car occupants must wear a seatbelt. Children under the age of twelve or shorter than 4ft 11in (1.50 metres) can only travel in the front passenger seat if they are in a special rear-facing children’s seat.
- Driving side of the road: Right.
- Lights: Headlights are not turned on unless you are in a tunnel or during conditions of poor visibility.
- General speed limits: 75mph (120kph) on motorways, 55mph (90kph) outside cities and 30mph (50kph) in residential areas.
- Parking ideas: Parking your car in the historic centre is almost impossible due to the narrow streets, but there are many underground car parks and there are pay and display car parks marked with blue lines where you can leave your hire car.
What to see in Lisbon
Watch the city unfold before you as you enjoy the view from St. George's Castle. Next, stroll along the cool Rossio Square - its funky stone pavement will make you giddy. A look at Casa dos Bicos (House of Spikes) is pretty unique, too. Tip: The name could not be more apt. Stop for a coffee on Avenida Rua Augusta and check out the vertical Santa Justa Elevator, built-in 1902 and still running!
Drive your rental car beyond Lisbon
You do not have to just stay in Lisbon - experience other areas of Portugal and be surprised! A rental car comes in handy if you are in the mood for more. Head to charming Sintra and visit palaces, gardens and the picturesque centre. It's about 18mi (30km) from Lisbon and offers a nice change of scenery. Or drive about thirty minutes to the beach in Cascais and visit the beautiful boutiques there! You can also drive just fifteen minutes or so longer west and reach the popular Guincho Beach, or drive in the opposite direction, east, and reach Carcavelos Beach twenty minutes away instead. For even more fun in the sun, take your rental car to Peniche, a popular spot for surfing. From there, the mediaeval town of Obidos, with its castle and cobbled streets, is just a thirty-minute drive away.
Enjoy the culture in Lisbon
Where to eat, drink and party in Lisbon
Portuguese cuisine revolves around fresh fish, seafood and spices such as saffron, cinnamon and chilli. Try the dish bacalhau, a salted cod served in many different delicious ways. You can also try cozido a Portuguesa, a vegetable and meat stew, or caldeirada, a vegetable, fish and seafood stew. Order a glass of port or Madeira wine with your meal and enjoy your dinner to the fullest. If you want to party, head to Bairro Alto, Baixa and Alcantara and visit the bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants! If casinos and fine dining are your things, head to the city of Estoril.
What you need to know about renting a car
What do I need to rent a car in Portugal?
A credit card in the name of the main driver needs to be presented. A security deposit may be required while renting a car so the credit card must have sufficient funds. You can find details about the security deposit listed while booking the vehicle as well as on your voucher. It is important to have a valid driving license with the name of the main driver as well as additional drivers when it applies. An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements. You will need to have identification with you such as a passport and ID cards. When you pick up your rental car you need to have your voucher with you.
How old do I need to be to rent a car in Portugal?
The minimum age to rent a car is 21 years old and with some suppliers for people over 75 years of age. Young driver surcharges may apply to many car rental companies for people under 25 years of age.
Do I need car insurance in Portugal?
Insurances are very important when renting a car and can be different between countries. When renting a car in Portugal with Orbit Car Hire the prices will include mandatory insurances in the country.
Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Portugal?
In most cases, a credit card is required to be presented in the name of the main driver. A security deposit may be required when renting a car so it is important to have sufficient funds on the credit card. When searching for a car at Orbit you can see credit card requirements from all our suppliers.
How do I find the cheapest car hire in Portugal?
You can find cheap car hire by comparing prices with all major car rentals at Orbit Car Hire. A good idea can be to book in advance as the prices can increase closer to the travel period.
Are there any hidden fees in my Portugal car hire?
There are no hidden charges! All mandatory surcharges and fees are presented in the 3rd step of the booking process and our Terms and Conditions. Please note that additional charges may apply for some rentals in case of:
- Out of hours surcharge (when picking up the vehicle out of office hours),
- One way fee (when returning the vehicle at a different location),
- The service charge for fuel (prepaid fuel policy),
- Young/senior driver fee (this condition is set by the car hire company and is usually not in relation to the regulation of the specific country),
- Excess and deposit amount (before hiring you to need to make sure your credit card limit is high enough for the deposit amount to be blocked which usually equals the excess amount or higher).
We advise our clients to read the Terms and Conditions carefully before the rental to avoid any surprises. Our knowledgeable customer service agents will gladly help you with any questions via phone, email, or live chat during our opening hours.
What is the cheapest rental car in Portugal?
You will find the mini car category or economy cars to be the cheapest car categories. Vehicles such as VW Up, Fiat 500, and Peugeot 108 often provide the best prices.
What is the best car rental company in Portugal?
You may find excellent service provided by companies such as Europcar, Enterprise rent a car, OK rent a car, Centauro, Guerin, SadoRent and AirAuto.
What is Premium Coverage and how does it work?
Premium Coverage is an optional service by Orbit Car Hire which, if accepted, covers your financial accountability for damage or theft to the hired vehicle. This is not insured with a car hire company that reduces the excess amount, but a cover that refunds you in case the car hire company charges you for damage or theft. With this option, you will be reimbursed up to 3000 EUR. For more information, you can read the Terms and Conditions or contact us.
Does my rental car have unlimited mileage when I book it for Portugal?
Most car hires in Portugal offer unlimited mileage in their offers.
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