Car Hire in Porto
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Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal and Europe's cultural capital. In the heart of the city, you will see the wide Liberdade Square, guarded by the statue of King Peter IV on a horse. The alleys in the centre are woven with history and charm, and the restaurants and cafes make Porto a very tasty destination. Head over to Portugal's most visited museum, Contemporary Art Museum and the winding House of Music, the only concert hall in the world with two walls made entirely of glass.
The city's core is best explored on foot, but if you want to venture further afield, a rental car may prove essential. Renting a car in Porto is easy and allows the freedom to travel to other beautiful places nearby.
Basic info and car hire in Porto
- Location: Northern Portugal.
- Population: 1.316,445. (2021)
- Official language: Portuguese and Mirandese.
- Currency: Euro (€).
- Weather: Mediterranean climate. Warm summers (19°C / 66°F), mild, rainy winters (10°C / 50°F) and pleasant spring (13°C / 55 °F) and autumn (16°C / 61°F).
- Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés offer Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Major roads are in good condition, while some secondary roads are worse for wear.
- Car hire in Porto: The most common pick-up point for vehicles is the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport or simply Porto Airport. The average daily price for renting a car in Porto is £9.4 / 11€ in summer, £8.6 / 10€ in spring, £6.8 / 8€ in autumn and £6 / 7€ in winter. Please note that prices vary frequently. It is best to book a car 3 to 8 weeks in advance of your desired pick-up date - this will ensure you get the cheapest rental rate. Alternatively, it is also possible to find a cheap last minute car hire. Find the best deal on car hire in Porto!
Driving in Porto
There are two toll systems in Portugal. The traditional toll road is called Via Verde (Green Lane). These toll lanes are marked with green V signs. To use a Via Verde lane, you must buy or rent an electronic transponder or vignette at all CTT Post Office and Via Verde shops. This way you can pay with cash, credit cards or prepaid cards while driving. Do not use the Via Verde lanes if you do not have a Via Verde transponder. Other roads only use electronic tolling, which means there are no toll booths and you can not pay as you drive. Instead, devices placed at the start of these highways detect passing vehicles. These toll roads are marked with a black car and three expanding bars. Most car rental companies in Portugal have Via Verde transponders installed in their vehicles, but if you want to rent a car in Portugal, it is a good idea to ask the company how their system works with both toll systems.
Driving in Porto can be challenging and drivers can be impatient. Remember that the maximum BAC value for drivers is 0.05%. There is a zero-tolerance law for novice drivers who have held a licence for less than two years and for young drivers under the age of 21.
The best time to visit Porto (weather-wise) is in October after the summer heat has died down, or if you do not mind the heat and hordes of tourists, visit in the summer.
- 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 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, spare wheel, spare light bulbs are required as well as hands-free equipment with hearing aids are required when talking on the phone while driving.
- Children in the car: All car occupants must wear a seat belt. Children under the age of twelve, or shorter than 4ft 11in / 1.50 meters, may travel in the front passenger seat if they are in a secured, rear-facing children’s seat.
- Driving side of the road: Right.
- Lights: Headlights are turned on while in a tunnel or during conditions of poor visibility.
- General speed limits: 75 mph / 120 kph on motorways, 55 mph / 90 kph outside cities and 30 mph / 50 kph in residential areas.
- Parking suggestions: Although there are many parking garages and on-street parking lots, finding a free spot can be time-consuming. We recommend parking in Avenida dos Aliados (10 minutes walk to the centre) or near Metro Station Carolina Michaelis (15 minutes walk to the centre).
What to see in Porto
There is much to see and do in Porto! Witness how Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles perfectly intertwined in the design of the magnificent Porto Cathedral. Join the hustle and bustle on the Avenue of the Allies - a street full of cafés and shops! Walk along the banks of the Douro River and stroll through the Ribeira District, lined with old buildings. The view of Vila Nova de Gaia over the Douro River is absolutely breathtaking. If you want to see this city up close, walk or drive over the iconic double-decker Dom Luis I bridge.
Drive your rental car beyond Porto
Porto is a stunning city, but it is also close to other destinations that could make your vacation even more memorable. There are many worthwhile destinations that are easily accessible by car. So if you have not rented a vehicle yet, you might want to reconsider.
A short drive from Porto (only 3mi / 6 km west) is the district of Foz. Known for its beach, seaside bars, restaurants and clubs, this is a great little getaway! While you are in Foz, you can take a leisurely stroll along the beach to the Castelo do Queijo fortress. Drive about 15 minutes north of Foz to reach Matosinhos, another great place to swim and eat. If you have not had your fill of sea and sand, head to Espinho, less than 12 miles / 20 km south of Porto. Make it to Espihno on a Monday and you can visit the amazing outdoor market, Feira de Espinho.
Other nearby cities worth visiting are Braga, Guimarães, Viana do Castelo and Vila Real.
Braga and its biggest attraction Bom Jesus Sanctuary is located about 50 km north of Porto. About 30 km east of Braga, discover the mediaeval town of Guimarães, where you can explore the old centre and visit the castle and palace. West of Braga (about 37 mi / 60 km) is the authentic and charming town of Viana do Castelo. And finally, the picturesque Vila Real and its beautiful Mateus Palace is only 101 mi / 164 km behind Viana do Castelo.
Enjoy the culture in Porto
Where to eat, drink and party in Porto
The cuisine of Porto consists of fish, seafood, soups, meat, and dried bean dishes. The sardines are always fresh, and the grilled octopus is heavenly. Meat lovers will absolutely adore the many pork dishes. If you prefer a lighter option, try the Caldo Verde, a soup of cabbage, onions, potatoes and chouriço. Try something sweet, like Requeijão com doce de abóbora, made with ricotta cheese and pumpkin jam. Also worth trying is the rich cheese called Queijo da Serra da. Enjoy a glass of Mateus Rosé or some of the famous ports - the flavours of the ports range from extremely fruity to intensely sparkling.
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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