Driving in Portugal is different from the UK so in order for you to travel safely, Sixt recommends that you read our guide for the rules, regulations and advice.


Image by Hitesh Choudhary
  • When driving in Portugal remember that you have to drive on the right hand side of the road.

  • Compulsory for front and rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

  • Children under 12 and less than 1.50m in height cannot travel as front seat passengers. They must travel in the rear in a special restraint system adapted to their size, unless the vehicle has only two seats, or is not fitted with seat belts. Children under 3 can be seated in the front passenger seat if using a suitable child restraint however, the airbag must be switched off if using a rear-facing child restraint system.

  • You must be aged 17 or older, however visitors under the age of 18 years may encounter problems even though they hold a valid UK licence.

  • Drinking and driving limits – If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent to 0.08 per cent, you could face a fine and withdrawal of the driving licence for a minimum of one month to a maximum of one year; more than 0.08 per cent, fine and withdrawal of driving licence for a minimum of two months up to a maximum of two years. The police are also empowered to carry out testing on drivers for narcotics.

  • Use of dipped headlights is compulsory in poor daytime visibility and in tunnels.

  • Third-party insurance is compulsory.

  • Use of mobile phones when driving is illegal in Portugal and subject to a fine of up to € 600.00.

Image by quentin


Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than one year must not exceed 55 mph (90 km/h) or any lower speed limit. The standard legal limits for driving in Portugal, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers are as follows.

IN BUILT-UP AREAS50 km/h (31 mph)

OUTSIDE BUILT-UP AREAS90 km/h (55 mph) or 100 km/h (62 mph)

ON MOTORWAYS (MAXIMUM)120 km/h (74 mph)

ON MOTORWAYS (MINIMUM)50 km/h (31 mph)


  • It is a legal requirement when driving in Portugal that everyone carries photographic proof of identity at all times.

  • Reflective jackets are compulsory for residents and recommended for visitors.

  • Temporary Electronic Toll Device (DEM) or Pre-Paid Tolls – A DEM or the prepayment of tolls is required, before using many motorways in Portugal.

  • Carrying a warning triangle recommended as the use of hazard warning lights or a warning triangle is compulsory in an accident/breakdown situation. A warning triangle is compulsory for vehicles registered in Portugal.

Plan Your Trip Now

Discover the most incredible people, places, and experiences worth the detour.