Why carry an IDP while driving in Portugal?
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.
It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Portugal highly recommends an International Driving Permit.
Driving Rules in Portugal
Explore Portugal through your own car and experience medieval castles, great food and beautiful beaches. The road connections and traffic are great. These are some of the tips to ensure you enjoy your stay.
- Use right-hand drive vehicles.
- Minimum age to drive is 18 years old. Minimum age to rent a car is 23 years old.
- Seat belt is a must.
- Hands-free is a must. Keep your phone away unless it is hands-free.
- Drink moderately. Permitted alcohol level is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood.
- Speed limit for cars is 50 km/h in urban areas and 120 km/h in highways.
- Safety camera warning device is not allowed.
- Give way to cars flashing their lights.
- Do not throw your trash out of the window. You will be fined!
- Be sure to have early warning device, reflective vest and first aid kit in your car.
Driving in the Winter
Winter in Portugal is tolerable. You are most likely to experience hot weather than snows and rains. Just be sure to have emergency kits in your vehicle and you will be fine.
Enjoy your trip and have safe travel!
How to get your IDP
We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application
1. Apply Online
Start your application for International Driver's License Get the IDP.
2. Upload Photos
Make sure to upload an updated photo and with the correct parameters.
3. Get approved
Wait for your confirmation and you are ready to go!
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The minute you set your feet in Portugal, you will realize why it is on the hot list of the countries best to travel to. It’s no surprise because of the country’s charm and the beauty of its villages and towns. You definitely do not want to miss the lush forest and beaches in the north and cobbled-stone streets, glorious mountains, and hills, and ever-changing landscape in the south. Wherever you go, you’ll find friendly people in bustling squares.
Other European countries may overshadow Portugal, but its beauty, history, and natural wonders are worthy of being explored. Portugal is a relatively small country, so it’s best to drive around the places. An International Driver’s License is needed in Portugal to allow you to drive. This will give you more time, freedom, and independence in choosing your travel destinations. So make sure you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Portugal.
If you wanted to skip the hassle of going to the train station to purchase tickets or the headache of knowing how to get to public transportation, then renting a car is the best for you. To rent a car and drive around the cities, you need an International Driving Permit in Portugal. An IDP is a translation of your native driver’s license. It is a legal document that allows you to rent a car, so make sure you have an International Driver’s license in Portugal.
In case you are wondering whether you need an International Driver’s License in Portugal, well, the answer depends on your native driver’s license. International Driver’s License is required in Portugal if you're a citizen of a non-European Union country to legally drive in the country. On the other hand, if your driving license is issued by a country that is part of the European Union, then you no longer need an IDP.
If you want to know more about the International Driver’s License for Portugal, you can visit the International Driver’s License website for Portugal through our International Drivers Association page. Learn more information on whether an International Driver’s License is required for Portugal or not, or if you only need your local driver’s license or do you need an International Driver’s License in Portugal to drive in the country legally.
US citizens can use their local driver’s license to stay and drive in Portugal for less than six months. US citizens do not need an International Driver’s License in Portugal to drive to different places and destinations you want to. But if you also want to go to Spain after your Portugal trip, an IDP is required in Spain. It is best to get an International Driver’s License so that you can drive hassle-free in all the places you want to go to.
Before you go on your trip, you might be thinking if you need an International Driver’s License in Portugal. If you are from non-European countries, you are required to have an IDP to drive in Portugal, so Canadian need an International Driver’s License in Portugal. Car rental companies will require you to have an IDP. Once you already have the International Driver's License required in Portugal, you can now go wherever you want at any time.
To get an International Driver’s License in Portugal, you only need to have your local driver’s license, your complete International Driver’s License application, and your application fee to get your IDP. No driving test is required to obtain your IDP. Once you’re all set, you can now rent a car and legally drive in Portugal. However, if you want to be a domestic driver and extend your stay in Portugal, enrolling in a driving school and taking a driving exam might be required.
If you are not sure whether you need an International Driver’s License in Portugal or not, you can check out the International Driver’s License website for Portugal. You can find information that you may ask yourself before traveling to Portugal, such as:
So, before you travel to Portugal and proceed to a car rental company with only your driving license, keep a mental note of the abovementioned questions.
There are different options to get an International Driver’s License for Portugal. One option is you can complete the application online. Another option is to have an in-person or mailed application. Among the three options, completing an application online is the fastest way to get your International Driver’s License for Portugal. The requirements that you need to get an International Driver's License in Portugal are as follows:
Once you have already settled your legal documents, and you already have your International Driver’s License needed in Portugal, then your travel journey is hassle-free. Once you’re all set, you can enjoy your road trips to the different places from the north to the south part of Portugal.
- Do I need an International Driver’s License in Portugal?
- Is an International Driver’s License required in Portugal?
- Does Portugal require an International Driver's License for a US citizen like me?
- Does Portugal require an International Driver's License for a Canadian citizen like me?
- Is a driving test required to get an International Driver’s Permit in Portugal?
- What is Portugal’s International Driver’s License zip code?
- What is Portugal’s International Driver’s Permit zip code?
- What are the latest information and updates to get an International Driver’s Permit in Portugal?
- What are the documents needed to get an International Driver’s License in Portugal?
- International Driving Permit’s application
- A copy of your native driver’s license
- 2 passport photos
- $20 or less as a payment fee
Top Destinations in Portugal
You’ll surely fall in love with Portugal’s beauty as you walk on cobblestone streets and the ancient towns and villages and as you drive in the scenic and breath-taking views. Before you visit and drive in these destinations, be sure you got the latest update on how to get an International Driver’s Permit in Portugal.
Start your travel journey by driving to the country’s capital, Lisbon. You will see the ancient past vibes of the place after seeing the century-old houses and trams and the spectacular view of the River Tagus. It will make you feel that you’re in fairytale land and you want to stay longer. This sunny picture-perfect capital is heavily rooted in history, coming as the second oldest European Capital stakes.
If you wanted to visit the cobblestone streets and the ancient house, you must go to Alfama. Being one of Lisbon’s oldest areas, it houses traditional cafes and arts. You can also explore Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and check out the art masterpiece dated 1502 in Manueline and Gothic Architecture. Try out the delicious custard tart in Manteigaria. Lastly, do not miss out on going to the largest shopping center in Lisbon, which is the Colombo Mall.
Lisbon is a year-round travel destination. But the best time to go to Lisbon is in March - June, and September to November. It is best to go here in spring and autumn for fewer crowds. August is the worst time to go to this city because most tourists are flocking the city; hence, the hotels, food, and accommodations are at their highest prices.
With its medieval streets and 14th-century walls, Porto is the place to go if you want to travel back in time. The Douro River split Porto into two areas. Sit under the arches of the riverfront square and watch the tranquil water and the boats that float around. This bustling cobblestone town is charmed with an old and modern touch. It is indeed an intriguing travel destination.
You can stroll down to the Ribeira do Porto, where you can take your moment to feel the beautiful view in the most historic and liveliest district in Porto. If you wanted to see another historic building that has a neoclassical style of architecture, Palacio da Bolsa is the place to go. The perfect last stop in this city is the Miradouro Ignez, where you can go to the deck overlooking Porto’s Douro River and drink wine while enjoying the view.
The main tourist season in Porto is from June until the end of September. The beaches are crowded from July to August. Porto has warm and hot summers in the springs and autumn seasons while having wet winters. The best month to go to Porto is during late spring, which is May and June, or early autumn in September.
One of the most beautiful beaches located in Praia da Marinha due to the spectacular stretch of sand and the massive rocky cliffs that sets it apart from other Mediterranean beaches. It’s a destination with a lot of activities available for tourists.
Algarve is the place for snorkeling because of its clear water quality and many species of marine animals found in the water. You can explore the coastlines and even go to the caves, cliffs, and rock pools. You can also paddleboard in the mesmerizing Benagil Cave. Day trek and the hike are best in the astounding Seven Hanging Valleys Coastal.
If you’re planning to go to Algarve, April to June is the best time to visit, while July to August can be a bit of a nightmare due to extreme heat and the crowds. But if you are going to the farmhouse complete with a pool, hot summer days can be memorable to you. Months of September to October have good weather.
Located in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains is a town that is known for its 19th-century palace and a unique hilltop. Sintra is easily one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal because of the palace’s exquisite architecture, leafy mansions, romantic Moorish castle, and colored buildings. The vegetation is different because of its microclimate and the dense misty forest that are part of this little place.
Explore the beautiful Quinta da Regaleira that is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The romantic and complex architecture is made up of a palace, chapel, and garden with grottos. Apart from that, you can also visit the Castelo dos Mouros which is the Moorish Castle. After that, you can drive around the scenic view of Sintra Tram and discover the hidden gem of Praia da Ursa beach.
The Spring season, which is March to May, is the best time to go to Sintra. There are only a few days of light rainfall, and the rest of the weather is good. June to August is summer in which the temperature rises and reaches the maximum level. Autumn from September to November is a tourist-off season because of the frequent rains. Some people still choose to visit the city during winter from December to February.
Imagine if you can drive all over these top destinations in Portugal. You can drive to the palaces, monasteries, stunning beaches, vineyards, and even in mountains and cliffs. With all the places you can go to, you must note that an International Driver’s License is required for Portugal to drive around these destinations. You can also take note of Portugal’s International Driver’s License zip code and Portugal’s International Driver’s Permit zip code.
Most Important Driving Rules in Portugal
Portugal has modern and well-maintained roads, so you do not have to worry about your safety while driving. Also, before you drive, make sure you already have an International Driver's License needed for Portugal. Take note of the important driving rules to avoid accidents and even violations and fines. The driving rules implemented in Portugal may be different from the rules from your home country. These are some notable rules:
- Prohibition of driving while drunk
Drunk driving is prohibited because it is one of the highest causes of car accidents in Portugal. The alcohol limit is 0.5 grams per liter of blood. If you go above this limit and your blood alcohol level reaches the range of on0.5 g/l - 0.8 g/l, there’s a €250 - €1250 fine. Your international driving permit will also be suspended for up to one year.
- Prohibition of using a mobile phone while driving
You should not use your mobile phone while driving to avoid distractions that can lead to car accidents. You can use a hands-free in-vehicle phone system and portable device with only a single earpiece. But if you are caught violating this law, you are subject to a fine of up to €600.
- Seatbelt law
Portugal follows the law set by the European Union when it comes to the use of seatbelts. The driver and all the passengers are required to use seatbelts. The only exception to this law is large vehicles such as buses. Violating this law may incur a €120 - €600 fine for each person transported improperly.
- Speed Limit
There is a general speed limit depending on the place in Portugal. The speed limit in the built-up urban areas is 50 km/h, while the rural roads have a 90 km/h speed limit. In line with the motorways, the speed limit is set at 120 km/h.
- Rules on Parking
Generally, street parking is free, and many public lots are used for parking. Just make sure you follow the parking signs in the cities. If you find a white and blue sign with a red line across, it means that parking is not allowed. A yellow or red sign painted on the curb signifies no parking zone.
- Rules on Overtaking
Always keep in mind that overtaking must be done on the left side of the road. You cannot overtake on the right side in free-flowing traffic. The fine for violating this law is €250 - €125. Be mindful of driving, especially of those drivers that will come close to your car and will potentially make an overtake.
- Traffic and Road Signs
Traffic and road signs give you some direction for smooth and safe driving in Portugal. Traffic signs in Portugal include information signs, mandatory signs, warning signs, priority signs, and prohibitory signs. These will give you information and will warn you about the driving situation in the place.
Familiarize yourself with Portugal’s important driving rule so that you can avoid accidents and you can ensure a safe and secured travel journey. Be sure to have an International driver's license needed for Portugal so that you can drive and visit all the places you want to go at your own time and pace. Portugal is definitely worth your time. It’s time to cross out Portugal on your travel list and enjoy the beauty and wonders this country has to offer.
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