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Tolls, tips and driving advice

Touring tips

Drinking and driving: If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.05 per cent to 0.08 per cent, a fine and withdrawal of the driving license for a minimum of one month to a maximum of one year can be imposed; if more than 0.08 per cent, a fine and withdrawal of driving license for a minimum of two months up to a maximum of two years can be imposed. The police are also empowered to carry out testing on drivers for narcotics.

Driving license: The minimum age at which an Irish license holder may drive a temporarily imported car and/or motorcycle (over 50cc) is 17; however visitors under the age of 18 years of age may encounter problems even though they hold a valid Irish license.

All valid Irish driving licenses should be accepted in Portugal.

Fines: On-the-spot must be paid in Euros. Most traffic police vehicles are equipped with portable ATM machines for immediate payment of the fines. An official receipt showing the maximum amount of the fine should be obtained.

Note: foreign motorists refusing to pay an on-the-spot fine will be asked for a deposit to cover the maximum fine for the offence committed. If a motorist refuses to do this, the police can take the driving license, registration document or failing that they can confiscate the vehicle.

Wheel-clamping and towing are in operation for illegally parked vehicles.

Fuel: Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel and LPG are available. No leaded petrol (lead replacement petrol available as 98 octane) is available.

Petrol in a can is permitted.

Credit cards are accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for use in Portugal before travel. Note: A tax of €0.50 is added to credit card transactions.

Lights: Dipped headlights are compulsory in poor daytime visibility and in tunnels.

Motorcycles: Use of dipped headlights during the day is compulsory. The wearing of crash helmets is compulsory. Children under seven are not permitted as passengers.

Motor insurance: Third-party motor insurance is compulsory.

Passengers/children in cars: 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.

Seat belts: It is compulsory for front/rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Speed limits: Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers are: 50 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h or 100 km/h outside built-up areas and 120 km/h on motorways. The minimum speed on motorways is 50 km/h. Motorists who have held a driving license for less than one year must not exceed 90 km/h or any lower speed limit.

Compulsory equipment in Portugal

  • Photographic proof of identity – It is a legal requirement in Portugal that everyone carries photographic proof of identity at all times
  • Reflective jacket – compulsory for residents, recommended for visitors*
  • Temporary Electronic Toll Device (DEM) – Since the 15th October 2010 you are required to have a temporary automatic toll device for using certain motorways. We have been advised that these are the A4, A17, A25, A28, A29, A41 and A42 – This may be extended. The device must be pre-loaded with a minimum of €10. The device can be obtained from some motorway service stations, CTT which is the post company in Portugal and Via Verde shops, with a €27 deposit. When leaving Portugal the device must be returned to one of the selected outlets. The deposit paid for the device and any unused monies should be credited to you.

Other rules/requirements in Portugal

Carrying a warning triangle is recommended as the use of hazard warning lights or a warning triangle is compulsory in an accident/breakdown situation.

It is prohibited to carry and/or use a radar detector.

Spiked tyres and winter tyres are prohibited.

Snow chains may be used, where the weather conditions require.

It is illegal to carry bicycles on the back of a passenger car.

* The wearing of a reflective jacket/waistcoat is recommended if the driver and/or passenger(s) exits a vehicle which is immobilised on the carriageway of all motorways and main or busy roads. We recommend the jacket be carried in the passenger compartment of the vehicle (not the boot). This is a compulsory requirement for residents.

In built up areas the use of the horn is prohibited during the hours of darkness except in the case of immediate danger.

This information should be read in conjunction with general advice for motoring in Europe.


Toll Prices

The newer toll system was introduced in the North of Portugal in October 2010 and in the rest of the country on 15th April 2011.

Examples of tolls fees, as at April 11



Road Car (Classe 1) Additional Information
A-28 along the coast and road into and the ringroad into Oporto 77.00 This is the world’s most expensive toll working out at over €1 per kilometer.
The system includes two types of rates. One for the Portuguese themselves and another for foreigners. For the locals, the first ten trips are free and the rest will have 15% discount. Anyone crossing the border must pay full rates.
A08/26- Leiria Sul to A08/01- CRIL 8.85
A1 do Norte to A14 Auto Estrada Figeuira da Foz 15.75
A3 Auto-estrada Porto/Valenca to A43 Auto-estrada Porto/Aguiar de Sol 9.25
A10 – Auto-estrada Bucelas/Carregado to Auto-estrada do Norté 9.25

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