What do I need to know about driving in Portugal?

What do I need to know about driving in Portugal?

If you’re an EU citizen with a licence from your own country, you can drive in Portugal until the license expires, after which you will need to renew it for a Portuguese driving licence.

For non-EU citizens, whether you’ll be able to exchange your licence or need to apply for a new one depends on whether your home country has a reciprocal agreement with Portugal, but in any case you’ll be able to drive with an international driving permit. You won’t be able to rent a car without a valid license. More information on renting a car in Portugal.

Parking restrictions tend to be in force in major cities, with illegal parking initially punished with fines. If you’re repeatedly caught parking illegally in Portugal, you could be given points on your licence, which will then affect your insurance premiums.

Here are some of the key things to keep an eye out for when parking in Portugal:

  • No parking signs are called Estacionamento Probido.
  • A white and blue sign with a red line across it usually signifies a no parking zone.
  • Yellow or red signs painted on the curb also signify areas where parking is prohibited.
  • You’re not allowed to park within 5m of a junction, 25m before or 5m after a bus stop, or within 6m of a tram stop.
  • You should always park in the same direction as traffic on a one-way street.

In addition to these general rules, you should always check signs in the area where you’re parking, as some areas require a resident’s parking permit during certain hours of the day.

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