Driving in Portugal?

Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
Driving in Portugal?

We will be traveling to Portugal for a short trip in May, our plans were to rent a car and just hit the towns along the coast but as I read it sounds like driving is not very safe. Shall we rent a car or travel by bus or train?
Starr59 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,038
Where did you read that driving is not very safe? We have traveled in a rental car all over Portugal for more than once and have never felt unsafe. The roads are in good condition, Portuguese drivers are very courteous and usually the roads are quiet. Driving in city centres may be a bit hectic because of traffic. No need to worry.
MyriamC is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
I had no problems with safety driving in Portugal. What safety issues are you worried about? There are several extremely well engineered modern toll roads in Portugal, but even if you want to stick to secondary roads, they are not unsafe in my experience. You do need to learn the toll system, however, and rent a car with a device to handle the tolls.

Maybe if you offered more informationa about your itinerary and what you read that now worries you, people could give you precise answers. Maybe there are some roads near cliffs you shouldn't drive when its raining and people can offer alternate ways to visit the coast by car that avoids such hazards.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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MyriamC is correct, there's no problem driving in Portugal. Even in Lisbon itself the pace is sensible and drivers are much more courteous than in Italy!

I'd love to know where you got the idea that driving is unsafe.
Rubicund is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 07:49 AM
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We've driven through most of Portugal, from the Algarve to the north, through the Alentejo along the border with Spain and along the coast, without encountering any major problems (a lot of open roads). Just note that some Portuguese tend to drive fast (flying low) and on some roads may drift over the center line in their haste. The roads will be busy around Lisbon and Porto, and secondary roads can be a little narrower then what you might be used to, so plan ahead.

Yes, there are more accidents per population in Portugal then the UK, Spain, France or Italy, but less then the US. And nothing compared to driving in Russia, Mexico or Iran.
Robert2533 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Let's make it 100%,....agreeing on all the above observations. In addition, I found driving in Portugal to be among the easiest in continental Europe. Good signage, plenty of petrol, on rural roads as well as major highways and toll roads. Enjoy your time in Portugal!
tower is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,585
none of Europe is safe, so certainly not the driving.
We all drive drunk and when we have a crash, we settle it wiht knives.

Excellent Bordeaux tonight ;-)
Whathello is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 983
I will be in Portugal a week from Saturday and getting a car from Avis in Faro, as usual.

I have considerable trepidation about this, as once I rent the car, I will have to figure out how to turn it on, and then point it in the right direction.

Things only get more complicated, when I come to the first traffic light, and have to remember what procedure corresponds to each color on the light (red, yellow, green, et cetera). But I have a travel guide, so I can get it out and consult it on the spot. Whew!

There is also the issue of the dotted white line - - which side of it should I drive on? But since I am getting an internet device, I can consult Google when the issue presents itself - - but not while driving, because then I might spill my coffee on my lap.

Oh god - - I think I'm gonna just cancel the trip now before it's too late!
dfourh is offline  
Mar 5th, 2016, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 541
Not really a matter for joking is life or death, but I'm driving out of Tavira for a second day and finding roads good and drivers courteous.
Tommmo is offline  
Mar 5th, 2016, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,585
I don't think life is treating us seriously so we should at least joke about it.

Anyway Portugal is safe and there has not bee a terrorist attack recently. So ... maybe they are the next in line...

We just booked our flight to Lison in june actually.
Whathello is offline  
Mar 5th, 2016, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 565
I have driven in Portugal several times and I found it much easier than anywhere in North America. If you are not used to roundabouts, you might have a few problems with them, but once you get used to them, you should be fine.
almcd is offline  
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