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What do I need to drive in Portugal?

Compulsory items include:

Recommended items:

What documents do you need to carry?

  • A full UK driving licence (you will need both the photo and paper counterpart. If you don’t have a photo license you should carry your passport or we recommend an International Driving Permit)
  • Evidence of motor insurance – third party cover is compulsory. Green Card recommended.
  • The vehicle’s registration document or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate – originals not photocopies.
  • Your current MOT certificate if your car is over 3 years old.

Useful driving information

  • You must be 18 or over to drive in Portugal
  • Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory, the same as the UK
  • Motorway tolls are charged
  • You can’t use radar detection devices for speed cameras.
  • Children under 12 and under 1.5m cannot travel in the front seat. They must be secured with appropriate restraints.
  • You must carry photo ID at all times
  • You can't carry a spare petrol can in your vehicle.
  • You can't carry bicycles on the back of a passenger car
  • If you’re on the motorway you cannot use the green lane – these are reserved for drivers who use the automatic payment system.
  • Dipped headlights are required in poor weather.
  • Motorcycles must use dipped headlights in the daytime and children under 7 cannot be passengers.

Portuguese road and motorway speed limits

Police treat speeding very seriously, we advise all drivers to know the speed limits for roads while driving in Portugal.

  • Towns: 50 km/h
  • Secondary roads: 90 – 100 km/h (70 km/h when towing)
  • Expressways: 100 km/h (80 km/h when towing)
  • Motorways: 120 km/h (110 km/h when we – 100km when towing)

When travelling on a motorway the minimum speed limit is 50 km/h and new drivers (less than a year holding a license) are limited to 55 km/h (or any lower speed limit).

Drink-drive alcohol limits

  • All drivers: 0.5 g/l

If you have a blood level exceeding 0.5 – 0.8 g/l you will face penalties of fines, and withdrawal of your driving license for between 1 month and 1 year.

Blood levels in excess of 0.8 sees a ban increase of between 2 months and 2 years.

Emergency numbers

If you need to contact the emergency services you’ll need to dial or 112.


Whilst we endeavour to keep this information updated, the rules and regulations related to driving in Europe may change without notice and this information may contain technical inaccuracies. We cannot be held responsible for information which may become out of date or liability for incorrect information.

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