Country-specific travel advice
Select the country you will be travelling in to see motoring information and advice, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.
Driving in Portugal
If you're driving in Portugal, your checklist requirements are:
- A valid UK driving licence. If you don't have a photo card licence, you'll need an International Driving Permit - find out more here.
- A GB sticker on the back of your car - unless your car has 'Euro-plates' (number-plates that show a circle of 12 stars on a blue background).
- Your motor insurance certificate, V5 registration document or hire car paperwork, and your MOT certificate if your car is over three years old.
- A warning triangle inside the car in case you break down.
- Headlamp converters (stickers you put on your headlights when you're driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).
- A reflective jacket within easy reach inside the car. You'll need to wear this if you stop for any reason outside built-up areas, even if you're just setting up a warning triangle.
- Spare bulbs for your car's external lights.
- Your passport - police often stop foreign drivers to check ID.
- A yellow '90' disc displayed in the car if you've held your licence for less than a year - you can apply for this from the ACP (Automovel de Club Portugal), the Portuguese motoring club.
If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses, you must carry a spare pair with you in the car.
You must also:
- Be 18 or over.
- Make sure everyone in the car wears a seatbelt at all times.
- Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a motorcycle.
It's a good idea to have:
- A fire extinguisher.
- A first aid kit.
- A Green Card - it's a useful back-up to your motor insurance documents and shows you've got the minimum legal level of cover. If you'd like to find out more, contact your insurance company.
- A Camping Card International to give you additional proof of identity, third party liability insurance, plus discounts at a wide range of campsites and tourist attractions.
Other things you should know:
- You will have to pay tolls for some motorways, when driving through Portugal.
- Petrol (unleaded and lead replacement), diesel and LPG are readily available.
- You can pay by credit card at petrol stations but there's often a €0.50 charge for this.
- The speed limit is 50kph in built-up areas, 90kph on open roads and 120kph on motorways.
- If you're caught committing a driving offence, you'll be given an on-the-spot fine.
- The drink driving limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - less than the UK limit of 80mg per 100ml.
- It's illegal to carry any radar detection equipment, whether or not it's switched on.
- You shouldn't use your horn at night except in cases of extreme danger.
- Children under age 12 can't sit in the front.
- If you're driving on motorways, don't use the green lanes - they're reserved for drivers who use the automatic payment system.
- If a driver flashes their lights at you, they want you to give way.
- Cars already on roundabouts have right of way.
- Where there's no tram platform at the side of the road, you must give way to anyone coming off the tram and walking back to the pavement.
- You mustn't carry a can of petrol in the car at any time.
- Still current at:
- 27th Aug 2016
- Updated at:
- 24th Aug 2016
- Latest update:
- Latest update: Summary – industrial action by contractors starting on Wednesday 24 August 2016 is expected to cause delays to departure at airports in Portugal; you should allow extra time for check in and follow the advice from your airline or travel company
Information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum.
Industrial action by contractors starting on Wednesday 24 August 2016 is expected to cause delays to departures at airports in Portugal for an indefinite period. You should allow extra time for check-in and follow the advice from your airline or travel company.
Portuguese authorities continue to fight forest fires on mainland Portugal. For information on the areas to avoid, visit the Civil Protection Website (interactive map) in English.
The situation in Madeira is returning to normal. For up-to-date information (in English) visit the Madeira Tourist authority’s website. If you are travelling around Madeira, remain vigilant, stay away from the affected areas and follow the advice of your tour operator, hotel management and the local Civil Protection authorities.
Around 2.6 million British nationals visited Portugal in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.
Beware of street crime. Thieves tend to target money and passports so don’t keep them all in one place. See Crime
Walking the levadas (ancient irrigation channels) is a popular activity in Madeira, but the walks can be challenging if you are inexperienced. See Local travel - Madeira
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. See Terrorism
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Rua de São Bernardo 33
Telephone: +351 21 392 40 00
Fax: +351 21 392 41 84
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