Driving in portugal – (not) an adventure?!

Driving in the Algarve

The road network in portugal connects all the country’s regions on widely ramified interurban and suburban routes. The infrastructure routes smoothly and directly from one site to another. On the "rodovia" highway from north to south, from west to east, from spain to portugal and vice versa, the maximum speed is 120 kilometers per hour.

Empty freeway Portugal

on the trunk roads, marked by IP and IC with a number, the speed limit is 100. They mark the communication routes between the different regions, and most of them do not pass through towns, but bypass them with signposts.

The roads in the interior and in the mountains of portugal carry the letters EM and four digits, which appear on current road maps, depending on the scale completely or only partially, and in digital orientation aids completely.

On the road on portugal’s national roads

In addition to the EM routes associated with each county, national roads connect more distant towns and cities across land and through towns and cities. There are two well-known routes, the N2 and the N125.

National road N2 – portugal’s route 66

The N2, for some time promoted as a secret route for traveling through portugal, known as route 66, starts in the middle of the provincial capital of the algarve, in faro, and ends in the far north in chaves. 660 kilometers of national road, the longest in europe, guides the motorist from the northernmost district of portugal to the southernmost and leads, by the way, through interesting and so far hardly touristically developed areas of the country, towns and villages.

Driving in portugal - (not) an adventure?!

a surprisingly varied encounter off the beaten tourist track and bus stop destinations with historical sights, idyllic villages, knight’s castle atmosphere in medieval towns and plenty of unspoiled nature, river courses, lakes and mountain landscapes included. By express bus on the N2 the traveler gets a very contrasting impression of the small country at the end of europe. The entire route takes on average twelve hours by EVA or rede expressos bus companies, a one-way trip currently costs 33 €.

OLIMAR car rental trip: portugal’s route 66

The motto of this 12-day car rental trip through portugal is quite clear: the journey is the destination. With one exception, you will not travel on highways, but on the national road N2. The price includes a category B europcar rental car and 12 nights in carefully selected, partly historically significant accommodations along the route.

National road N125 in the algarve

The national road N125 knows each algarve vacationer from front to back, speak from east to west. the route starts in the east of algarve in vila real de santo antonio on the spanish-portuguese liquid border at the rio guadiana and ends in sagres in the west at the traffic circle in front of the maritime fortress. Today, the N125 is a modern arterial road with more than fifty traffic circles and runs through ten counties of the sixteen municipalities in the algarve. Partly built as a bypass, partly as a main road through the middle of the city. On the N125, the speed limit is now almost always 70 or 50, and where it is not, you can drive ninety kilometers per hour.

national road in the algarve

The route is busy from morning to night and all year round, but especially during the summer months. As a vacation guest, you should not let yourself be disturbed by the sometimes noticeably impatient driving of other drivers in a hurry.

Speed 50 in portugal’s inner cities

in closed towns and villages, the speed limit is automatically 50 km/h, although the beginning and the end of a town are not always signposted. It is best to take your foot off the gas as soon as you are between houses. in the absence of right of way signs, especially in smaller towns, the well known and proven right before left rule applies, which every driver knows from driving school. Other traffic regulation signs such as STOP, give way, crosswalks, no parking zones, no overtaking and others, must be observed in the same way as in Germany.

If you are looking for an address, even a house number, you are better off with a navigation system than with a street map and the naked eye. Many roads are not recognizable as road XY, and if they are, they are marked by signs on the walls of houses, which are usually so high up that they can hardly be seen when driving by. house entrances do not always have house numbers. Names on bells are rare. houses have rather fancy names like casa azul, or casa de caracol. mailboxes are rarely marked by name, but with lote plus digits for the property, 1°, 2°, 3° for floor, esq. For left, you. Right, and r/c for first floor. However, thanks to the constant helpfulness of the portuguese people, even without knowledge of portuguese you can still find your way to your destination. You have to dare to stop and ask.

The toll system in portugal

The use of the road network in portugal is basically free, with the exception of the freeway. the rodovia is subject to tolls. the toll system in portugal works in the same way on almost all highways: when you enter, you take a bilhete at the toll station; when you leave, you pay the toll. Either cash to the counter clerk, at the machine, or with credit card at the machine or at the counter. In the rental car, there is usually a small box automatically mounted behind the rear view mirror with "via verde" written on it. This box detects the license plate number in the toll stations by means of sensors on the lanes marked via verde as you drive through them. It beeps. The same is repeated when you drive out. The freeway sections covered by the vehicle are digitally collected in a separate account for the respective license plate and settled with the vehicle owner at the end of the month. the rental car companies therefore usually charge their customers a lump sum for highway use and feed it with the actual charges incurred, or the company blocks an additional amount on the credit card on file until the statement for the rental period arrives and the charges for highway use are subsequently debited from the customer’s card.

For the motorist with his own vehicle and foreign license plate, the road leads to the nearest post station CTT. There you buy a toll card for either 5, 10, 20 or 40 euros, valid for one year, which is held at the toll stations over the corresponding sensor field with an electronic bar. Another option is the 3-day 3-dias-pre-pago highway card, which can be renewed six times a year per vehicle for a flat fee, linked to your license plate, and available online or at most CTT post offices. For those who want to stay longer in portugal with a car with foreign license plates, it is worthwhile to purchase an appropriate toll reader at the CTT post office, which works in principle in the same way as the via verde reader in vehicles with national license plates. You leave a deposit at the CTT counter when you rent the device at a post station and you get it back when you return the device and pay all fees. Or the reader is linked to a direct debit authorization to the vehicle owner’s checking account, the tolls are automatically debited and a list of the highway trips made and parking garage usage is in the electronic mailbox for verification purposes.

the portuguese traffic circle

But neither the orientation in the portuguese traffic network nor the question of tolls occupy guests in portugal on the road with a vehicle as much as the question of how do I get through the traffic circle correctly?? Here the following diagram helps for a better understanding.

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