Travelling to Portugal
Portugal has a good road network composed of Motorways (AE), Main Trunk Routes (IP), Complementary Trunk Routes (IC), Main (National) Roads (EN) and Secondary (Municipal) Roads.
There are two types of motorways:
- the traditional motorways with toll booths, where payment is made either in cash or by bank card. These motorways also have a Via Verde (green channel), which is an electronic toll system that allows drivers to make the payment by bank debit and is intended for use solely by those who have an electronic device identifying their vehicle, which they have previously acquired at one of the respective sales outlets (www.viaverde.pt).
- and motorways that have an exclusively electronic toll system, where tolls are collected by exclusively electronic means. As vehicles pass through the toll gates, they are picked up by electronic detectors placed at the entry to the channels, which are identified with the words “Electronic toll only”. For information about the roads covered by this system and the respective forms of payment, consult and www.tollcard.pt.
There are car rental services at airports, international rail terminuses and in the main towns and cities.
Drivers with mobility difficulties, or anyone who prefers to, can rent automatic or adapted vehicles.
To rent a car you must:
- be at least between 21 and 25 years old, depending on the company’s rental policy
- show identification (identity card for EU citizens or a valid passport for other nationalities)
- have had a driving licence for more than one year
You can get to Portugal by coach. Eurolines (www.eurolines.fr) and Intercentro (www.internorte.pt) both operate international routes to and from Portugal.
There are regular coach services between Portugal’s main towns and cities. For details of routes, timetables and fares visit www.rede-expressos.pt the website of Rede Nacional de Expressos.
Portugal’s excellent geographical position makes it a stopover point for many foreign airlines at airports all over the country:
Lisbon - Portela Airport - Phone: 218 413 500
Oporto - Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport - Phone: 229 432 400
Faro - Faro Airport - Phone. 289 800 800
Funchal, Madeira - Funchal Airport - Phone: 291 520 700
Ponta Delgada, Azores - João Paulo II Airport - Phone: 296 205 400
There are several Portuguese airlines offering regular domestic and international flights.
TAP - Air Portugal (www.flytap.com) is the country’s "flagship" airline and has scheduled flights to more than 75 international destinations and domestic flights between Lisbon, Oporto, Faro, Madeira and the Azores, and also between Madeira and Porto Santo.
SATA (www.sata.pt) has regular flights between all the islands of the Azores and from the Azores to Madeira and mainland Portugal. SATA also offers regular flights to a number of international destinations.
CP - Comboios de Portugal (www.cp.pt), the Portuguese railway company, offers a vast rail network covering the whole of mainland Portugal and also offers international train services to Vigo, Madrid and Paris.
There are a number of options to meet your needs:
- The top-of-the-range "Alfa Pendular" trains offer the fastest and most comfortable rail link between Lisbon and the Algarve and, in the north, Oporto or Braga, with stops in Coimbra.
- The "Intercidades" or Intercity service covers the Lisbon-Oporto-Guimarães, Lisbon-Guarda, Lisbon-Covilhã, Lisbon-Évora-Beja and Lisbon-Faro routes.
- The international Sud-Express train and Lusitânia hotel-train leave from Lisbon.
- There is a vast network of regional, inter-regional and suburban trains covering the whole of the country.