Hiring a car is useful if you plan on getting out to the beaches, surrounding suburbs and the rest of the country. The airport is very close to the city centre so if you’re planning on staying in town, there’s really no need to hire a car.
The airport has seven car hire companies: Budget (+351 21 994 2402) Europcar (+351 21 840 1176), National (+351 21 848 6191), Auto Jardim (+351 21 846 2916), Hertz (+351 21 843 8660), Sixt (+351 21 847 0661) and AVIS (+351 21 843 5550).
It’s worth noting that the Europcar desk is renowned for being the most popular and always has very, very long queues. On more than one occaision I’ve waited for over four hours for service. Those in-the-know choose the other operators for a quicker service. All of the above companies have offices in the city as well. You’ll find the best rates through brokers or price comparison websites. See the Simonseeks booking tool above, powered by Kayak.
What You’ll Need To Know
You are legally required to carry a reflective jacket, which must be visible to police looking into the car.
Portugal has a terrible road safety record, so keep your wits about you, stay calm and patience is always helpful when encountering some of the erratic local driving. Rush hour is best avoided as traffic in and out of the city can be manic.
Pay-and-display parking is in effect Monday to Friday 8am-8pm in many areas of central Lisbon with a four-hour maximum stay. Parking is also available at the larger shopping centres.
Drivers must be at least 21-years-old to hire a car and a valid national driving licence is required. Insurance is mandatory in Portugal. Third party liability is often included in the hire price, although visitors should always check this. Accident rates are high in Portugal, so extra insurance is recommended.