Lisbon Airport Car Hire
Portugal is a beautiful country with lively beach resorts, historic cities, ancient castles, scenic national parks and a rugged coastline pounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The best way to discover the country's secrets is to hire a vehicle which gives you the freedom to explore.
The car rental companies have desks in the arrivals hall of Terminal 1 at Lisbon Airport. If you are arriving at T2, you will need to get the airport shuttle bus to T1.
While you can wait until you get to the airport to book a car, you will generally get a better deal by booking online in advance on a comparison website. You can also ensure that the class of vehicle you want is available.
You should be aware, when using the comparison sites, that the best deals may have hidden charges, the most common of which relate to the fuel policy and insurance, so read the small print. If you want full insurance, it is cheaper to get it at the time of booking. Alternatively, you could take out a hire car excess policy which covers any unexpected costs.
The website will have filters and, in the fuel policy options, you should tick the "Full to Full" box so that you don't end up paying for fuel that you don't use.
In Portugal, some motorways have an unmanned toll collection system. The rental companies, for a fee, will provide you with a transponder which is pre-paid. It will cost around €20.00 with €15.00 of credit, although you can put more credit on it. You will not be refunded for any remaining credit on returning the car, but you will have to pay if there is a negative balance.
If you don't pay the outstanding, you will receive a fine along with an administration fee. If you don't plan to use the toll roads you might have to leave a refundable deposit. It is advisable to clarify with the rental agent what you need before you set off.
UK licence holders need to obtain a code before hiring a car. This is because of changes to the licence and the full details can be found on the UK.gov website. You will also be asked for your passport and, if you reserved your car in advance, you will be asked for the booking reference and the credit card you used to make the booking.
If you have already been travelling for some time, you might just want to get in the car and go. But it is always wise to check the vehicle for any damage inside and out. Markdown on the rental form any dents, scratches, stains, etc. Take photos of anything you find. Don't forget the wheels and tyres and glass. This will help to avoid any dispute when you return the car.
On leaving Lisbon Airport, you will be getting on to one of the city's busiest roads. Make sure you are comfortable in the car with the seat and mirrors set correctly. Whether using satnav or a map, you should know which way you are going.
There are many towns and cities with varied histories, stunning architecture, museums and castles. Among others within relatively easy reach of Lisbon is Sintra to the west of the city, Coimbra and Aveiro to the north between Lisbon and Porto and Evora which is inland to the east.
To escape from the bustle of the cities, you can head for the natural beauty of the national parks where you will experience the variety of flora and fauna. On the west coast close to Lisbon is Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais and to the north is Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros with its dramatic mountain scenery, gorges and hidden grottos.
These are just a few of the gems waiting for you to discover them!