Highways in Portugal, tolls and bridges

Leaving for a Portugal tour? Here you find some precious information about highways in Portugal and their tolls that will save you from bad headaches! 🙂

Highways in Portugal (and bridges too!)

The majority of highways in Portugal don’t have a pay point at their exit.

They just have some lanes with cameras and electronic receivers that communicate with an electronic toll device that you should really have on your car, called “Via Verde”.

Why is that? Because when running on highways in Portugal you can either:

  • get a “Via Verde” device on board to pay highway toll the electronic way, or
  • hit a post office the day after your run and no more than 5 days after, to pay the highway or bridge toll.

As you can easily see the second option is uncomfortable while travelling Portugal (if you have the return flight tomorrow, you can’t pay the today’s toll at a post office).

That’s why you definitely need an electronic toll device if you’re travelling on highways in Portugal either with your car or with a rented one (if you want to rent a car don’t miss out my guide about car rental in Portugal) .

Same thing if you are going to run on some major bridges, like the two Lisbon bridges, ponte 25 de Abril and ponte Vasco da Gama (the longest bridge in Europe with its 17 kilometers), because you need to pay a toll, but only if travelling from south to north. On the opposite direction they are free.

You can rent “Via Verde” with something like 10-15 euro per week, if you rent a car you can simply ask for it to the car rental company.

With Via Verde on board, while approaching the exit you need to choose a lane with the green V symbol. If there are no symbols just run on any lane, the cameras and electronic receivers will record your toll anyway.

autostrade in portogallo
The green V symbol indicating the lanes to choose

The advantage of “Via Verde” is that you can pay tolls without any risk to the rental company.

Tolls calculation is usually delayed at car rental points: when you drop off your car you’ll pay the tolls until 2-3 days before, and the remaining part will be debited on your card later, when the total price will be available.

Prices of gasoline and highways in Portugal

Highways in Portugal are somewhat expensive (more than Spain). Here some examples:

Some activities you may like, before going on with the article:

  • Lisbon – Albufeira (Algarve): about 260 km, 20.65 euros
  • Ponte Vasco da Gama: south to north : 2.45 euros
  • Ponte Vasco da Gama: north to south : free
  • various run I’ve made on Algarve’s A22: between Lagos, Albufeira and Faro, a minimum of 0.80 to 3 euros for trips about 40 kilometers long.

When visiting Algarve you can also choose N125 free road: it’s parallel to the A22 and confortable, but the days I’ve been to Algarve I found many queues due to men at work on some bridges.

Gasoline is one of the most expensive in Europe, around 1.30/1.40 per liter. Avoid buying gasoline near the airports or car rental companies, as it’s 10/20 cents more expensive.

Ready for Portugal?

Then relax! As highways in Portugal are almost empty when far from Lisbon! 🙂

And if you’re travelling in the south in the summer, you’re likely to see a super dry panorama like this:

autostrade in portogallo d'estate

Service stations are available once every 40-50 kilometers, the one I visited looked tiny and clean.

Don’t forget to see what to visit in Lisbon (italian article) and download on your smartphone the free GPS app MAPS.ME with the offline maps! 🙂

Stay tuned for other articles about Portugal!

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Fabio M.

I work in an airport and no, I don't have any flight discount as people think :)
Working in the IT and planning travels in my free time.
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