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Thread: Driving in Portugal, Algarve specifically Albufeira

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    Driving in Portugal, Algarve specifically Albufeira

    Thinking of renting a villa in the Algarve in June with VillaPlus and usually get a hire car for the two weeks. Using taxis for a week in Spain last year cost me more than the equivalent car hire.

    However I am getting conflicting opinions as to whether driving in Portugal is a good idea or not.

    If anyone has done the same and has advice that would be great.

  2. #2
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    I've done is a couple of times and never had any real issues.

    It does take a while to get used to driving on the right and you can randomly forget but get quickly reminded by either the family or the oncoming car I always take it easy for the first few days, local people in a hurry might beep but they'll find their way around you.

    As with any hire car, make sure you inspect it thoroughly and get any/all marks/damage put on the paperwork and make sure you take out a damage waiver policy over here, much cheaper than taking out the policy there with the hire company.

  3. #3
    Craftsman Kris's Avatar
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    I've driven in Portugal an more specific Albufeira without any specific issues. Locals do tend to drive fast, but take that into account and be aware and all is well.

    Sat Nav is your friend in terms of both directions and speed limits.

    Portugal's motorway network is relatively new so is in good condition.

    If you've driven in one of the larger French towns then Portugal will be fine.

  4. #4
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    No problem at all.

    Nice and quiet and easy to get around, plenty of places of interest to drive to too.

    Although we had our tank drained by local gypsies.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  5. #5
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    No probs when I was there and it was the first time I'd driven abroad. Have a 20 min drive down the coast (West) to Gale - lovely quiet beach town with some excellent restaurants.

  6. #6
    I spent a couple of weeks pootling around in a hire car in Albufeira some years ago. I found the biggest problem was other tourists and a difference in opinion about how people treat other peoples cars. Watching how locals park by nudging cars behind them and opening their doors onto cars parked adjacent would likely account for the minor damage I had to discuss, at length, when the time came to hand the keys back. Luckily, I had taken the optional extra damage fee and so said ta-ta to 100 euros. If I was staying for longer than a couple of weeks, picking up a banger and observing the 'when in Rome...' rule might be a cheaper option.

  7. #7
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    The biggest problem to be aware of driving on the right is roundabouts and when you come back home. Don't laugh, after being in France for a week I once found myself driving down the rhs of a road in Aldershot thinking "why is this fool on my side of the road" as someone drove towards me.

    You could consider driving all the way, it makes a real adventure of the holiday. We drove to Alicante a few years back and it was good fun.

  8. #8
    Master IVK's Avatar
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    Iíve driven in Portugal, specifically the Algarve, many times with no problems.

    We generally find a base to stay but tour up and down the coast to find the best beaches/restaurants/markets/bars etc.

    Some of the roads are quite agricultural and narrow, but these are mainly out of town. Also, and as mentioned above, the motorways are mostly modern, new and well sign posted.

    Re driving on the right, youíll get used to it in no time. Just take an extra second when approaching roundabouts and junctions to get your bearings. The first time I drove on the right I found myself straying a little close to the inside, but once I realised this I just took extra care.

    The bigger places like Albufeira and Vilamoura are very much like any city driving.

    Enjoy! I love the Algarve.

  9. #9
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    Uber is put there and works well.
    Very accessible

  10. #10
    Driven in Portugal quite a lot, and never had any problems.

    If you're on the motorways, there's a lot of tolls, so be careful with that. Around the towns, its usually either locals or hire car drivers who are as lost or nervous as you. Just use some common sense and after a day or two, you wont be thinking about it

    If you're picking the car up from the airport, its very straight forward getting out and onto the motorways

    Malc

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the helpful advice, have driven in Holland and Florida before so I have an idea. Heard Portugal was a bit more aggressive but it seems no more than any other country.

  12. #12
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stowaJLCfan View Post
    Thanks for all the helpful advice, have driven in Holland and Florida before so I have an idea. Heard Portugal was a bit more aggressive but it seems no more than any other country.
    I've driven in all three countries. Florida is easy and relaxed. Holland is less relaxed, simply because we have lot of cars on not so much roads... Portugal is what the others already mentioned. And to be honest: large parts of the Portugese roads are in better condition than the British roads I've driven. The attitude of Portugese drivers is more, let's say, Mediterranean. Like in Italy.

    Pro-top: when renting a LHD car, opt for an automatic. Easier than shifting with your right hand when you're used to shifting with your left arm.

  13. #13
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    I nearly left the very first day as the driving was so bad I was on a motorbike and it scared the hell out of me,I had sever cars come head on at me.

    however once I got away from the crowds and had the roads to myself it was better, its not such a problem in a car.

    the people where very friendly which also helped but it was like they where another race once they where driving.

  14. #14
    Master
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    Driving there is fine, but read up on the toll roads. We found it so confusing that we avoided motorways completely.

    Pete

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptcoll View Post
    Driving there is fine, but read up on the toll roads. We found it so confusing that we avoided motorways completely.

    Pete
    This. The tolls are expensive and you need a pre-paid thingy that you can get from the rental place and then pay whatever you used at the end (I think). We didn't do it because there's a national road that you can use for free - N125 that goes along the Algarve.

    It's like any other country that drives on the right side, although they do honk quite a lot more than drivers in the UK. Nothing as bad as Italy though.

  16. #16
    Craftsman boris9's Avatar
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    As many have said itís not a problem at all. Motorways are good, with sections of toll road running down the Algarve but even local roads are simple to navigate.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Master Xantiagib's Avatar
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    we go every year and have done for many many years

    We normally stay around the Albufeira area

    Toll roads east to west are automatic tolls you register your car/credit card at the border - drive through atm stlye thing easy peasy - north south tolls seem to be more traditional booths - hire cars should normally come with the automatic box installed already.

    I have found that if you want to not worry about driving, at all the taxis/uber/buses are very affordable
    plus most hotels have courtesy buses to the beaches/town centre shopping/airport and long list of other tours with transport at decent prices

    trains are good too

  18. #18
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    The roads are a lot better than they used to be in years gone by.
    Not sure if the local drivers have improved with the roads or not - but they used to be the craziest I ever experienced in Europe!

  19. #19
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    We spend up to 6 months of the year in Portugal and are living here now, We always have a car, no problem driving at all but you must be aware of :-

    1 - The roundabout rule, heavy fine if you are observed breaking this :-

    https://portugaldrivinglaws.com/roundabouts.php

    2 - Never cross a solid white line to turn left on main roads, you must continue to the next valid left turn location and drive back to your required point. This is an easy source of income from tourists for the local GNR/PSP who wait at specific locations where they know this will happen.

    3 - On the N125 Faro heading west there are a few fixed speed cameras

    4 - We never use the local A22 motorway, neither do most local portuguese

    5 - Always have your driving licence and car hire paperwork ready to present

    We tend to avoid Albufeira, but can highly recommend the Carvoeiro/Lagoa area , and always use the same couple of car hire company's from the airport who we trust and have not let us down with imposing the various damage scams often tried on, PM if you want the details
    Last edited by genesos; 9th January 2020 at 11:21.

  20. #20
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    I’ve been driving in Portugal for a few years. We are here right now, near PÍra. Never had issues. Tolls - can be expensive - drove up to Lisbon and it racked up something like 60€ on tolls.

    Use your favourite phone google maps etc as phone data charges are as if in UK (for the moment).

    one tip. I buy WDI excess insurance separately via questor annual is £58. Much cheaper than amounr hire companies charge which is so much per day. So ending up hiring a Ford Fiesta size for £8 per day.

    bottom line. No issues driving much easier than Paris or London!

  21. #21
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    one tip. I buy WDI excess insurance separately via questor annual is £58. Much cheaper than amounr hire companies charge which is so much per day. So ending up hiring a Ford Fiesta size for £8 per day.
    We have a new Fiesta on hire currently Martyn, 76 Euro for 31 days, (as that is the max standard time limit for any one hire under Questor excess insurance) also discount code MSE2097 will give you 25% off Questor policy's.

  22. #22
    Craftsman
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    Airport transfers are pennies from Faro to Albufeira and as others have sad uber is available in Albufeira itself so never any need to haggle with taxis.

    Unless the villa is miles from everything I would look at the cost comparison of not hiring at all, and then you save all the hassle of driving and any potential disagreements with the notoriously bad hire companies!

  23. #23
    Master
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    I have used a hire company called Zit auto twice with no problem and they were very reasonable. Its worth getting hire car indemnity insurance for extra price of mind.
    I would agree with the toll road issue, I stick to the a roads

  24. #24
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    We've had a hire car there a few times it's no worse that other European destinations (try Italian driving), we tend use local roads, even found a village called Purgatory, but, buses are easy if you fancy.

  25. #25
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stowaJLCfan View Post
    Thanks for all the helpful advice, have driven in Holland and Florida before so I have an idea. Heard Portugal was a bit more aggressive but it seems no more than any other country.
    I found driving in Spain much worse with more aggressiveness.

  26. #26
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    I stayed in Villamora and drive into Albufera, I found driving in the Algarve a doddle, little traffic, easy road layouts, no bother at all. Similar to rural Spain and easier than driving in much of France or Italy. Go for it.

  27. #27
    There's no particular issue. Just driving on the other side.

    I hire a car to play golf as the hotel taxis and uber are more expensive when using it daily.

  28. #28
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by genesos View Post
    We have a new Fiesta on hire currently Martyn, 76 Euro for 31 days, (as that is the max standard time limit for any one hire under Questor excess insurance) also discount code MSE2097 will give you 25% off Questor policy's.
    thatís a very good price. I bought extended time warranty with questor. Do you mind saying what company you use?

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