Rent a Car for Travel in Porto

Renowned for its picturesque River Douro waterfront lined with pastel buildings and lively wine cellar bars, historic Porto also serves as the perfect launchpad for road tripping Portugal’s dynamic north. Beyond walking the atmospheric alleyways of the Ribeira district, having your own set of rental wheels opens doors to personalized escapes – from scenic vineyard estates to striking coastal stretches to charmingBraga and Guimarães towns at your own pace.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Porto

Driving your own rental vehicle while visiting Porto gives flexibility beyond foot, transit or taxi:

Regional Accessibility

A rental car allows chasing horizons across north and central Portugal on demand – from the Gothic opulence of Mateus Palace gardens to the renowned Aveiro salt flats to views from high abovenimble Coimbra town.

Transport from the Airport

Avoid hassles of metro connections or steep taxi fares by smoothly driving your own rental car picked up from Porto’s Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport.

Create Custom Itineraries

Visit top area attractions like Guimarães medieval castle or Bom Jesus sanctuary on your own perfect timeline without dependence upon public transport schedules or group tour agendas.

Share Costs

For couples, families and groups, a rental vehicle often costs less than accumulating pileups of train tickets or minibus tour fares if collaboratively budgeting.

Cargo Capacity

Easily store luggage, beach gear, photography equipment, take-away restaurant meals and Douro Valley wine purchases securely inside your rental car while exploring Porto and greater northern Portugal.

Where to Rent a Car in Porto

As Portugal’s second largest city, Porto offers rental counters across various providers both at the airport and downtown districts:

Porto Airport Desks

Major international agencies like Hertz, Europcar, Budget, Avis and Sixt have counters stationed inside the efficient terminal arrival hall with competitive quotes and English-speaking staff.

Downtown Neighborhood Outlets

Supplementary smaller rental depots scatter conveniently around central districts like Bolhão market, Ribeira waterfront and Foz beachside community to cater smoothly for guests lodging outside airport zones. Some provide free hotel shuttles within metropolitan Porto.

DistrictSample Locations
Bolhão MarketRua Formosa
Ribeira WaterfrontRua Mouzinho da Silveira
Foz do Douro Beach AreaRua do Passeio Alegre
Boavista Business ZoneAvenida da Boavista

Table: Some prime rental car pickup locations across central Porto

Driving Tips for Exploring Porto Region

Follow these road trip suggestions for a smooth Portuguese rental experience around Porto and the north:

Clarify International Driver’s Permit Needs

Some rental agencies require non-EU citizens present an IDP to legally drive in Portugal. Carry one alongside your domestic license to simplify procedures if questioned.

Adjust to Close Conditions

Porto’s tight urban streets filled with trams, pedestrians and zig-zagging cars differ vastly from speedy motorways around fast-growing Maia. Adjust driving habits between settings.

Carry Important Papers

Keep your rental agreement, booking voucher, IDPs if necessary and passport copies handy for license inspections occurring more frequently during summer holiday months, especially around beaches.

Consider Fast Roads over Google Routing

While helpful at times, default Google maps directions often prioritize tricky backroads rather than efficient toll motorway routes between Porto and major sites like Braga or Guimarães.

Budget for Service Area Rest Stops

Alexandre Herculano, Castelo de Paiva and other comfortable motorway stops allow securely leaving vehicles for refreshment breaks when driving longer legstowards Viseu or Chaves regions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in Porto

What documents do I need show to rent a car?

Expect to provide your valid domestic license, passport, credit card and potential International Driving Permit if required by your chosen agency.

What side do Portuguese drivers operate on?

As in the rest of mainland Europe, cars in Portugal drive on the right hand side of the road with steering wheels on the left.

What transmission types are available?

Both manual gearshift and automatic transmission rental cars are accessible across all common categories from economy run-abouts to luxury sedans and 7-8 passenger vans ideal for touring groups.

Can I take a rental car into Spain for sightseeing day trips?

Yes, it’s perfectly permitted to drive most Portuguese rental vehicles over the border to destinations like Santiago de Compostela or Vigo unless expressly prohibited under your specific rental contract.


While Porto proper delights with romantic Douro riverside strolling and wine tasting within historic hillside ribeiras, having your own set of rental car wheels provides freedom to fully embrace the rhythm of Northern Portugal and Galicia Spain beyond – chasing crashing Atlantic waves along Costa Verde beaches one day and rolling vineyard vistas of the Douro Valley the next. Booking an optimized rental vehicle sized right for your travel party ensures comfort relishing this Iberian crossroads at your own pace. Your Portugal road trip awaits!


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