Lisbon Car Rental

All the Tips & Tricks to Find the Top Car Hire in Lisbon

Lisbon Car Rental

Lisbon’s public transportation is efficient and handled by buses, metro, funiculars, and ferries. At the same time, taxis are a reliable and somewhat affordable way of transfer (at least in comparison to other European cities). Nevertheless, neither of them can meet the autonomy of car rentals. A rental car enables you to visit Lisbon’s close or remote surroundings hassle-free. With a car rental, you can get rid of all the stress involving public transfers, from finding the right route and scanning the scheduled itineraries to locating your departure and disembarking stops and finding your way to and from those spots. What’s more, the public means of transport can get overcrowded during rush hours and become tedious as well as risky for pickpockets. On the other hand, taxis are convenient, but overall, they can be costlier than a car rental, especially when traveling outside Lisbon.

Is it Worth Renting a Car when Traveling in Lisbon?

Lisbon’s nearby areas are totally worth exploring. From popular tourist destinations to hidden gems, with a car rental, you’ll get to visit all the adjacent sightseeing at your own pace. However, if you are interested in exclusively wandering around the Lisbon city area, public transportation would be recommended. Lisbon is built on hills, having a narrow and steep road network in places, while during the rush hours, the streets’ congestion and the scant available parking spots can be challenging. 

Our Tip: Lisbon has many roundabouts, facilitating the movement of vehicles. Please keep in mind that vehicles coming from the right always have priority. 

How to Rent a Car in Lisbon?

Renting a car in Lisbon couldn’t be easier. The most tricky part is to do your research and find all the available alternatives, a possibly hard task, considering that Lisbon has to offer plenty of car rental options. Verily, both international and local agencies provide their services in the city. However, everything will be much easier if using a search engine. In that way, finding and comparing your options will be a piece of cake. After reaching your decision, you can fill out the booking form as instructed, and that’s it!


Useful Tips

  • Early bookings come with better prices. What’s more, if you book your rental car in advance, you’ll have access to a wider variety of available vehicles.
  • You’ll be charged per day. Thus, you should plan your drop-off time smartly so as not to pay for an extra day.
  • It is advisable to take some pics of your car rental before picking it up to capture existing damages.
  • Car rental companies charge a lot for fuel refilling. Thus, you should refill the car by yourself before returning it.
  • If you travel with friends and you want to add an extra driver, you should be prepared to pay an extra fee. 

How Old do you have to be to Rent a Car in Lisbon?

The minimum age for renting a car is 18 years, and the maximum is 80. However, 18-years old drivers can only rent economy, compact or mini cars, and they usually pay an additional fee. On the other hand, similar rules apply to drivers between 21 and 24, yet they have access to more car types.

What do you Need to Rent a Car in Lisbon?

Renting a car in Lisbon requires the usual documents, meaning that you’ll be asked to hand over:

  • Your ID or Passport 
  • Your driver’s license
  • An International Driving Permit (in case your original license isn’t written with Roman characters). Nevertheless, you should carry both of them with you.
  • A credit card
  • The voucher for your reservation

How much does a Rental Car cost per Day in Lisbon?

The average price for a compact car rental is 28€/28$, while economy cars cost 26€/26$ and mini cars 27€/27$. However, please keep in mind that the longer the car rental period is, the cheaper the per-day rates usually are. Moreover, if you wish to add extra amenities such as baby strollers, GPS, Wi-Fi, etc., you will have to pay extra fees.

What Type of Car should you Rent in Lisbon?

The most popular car rentals in Lisbon are compact cars. For instance, Ford Focus is listed among the best sellers among Lisbon rental cars. Besides the price, compact and small cars are preferred as Lisbon roads are narrow and difficult to navigate. Overall, automatic vehicles are recommended, as they really facilitate driving through the hilly city. Still, automatic cars are more expensive than manual ones.

Where to Rent a Car in Lisbon?

Apart from Lisbon Airport housing various car rental offices at the T1 Arrivals area, plenty of car rental providers operate in Lisbon downtown and its suburbs. Hence, depending on your needs, you should choose your pick-up location. For example, if you intend to firstly explore Lisbon for 2-3 days, you can rent your car in the city. Otherwise, it would be much more convenient to opt for an airport car rental.

How Long does it Take to Return a Rental Car?

The relevant procedure is rather simple and brief, lasting only 5-10 minutes. You have to drive the car rental to the agreed drop-off location at the arranged time (and also refill it if you have chosen the fuel-to-fuel policy). The car rental agent will inspect the vehicle, verifying that it is in the same condition as when picked up. In any case, you should take pics of the car before returning it to be able to prove its status.

Can you Pick up or Drop off the Rental Car if the Car Rental Offices are Closed?

Most car rental companies offer after-hours pick-ups or drop-offs, usually for an extra fee. As far as returning the vehicle is concerned, some agencies offer the possibility to park your car by yourself at the designated area and leave the key in a dropbox. 

Our Tip: Are you traveling during a public holiday? Many car rental offices (mostly located at the airport) are open even on rest days.

How much is Car Rental Insurance in Lisbon?

That depends on the chosen insurance type. You can choose the minimum coverage (only for damages caused to the car rental) or opt for the car theft option and the third-party liability insurance. In any case, you should carefully go through the terms and conditions of your contract to spot the deductible, the amount that you still have to pay even if insured.

Our Tip: If you want to save money, you should first check if your home insurance covers car rentals or if the credit card used provides car hire coverage.

Can I Rent a Car without Insurance?

No, minimum insurance is required in order to hire your car. Even if you aren’t keen on opting for third-party liability, basic insurance, covering at least the rental car, must be purchased. Please keep in mind that every car rental company has a different insurance policy, either for its entire fleet or for the most expensive luxury vehicles.

How can I Rent a Car without a Credit Card?

Some car rental agencies (yet only a few) accept payments via debit cards as well. Nevertheless, if that is the case and you want to pay via a debit card, you should be aware of the fact that the car rental company will draw the total fare from your account beforehand.

Are Lisbon Highways Toll Roads?

Yes, most Lisbon highways have tolls, and the vast majority of them operate automatically without payment kiosks. Car rental companies usually provide their clients with toll transponders, loaded with a certain amount of money according to the planned routes. Otherwise, toll fees can be paid at the post offices and the registered pay shops. If you don’t intend to use the highways, you might be asked to leave a deposit, refundable if indeed you didn’t pass by any toll during your stay.

Our Tip: Please note that you don’t get back the amount loaded on the transponder, even if you didn’t spend it. However, you can add more money.

Where should you Park your Car Rental in Lisbon?

Free parking spots are non-existent in Lisbon’s city center. Thus, if you want to park your car rental for free, you should head to the surrounding areas and either walk or use public transportation. The old city is the “red” zone, meaning that on weekdays, from 07:00 am to 09:00 pm, and on Saturdays, from 08:00 am to 06:00 pm, you have to pay for a street parking spot. The fare is 1.60€/1.60$, and the maximum stay is 2 hours. On the other hand, the yellow and green parking zones cost 1.20€/1.20$ and 0.80€/0.80$ respectively. Parking there is allowed for up to 4 hours. In conclusion, on Sundays, street parking is free. Alternatively, many outdoor and covered parking lots are to be found throughout Lisbon.

Our Tip: The sign with the writing “Estacionamento Proibido” means that you are not allowed to leave your car in the area.

Anything else I should Know about Lisbon Car Rentals?

Here are some useful extra tips concerning car renting in Lisbon:

  • The right side to drive in Lisbon is the right.
  • The alcohol limit in Lisbon is 0.5.
  • Lisbon drivers tend to ignore the road rules. Specifically, they are known for not using indicators often or at all!
  • Your car rental documents should be in the car at all times.
  • Seatbelts are an absolute must. Not wearing them can get you a heavy fine.
  • The use of phones is also prohibited (hands-free use is allowed). 
  • The number to call in case of an emergency is 112.