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Why rent a car in Lisbon?

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and overlooks the Iberian Peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean. Rich in historic architecture and run through by the stately, majestic river Tagus, Lisbon was first settled in the 13th century. It’s a great location for visiting nearby destinations by hire car, such as Porto, Setubal, Seville and Lagos.

How to get to and around Lisbon?

If you’re arriving via Lisbon then it’s a four-mile drive by rental car to Lisbon. En route, you could drive to the shores of the scenic Iberian Peninsula to enjoy the view.

Hiring a car in Lisbon city centre

Finding a hire car in Lisbon is easy. You can rent a car from a range of providers at either Lisbon or within the city centre itself. Note that Lisbon has limited on-street parking and much of it is metered, so read signs carefully and bear in mind that fines are applied strictly. However, there are a number of large underground car parks available. Lisbon also has a wide variety of hotels to suit a range of budgets, including Hotel Real Parque, Radisson Blu Hotel and Rossio Garden Hotel. Many hotels offer free parking so do check before booking.

What brands are available?

There are various hire car providers to suit your budget and preferences, including Centauro, Turisprime and Drive On Holidays. Many offer extras like free cancellation, unlimited mileage and a shuttle service to your rental car.

Must-sees within an easy drive of Lisbon

There is much to see and do by hire car in Lisbon. This coastal city is built on seven hills and as you explore its winding streets you’ll be rewarded by stunning views. Key attractions include the late-Gothic Jeronimos Monastery, now home to two museums, the medieval Belem Tower, which has wonderful views from its rooftop terrace, Sao Jorge Castle, an 11th century Moorish building, the Lisbon Baixa, a district at the heart of the city filled with shops and eating places, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the Lisbon Oceanarium. Other sights to enjoy by rental car in Lisbon are Pedro IV Square on the banks of the river Tagus, and the charming, labyrinth-like district of Alfama, the oldest part of the city and home to Lisbon Cathedral.

Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is a 194-mile drive from Lisbon by hire car. The city is a coastal destination rich in medieval history, with roots stretching back to 300 BC. It’s a wonderful, winding place to explore by day then relax in by night while dining al fresco. Porto has many historical attractions, including Bolsa Palace, an impressive 19th century building with guided tours, the Monument Church of St Francis, a 14th century Franciscan worship place with a stunning interior, and the iconic, Baroque-style Clerigos Church. If you’re feeling energetic you can climb the 240 steps of the bell tower for a wonderful view of Porto.

Braga, a historic city in northwest Portugal, is a 227-mile drive from Lisbon by rental car. Braga is famous for its Baroque architecture, including the Raio Palace. Other attractions include the Bom Jesus do Monte, a retreat that includes a Neo-classiclal church and wooded hillside gardens, the Biscainhos Museum, housed in a Baroque palace, and the 11th century Monastery of Sao Martinho de Tibaes, based just outside of the city.

Tips and tricks for driving in Lisbon

Due to its many narrow, winding roads and lack of signs, driving in Lisbon can sometimes be tricky and it’s easy to take a wrong turn. Make sure you have GPRS or a good map in your hire car. Traffic in the city can get congested at times. When driving on motorways in Portugal, you may have to pay a toll and bear in mind that if you break a driving law you can be given an on-the-spot fine. Always keep an eye on local speed limits and remember that Portugal is right-hand drive

Ready to plan your Lisbon city break?

Feeling inspired to explore Lisbon and the rest of Portugal? Check out this City Guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and to research the best attractions and activities.

Hiring a car for your Lisbon holiday means you can easily explore neighbourhood cities and experience at your own leisure, Lisbon’s sunny coast with its stunning views and beaches.

Car rentals can be arranged in advance of your holiday, leaving you the convenience of simply picking up your car from Lisbon Airport and driving straight along the route of your choice.

Places you can visit from Lisbon include the fairy-tale city of Sintra. You can reach this historic town after a scenic drive through the green hills of Sintra, bypassing the most charming palaces. Drivers can also make a stop at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe with outstanding views of the ocean.

Cascais and Estoril are both seaside cities, located on the sunny coast of Lisbon. They were considered luxurious retreats during the Second World War and today they retain the age-old charm of the history-laden village, and attract many visitors. North of Cascais is Guincho Beach, a large sandy beach favoured by surfers and windsurfers. Estoril also has some of Portugal’s finest golf courses, a grand casino and hosts international events like MotoGP at Estoril Circuit or Estoril Open.

If you are looking to get off the beaten tourist track, Almada city or Caparica Coast are places favoured by locals, providing 30 km of beaches to explore.

Just 40 km away from Lisbon is Sesimbra and its beautiful Natural Park of Arrábida. This park has two beautiful beaches, Portinho da Arrábida and Figueirinha. Cape Espichel is another popular landmark to visit here.

The Alentejo region is about a one hour drive from Lisbon, so historic cities like Évora, where you can sample some of the finest foods and wines from the south of Portugal, are just a short ride away.

Make sure you take a drive over the Vasco da Gama Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world, and enjoy spectacular riverside views of this beautiful city.




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