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Porto car hire tips

  • Where to pick up your car

    The most popular car hire location is Porto Airport (OPO), which is just over 20 mins' drive from the centre (about 15km).

  • Top car rental brands

    The most popular car rental brands in Porto are Goldcar, Interrent, Guerin, Sixt and Thrifty.

  • Local currency

    Euro (EUR)

  • Average temperatures

    Warmest month: July (20°C)
    Coldest month: January (10°C)

  • Side of road

    Right

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Hire a car in Porto

Uncover the real Portugal without the crowds.

Good for food, great for wine, Porto is a worthy Portuguese town often overshadowed by Lisbon, the country’s capital. The great thing about Portugal is that it’s not overwhelmingly big – so those who want to explore by car can make a lot of ground.

Porto also has its own international airport, so one way rentals from Lisbon and the Algarve are a great choice if you want to fly home from the other end.

Wonderful drives

The best road in the world

Forget Tuscany or Bordeaux, if you’re looking for a road trip filled with undulating vineyards and spectacular scenery, head to Porto.

In a poll conducted by Avis in 2015, the N-222 was voted the best road in the world. It makes sense, then, to hire a car when in Porto, as this very road begins here. Drive alongside the Douro River on its winding journey into the ultimate port-making territory (the oldest wine-making region in the world, in fact).

Snaking through unbeatable roads, past zig-zag terraces of growing grapes, is the best way to experience this part of Portugal. If you time it right, the grapes are ready for harvesting in September. During this time of year you can participate in the unusual art of grape stomping, or play it slightly safer by simply picking purple crops from the vineyards.

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Local knowledge

Porto travel tips

Food
Munching on a good value lunch is easy in Porto. Grab a francesinha for a few Euros – essentially a surprisingly large, meat-filled toastie (inspired by the French croque monsieur) and topped with cheese and gravy.

Festivals
If you’re heading to Porto on the 23rd June, you can experience the magic of the São João festival. Food is a big part of it, so make sure you plan ahead and book a table if you want to eat out. Once you’ve dined, the late night fireworks over the Douro are worth a watch.

Walking
A lot of Porto is steep: remember this as if you are wandering in particular directions, your map might not warn you of all the hill walking involved!

Public transport
If you’re taking the metro (which makes sense as driving the narrow city streets can be a challenge) then remember to validate your ticket before you travel and when you change lines.

Tolls
Just under half of Portuguese national routes are tolled. This is a high proportion when compared to other countries, so may add to your budget.

Places to road trip to

A car is essential if you want to properly explore the fantastic countryside beyond Porto. You can also drive to Lisbon in about three hours – another really worthwhile Portuguese city.

Aveiro – 50 minute drive
The Venice of Portugal is named after the water birds which reside in the lagoon. The canals are the main appeal, with their vibrant, colourful boats. You can tour the waterways aboard a canoe and learn about the local history of seaweed collecting. The stripy fishing huts of Costa Nova are also a worthy stop off.

Peneda-Gerês National Park – 1 hour 10 minute drive
Ancient granite villages, ponies and wild boar, castles and waterfalls – there is a lot to explore in this Portuguese National Park. Drive, walk or cycle the area and you’ll be rewarded with epic vistas, historic sights and – if you fancy it – a refreshing dip in a turquoise waterpool.

Braga And Guimaraes – 40 minute drive
If you like history, then these two towns will be right up your street. The first is home to the astonishing Bom Jesus do Monte and its stairway to heaven; the latter a World Heritage Site regarded as the birthplace of Portugal.

Sintra – 3 hour drive
Although slightly further afield, this famous palace-filled hilltop town is on most Portuguese bucket lists. This dreamy destination is quirky, creative and fantastical – not to be missed.

Historic beauty

Ribeira

The unexpectedly pretty old town of Porto, Ribeira, is perhaps the most spectacular place to sightsee. This riverside collection of colourful buildings stacked neatly into the hillside makes for really photogenic viewing.

Take a stroll, float along the river on a boat or do both; experiencing this part of town near the water’s edge is a must. The six bridges are worth investigating, too. In fact, Porto is the only European city to boast so many. Gustave Eiffel, the world renowned French engineer even designed one of them.