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Driving in Porto

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Driving in Porto Portugal

Driving in PortoWith an estimated population of 1.3 million people in the city and surrounding urban area, Porto, Portugal is the nation's second-largest city. As you might expect in a city of this size that happens to be in Portugal, driving can be a bit hectic. Let's get behind the wheel, and talk about what driving in Porto is all about.
 

Porto Traffic

Like most large cities, traffic in Porto can get fairly congested. The older parts of the city feature roads that are quite narrow by North American standards, but after driving on them for a reasonably short period of time, most drivers adjust to the tighter tolerances.

If it is necessary to travel longer distances, taking advantage of the circular highway system that surrounds Porto is advisable. The highway is known as the A20, or Via de Cintura Interna. It's connected to several city exits and motorways, which makes getting around Porto faster and more convenient. The A41 connects Porto to the surrounding cities in Portugal, and to other major metropolitan highways.

Be aware that most highways in the Porto area are subject to tolls. If you don't have a Via Verde automatic toll device, don't try to use the lane reserved for those who do have it; you could end up with a ticket.
 

Driving in Porto

When driving in Porto, it's important to stay focused and to keep your wits about you. The city has many one-way roads, and they don't always alternate directions, so make sure to read the road signs before making a turn. The last thing you want to do is turn the wrong way down a one-way street.

When leaving your vehicle, parking in a parking garage is often the best choice, as you may find yourself blocked in by other vehicles if you attempt to park on the side of the road.

If you're planning on visiting the historic center of Porto, it may be best to park your car, and then to see the local sights on foot. In general, the oldest parts of the city also have the narrowest roads, many of which are made of cobblestones, and were never intended to handle automobile traffic.
 

Portuguese Driving Laws

The last thing you need while vacationing in Porto, Portugal is to find yourself on the wrong side of the authorities. Obey these simple Portugal traffic rules, and you'll be far less likely to land yourself in hot water.

  • Don't drink and drive. At 49mg, the legal limit is lower in Portugal than in some other places, such as the U.S. and U.K., both of which impose an 80mg limit.
  • Speed limits are 50 mph on secondary roads, and 74 mph on highways, unless otherwise marked.
  • Solid or double white lines must not be crossed.
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times.
  • Children under 12 must ride in the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Obey all speed limits, even if you see locals speeding.
  • Remember: traffic coming from the right always has the right of way.
  • Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.

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