Car hire in Lisbon
Hiring a car in Lisbon
The capital of Portugal is a world-class city, with plenty to keep visitors entertained. Spread across a series of hills, its many neighbourhoods each have a different kind of charm. You’ll hear Fado music coming out of doorways and the rich smell of traditional cooking emanating from restaurants. From its sweeping plazas to its narrow streets, Lisbon is a pleasure to explore. The city’s history is also never far away, so be sure to head to outlying areas, such as Belem to gaze upon the monument to Portugal’s seafaring and exploration heroes.
Lisbon’s airport is located just seven kms from the city centre, making it a short 15-minute drive along the E1 motorway. As soon as you’ve got your hire car you can head to your hotel and check-in without worrying about a transfer.
What you need to know
Hire cars in Lisbon can be picked up from a variety of locations, including the airport and both train stations. This adds extra flexibility to your holiday whether you’re arriving in Portugal direct from the UK or coming overland as part of a trip to other areas of Europe. There are more than 20 hire car companies working out of the airport, offering plenty of options to get the perfect deal to suit you.
Where to pick up your car
Car hire companies available at Lisbon Airport include Avis, Dollar and Goldcar Rental, which offer vehicles that can be picked up in the terminal. Meanwhile, the likes of drive4less, interrent and U Drive rent a car all provide a free shuttle service to transport you to the car hire desk. Alternatively, opt for a company with a meet and greet service, such as centauro rent a car, Bravacar or BENErent Rent-a-car, which will escort you to the desk.
Avis is the main supplier for car hire from Lisbon train station and the pick-up point is just 0.3 kilometres away, making it convenient for starting your holiday.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Once you have picked up your hire car from the airport or train station, you can explore Lisbon at your own leisure. Among the wonderful neighbourhoods are Bairro Alto, which offers views over the city, and the lower areas of Alfama and Baixa, which feature wide avenues and the historic Praca do Comercio and Rossio squares. Having a car will mean that the likes of the Park of Nations, which was specifically built for the Expo 98 World Fair will not be out of your reach either.
Get out onto the open road in your hire car and explore some of the wonderful places less than an hour’s drive from the city. These include Sintra, which was favoured among the romantic poets for its villas in a variety of pastel hues and ornate palaces. Do not leave this very special place without making your way up the hill to the Pena National Palace, which has a stunning interior, but also wonderful views of the surrounding area. To get to Sintra, take the A37 for just under 29 kms.
Another wonderful option and one taken advantage of for its close proximity by many a Lisboeta over the years is Cascais. This former fishing village lies just 31 kms along the A5 from Lisbon. Despite having tolls, this road has the benefit of being quick, meaning you can relax at your destination before you know it. As well as stunning coves and lush gardens, you can indulge in some shopping and eating at the chic boutiques and restaurants of Cascais.
When it comes to winding down the windows and feeling a fresh breeze in your hair as you go for a longer drive from Lisbon, you have two real options. Either, take the road north or go south. To the north along the A1 lies the wonderful city of Porto, with its bridge designed by no other than Gustave Eiffel himself. Here you will find the cobblestones and merchants’ houses of the riverside district, stunning churches and of course the city’s famous port wine cellars.
Take the A2 south and the whole of the popular holiday destination of the Algarve opens up to you. Here you can opt to explore Faro’s old town, the fishing village of Olhao or the hive of activity that is Lagos. The Algarve is so full of gems that you’re bound to find yourself stopping off along the way as you spot somewhere interesting to explore. If you’re on the lookout for beaches then Lagos is a great option and you can even take a boat trip to see dolphins.
Top attractions to visit in Lisbon
As a capital city, it’s not surprising that Lisbon has a wealth of attractions to visit, so you will be spoilt for choice during your stay.
The Belem neighbourhood of Lisbon has enough interesting sights to keep you entertained all day. From the Discoveries Monument, featuring the likes of Henry the Navigator and Vasco de Gama to the pastry tarts that bear its name pasteis de Belem, you will be enchanted. Be sure to put enough time aside to explore the Jeronimos Monastery, however, as this UNESCO World Heritage Site is truly stunning. It is a haven of calm and displays beautiful interior decoration.
Sao Jorge Castle
Lisbon’s castle can be seen from all over the city, so it would be rude not to pay it a visit. Learn all about its history from the Visigoths to the Christians at this impressive fortification. Be sure to look outwards during your visit, as the vistas of the city and beyond are unparalleled. Inside, you’ll find a display of relics that help to bring the story of the castle to life.
Park of Nations
From the history of the rest of the city to a modern wonderland, Park of Nations offers some great alternative things to do. Whether you want to soar above it on the cable car or watch the water volcanoes erupt, sending out a lava flow of water, there’s plenty to interest everybody. There’s also the Discover Museum and Oceanarium to put science at your fingertips.