Getting Around Lisbon

If you are thinking about getting car hire in Lisbon, think again and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. An example of a wrong reason would be in order to drive around Lisbon itself as this is totally unnecessary and can put you in fear for your life. The excellent public transport system makes car hire in Lisbon redundant, but you may still want to hire a car for exploring outside the city and the region beyond. If you do hire a car for exploration of the environs of Lisbon, only pick it up on the day you intend to use it to avoid driving around the city as much as possible.

Another reason to avoid hiring a car in Lisbon in order to drive it in the city is that there is a great lack of parking spaces. The city does not have enough parking facilities to cope with the growing number of cars and so this can make finding a space nigh on impossible. If there are no pay-and-display spaces left, a helpful unemployed person may guide you towards a space. If this happens then give the guy a small tip, about a euro is usually enough, as you don’t want the car to get scratched while you are away from it. Really it is best to stick to the official car parks in the central locations, such as the ones at Restauradores; Parque Eduardo VII; or near the Gulbenkian on Rua Marqûes de Sá da Bandeira. Do not under any circumstances leave valuables in your car, even in the underground car parks, as break-ins are commonplace in Lisbon.

You can also hire cars at Lisbon airport, which is useful if you are arriving there and then heading out of the city immediately. When you return the car, make sure to leave plenty of time for filling out the accompanying paper work to avoid rushing to catch your flight at the last minute.

If you must drive your hire car in Lisbon, try and avoid heading south on the Ponte 25 de Abril at peak times as it can take over an hour to cross the bridge, in spite of the new Vasco da Gama bridge. This is especially true at the weekend, on public holidays or during festivals, football matches and other high profile events. To prevent such traffic jams being even more unbearable in the heat, try and hire a car with air conditioning!

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