Highways in Portugal / Tolls and vignettes

Portugal boasts one of the most developed systems of expressways and motorways in Europe. In such a relatively small country, there are quite a lot of them, which makes it much easier to move around. The highways in Portugal, like everywhere else, connect with each other primarily the largest cities. However, when going on vacation to this country, we should not have problems reaching even the farthest corner, using good quality expressways.

It is also worth knowing that in Portugal, motorways are mostly tolled. Payments are made here either traditionally by cash, but not in all places, and by electronic toll collection systems or pre-paid payments. Especially the last two methods are quite complicated, but in the rest of our article we will try to explain everything.

Highways in Portugal

It is worth starting with an interesting fact about highways in Portugal. Initially, they were completely free, because the SCUT system known in other countries was used here. It was based on the principle that the investor builds a fragment of the expressway at his own expense and maintains it, of course. Instead, it can build various service points along its section of the motorway – petrol stations, bars and shops. The road user does not pay the toll for a given route, but by using the roadside infrastructure in this way helps the owner earn. Unfortunately, this system did not work and the state took over the supervision of Portuguese highways. The result is the present mandatory fees for using them.

Motorways in Portugal / Tolls, vignettes and expressways
Motorways in Portugal / Tolls, vignettes and expressways

However, the highways in Portugal are very comfortable to use. Especially that the network of gas stations, restaurants and other service points along the routes is extremely dense here.

Motorways in Portugal are marked similarly to other European countries – a white capital letter A and the corresponding number, on a blue background. Other roads in this country are marked with white boards with black inscriptions.

Highways in Portugal
Highways in Portugal

We have the following highways in Portugal:

  • A1 – connects Sacavém with Porto
  • A2 – this is the highway from Lisbon to Albufeira
  • A3 – this is the route from Porto to Valencia, Spain
  • A4 – connects Matosinhos with Quintanilha, on the border with Spain
  • A5 – Leads from Lisbon to Cascais
  • A6 – runs from Maratec to Caia in Spain
  • A7 – connects Póvoa de Varzim with Vila Pouca de Aguiar
  • A8 – leads from the Portuguese capital to Leiria
  • A9 – runs from Quebrada to Alverca do Ribatejo
  • A10 – connects Bucelas with Benavente
  • A11 – leads from Apúlia all the way to Castelões
  • A12 – runs from Sacavém to Setúbal
  • A13 – connects Maratec with Almeiri
  • A14 – runs from Figueira da Foz to the A31 motorway
  • A15 – runs from Óbidos to Almeirim
  • A16 – connects Lisbon with Cascais, as far as junction A5
  • A17 – leads from Marinha Grande to Aveiro
  • A18 – runs from Torres Vedras and is to connect with Carregado
  • A19 – connects Leiria Sul with Leiria Norte
  • A20 – leads from Carvalhos to Nó de Francos
  • A21 – runs from Venda do Pinheiro do Ericeira
  • A22 – connects Lagos with Castro Marim and then towards Seville, Spain
  • A23 – leads from Torres Novas to Guarda
  • A24 – runs from Viseu to the border with Spain Vila Verde da Raia
  • A25 – connects Aveiro with the Spanish border in Vilar Formoso
  • A26 – is to lead to Sines from Beja
  • A27 – runs from Viana do Castelo to Ponte da Barca
  • A28 – connects Porto with Caminha
  • A29 – runs from Angeja to Porto
  • A30 – runs from Sacavém to Santa Iria de Azóia
  • A31 – connects Coimbra Sul with Coimbra Norte
  • A32 – leads from Carvalhos to Oliveira de Azeméis
  • A33 – connects Coina with Alcochete
  • A34 – connects A1 with Pombal
  • A35 – it will eventually lead from Mira to Mangualde
  • A36 – runs from Algés to the A12 motorway
  • A37 – connects Burac with Sintra
  • A38 – leads from Almada to Costa da Caparica
  • A39 – runs from A2 to Barreiro
  • A40 – connects Olival de Basto with Montemor
  • A41 – this is Porto’s large ring road
  • A42 – leads from Ermida to Lousada
  • A43 – runs from Porto to Aguiar de Sousa
  • A44 – connects Gulpilhares with Areinho

Vignettes in Portugal

There are no vignettes in Portugal. The toll collection system is solved in a completely different way here. Slightly more complicated when it comes to tourists and foreign visitors.

Highway tolls in Portugal

As already mentioned, you have to pay for the use of expressways and highways in Portugal. The toll system depends on whether the car is registered in Portugal or abroad. Local drivers have made it all a bit easier.

Via Verde payment system

This system is based on the electronic identification of license plates and reading the signal sent by the Via Verde device mounted on the windshield of the car. To put it simply, cameras and readers are installed on the road, thanks to which it all works. In the car, however, you only need to install a special on-board device that is assigned to a specific car. It is it that sends a signal to the reader when we pass the given gate. Registration is automatic. For the lack of a working Via Verde device, fines are imposed in the amount of 10 times the toll for a given section.

Road tolls without Via Verde

If we are not owners of the Via Verde device on board the car, we have to pay tolls in Portugal differently. It is more complicated. When using Portuguese highways, you need to go to the post office or PayShop only to provide the registration numbers of your car and be able to pay. Then, within 48 hours (after using the motorways) we will receive a payment code. These two days are needed to enter the registration numbers into the system used at the post office and in PayShop branches. From the moment we receive the billing code, we have 5 business days to settle the bill. If we are late, all we have to do is wait for the request for payment, along with the imposed additional fine. This letter will be sent to the address of the owner of the vehicle as it was registered in Portugal. If we ignore this request as well, the enforcement proceedings will begin with an even more increased fine.

Portuguese expressways
Portuguese expressways

How can a foreign national pay for motorways in Portugal?

Tourist payment options for the use of motorways in Portugal depend on whether you can pay the amount in the traditional way, i.e. in cash at the gates, or whether you are dealing with a section where only an electronic toll collection system is in force. If you can pay with money on the spot, the problem is gone. Unfortunately, however, most motorways in Portugal have an electronic toll system. Then there are several options to settle the account:


It is a system designed for tourists and people from abroad. It is quite simple and understandable to the average user. All you have to do is register in advance, where our registration numbers will be linked to your credit card. This can be done at the entrance to the motorway. Registration is valid for the next 30 days.

Everything is done at special counters marked with foreign vehicles. After entering the registration number of our car and applying the payment card, we receive a receipt, which is a confirmation of the registration. These positions can be found, among others on the motorway sections: A28 Viana do Castelo, A24 Chaves, A25 Vilar Formoso and A22 Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

Then we are entered in the vehicle register and each time the readers placed on the motorway record our presence, the appropriate amount will be charged from the account. In addition to the toll for the use of specific roads, there will also be a so-called administrative fee (about EUR 0.26 for each trip) and a one-time fee for the registration itself (EUR 0.60).


Another way to pay tolls for the use of motorways in Portugal is through the TollCard system. You just need to buy a pre-paid card in advance with the denomination you are interested in – 5, 10, 20 and 40 euro and activate it according to the instructions via SMS. As in the case of EasyToll, by providing the registration numbers of our car. Then, when entering toll roads in Portugal, the corresponding amounts will gradually disappear from our balance. If our card is running out, we will surely get a text message with this information.

TollCards can be purchased at gas stations on motorways or, for example, at the post office. An even easier way is to buy them through the official website. More cards of different denominations can be associated with one car.


TollService is yet another solution to the problem of paying for highways in Portugal. It consists of paying a one-time fee of EUR 20, which allows you to use all roads in this country for 3 days. This is especially true for people who are visiting Portugal over the weekend, for example.

It is also worth remembering to keep the receipt for the given fee. Foreign cars are often inspected by local authorities. When buying TollService, we cannot use the lanes intended for cars from the Via Verde system.

Via Verde Visitors

You can also rent the device from the Via Verde system. The cost of such a rental is about 6 euro plus 1.5 euro for each day, plus of course the sum for kilometers of motorways. The temporary device Via Verde Visitors is assigned to the borrower’s bank number. Thanks to this, when driving in Portugal on highways, we are authorized to use the priority lanes when passing through the gates without stopping.

Another plus is the fact that we do not have an additional administration fee for each kilometer traveled. However, you have to pay a deposit for the rented equipment – about 28 euro. It will be returned to you when you return the Via Verde Visitors.

Prices for highways in Portugal

Highways in Portugal are not cheap. Their height depends not only on the distance traveled, but also on the class of the car we are driving. The fee calculator is available here.

Examples of route fees (1st category car):

  • Lisbon – Lagos = 24.80 euro
  • Lisbon – Sintra = 1.05 euro
  • Lisbon – Porto = 22.20 euro
  • Lisbon – Fatima = 8.15 euro
  • Faro – Albufeira = 1.55 euro
  • Faro – Lagos = 5.20 euro
  • Porto – Fatima = 14.05 euro
  • Porto – Aveiro = 6.45 euro

Additionally, you have to pay for bridges:

  • Vasco da Gama Bridge – 2.70 euro (for entering Lisbon)
  • Bridge of April 25th – 1.50 euro (to enter Lisbon)

What else is worth knowing about motorways and expressways in Portugal?

As for the speed limit in Portugal, the following applies:

  1.     50 km / h in built-up areas
  2.     90 km / h in undeveloped terrain
  3.     100 km / h on expressways
  4.     120 km / h on highways

When driving on Portuguese roads, you must wear seat belts. The dipped-beam headlamps need only be switched on at dusk and at night and during severe weather conditions. Each car must be equipped with a reflective vest and a warning triangle. A first aid kit or fire extinguisher is recommended but not compulsory.

Important phone numbers when traveling in Portugal

112 – emergency number

808 508 508 – motorway service

00351 213 421634/00351 213 421623 – Lisbon Tourist Police

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