Tolls on motorways
Portugal has two ways how to levy the toll fee. The costs depend on how your vehicle is classified as well as on how far you have run by car on the motorway.
- Class 1 = Motorbike, car, van, SUV, also with trailer (height up to 1.1 m, measured from the hub to the top of the bonnet).
- Class 2 = Transporters, caravans, high jeeps and high vans
- Class 3 = higher than class 1 and / or with more than 2 axes
- Class 4 = more than 3 axes
- One option is the ticket automat known e. g. from France and Spain when entering the motorway, or the tollbooth when leaving it, respectively, where the due fee is raised. In the Algarve you will find this option on the motorway A2 towards Lisbon.
- The electronic toll collection which needs no tickets and works without immediate payment when leaving the toll route exists since the year 2011. Between the exits are toll collection bridges that save the registration numbers of all vehicles passing below it. The toll is exclusively gathered by this method on these motorways: A 4 - A 8 - A 13 - A 17 - A 19 - A 22 - A 23 - A 24 - A 25 - A 27 - A 28 - A 29 - A 41 and A 42. It is the A22 (via do Infante) which is the most interesting motorway for the Algarve because it goes from Castro Marim up to Bensafrim near Lagos.
Concerning option 1
You can pay the due amount at the toll booth in cash or with credit card and everything is done from your side.
The Via Verde entries and exits (green sign with a white V) can only be used in connection with a corresponding transponder. Should you drive a rented car with such an equipment, please ask specifically whether it is appropriated also for the Via Verde lane.
Concerning option 2
Whenever you see such a sign at the motorway access you enter a toll route with electronic collection.
So-called experts on the road, especially in the internet, spread rumours and fanciful stories in terms of the payment (or non-payment) of due fees.
There are three different scenarios and each of it has various options additionally.
Several car rentals have equipped their fleet with the OBU (On Board Unit). Each time you pass below a toll bridge, the OBU makes a "beep" and the toll has been settled up. The car rental will charge your credit card with the accrued fees.
Some renters make you responsible for the payment of the fees. You can do this 2 up to 7 days after having used the toll route. The toll fee can be paid at the post office (Correios) or in payshops which you find in supermarkets or also in town. This method is not quite sensible, since you surely do not wish to spend your vacation with paying tolls. Furthermore, you will not be able to settle the fee for the last 2 days which, for sure, will carry a severe, financial penalty (administrative charge and fine) your credit card will finally be charged with.
Please confront the agent of your car rental immediately with this problem.
It has been announced several times to standardise this procedure. As things are for the time being (autumn 2018), there is no such regulation.
Foreign registration number
1. Easy Toll
If you enter Portugal with your own car, you can drive to a Welcome Point. These are on the corresponding route, directly at the border or shortly after you enter Portugal. There you put your credit card (EC is not accepted) into the automat. It then scans and saves your car registration number. From now on your credit card will be charged with all arising toll fees. The maximum duration of validity is 30 days. Please keep the receipt and carry it with you in all cases.
2. Toll Card
You can buy this service (for short trips) at gas stations along the motorway. It costs 20 € and authorises you to use the motorway throughout 3 days without a limitation of kilometers.
You rent an OBU at a post office in Portugal (27,50 € deposit) and prepay an amount of 10 € at minimum (20 € for cars with a trailer or for caravans, as the case may be, also with a trailer). The rent for the first week is 6 €, for each further week it is only 1.50 €. Prepayments can be effected at the post office, in a payshop or online. The maximum validity is 90 days. For each driven route a fee in the amount of 0.31 € becomes due.
Disadvantage: You should always be aware of how much your credit amount exactly is. When surpassing the credit amount, the toll fee will not be deducted; and it holds the toll has not been paid.
Portuguese registration number
1. With an own Portuguese car exists the possibility to use the motorway and to pay the toll fee in a post office or in a payshop but not earlier than 2 days after the trip. The amount must be settled within 7 days after the trip at the latest. Should you have missed this moment, then, for the time being, it will not be possible to pay the toll. After some time (about 4 - 6 months) you will receive a registered letter with a payment request. From the date of emission of the registered letter you have 30 days to pay the toll, with an additional fine of 2.15 € for each driven route, via Multibanking (ATM) or in a payshop.
2. With a contract: This refers to a composite equipment for the Via Verde and electronic toll that will be debited from a Portuguese account. This toll equipment costs 27.50 €. The device is bound to the vehicle.
3. Prepayment (with a contract) for Via Verde and electronic toll. You receive the OBU against a deposit in the amount of 27.50 €. You must top up the OBU with at least 10 €, in case your car belongs to class 1, and with 20 € for the other classes. You pay these amounts at the post office, in a payshop or via Multibanking (ATM). You will get a SMS when your credit is consumed. Upon cancellation of the contract you will recover the deposit and the rest of your credit amount.
4. This kind of prepayment (without a contract) is exclusively valid for electronic toll. The toll equipment can be rented against a deposit of 27.50 €. A prepayment must at least amount to 10 € for class 1 and to 20 € for all the other classes, and it has to be effected at the post office, in payshops or via Multibanking (ATM). You will receive a SMS when the credit is consumed. When you give back the device, you will receive the deposit but the rest of the credit, if any, cannot be paid back.
>> Easy Toll and Toll Card are not accepted if the vehicle employed is Portuguese! <<
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