Portugal: hitch-hiker’s essentials

Types of roads

1. Auto estradas (A) – motorways with the speed limit of 120 km/h. A number of auto estradas are linked with the Spanish motorway system and are normally toll roads. Rather confusingly each auto estrada forms part or all of an IP or an IC road, and are labelled with Portuguese A roadan “A” code as well as an IP or an IC code. Hitch-hiking on them is illegal.

2. Itinerários Principais (IP) – dual carriageways running north-south and east-west with a speed limit of 100 km/h. There are nine in total. Hitch-hiking on them is illegal. Portuguese IP road

3. Itinerários Complementares (IC) – dual carriageways supplementing the Auto estradas and Itinerários Principais network with a speed limit of 100 km/h. There are 37 in total. Hitch-hiking on them is a grey area.

4. Estradas Nacionais (N) (National Routes) / Estradas Regionais (E) (Regional Routes) / Estradas Municipais (M) (Municipal Routes) – lesser roads that span the country. The speed limit is 50 km/h in built up places and 90 km/h out of town. Hitch-hiking on them is legal but be warned traffic is extremely light on these roads.

Map of Motorways and Main Roads

map of main roads in Portugal

click to enlarge and see more details
source: ezilon.com

Speed limit on Portuguese roads

table of speed limits in Portugal

source: wikipedia.org

Absolutely essential hitch-hikers phrasebook

hello – Olá (oh-LAH)
thank you – Obrigado (oh-bree-GAH-doo) (said by male)
Obrigada (oh-bree-GAH-dah) (said by female)
yes – Sim (seem)
no – Não (now)
please – Por favor (poor fah-VOHR)
goodbye – Adeus (ah-DEH-oosh)
hitch-hiking – Carona (ca-RUA-na)
I don’t have money – Não tenho dinheiro (now TE-nyo di-NYE-ro)
 We don’t have money – Não temos dinheiro (now TE-mus di-NYE-ro)
money – Dinheiro ( di-NYE-ro)
I’m going to … – Vou a.. (voo a…)
We are going to– Vamos (VA-mush)
I am…  Sou.. (soh..)
I am from…  Sou de… (soh de..)
Nice to meet you!  Prazer em conhecer (prah-ZEHR ehn koh-NYEH-sehr)
I don’t understand  Não compreendo (now kohn-pree-EHN-doo)
now – Agora (a-GOR-ra)
today – Hoje (OH-dzoo)
yesterday – Ontem (OM-tem)
tomorrow – Amanhã (AH-man-ya)
friend – Amigo (ah-MI-goo)
Very useful when they ask you where you’re staying. The concept of Couchsurfing is often too difficult to explain, so just say you’re staying with a friend. You can also use this word to express the relationship between you and your fellow travellers.
Can you stop? – Pode parar? (PO-dze per-RA)
I want to get out Quero sair (KER-ro sigh-ERR)
turn left – Vire à esquerda (VEER-eeh ah eh-SSKEHR -dah)
turn right  Vire à direita (VEER-eeh ah dee – ray – tah)
straight ahead – Em frente (eng –FRENG- te)
here – Aqui (a-KEY)
over there – Lá (la)
beer – Cerveja (sir-VE-dzya)
You should know this word, you will be often invited for some.
bus station – Estação de ônibus ( shta –SOWNG de ON-nye-boos)
You should know this word and listen out for it to avoid situations when your driver, in their best intentions, takes you off the road and drives you to a station.
train station – Estação de caminhos de ferro (shta –SOWNG de ka–MEE–nyoosh de FE-rroo)
help me! – Socorro! (soo-KO-rroo)
look out! – Ter cuidado! (ter kwi-DA-do)
street – Rua (WHO-a)
road – Estrada (e-SHTRA-da)
roundabout – Rotatória (ho-ta-TO-ri-a)
crossroads – Encruzilhada (en-CRU-si-li-ar-da)

Porto, Portugal (43)

Main Border Crossings

Portugal is a member of the EU and the Schengen Agreement and so the border crossings between Portugal and Spain are no longer manned and thus should not present any problems for travellers.

The main border crossings between Spain and Portugal are as follows:

  • Northern borders:

A3 : Valença do Minho (Portugal) – Tuy (Spain);
IP3: Chaves (Portugal) – Verín (Spain);

  • Central border:

A25: Vilar Formoso (Portugal) – Fuentes de Oñoro (Spain);

  • Southern borders:

A6: Elvas (Portugal) – Badajoz (Spain);
A22: Vila Real de Santo António (Portugal) – Ayamonte (Spain);

However do remember that if you are travelling to Portugal by car, you must bring a 20 € bill to pay for the toll on all the above motorways.

Lisbon, Portugal (6)

written by: Jon


Our Experience

We hitch-hiked in Portugal as part of our ‘A dedo por La Península Ibérica‘ (The Iberian Peninsula by Thumb) trip in 2012.

When hitch-hiking in Portugal we covered 672.1 km and got picked up by around 20 drivers from 6 different countries!

Read about our experience of crossing the Spanish-Portuguese border and watch a video here.

Map of our experience in Portugal



Spain: hitch-hiker’s essentials Braga, Portugal [travel guide]
Spain: hitch-hiker’s essentials
Braga, Portugal [travel guide]

About Hitch-Hikers Handbook

hitch-hiking, backpacking, budget travelling, travel writing, travel photography
Gallery | This entry was posted in *Guides*, Country guides, Hitch-hiking guides, Portugal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Portugal: hitch-hiker’s essentials

  1. Paul Moore says:

    Excellent and valuable information. I hitch-hiked through Portugal in the 80s and in 1996. It’s a wonderful country. I haven’t been there for years and would love to go again. When I get back from the USA, I’ll be heading straight down to Spain. Once I’m re-settled, I’ll probably take a trip to Portugal. I can’t imagine it has changed that much.

  2. Pingback: Portugal’s Absolute Musts | Hitch-Hikers' Handbook

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