How do tolls work with rental cars in Portugal?

We’re driving from Porto to Lisbon next month and are getting a rental car to do so.

How do tolls work generally, and specifically how do they work with rental cars?

Are we going to need to carry exact change with us? Or do they simply charge us later for our usage with some sort of in-dashboard device?

From what I could gather, you can usually opt between adding an in-dashboard device (Via Verde) to the rental and pay for all of it in the end, or just paying tolls as you go, in which case, the rental company will have nothing to do with it.

When paying tolls directly, both cash and credit card are usually accepted - card is faster, because no PIN is required and it’s charged instantly. Some tolls are manned, some are not. You don’t need exact change, but it helps a lot. There are also some electronic-only tolls, where things can get trickier. I don’t know how those would work for you without Via Verde.

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Ok, faz sentido. Muito obrigado!

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I think if you use the car rental company to pay for Via Verde then it is quite expensive so better to pay for it yourself.

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Here’s an informative link with many comments from Reddit/Portugal post


Of course you’ll most likely have to use Google Translate like me

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Hi Vicky
This is also my understanding about Via Verde.
Fortunately last time round I had no need to know because there were no road tolls where I was driving from Faro to Sagres and around.
Next time round this won’t be the case, hence my interest.
Here in New Zealand it’s quite easy as I’m sure it is in Portugal if you know where to go and can understand what’s being asked in a language your are not familiar with.
Here in NZ we just drive through and the camera picks up our registration number and you have 8 days to pay and it is most easily done by going to the correct government website and pay there.

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More info on paying tolls mentioned today at Reddit/P
“When I rent cars in Portugal including with Europcar they always give you the option to rent the toll pass. Just note that you may not see it on your credit card for 30 days or so.”

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In June we rented a car from Faro Airport and paid 20 Euros for a Via Verde transponder, which seems a little expensive but was the easiest thing to do, as it was our first visit to the region since tolls were introduced on the A22 in the Algarve. You register a credit/debit card for the tolls to be charged to. We’re still waiting for the final bill to see what tolls we accumulated!

Using the transponder is easy. Every time you drive under an unmanned toll gantry (on the A22 they’re called taxes, not tolls) the transponder beeps. On the A2, there are toll booths, but you drive through the ones specifically for Via Verde customers without stopping. Most of these on the A2 impose a speed limit of 60km/h as you go through and have speed cameras, so watch out!

I gather that if you drive through the overhead, unmanned gantries without a transponder you can still pay at post offices. Cameras on the gantries record your licence plate.

These websites are quite useful:
http://www.portugaltolls.com/en/web/portal-de-portagens/home#column-6
https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/the-ultimate-guide-to-toll-roads-in-portugal/

I love Portuguese motorways - they are so empty compared to the UK!

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Hi Jeremy
Very useful info.
20 Euros sounds expensive to this frugal Scot especially if you’re not planning on doing lots of driving.
I’m interested in knowing the process of paying at the post office.
Do you simply walk up to the counter and give them your car registration number and they search your number on their computer and they come up with the amount payable?

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Hi kiwijock,
I’m not sure how payment at the post office works, but I did find this:
https://www.ctt.pt/financas-e-pagamentos/portagens/metodos-de-pagamento/pos-pago.html

If I’ve read it correctly, you have 5 working days to pay at a post office, starting from 48 hours after the journey. I guess they trace it using the vehicle registration number.

There’s also something called EASYTOLL and TOLLSERVICE, but I have no idea how they work, and I doubt very much that they are at all easy! LOL

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Hi Jeremy
Thanks for following up on this one.
Also re your comment on tolls/taxes around the Algarve.
It does appear I shall now have to pay the road tax man next time I visit Sagres.
or catch a boat to skip them hehe

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Indeed, kiwijock. There’s no avoiding it!
Showing my age here, but I remember when there was no motorway along the Algarve. Many an hour was spent pinging backwards and forwards along the N125, dreading the engarrafamentos in Odiáxere!

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I forgot to mention, if you’re going to Sagres you might like to stop off at the Hermitage of Our Lady of Guadalupe where, supposedly, Henry the Navigator prayed. It’s a hidden gem!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermitage_of_Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe

Heading west along the N125 take a right turn at a roundabout just before Raposeira. It’s sign posted, if I remember correctly.

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Ah but if you stopped at “O Cacto” in Odiaxiere for lunch the traffic jams became less disagreeable.

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As you know Joseph some toll roads accept cash/cards others not so. I always recommend that if you rent a car in Portugal and know that you need to use the Motorway, rent a Via Verde Transponder from your hire company. It is simple and worthwhile.The costs (Portugal tolls are cheap as chips) are simply added to your credit card.
But if you haven’t a Via Verde and leave a M’way at an unmanned /non cash/non card booth you must pay after 48 hours and before 5 days at a Post Office or Multibanco machine. (see below) and some say that you need a Portuguese Bank Account to use the service Take care though,I have never had to do that, so I cannot guide users through the process because as a Portugal regular I know in advance whether I would use a M’way and usually refuse the transponder. For instance when I am in Tavira I would always travel via the N125 East to West as far as Amancil. The M’way is irrelevant to me. But if I were travelling West from Faro to ,say, Lagos or Sagres I might use the A22 and therefore would have a transponder.
Next month I’m travelling to Celerico do Basto from Porto and will be visiting Vila Real, Guimaraes and Braga so I am almost certain to use the M’ways. So a transponder it is!!

To pay using Multi Banco.
You can request a MB reference number online or via SMS. You will have to provide your NIF number if you want this to reflect on your invoice.

You can SMS the number 68881 with the text, “CTTMB followed with your vehicle registration number and your NIF” e.g. CTTMB XX-YY-ZZ NIFNUMBER-

Your will then receive an SMS showing the Toll Fee Owed data and the deadline for making payment. The cost of the SMS will be €0.30 plus VAT at the current rate.

When making payment by Online Banking or at an ATM: Select Payments followed by Payment of Services. Enter your data in the respective fields.

  1. The Entity: 21154 (CTT Correiois de Portugal SA)
  2. The reference number provided by CTT for each licence plate
  3. The amount to be paid in € (which will include tolls plus administration charges)
  4. You will recieve a confirmation of payment SMS within 48 hours with reference number to obtain an invoice.
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Perfect, @mac.cummings, thanks for the post!

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I would guess that you know Jeremy, but others may not, that you can avoid tolls on the A22 on specific sections of the route. The locals use them. They lie between the pontos de cobranca. They usually cover just two or three junctions as marked on the plan here
http://www.portugaltolls.com/documents/11238/85d46990-3228-4cff-a4fc-6064fb22b243

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Hi Mac! Yes, by being creative with your route planning you can dodge quite a few pontos. Thanks for the link to the map - I haven’t seen that before and it’s very useful :grinning:

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FYI if like me you’re still confused by the road tax (don’t call them tolls I’ve been told) in Portugal maybe you’d like to read this Reddit/Portugal post https://old.reddit.com/r/portugal/comments/d6xj14/toll_pass_question/
The post begins,“I rented a car in Lisboa from Budget and paid the extra to activate the Via Verde pass. However, when I drive through the tolls the signal flashes yellow…”

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I’m just back from Porto, Braga, Guimarães, Amorante, Celerico do Basto etc. Rented from Avis as I always do worldwide… Paid for VV transponder because I knew I would make extensive use of the autoroutes. No problems, Glide through the VV lanes usually left and right. System even tells you how much journey cost as an LED display.
East peasy!!

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