What you should know before hiring a car in Lisbon
|Lisbon city centre|
|Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS): 4 mi from city centre|
Car hires in Lisbon: practical information
Where to rent a car in Lisbon
Welcome to the capital of Portugal! This city is booming, thanks for a renaissance in tourism in the last couple years. While the city's old and narrow streets aren't too car-friendly, you'll definitely be needing an economy car hire in Lisbon to get out of the city and explore other parts of Portugal. The airport is the ideal place to pick up your rental car in Lisbon and you should book one at the same time you book your tickets from London to Lisbon. There are several car hire companies at the airport including Europcar, Avis, Budget and Hertz. You can budget around £70/week to hire a car in Lisbon. From the airport you should take the A1 Lisbon to go north with your Lisbon car hire. If you're heading south, exit the A at 2a, then join up with the Vasco de Gama Bridge.
If you don't choose to pick up a rent car in Lisbon at the airport, you can do so in the city. Keep in mind however that you'll also need to battle with city driving and traffic as well. Once you're out of the city however, it's easy. Many major hotels in Lisbon have car hire services right on their premises, otherwise you can find rental offices in and around the city centre. Europcar is next to the train station, Avis in the Hotel Tivoli and Cael Rent-a-car on R. Braamcamp.
Driving in Lisbon: parking and other tips
Parking is difficult in Lisbon in certain areas but don't let that put you off a Lisbon car rental during your holidays in Lisbon. If you know which parts of the city to avoid however, it's a breeze. If your hotel in Lisbon offers free parking, then that's the most ideal situation, especially if you won't be needing the car every day of your trip.
In general you will see blue lines painted where you can park in and around the city. You must pay for parking in the nearby meter between Monday and Friday, from 8am until 8pm and on Saturdays from 8am until 6pm. Yellow and red lines on the road indicate that no parking is permitted. If you rental car isn't ticketed, it will be clamped or even worse, towed. To find a parking lot near your hotel, check out emel.pt.
Road trips from Lisbon: what to do, what to see
It will take you a mere 30 minutes to reach Sintra, an UNESCO Heritage town just outside of Lisbon. It has been the hometown of countless generations of Portuguese royalty and its Royal Palace is a sight to see! Located along the Estoril coast, this town is incredibly scenic and could easily be made into a day trip. If you're shopping for souvenirs, Sintra is known for their ceramics and other handcrafts, easily found in the town's historic district.
If you're into surfing, then you must plan a trip to Ericeira. It's a quiet seaside resort in Mafra, not too far from Sintra. Here you can either spent you days at the beach lounging, or rent a surf board and hit the waves. It's off the tourist trail a bit, which is great if you're hoping to experience the real Portuguese beach culture.
Heading south from Lisbon you'll run into Setúbal, also along the coast but this town is more popular for its seafood than anything else. Tuck into the fresh catch of the day at any seaside restaurant and you won't be disappointed. Nearby is Serra da Arrábida, a great nature spot for hiking just make sure you bring a map because it's easy to get lost there.