Portugal has the highest accident rate in Europe, so, be careful in traffic.
They hardly keep the speed limits and they overtake at the most impossible places. Please remember that just because the Locals get away with it, it doesn't mean you will. Fines for traffic offences are substantial in Portugal. Such infringements as speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, the use of mobile phones whilst driving and illegal parking are heavily penalised. Special emphasis is also placed on the use of child safety seats and seat belts in the rear of the vehicle. The police have the authority to fine on-the-spot and most of their vehicles are equipped with portable ATM machines to facilitate immediate payment. The Portuguese Highway Code can be found (in Portuguese) at: http://www.dgv.pt
You must keep your passport, Driving License and car hire/Insurance agreement with you in case you are stopped by the police. You will have problems if you have not got them.
Don't drink and drive , the Alcohol limit is only 50mg per 100ml but the police operate a no tolerance policy and you could well end up in Jail for having a couple of glasses of wine with your meal or for having a few to many the night before.
Some other limits
Within the built-up area: 60km
Outside the built-up area: 90km
Main roads: 100km
The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory.
Insurance and a valid British drivers license is compulsory.
Although the Motorway in the Algarve which goes from The boarder of Spain to Lagos is Toll free, if you want to explore the country up to and around Lisbon there is a toll system in operation on the motorways. Heavy fines are imposed on those who do not or cannot pay toll fees. You should take care not to use the green lanes reserved for motorists who subscribe to the automatic pay system.
- Road Trip
Have Important Numbers
Emergency Numbers: Dial 112 for Police, Ambulance and Fire from any phone (free)
GNR (Police):Tel. 282 420 750
District Hospital Portimão: Tel. 282 450 300
Bombeiros (Firefighters): Tel. 282 420 130
Health centre: Tel. 282 459 268
Health centre in Mexilhoeira Grande: Tel. 282 968 133
Pharmacy: Tel. 282 459 588
Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa (Red Cross) in Lagos: Tel. 282 760 611
Tourist support services Tel: 808 781 212
(if you are calling from a foreign mobile phone in the Algarve, Portugal, you will need to dial 00351 in front of the numbers)
While i have been in Alvor there have been a lot of Gypsy's camped on Alvor Dunas, i was asked if i wanted to buy a watch and then if i wanted drugs on 4 occasions in less than an hour and they were quite intimidating.
This is a bit of a bizarre danger, but I will mention it anyway. When driving around the tiny streets of Alvor, it is really easy to get lost. If you end up on the cobbled parts, then it is really difficult to get out again, especially if you have a Peugot 206 estate (which is huge) and you have to try to do a 64 point turn!!
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