The Ultimate Guide to Toll Roads in Portugal. What Every Traveler Should Know.

Days before driving into Portugal on a three week whirlwind tour that took us from Salamanca, Spain to Porto in the north down the coast to the Algarve region in the south, Micki and I were busy reading up on everything we could about the country.

We thought we knew everything we needed before entering Portugal. However, as we frantically searched around for a post office to pay some tolls we knew nothing about on the last day of our trip, we knew we obviously missed something important along the way. It seems, like countless others before us, we had misunderstood how the toll roads worked in Portugal…

EASYToll Sign As You Enter The Country
EASYToll Sign As You Enter Portugal

One of the biggest complaints from tourists entering Portugal these days revolves around Portugal’s new toll roads. Toll roads have existed in Portugal for years, but up until late 2012, they were all manned and drivers always had the option of paying the tolls as they went.

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In the past years, electronic toll roads have sprung up everywhere in Portugal. Unlike the old tolls, simply paying the toll as you go isn’t an option. These new unmanned tolls are completely electronic and if you don’t pay up, the fines can add up quickly.

As of right now, there are two main types of toll collection for roads in Portugal. Via Verde lanes on the traditional toll roads and Electronic Toll roads.

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Via Verde Sign
Via Verde Sign

The older, traditional toll roads, chiefly encountered around the bigger centers has what is called a Via Verde (Green Lane). These toll lanes are well marked with large green slanted V signs. The ones we drove through were always on the left however that might not be the case for all of them.

Currently, any place you see a Via Verde lane, you can pay in the other lanes as you go (using bills, coins, credit cards or prepaid cards) for each leg you travel.

In order for you to use a Via Verde lane, you must buy or temporarily rent an electronic transponder that is prepaid and gets debited every time you drive through the Via Verde toll lane.

Do not use this lane unless you have a Via Verde Transponder.

Portugal Electronic Tolls Sign
Electronic Tolls Sign

The new toll road system is known simply as Electronic Tolls. These toll roads aren’t as well marked and many people won’t even realize they are driving on them until they pass underneath a huge array of cameras.

The sign for the Electronic Tolls is a dark car with three circular beams expanding toward it. Practically every new major highway in Portugal is now an electronic toll road and though you can still bypass nearly all of them, it’s getting harder to get around the country without driving on one.

These toll roads do not have any toll booths and can’t be paid for as you go.

Problems with Electronic Tolls

As soon as these new electronic toll roads were introduced, they quickly became the bane of the tourist industry in Portugal and various political groups are trying to to get them removed. We met a lot of people from around the country that blame the new tolls for the steady decline of people driving into Portugal. With not a lot of information available, I can understand a dislike of the tolls.

If you’re are feeling reluctant to drive into Portugal or are flying in and want to rent a vehicle, know this: It’s not really that huge of a cost or hassle, assuming you understand the system.

Our final tally of Electronic Tolls after three weeks of driving from one end of the country to the other in a rental car only came to 30 Euro. We paid nearly that much in one stretch of Spain so the cost is not that bad considering the quality of the roads you get to drive on and the speed in which you can get around the country. The biggest problem is that there are a few things you need to know before going there.

There are two great resources on the web in regards to the tolls. I won’t rewrite everything since they provide lots of useful information and I’ll list them both at the end of this post. The problem with them is that neither list the following notes. These can save you a headache and after all that deliciously sweet Port wine, it would be a shame to leave the country on a sour note.

Note! For some reason, the main Portugal Tolls site ( seems to be intermittently onelin and offline. I’m not sure if it’s a permanent thing or server problems, however it was the primary source of legitimate government run info regarding Portugal Tolls on the internet. I’m leaving the links up with hope that the site comes back online for everyone.

What You Need To Know About Portugal’s Electronic Toll Roads:

  1. Electronic Toll roads and traditional Via Verde lanes are separate systems.
  2. Via Verde devices will work on Electronic Toll Roads however the EASYToll, TOLLCard and TOLLService will not work in Via Verde lanes. I repeat, EASYToll, TOLLCard and TOLLService will not work in Via Verde lanes. They’re completely independent systems. This is the one that slipped us up since we thought we could use our EASYTolls prepaid receipt in the Via Verde lanes. Turns out you can’t.
  3. The easiest option for foreign visitors driving into the country from Spain is the EASYToll option. If you’re driving in via highway A-25 (E-80) from Salamanca, just keep driving as you cross the border into Portugal. About five kilometers in (we thought we must have missed it) and well past the little border town there are huge signs and directions to the EASYToll dispenser (it looks a little like a vending machine) just off the highway (close to a gas station). After pulling into the station we turned around and drove up to the EASYToll booth. We dropped in our credit card and the ticket instantly popped out with our license plate already on the ticket. It was incredibly easy to do, it lasts for 30 days and can be cancelled via their site as you leave the country.
EASYToll Dispenser
EASYToll Dispenser
  • If you’re only driving in Portugal for the weekend or for three days, then the €20 unlimited use TOLLService is a decent deal. With it you can drive on any of the Electronic Toll highways (excluding the Via Verde toll roads) for the set price. You can also buy the card with cash at numerous locations around the country.
  • The TOLLCard is a great way to purchase credits using cash for the Electronic Toll roads without having to use a credit card. The only real drawbacks to the TOLLCard is that you might leave the country with unused credit (which would be a waste of money) or you might need to top it up as you go. You also need to text (sms) the card number and the license plate with a cellphone to the Portuguese number on the toll card. This requires a cellphone that works in Portugal and perhaps the additional cost of a text to Portugal.
  • If you haven’t prepaid on the Electronic Toll highways and don’t have a Via Verde transponder, you might get stopped and either get fined or have to instantly pay for a toll ticket. The highways are aggressively monitored and we’ve already heard lots of stories (like this account from our friends at Wagoner’s Abroad) of these drive by ticketers (not police officers but they can issue tickets). They’re especially common on Highway A-22 in the southern Algarve region and Highway A-25 in the north coming in from Salamanca. Both highways are the main entrances/exits to Spain and where the greatest amount of visitors enter the country.
  • Via Verde devices can be bought or rented at any CTT Post Office in the country as well as all Via Verdes stores and many service areas. The service centers are usually contained within a toll route and allow you to rent the device with cash. There’s a weekly rental cost (currently 6 Euro the first week and 1.5 Euro each week after plus a refundable deposit). The rental is only valid for 90 days unless recharged before that time.
  • Via Verde devices can also be used to pay at certain gas stations, on Atlantic Ferries and certain car parks throughout Portugal.
  • Prepayment isn’t the only way you can pay for driving on an Electronic Tolls highway. If you haven’t bought a ticket you can pay at any CTT post office in the country after the fact. The problem is that sometimes it takes a few days for the bill to show up (it will be linked to the car’s license plate) and also that nearly every post office in Portugal is closed on Sundays. This means that if you’re driving out of the country on a Sunday and haven’t prepaid, you’re still not going to be able to pay. You also only have five business days to make the payment before it turns into a fine. There’s also a small administrative fee for each leg traveled if you pay this way. Supposedly it’s only allowed for Portuguese registered cars, however we’ve seen numerous posts saying otherwise. Probably not the best choice and I only include it here as a last resort if you’ve mistakenly driven one of the roads and didn’t pre-purchase a ticket. They now also offer an online purchase system via the CTT website.
  • Fines are currently 10 times the amount of the toll if you don’t pay up. Since every Electronic Toll highway is outfitted with dozens of cameras, the chance of them not noticing you is about zero. That being said, we’ve read more than a few accounts boldly stating that if you have a license plate from another country they can’t make you pay. This is completely word of mouth and could change any day so I personally wouldn’t risk it. If you rented a vehicle in Portugal, you’re flat out of luck. The ticket will just get sent to the rental office and they will charge your credit card accordingly.
  • Toll Roads displaying the Via Verde sign still have manned booths where you can pay per leg, but a lot of people we talked to have said that Portugal plans on going cashless everywhere eventually. How this system will work is still up for debate, but they will probably follow the electronic toll example. It’s also still unclear when, if ever, the two toll systems will totally merge. At this point, it’s being handled by two different divisions in the government so it might never happen.
  • Many rental car companies in Portugal have Via Verde transponders pre-installed in their cars and many even have deals in place with the Electronic Toll routes. Make sure you ask the company you’re renting with how their systems work with both toll systems in Portugal. You definitely don’t want to be paying double if you’re already being charged by the rental company!
  • As far as we could find, no rental car companies outside of Portugal have any deals with Portugal Toll payments. This means that if you don’t pay your toll you could be charged the fine via the credit card linked with your car rental. This is very common with Spain rentals and speed violations while in Spain however I’ve never heard of a toll charged for outside the country. This could change any time so you have been warned.
  • Here’s the official site of Portugal Tolls. Click on the Foreign Vehicles link to see the site in English.

    Another great link for information on Portugal’s tolls is Visit Portugal.

    If you want to find out more about Via Verde, you can follow the link to the Via Verde homepage.

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    84 Responses

    1. Heidi Wagoner

      Hi guys! This is fantastic information and just what we could have used prior to going into Portugal. Yes it would have been a better deal for us to do our homework in advance. We should have purchased the 3 day driving pass for the 20 Euros. It was odd being approached and asked to pay along side the road.

      • Charles Kosman

        Heidi, we knew we would be doing a post on Portugal’s toll roads the moment we drove into the country and couldn’t immediately find the Electronic Tolls booth. Whatever info we found out there before driving on their roads seemed to leave a few things out.

        Hope you don’t mind that I linked to your post since I think between both of ours people should be able to find what they need and your story about the ticket guys chasing you down is hilarious.

        Hope you guys are doing well!

    2. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

      Ugh, the tolls in Iberia are the absolute worst! They always get you on the radials near Madrid, and even going to the beach means paying nearly 13 euros more from Seville to Cadiz. Great, comprehensive article – will be sharing!

      • Charles Kosman

        Cat, we were quite shocked how much the tolls were as we drove from Seville down to Gibraltar then back up to Malaga and then eventually North towards Valencia. We probably should have taken a few of the free smaller roads however we were pressed for time and Cole was having issues with winding roads around then. It was definitely more expensive than Portugal yet we didn’t read too many people complaining about the tolls compared to Portugal. Oh well, live and learn!

    3. Larissa

      Great tips. . . and here’s another. Do NOT lose your toll ticket if you use one. We did, and were responsible for paying the maximum toll! Thus our 15-mile trip on the autoroute cost us about 40 euros (instead of about 3). Not our proudest travel moment 😛

      • Charles Kosman

        Larissa, every traveler eventually does something similar that costs them more than they expected. Doesn’t matter how many hours you plan, research or budget for there are always things that catch you off guard. Years ago, we once had to retrace 300 kilometers because I forgot a pair of glasses on the sink in the hotel we stayed. Another time we ran out of gas 20 kilometers from the nearest small town. I think it’s those circumstances that provide some of the best travel stories. At least, once your home. 😉

    4. Marina K. Villatoro

      I didn’t realize all that goes with toll roads there. I don’t even think you need this much info for the US. I’ve lived way too long in countries without any tolls – but the roads suck too 🙂

      • Charles Kosman

        Toll roads suck no matter which way you slice it. We’re definitely sheltered from them compared to Europe. I don’t even mind having to stop every now and again but the nickels and dimes start to add up and renting a car rather than taking a train or bus can end up being more than you expected. One nice thing about most toll roads is that they are some of the quickest and smoothest roads you’ll ever travel. Of course, that usually means they’re boring as well. 🙂

      • Charles Kosman

        Yup, European toll roads definitely come with a hefty price tag. Nice and smooth though. They’re also remarkably empty compared to the smaller roads.

      • Charles Kosman

        Mary, driving in Portugal was some of the craziest I’ve ever done. We literally had to fold the mirrors in at times to drive down some of the older alleyways. More than once I had to reverse over a block just so the oncoming car had enough room to pass by. I will give them credit for their parking abilities though. Of course, that’s the reason why nearly every car has numerous scrapes on their bumpers…

    5. Julie Dawn Fox

      It’s really useful to hear about your experience of the Easy Toll system. I live in Portugal and have recently caved in and bought a Via Verde device to get around the headache of paying for the electronic tolls at the post office.

      One thing I’d like to clarify in your article is about the Via Verde – it isn’t a type of toll road, it’s just a way of paying your toll. On the older motorways, drivers have the option of paying their toll at a manned or unmanned booth or, if (and only if) they have a Via Verde electronic device which connects their car registration with their bank account, they can avoid having to stop their car to pay and just drive through the toll gate, knowing that their bank account will be debited eventually.

      The Via Verde devices work on both the electronic tolls and the ‘normal’ toll roads. The Easy Toll system is only for electronic toll roads. If you want to use the older toll roads, you’ll need to pay separately because you’re not registered with Via Verde.

      You can hire a Via Verde device if it suits your travel plans better e.g. you’re staying longer or making frequent visits to Portugal. Otherwise, it’s probably better to go with Easy Toll.

      For more tips about actually driving in Portugal, you can check out my site.

      • Charles Kosman

        Thanks for the heads up Julie. While we were in Portugal we kept getting mixed messages from the locals and more than one person told us directly that the two systems weren’t interchangeable. While researching this post I also looked around and found another site that completely contradicted what you wrote. The reason I wrote the post in the first place was because there was so much confusion around the toll roads even for the locals.

        I reread the main sites again just now and it seems you’re right! You can use the Via Verde devices on the electronic toll roads. You just can’t use the EasyToll Passes in the Via Verde lanes on the traditional toll roads (which is what we ended up doing). Strange, I never noticed that when I wrote this however I’ll update the post with the relevant information. Thanks for setting it straight and I hope you’re enjoying living in Portugal. It’s a great country.

    6. Julie Dawn Fox

      To be honest, I think you did a great job of sifting through the confusing and conflicting information. Like you say, it’s confusing enough for people who live here so visitors are left even more baffled. The Easy Toll system sounds great, as long as you’re entering Portugal at one of the appropriate points.

      Whatever option people choose, the point is that it needs to be researched and planned in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises and inconveniences.

      It was a poorly thought out toll system – when it was first introduced, there was no way for foreign-registered cars to pay. At least now it’s a little bit more organised even if it’s not much clearer!

      Toll roads aside, I love living in Portugal 😉

    7. Marianne

      Hi Charles – it was me that sent the link to your site to Julie Dawn Fox. I was asking her about the toll system as I got a bit confused with conflicting information, but now, thanks to the chat between the two of you, I think I have got it straighter in my mind. 🙂

      We are going to be driving into Portugal from our home in Spain in the next couple of weeks – so time will tell if I’ve understood or not!

      Great resource 🙂

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Marianne. Thanks for double checking! I rewrote the information about Via Verde and changed some of the info to try to make it a little clearer. If you’re driving into Portugal for only a set amount of time just stop at the first EASYToll station and grab the EASYToll pass with a credit card. Automatically associates it with your license plate and you’re good up to 30 days on any electronic toll roads.

        Here are the main highway entry points with the EASYToll machines. They have them on every major road into Portugal.

        A28 – Viana do Castelo; A24 – Chaves; A25 – Vilar Formoso; A22 – Vila Real de Santo António

        Whenever you see a “traditional” tollroad (you’ll see big Via Verde signs leading up to it whereas an electronic toll road you probably won’t even realize you’re on) just stop and pay the toll from the manned tollbooth. Simple as that.

        After you leave Portugal, if it isn’t your car (say you rented it in Spain for the trip) go to this site and scroll to the bottom and cancel the pass so it no longer associates your credit card to that license plate.

        Alternatively you can stop at a CTT post office or the first service station you see with a Via Verde sign and rent a Via Verde transponder tag. Costs a bit more up front and more to worry about (you have to return it before leaving the country) however then you can breeze through any toll in the country without having to stop.

        I prefer the first option myself due to it’s simplicity and the amount of times you have to stop at a Via Verde tollbooth shouldn’t be a big deal on a simple trip since they’re mostly found on the outskirts of the major cities.

        Have fun in Portugal. It’s a great place to visit.

    8. Julie Dawn Fox

      Hi Charles, I’ve just read your updated information and I don’t mean to be picky but I think it would be better to avoid referring to the traditional / manned toll roads as Via Verde roads. As I mentioned before, Via Verde is merely a payment collection system for people who have a particular electronic device fitted in their cars, not a type of motorway or toll road. If you have a Via Verde device, you can just drive through without stopping.

      If you drive through the Via Verde lane on a traditional toll road without a Via Verde device, you won’t have a ticket and will be forced to pay for the entire length of the motorway at the other end. I know this because it happened to me once and I had to pay about 50 euros.

      If you haven’t got a Via Verde device DO NOT use the Via Verde lane. Avoid it like the plague and head to a booth to make your payment.

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Julie. I realize that Via Verde is only a payment system for the traditional toll roads (amongst other things) however it’s also one of the best signs to know that a traditional toll is approaching. I’ll redo that first instance to make it more clear to any readers.

        I’ll also definitely highlight the “don’t drive in the Via Verde lane” if you don’t have a Via Verde device. That’s a good reminder for sure.

        As to your ticket that really sucks and we’ve heard of more than one instance of people losing their ticket stub and paying the maximum fare. That being said, we did manage to drive through those lanes 3 times without a ticket (we thought the EASYToll covered it). The difference was that we didn’t stop at a manned booth at the toll exit. Hence the reason for this post and the 3 months of waiting for a big fine that never appeared. (Probably had to do with having an outside the country rental car.)

        What annoys me the most is that they can capture the license plate and send a fine however they can’t look at the EASYToll database, match the license plate to our credit card and just charge us accordingly. Hopefully one day the two systems will be better linked.

        Thanks for the attention to detail.

    9. Giuseppe

      They should close down this company. The system is very murky and very very very bad for tourism in Portugal. I have written several times to them for having been overcharged without getting any HONEST answer to my case. Avoid Portugal Tollcard highway if you can.

    10. ruth

      Good tips here, easily understood. We have been going to Portugal since the electronic tolls were implemented and have used Portuguese plated (rental ) cars and paid at the post office three days after incurring the fine, be aware that some of the low cost rental companies leave you to sort out your own tolls and do not rent a transponder. We have managed several ways…get a neighbour to pay for tolls incurred on the way to the airport, using the reg no. at the local post office, on another occasion we paid the rental company the tolls, and another time I paid online.

      We have also come in our own Uk cars. First time there was no system in place and we never did pay for any of the tolls.The next we bought a 30 day card which was the only option offered. This expired after 30days and we were unable to renew it (phone number for helpline was unobtainable!!) We ran up more tolls and were unable to pay…the post office would not take the money for foreign cars and after fruitless attempts to get advice, we gave up.

      THIS time we intend to get a TOLLCARD and, hopefully will be legal for the entire trip! It is a bit of a logistic nightmare!

    11. Arno

      Hi guys,

      I used a rental car from “BudgetRentACar” last week. I asked the guy at the office about the ViaVerde transponder. He told me it was pre-intalled in the car… And yes it was there..

      The problem:
      When i returned the car i asked him how to pay the toll registered by ViaVerde. He told me I never rented the transponder from them and it was impossible for me to use it because I didn’t sign the contract (that i never got). Interesting thing is that in the ViaVerde lanes the lights where green when passing through and toll charges were displayed correctly…

      Does anybody now how this will go futher? Offcourse i wil pay the toll used but wast the trasponder at that time working?? Or wil i get a (lot of !!) fines?

      • Charles Kosman

        Arno, I think it depends on the rental company. When we went through a few Via Verde lanes thinking it was attached to our Tollcard, the lights stayed red (it was our first wake up call that something wasn’t right). So it would seem that your transponder was working. I’m guessing that Budget will get charged the amount and then pass it on to you as an extra charge on your credit card. Whether they bill you an extra charge for the inconvenience is up to them.

        Since the car is registered to Budget, if the transponder wasn’t actually working they will get the fine(s) from the government and then mail you the ticket(s). You will have around 30 days to pay it from the day Budget get’s it, not you, or the fine will double. Not very fair however we know a few people who this happened to.

        I would say to read the fine print in your contract to see if they mention it. If you’re still in Portugal (and know the vehicle license number, should be on your contract) you could go into a CTT post office and try to pay the amount there before it becomes a fine. You have 3 days to a week to pay it I believe. If there’s nothing in the system then it was probably charged to the transponder and now it’s in Budgets hands.

        As a last resort you can call Budget and explain your situation to see what they say about it. Otherwise, I suggest you do like the ostriches do, put your head down and hope nothing crazy comes flying at you! 😉

        Post back here in a month or two and let us know what happened! I think Portugal has the most confusing toll collection system I’ve ever come across. They need to combine the two systems and allow you to do all transactions (including paying) online or in person with reasonable time frames to do it all before a fine is even considered. Good luck!

    12. Alexander

      Thank you very much for sharing this very helpful post!
      The Portuguese toll policy has unfortunately led to a two class society when it comes to driving. A greater part of the Portuguese population cannot afford to use the highways because of the toll system. And that leads to more and more pollution in smaller towns and other negative consequences.

      • Ray Vogensen

        A good article, but the information given only applies to those foreigners who enter Portugal by rented vehicles. I have been living here for many years and I use an electronic toll road all the time–between Chaves and Vila Real, in the north. I of course, being practical and a resident, have a transponder from Via Verde in my car and I have any tolls deducted from my bank account every month. Nevertheless, the problem arises with those who enter the country with non Portuguese license plates. Some of them actually pay but, according to one site, five out of six cars do not pay and nothing every happens. You see, the system can identify a foreign license plate but no one is going to send a letter to someone in Finland, Czech Republic, or even to nearby Spain to try to collect the money. Firstly, the information about the driver will not be available to the Portuguese authorities, and secondly they have no way to collect even if they have the information. The result is that the foreign registered cars pay only if they want to. The idiots who designed the system apparently never thought about the foreign cars, who in some parts of the country–near Chaves for example–make up more that 50% of the vehicle traffic. There must be a reason why Portugal is the only country in Europe that has electronic tolls without the second option of paying at a booth. If there is another country I would love to find out.

    13. June

      How confusing it all is. We are intending to arrive in Santander and drive our own UK car from there down to Foz do Arelho in Portugal. Can anyone give us some tips on the likely toll roads we will encounter. We will be in Portugal for 3 months before driving back to catch the ferry in Santander. While in Portugal we intent to use the car frequently although not necessarily on toll roads. Sounds like the Via Verde machine might be safest. Any input will be gratefully received. Thanks

      • Rob A

        I’m living in Portugal and saw all these changes happen. Don’t overthink this. You’re going to be staying in Portugal for 3 months, so head to the nearest ViaVerde or post office (the Portuguese post office is called CTT BTW, and have a red sign) and get a ViaVerde device. Anything else is a hassle.

    14. Michael G.

      The first and only real information I found about toll system in Portugal. Realy great job you did.

    15. Ivor

      Great info, so the outcome I’ve gleaned from all this is, drive on the toll roads but don’t pay if you have UK plates because they can never fine you.
      Well that’s one headache out of the way, cheers.

      • Charles Kosman

        Haha, not quite that easy but that does tend to happen right now.

        The problem is the status quo could change at any moment, if Portugal makes an collection agreement with the UK for instance, and you’re forgetting the possibility that you get pulled over and fined if you don’t have a valid toll card. They would probably just make you buy a toll card on the spot as what happened with the Wagoners but we’ve heard of people being fined as well.

        Of course it’s up to you on how much you’re willing to risk.

    16. Mike P.

      Thanks for the great write-up – would have been great to read a week ago ;). We drove down from Lisbon to the A22 in a Spanish rental car five days ago. At night. I’ve been googling trying to figure out what/how I should be paying. According to foreign cars can’t use the “post-payment systems”, which sounds like we would have had to have paid before driving on the A22. I think I’ll call the contact phone number today and see if they can be helpful. Crossing my fingers…

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Mike, we had a similar problem and couldn’t rectify it post trip either. We expected to see a charge on our rental credit card at some point in the future but nothing ever showed up. At the time it seemed they had a hard time enforcing out of country fines so I expect that’s why we were never charged.

        No idea what’s happening today so can’t tell you to just ignore it however if you had a rental car from Spain I doubt they’ll be able to charge you. Of course, I don’t recommend in any way not paying as you go but if it’s that hard to post pay, it might be your only option at this point. Please let us know what you find out so others in a similar situation have an answer.

        Thanks and good luck!

        • albert

          hi all. i was planning a fly drive trip to portugal this spring to freely explore the whole country. after reading this i am looking at other options and there are very many to choose from. very interesting but totally confusing.

        • Charles Kosman

          Albert, it’s not really all that hard once you know what to expect when you get to Portugal. The Via Verde toll lanes still offer tollbooths so you just pay as needed.

          If you’re using an electronic toll lane you just get a TollCard or use EasyPay. You can get those from one of the places mentioned above.

          Portugal is a great country with a lot to see. Don’t let a few toll issues deter you from seeing everything it offers.

    17. Alex

      Hi Charles, really appreciate your post, the information is very helpful and complementary to what is found at portugaltolls website.

      I have a question about the EasyToll machines though – how does the process of paying with credit card look like there? You insert chip or swipe your card? Are you being prompted to enter PIN? Do they print a receipt? Do they have English language menu option after all?

      We still have many credit cards without a chip in US and even the ones that have chip – do not come with a PIN (since US decided to implement different way of the chip card standard – Chip+Signature, instead of European Chip+PIN), but there is often no way to sign for the purchase in unmanned terminals in Europe.


      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Alex, I honestly can’t remember the exact set up off the top of my head but it’s a self managed machine you use while still in your car similar to a drive thru ATM. I seem to recall that it was a swipe machine and you can definitely select your language.

        You will get a receipt for it and I suggest you hold on to it as proof should you need it.

        Hope that helps.

    18. chris

      hi charles, i am planning to rent a car in madrid and drive into faro via A22. i am planning to stay in faro for 3 to 4 days. i understand that there is a 3 days pass at around 20 euro. do you know exactly how this 3 days is being counted? does that mean 72 hours from the time that i enter into portugal or otherwise?

      and where can i buy this 3 days pass? at an easy-toll machine along A22?

      thanks a lot

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Chris. I believe it is 72 hours however don’t quote me on that. 😉

        It’s been a while since we were there and I remember reading about it online at the time but I can’t find the info now.

        According to their site, you can buy the pass at all A24 highway service areas, at Porto and Faro airports and Matosinhos IKEA.

        We just bought the TollCard and used our credit card. It’s the simplest thing to do and they never overcharged us. Just remember to pay when using the Via Verde roads (there’s always a tollbooth for those) and you’re good to go.

    19. duncan

      Just back from Portugal. All toll roads had people in booths collecting cash. June 2016

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Duncan, thanks for posting but I can’t find confirmation about that on any other site. Can you tell me which of the toll roads you were on so I can confirm?

    20. Crystal

      So what do you do if you have gone through the electronic tolls in your UK owned car, didn’t know you could only pay in advance and were leaving the next day on a Sunday? This is my situation and I just don’t know what to do. I am now in Spain and do not want fines. Any help would be appreciated.

      • Charles Kosman

        Crystal, we were in a similar situation however with the Via Verde lane and couldn’t pay on a Sunday either. Waited for months to get a fine that never came and that’s when I decided I should write this post to help others in a similar situation avoid the problem entirely.

        To be honest, not sure you can do anything at this point however we have yet to hear of a person being fined with a non Portuguese vehicle so in all likelihood you should be fine. It seems the biggest danger to foreign vehicles is being stopped and ticketed while in the country without a valid toll card and since we personally know 2 people who this happened to, take that as you will.

    21. Anne-Sophie

      Hello! Do you know how to close the account with the Toll card? We had a rented car from France and we bought a pre-payed toll card online but we can’t figure out how to close the account so we don’t get charge for the next person renting the same car. Thanks!

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Anne-Sophie, I believe you can check and edit your Tollcard info here as long as you still have your Tollcard info. This site will lead you there and also provide more options I believe.

        Good luck!

    22. Coral

      Very useful information indeed! I entered Portugal from Badajoz, without realising anything about this toll system, thinking I could pay as I went, or post pay. In short, thought it would be logical. Having traversed the country to the north I bought a visa debit ticket for 30 days.
      Question 1. Can I be stopped and have to pay for that one day, eg is it tracable for the traffic controllers?
      Question 2: Can take out a second 30 days when this ticket expires?

      Many thanks

    23. Wp

      Hello guys

      I didnt knew anything about tolls in portugal. I came into portugal and thought that their system would be same as Spain, my bad, it was not so. Now i already have passed 15 electronic tolls and one unpaid ticket from verkar, i took wrong traffic lane and thats why i missed to pay it. How can i pay them? Have 3 days left in portugal and i dont want to do any misstakes before leaving the country. Can u guys help me out please!!!

    24. Laur

      Missed the turn cause the little sign was craftily hidden behind petrol station sign. No chance to turn back. After 30 minutes got back there. Now waiting in line for another 30 minutes and no end in sight. Thunking of turning back to spain and spend the vacation there. Thanks for your site, would have just driven on otherwise. Paying the penalty seems a much more economic option.

    25. Felix Ansell

      I can confirm that, at present, you can drive a foreign registered vehicle on electronic toll roads in Portugal without having to pay. Not only not having to pay but actually unable to. We found ourselves inadvertently (beware, this is quite easy to do!) on one of these roads earlier this year and, being good citizens, tried to pay afterwards. The conclusion of our email correspondence with the toll company was that they do not have facilities for recognising and charging foreign vehicles.

      • Charles Kosman

        That definitely seems to be the case Felix however it should be noted that those highways are continually patrolled and you can get pulled over and fined if you don’t have a valid ticket.

    26. Shawn

      Don’t drive in Portugal. I just drove from North of Coimbra to just west of Lisbon and it was 47 Euro in tolls.WTF. like 100 miles. It takes three times longer to get to anywhere if you avoid the tolls. And after reading this article I thought well thirty Euro oh well, reasonable from North to South. But at this rate it will cost me 100 from Porto to Lagos. Seriously considering skipping the rest of Portugal and going back to Spain. Things are cheap in Portugal but they will get your money if drive the toll roads. Not the only problem either. Its a nightmare the system. And who Speaks Portuguese if you are not from Portugal or Brazil. I came here once before by train and that was depressing. Do yourself a favor. If you are visiting Portugal pick Porto or Lagos. Fly direct, stay where you are and don’t travel in country.

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Shawn. Not sure why it’s costing you a ton. Are you going back and forth along certain routes? We drove in from Spain to Porto then down to Lisbon through Coimbra and down to the Algarve region back into Spain and it cost us just under 30 Euro with the Easytoll. We also stayed to the main roads for most of our trip. Possible the tolls have increased since we went but that price seems a little high for what you drove. Which toll system did you go with?

        If you’re doing all your driving on certain days, maybe the 3 day passes for 20 Euro are your best option. Portugal is a great place and lots of stuff to see and do there.

    27. G Chivrall

      Letter sent to the Portugese tourist board 7 November 2016:-

      “We visited Portugal for a week at the end of October 2016 seeking a stress free holiday and good weather. We landed at Porto from Carcassonne (we are ex-pat English living in France) and hired a car. The car hire people offered a package called the E-Toll Service, which appeared to be the same as the Telepayage service we have in France where there is always the alternative possibility of paying by card or with cash. So we declined and set off for our hotel in Porto.

      The trip was a nightmare. First we took a wrong turning at Porto airport following a diversion sign which took us through a labyrinth of residential narrow streets with no signposts at all or clues to where we were. Eventually we escaped this hell and we thought it would be fine once we reached Porto as we had a free street map handed out at the airport. It was not fine at all. There were few signposts and by now it was dark. It was impossible to read street names even if you could find one as they were carved in grey stone. Whenever we got a fix on where we were there was no entry sign and a diversion into a hellish labyrinth of lanes. We got onto big main roads twice but as there were no junction numbers on the map we could not pinpoint where we were. In desperation we stopped and asked a policeman and to his credit he spoke English and tried to give directions, these were wrong but his colleague on a scooter managed at last to direct us to our hotel. A 30-minute journey had taken over 2 hours and it was NOT stress free.

      The hotel Miradouro however, despite being a bit old, cannot really be faulted. There was free off road parking and the food in the rooftop restaurant was first class and the staff was super. There were magnificent views from the restaurant above our 12th floor room. Unwilling to expose ourselves to the hell of city navigation we spent the next day on a walking tour of Porto, although we had driven round most of it the night before. No complaints, lots of beautiful buildings squares and reasonably priced cafes with warm sunny weather.

      Our next destination was Aveiro, not far to the south. One of the first objectives was to buy a decent map. All we could find at a motorway service station was a large scale map of Portugal & Spain (which was useless) and a street map of Porto, slightly better than the free one but not much help now. We bought them anyway. As the hotel at Aveiro was on the main N109 we managed to find it. Passing through a paybooth on the motorway confirmed our conclusion that E-tolls were just like the French Telepayage system. There were some strange beeps from the car but most gadgets these days make incomprehensible beeps. We thought it was the car hire people’s tracking system.

      Next day we went into Aveiro. Managed to park in the centre but were pestered by blokes trying to “help” you park. I suppose he deserved the euro for enterprise. We had a walk round and noticed the big free car park beside the canal and went there. Pleasant town. Helpful friendly people. Had a boat trip which was good value. We also had a ride in a tourist TucTuc tricycle which was good value with a friendly and informative English-speaking lad driving. Both first class. Coffee, meal and ice cream too – no problem. We managed to buy a road map of Portugal, but the scale was so small it was virtually useless. Went back to the car, it seemed obvious to exit over a bridge over the canal. This was a mistake, there were of course no signs. We then, following the constraints of one-way streets, had to drive seemingly endlessly through the narrow streets dodging pedestrians and getting confused and stressed. Eventually we escaped onto the A25 so it should have been easy. Our hotel was north on the N109 so obviously we exited at a sign, which said “ Aveiro Norte”. Unfortunately the slip road only went south on the N109 so we had another terrible time driving round streets and roundabouts with no signposts which were any use. After asking a couple of people and more by luck than anything else we got back to the N109 north and regained the hotel. A 20 minute journey had taken over an hour because of bad signposting.

      Google Earth is essential to navigate in Portugal. Without it the driving would have been even worse. We had a look at the junction where we turned south instead of north on the A25. We should have taken the next slip road to the one we did take, at a cloverleaf junction. We would not have taken it though, instead of mentioning the N109 the sign just said “Industrial Area”.

      This is not an isolated problem, later on our return north to Porto we took a chance and went up an UNSIGNPOSTED slip road at a big junction. Fortunately our guess was right so we managed to catch our flight.

      Over the next couple of days we did a few tourist things, visiting the seaside, a boat museum and a railway museum in Macinhata do Vouga. All the people were helpful and friendly and the museums excellent, but we were plagued by the difficulties of navigation. We were unable to find a large scale map of the area anywhere.

      On the Saturday morning we checked our paperwork for boarding passes etc and by chance came across a leaflet with them in Portuguese and English about E-tolls. Although it was not clear we deduced that E-tolls were not an option but obligatory. We went to a post office where you are supposed to pay, but it was shut on Saturday morning. Back at the hotel we searched on Google and found that you could pay on line and even found an on line page in Portuguese where you could sign up to pay. This we did but it was difficult. Apart from it being in Portuguese only some of the obligatory fields were marked as such so we had to restart several times. It would not let us specify dates in the future, we wanted to cover the full week of the car hire, so the whole performance had to be repeated at home the next week. It asked for a driving licence number, (French) heaven knows why, so you have to type in a long string of characters with plenty of opportunities to make mistakes.

      I have just spent about half an hour on the computer trying to sign up to pay the tolls for November 6th in order to pay a piffling toll of probably less than 10 euros. I needed several tries to get it to accept the data, again, and the screen kept vanishing and I had to start again. How much are you going to pay me for my time? Payment takes seconds in France at a toll booth.

      You will gather from the above that this was not a stress free holiday. The people are lovely, towns are beautiful for the most part except if you are driving, food and wine good and reasonably priced and the 2 museums we visited were excellent. Despite this we will have to think twice about coming again because of the insane road tolling arrangements and the absence of useful road signs and road maps, which makes driving a nightmare.

      Instead of spending money on unnecessarily complicated and insane internet based toll systems designed by geeks who are unaware that there are lots of people who don’t have the time, inclination or the facilities to do everything on line; you should have made certain that the roads are properly signposted. They certainly are not now, how much fuel and pollution could be saved by preventing tourists from driving about lost in a state of anxiety? Do you really want to have stressed out lost tourists driving round the narrow streets of your old towns, taking wrong turnings etc. to the danger of everybody?

      The e-toll system is supposed to save congestion time and pollution. It must have cost a fortune to get the thing set up by programmers who get paid about £500 a day. Spending the money setting up a SIMPLE system, like the one that works perfectly in France must have been cheaper, it has already been done and WORKS. You could then have used the money you saved to provide a decent signposting system everywhere so people don’t get lost and cross. This will avoid unnecessary pollution through driving about lost and accidents caused by confused and anxious drivers.

      Here is what you should do to make things better:-

      · Make certain all car hire companies issue clear printed instructions in the native tongue of the visitor explaining in detail how the frightful E-toll system works and how to pay. The leaflet we had was by no means clear.

      · Make certain drivers renting cars in Portugal know all about the system and have the facilities to pay.

      · Make certain drivers entering Portugal by road in their own vehicle know all about the system and have the facilities to pay.

      · If you must use the Internet make the sites work properly and have them in all the EU languages, also allow plenty of time to pay too. People travel for more than 2 weeks. Not everybody has an I-pad or laptop, and Internet cafes are disappearing because of smart phones and the like. None of these seem to apply at the moment.

      · Do not assume that everybody wants, has access to or can work a computer, or can afford the time to fool about on your websites. Provide an alternative.

      · If you can pay at post offices and shops make arrangements for people who are leaving Portugal on a Sunday when shops and post offices are shut. To do this you will have to register tolls immediately not in 24 hours as now.

      · Put junction numbers on all your road maps and on your motorway road signs in a reflective medium so you can read them at night.

      · Review all signs especially on major roads so that tourists do not miss junctions, take the wrong turning or are forced to drive slowly and cautiously looking out for signs thus getting in the way of impatient lorry drivers and locals.

      · Make large scale PAPER roadmaps available, we don’t all have Satnav or access to Google Earth.

      · Keep it simple

      You have created an organizational nightmare for yourselves and everybody in Portugal, especially visitors, which is probably impossible to escape from. If you want to encourage tourists wanting to hire cars or drive to Portugal you should at once make all tolls free for visitors. It will not cost you much, especially by comparison with the incredible cost of this insane system, and you will have more and happier visitors. You should also sort out your dangerous lack of proper reliable road signs, especially at motorway junctions.

      Fortunately for you I have failed to gain access to the Visitportugal website to post a comment about my visit. The site must have been written by the same incompetent people that set up the E-Toll system.

      It is a great pity that your road system’s dangerous and difficult faults have marred an otherwise enjoyable visit. In the modern world there is a class of people who want to innovate because they can do it, without asking themselves if the innovation is better than what is already available. I think Portugal has been a victim of these people. Some IT company has made a fortune at the expense of Portugal and produced a frightful expensive over complicated nightmare system of road tolls for its road users.”

      Have a good trip folks….

    28. PG

      The toll problem on Portuguese motorways makes them unique in Europe , and now there is another problem . The government has made it obligatory at a roundabout with 2 lanes , that people going strait on keep in the left lane , this is the opposite of most other countries in Europe , and these anomalies show that the Portuguese government is totally disconnected and does not care about Europe .

    29. Jon A

      Thanks for the informative site – didn’t find it before I went to Portugal but afterwards when trying to find how to deal with the problem I had. Anyway, in case it helps anybody, here’s my experience:
      I recently drove my UK registered car to Portugal, entering from the north, and joined the A28 near Viana do Castelo. Saw the multi-language signs about electronic tolls only, and duly pulled into the layby, where we worked out that we needed to associate a payment card with our licence plate (‘EasyToll’), so drove up to one of the two machines for the system to recognise our registration. Nothing – no response from the machine at all. Eventually pushed the help button, to be told (as if it was the most obvious thing in the world) “use another lane”. So reversed – feeling extremely thankful that we didn’t by then have a queue of cars behind us – and went to the only other machine which DID respond and ask us for a payment card (Visa & Mastercard accepted I believe). It however failed to recognise the first 2 UK Mastercards we offered, and only to our relief accepted the third (a John Lewis card, which we don’t normally use). Spat out our paper ticket – which we fortunately kept, though I guess a lot of people might not think to do so – and we drove off.
      Drove on to Porto, passing subsequently under several gantries over the motorway with cameras (these are separate to the roadside ones where you register your payment card), happy now that they knew who we were and would bill us accordingly. The roads were great quality and quiet, so we were happy to pay to use them. Less ideal was the fact that the tolls were small but fairly frequent – so the admin charge THEY add on to each toll increases the apparent toll disproportionately – but also, if you get charged a fixed amount per use of your card abroad, that will also increase the cost disproportionately if they charge each toll separately rather than consolidating them over say a day. Hey ho, not the end of the world.
      However, two days later as we were about to leave Porto we looked at the receipt the machine had given us to see that it had got our licence plate wrong by 1 digit. So presumably the wrong registration had been associated with my payment card, but each time I subsequently went under a camera gantry it might have read the registration correctly, but not had a card linked to that registration. Suddenly I had visions of many separate fines heading my way from Portugal. Not to worry though – the receipt said you could just phone the call centre if you want to change any details of your registration. So we asked the hotel to ring the number provided on the receipt, but it was then a local holiday so they were not surprised when they didn’t get an answer. The only motorways we used later in Portugal (east of Porto) were ones where we could – and did – pay in cash, so we thought we’d just deal with it when we got home.
      Once home, I could see that no toll charges had made their way to my Jonh Lewis card (I though just possibly someone might have manually spotted to almost identical registration and corrected it). Looked over the website (, which showed three different Portuguese numbers for the call centre. Two don’t work (one appears to be just a misprint of one of the others), but one (the same as printed on the receipt) did. However despite acknowledging on the website that the system will be used by users from outside Portugal and those calling from other countries, each of the three times I rang the one working phone number, at different times on different weekdays I just got ‘hold’ type music and a recorded message only in Portugese. No idea if it was saying ‘please hold’, ‘the office is closed’ or whatever else and each time after holding for more than 5 minutes I rang off.
      No other means of contact is provided. So will I get fined? After reading this page and the comments above, I suspect not. Looking at the receipt, although it has (incorrectly) recorded a registration, it does not show that it has recognised it as a non-Portuguese vehicle. Perhaps that’s just a detail left off the receipt, but on reflection I think it’s more likely that there’s no way the cameras could pick up the country identifier – which sometimes (like mine) is on the end of the registration plate, but legally can simply just be a separate sticker on the rear of the car (and I’m fairly sure the identifying camera was only picturing the front of the car). And I don’t think that the number/letter format of registration plates is sufficiently unique between countries to work out the nationality from that (and I also don’t think there’s any mechanism to ensure that the same registration doesn’t get issued in more than one country, so automatically checking the recorded registration against EVERY EU country’s DVLA equivalent also wouldn’t work). So, like others above, I think it’s unlikely that the system can really deal with foreign-registered cars – if it HAD correctly recorded my registration it probably would have billed me the appropriate amount, but I doubt it will now have any way of catching up with me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating deliberately not paying, and if I could contact them to correct things I would, but given they seem to have made it virtually impossible, I think I’ll just wait to see if they can find me, and if so, then argue that I did everything I could to pay.
      As well as these issues, another thing that suggests potential problems for non-Portuguese cars using their motorways is that their website indicates that there are only selected places where you can use one of the roadside cameras to link your registration to a payment card. These are near(ish) border crossings, so are fine if you get straight on the motorway. We had actually driven down the coast road (non motorway) to Viano do Costelo and then joined the motorway, coincidentally where the toll stretch starts, so we did immediately come to one of the places you could do this. But if I’d chosen to go further along the coastal N13 and then join the motorway at a more southerly point, I would have gone under several camera gantries, but apparently never had the opportunity of registering a payment card at all, which would have been pretty worrying.
      So Portugal, 10/10 for your motorway network, but a lowly 2/10 at best for your implementation of electronic tolls!

    30. Aini Carey

      I tried buying a toll card online, but all I got was an error message saying that there was an error. Finally, on Monday morning I called CTT and they told me they had problems with their system. Since I am not entering Portugal on a major road this is a considerable inconvenience. The fact that CTT’s website was wrong all weekend is clearly a sign of great incompentance on their part. What a shambles.

    31. Anne from Belgium

      Really handy info…
      To complicate matters seems that now (March ’18) the Portuguese toll website is down… no clue if there is a new alternative with maps, tariffs etc.
      As you mention, this looks like an official crash course ‘how to slowly but surely kill tourism’ in a country that may well profit from the international cash flow

      • Sam

        Soooooo, not just a certain prefix on road numbers to let you if its Toll road or not then???? Could be an A or N etc……not helpful at all hey! Yes roads are great but stressful if you don’t know if your gonna be charged a silly amount to add to your ‘just afforded’ holiday grrr

      • Charles Kosman

        Hey Bob, thanks for bringing it to our attention! It’s been a few years since I wrote this but everything is still pretty relevant. I also just went through the post and updated as many of the links as I can. For some reason the main Portugal Tolls site is down and that just makes things much harder to figure out for everyone.

        Not sure if it’s permanent, a server issue or the Portuguese government are going a different direction. I left all the Portugal Tolls links in there in case it comes back online. It really had the most legitimate information and the problem with the links isn’t just with us. Every site talking about Portugal Tolls is linking there as well.

        I’ll check back every once in a while and see if the site remains down or is being replaced with something else. It’s too bad since Portugal Tolls for foreigners was confusing enough as it was.

    32. Sandro

      I just went through some electronic payment roads. A25 to Porto. I made the mistake of not registering. Do you have any idea on how to tell them my credit card to use for these days?
      Any ideas what to do now? I’m gonna call tollpprtugal. Wrote a message.

      • Charles Kosman

        Hi Sandro, if you’re still in Portugal you can go to any CTT post office and pay it. If you’re already out of the country then you can try their site however I believe that’s more for prepaid.

        If your car has non Portugal plates, and have already left the country, it doesn’t seem like they chase those down once you’ve left so you’re likely in the clear. If you rented a car in Portugal, it might be wise to contact your rental company and ask them how to proceed. Good luck!

    33. Ron Olbom

      April 2018: 3 weeks driving (4,000 km) in Spain/ Portugal. Best road system ever with most parts being reasonably priced. More pricey near Barcelona and south of Lisbon. What I did really enjoy about the toll road system was the non existence of visual clutter anywhere near the highways. No signs, No Billboards, No road signs or any signs of civilization which made the drive through Spain and Portugals’ beautiful countryside a spectacular visual event. 100’s of Kilometers and not one billboard, road sign or any commercial evidence. Very refreshing to be void of any visual clutter in such a beautiful country.
      Notes: 1) Have a pile of coins and bills handy on the cup holder. lots of toll stations. 2) Plan your gas and restroom stops carefully. There are precise few rest areas, if any. 3) Once on these toll roads you can’t get access off the system for hundreds of kilometers. Limited access makes the toll road fast, easy and pleasant to drive, but not flexible for exits. 4) Trucks (there are many) all go the exact same legal speed and stay in the right lane always. Easy to pass. Very polite drivers here.
      5) A “GPS” with Spain/ Portugal maps loaded is a must have in my book. It saved our bacon many times, especially in the cities.
      Drivers in Spain and Portugal are, as a rule, very polite AND Patient. We screwed up a few times and there was no horn honking,or bad gestures. We found them quite forgiving, helpful and civil. Great road trip for us.

    34. chris

      Thanks to everyone who contributed the info above. A couple of observations:
      -There’s a very useful pdf map showing the manual and electronic toll road network, easytoll locations and payment options in four languages on the portugaltolls website at

      -About 40kms on the A15 West of Santarém cost about 7€ in my class 2 motorhome so its easy to see how an end to end drive could burn through 100€

    35. Cee Gee

      Absolutely fantastic information. Thank you SO MUCH for your clarity. In 5 minutes, you’ve helped explained something that I have spent about 12 years baffling over!!

    36. Anonymous

      Wow, Amazing that you wrote this in 2013 and it’s still completely relevant! We just finished a road trip through Spain and Portugal for a total of 6 weeks and got caught completely unawares with these electronic tolls. The fact that you cant post pay easily is completely ridiculous. We drove in through the Algarve road from Seville and thought the ‘foreigners” signs with the little information sign was just for info and didn’t know at all that it was related to tolls. They should have much clearer signage around that. The road from Douro Valley to Salamanca didn’t even have one of those so I don’t know what they expect tourists to do then. As many of the comments and the article explained, once you’re in and have been through some of these tolls it’s quite hard to find information pertaining how to go about paying them!

      I think we will just see what happens, as now we are out of the country I cant find any way over the internet to pay these and I’m back in Australia!

      I will update everyone on what the final outcome is for those who end up in the same situation.

    37. Tony

      Great information, I read about the easy toll system and found the machine to pay more by luck than judgement. Having got my “ticket” I thought I was covered for all of the toll roads and didn’t have a clue about the green toll. I went the the green lane without stopping for the ticket and it wasn’t until I stopped at the next toll booth where I found out the easy toll does not cover the green toll. I was charged about 30 euros for a relatively small journey and given a reciept is that the end of the matter of will i be fined as well? I was travelling in a UK registered vehicle and won’t be back in the UK until the end of November. Any reply would be gratefully appreciated.

      • Charles Kosman

        Tony, we did the exact same thing with a rented car from Spain and never heard anything after that. I don’t recall any tolls that big in Portugal but I suppose it depends on which roads you’re driving down. Judging from others experiences and our own, I wouldn’t worry about it.

      • Charles Kosman

        Some debit cards have credit card abilities where they can function the same as a credit credit card and are usable anyplace a credit card can be used so depends on your debit card. For instance, our debit cards would work with the easy toll system. I don’t believe that the easy tolls work with all debit cards though so again, it depends on your card.

    38. anon

      Hi , I’m planning to drive into Portugal and on to Porto from Spain this Easter . I have heard that the easy toll machines (was planning to cross the border at Chaves ) only accept credit cards and that debit cards won’t work . Is this true ? My next question is that if I use plan B and cross from Spain to Portugal near Vigo and follow the A3 (which is a normal toll road I think) and follow to Porto then use the A20 to go to the south of the city will I still have to have the easy toll cover if the police stop me ? My logic is that if I’m on the A3 and paying the tolls manually then I shouldn’t be required to have any form of electronic toll payment (but logic doesn’t seem to be playing a big part in Portugals toll system). During my time in Porto I don’t intend to use the car and plan to leave literally on the A3 all the way back to Spain (Vigo) . Am I right in assuming as long as I don’t go on an electronic toll road I will be OK? Many thanks .. PS thus is the first and last time I ever drive in Portugal , my partner booked our holiday accommodation before I knew anything about how complicated the motorways are .

      • Charles Kosman

        The toll roads are definitely confusing in Portugal but I wouldn’t not see the country because of them. It’s a gorgeous country with beautiful people and tons to see and do. I would just drive in, try to use the easy toll with your debit (or get a credit card before your trip) and enjoy your holiday. If you get stopped they’ll likely just make you pay on the spot once you explain your situation and if you don’t get stopped then swing by a post office after a few days and pay then. In the main cities there’s no easytoll areas so you’re safe to drive in town but it easier taking the buses or trams. Any non electronic toll road is clearly marked and you can still pay by cash for those toll roads. In either case, safe travels and have fun!

    39. Anon

      Found out the hard way that easytoll indeed does NOT accept debit cards (found this out on the Verin – Chaves border at the easytoll machine . So had no choice but to get off at the exit luckily not having gone under any toll arches and take back roads all the way down to the A7 (normal toll) then the A3 into Porto (normal toll again) . My return to Spain was as I mentioned before . A3 up to Vigo with no deviations . I was particularly horrified that debit cards were not accepted (especially from the neighbouring EU country) and the other options of going into a post office later etc didnt really sit well with me as the moment you have driven under one of hose toll arches you are committed . In conclusion .. Portugal is a great country with great food, countryside etc .. Definitely recommended , but fly , go by coach , train etc . However the driving/toll experience is off-putting to say the least and unfortunately i am not willing to pay my bank anymore than I already do for he privilege of owning a credit card so I will not be returning to Portugal anytime soon for further holidays unless they address this crazy system IE accept debit cards or make it easier to pay for the tolls . I will stay in Spain or go to France for future breaks . A shame but didnt really need the stress ..

      • Cato

        I can confirm your links work now 07/19. A Brit living in the Netherlands I hired a car in Bordeaux to drive to the Lisbon environs. Just before the Portuguese border with Spain there was a sign informing me of the exclusivity of automatic tolls. I stopped in the café at the former border and asked what I should do. I was told at the service station further up it would become clear clear. Indeed it did. There was a sign saying foreign cars yeah and I was greeted by an agent who asked if I knew the system. I didn’t but she explained the easy total linked the car number plate with a credit card. It would be valid for 30 days and I could cancel it at any time . I too was confused at the portagem outside Porto, not being clear whether I was an aderente for ViaVerde, eventually correctly plumping for the cash payment lanes. On leaving Porto I couldn’t find my receipt, and a Portuguese friend was able to retrieve the unique reference number. Thank heavens! I was unfortunate enough to lose the credit card linked to the car. I phone by credit card company and asked what the take was , but they didn’t know.. I phoned the number on the Portugal tolls website and after patiently listening through the recorded info in Portuguese clicked on the English option. As I am driving back tomorrow (a Sunday) I didn’t want to get stung! The operator was fantastically helpful, canceling the existing coupling and proposing two solutions. She suggested either leaving Portugal, turning around immediately and linking another card in the same way as I had done in the first place: this would then collect all automatic tolls incurred over the course of the day. The option I chose was to buy a 10euro card online. No problem at all. It was not possible to change the card linkage online. In response to an earlier comment, the tolls are collected cumulatively at the end of the 30 days, so there is as far as I am aware no issue with multiple foreign cc usage. Also, the administration fee?74cents is paid the start. I haven’t had the bill yet, but it would surprise me if there were a surcharge for each gantry. Thanks for all the info.

    40. Steve

      We have just received a bill from europarking collection plc (3/6/19) from when we were in Portugal four years ago… We were driving a rental car that we assumed had a electronic thingy in it!

    41. Robert

      In May 2019, we drove in a Spanish rental car from Seville to Lisbon and Porto, and exited through northern Portugal into Galicia. I read everything I could on the Portugal toll roads, including this site, and thought I understood it. Because we were crossing over the southeast border from Spain on a quiet two-lane highway, the IP-8, an east-west toll-free road that had no EASYtoll dispenser, I decided to buy a €20.00 TOLLcard online at before we entered the country.
      Understand that as a non-resident of Portugal, you cannot create an account on the CTT website because it requires a permanent Portuguese address. You can purchase the TOLLcard with your credit card, however, receiving only a confirmatory email that you bought it. The website says you can get a refund of any unused balance.
      When we did encounter the toll roads, starting with the A-2 south of Lisbon, and later the A-12, A-8, and E-1 all the way to the northern border, we were always confronted with toll stations that required cash payment. We were never able to use the TOLLcard.
      At that time, I was unable to find out online what payments the different toll roads would require or accept. In Lisbon, I went to the main visitor center at the downtown plaza, Praça de Comércio, and asked them about it, and they threw up their hands and said the road tolls in Portugal were incomprehensible. These were the official tourist representatives! In Porto, realizing that we were unlikely to be able to use our TOLLcard, I went to a post office but was told there was no way they could interact with an online purchase.
      After returning to the US, I emailed a request for a refund of the unused €20. I was assigned a ticket number and asked to provide identification documents, proof of online purchase of the tollcard (all I had was an email), and a copy of the rental agreement. I sent all that back, then received a reply that asked for all that info again, plus “Proof of IBAN issued by the bank or taken from Homebanking with the name of the bank account holder/BIC/SWIFT.” After a couple more email exchanges, it became clear that bureaucratic obstructionism would prevent me from ever getting the refund.
      So my recommendations on the horrible Portuguese toll road system is to do the EASYtoll if you are entering at one of the four border points where they have a dispenser. Since my trip, they now have a map ( which shows color-coded electronic toll roads that presumably accept the TOLLcard. If you are not entering the country on the A-22, A-24, or A-25, you should be able to avoid the electronic toll roads and pay cash. Or, just don’t drive into Portugal.

    42. Jacob Alexander

      I love the photos you posted, its amazing especially the valley. Thanks for sharing your travels and experience with everyone. Keep it up and continue sharing magnificent journey in Portugal.


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