Negotiating Electronic Toll Roads in Portugal

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Like most countries in Europe Portugal has its fair share of toll roads. Unlike a lot of other countries that have two different systems in operation, just to make it even more confusing for visitors.

The first system is standard; you pay a toll, or buy a ticket as you get on the motorway and, if you had to take the ticket, you pay at a machine or kiosk as you exit the road.

A new addition to toll roads use an electronic only system and as a visitor to the country you must pre-pay at the border or at a GALP fuel station. The list of these roads is as follows:

Algarve: A22 Lagos – Castro Marim

Centro (Beira Interior): A23 Torres Novas-Guarda

Interior Norte: A24/IP3 Vila Verde da Raia border – Viseu

Centro (Costa de Prata):

A25/IP5: Albergaria-a-velha (A1/IP1) – Vilar Formoso (fronteira).

Norte Litoral:

A27/IP9 Viana do Castelo – Ponte de Lima

A28/IC1: Viana do Castelo – Porto

AE Transmontana: A4: Variante Sul de Bragança

Grande Porto:

A4 Matosinhos – Águas Santas,

A41/IC24: Perafita/Freixieiro – Sêroa (Oeste),

A42/IC25: Sêroa (Oeste) – Lousada

Centro (Costa de Prata):

A17/IC1: Estádio de Aveiro – Mira – Autoestrada do Litoral Centro (entre Mira e Aveiro)

A29/IC1: Miramar – Angeja

Lisboa Region (Pinhal Interior):

A13/IC3: Atalaia – Tomar

Lisboa Região (west littoral):

A8/IC36: Variante Sul de Leiria, A19/IC2: Variante da Batalha

We only found out about the new electronic toll system after we were approached by Portuguese Highway officials and charged a total of 21.75 euros for a five day toll pass. With that payment we could use the electronic toll roads as much as wanted without incurring any additional charges.

It is possible to get better deals as a resident of Portugal but for us visitors it is quite a costly scheme and very unbalanced. Residents buy a machine for 27.50 euros and pay 6 euros for the first week of use and a subsequent 1.50 euros for each week thereafter. Compare that to roughly 130 euros for tourists per month and it proves to be very expensive. The other downside of this system is that you can only purchase up to six pre-paid tickets each year per number plate.

Read about driving in Portugal.

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