Portugal stands on the southwest tip of Europe, surrounded by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. The north is lusher, the south more arid. Both regions are moderately mountainous. There is plenty of Portugal's maritime heritage remaining, particularly in its capital, Lisbon, and the second city, Porto. Both are popular visitor attractions ' a pair of charming historic cities standing alongside major rivers near the sea. The Algarve region on the south coast is also a major tourist seaside destination. If you have a hire car in Portugal you'll find that its good roads and light traffic generally make it one of the best driving environments in Europe.
Along Portugal's south coast, the Algarve features a lively series of old fishing villages transformed into modern sandy beach resorts, including Faro, Lagos and Albufeira. If you hire a car in Portugal, however, you'll find you're never far from quiet countryside and a simple whitewashed village in the mountains. Even among the hills, squares and monuments of the beautiful old capital, Lisbon, you can easily escape to the wooded hills and royal palaces of Sintra or the swanky beaches of Estoril and Cascais. Further north, the grand old city of Porto and the scenic Douro Valley offer a greener, more gentle experience.
Portugal's traffic drives on the right. Wearing seatbelts is compulsory where they are fitted into vehicles in Portugal, and if you have a hire car, you must carry a photo ID. Also if you wear glasses or lenses, you must also carry a spare pair in the car at all times. On-the-spot fines for driving offences can be issued by traffic police, who usually carry credit-card machines. The national speed limits for Portugal's motorists are 120kph (75mph) on the country's motorways, 90kph (56mph) on other Portuguese roads, and 50kph (31mph) in more populated and built-up areas.