Electronic toll roads in Portugal

Electronic toll sign
Electronic toll sign (source: http://theportugalnews.com/news/online-toll-payment-scheme/37817)

WARNING! Portugal roads have electronic tolls without human intervention and WITHOUT the possibility to pay it as you go. Yes, it works like that and if you do not pay accordingly (in advance) you will get fined.

In most countries around the world, drivers are asked to pay to use a section of a road/highway. This money is then used for maintenance and other stuff. The Portuguese system approach is purely automatic and electronic, with its pros and cons:


  • No wide areas for toll booths
  • No need of staff
  • Less traffic interruption


  • Need to find out how they work and the right way to pay
  • Not easy to spend just the right amount (e.g. you may need to ask for a refund if there is a credit left on a card)

Gantries over the road have cameras that record the plates and then communicate with the appropriate device to process the payment or the fine. So…

How do I pay the tolls?

Foreign licensed vehicles

1. Toll Card

These are pre-paid cards that can be loaded with €5, €10, €20 or €40 credit, and have an additional service cost of 0.74€. They can be purchased online here, but also from other places including CTT post-offices, Easy Toll Welcome Points, tourist offices and the following service areas:

  • All within A23 highway
  • All within A22 highway
  • Celorico, Vouzela and Aveiro on the A25 highway
  • Viana do Castelo and Vila do Conde on the A28 highway
  • Almodôvar on A2 highway
  • Estremoz on A6 highway
  • Barcelos on A3 highway
  • Seide on A7 highway

Once purchased, cards need to be activated by sending a text message including a code on the card and the license plate of the vehicle so that it can be associated. The cards last for one year or until the balance is exhausted, which you can check online.

Do you have remaining credit on your card? It can also be refunded within 6 months, but only if a credit card was used for the payment.

2. Toll Service

This is also a pre-paid product, with 2 available options:

  • Unlimited use for 3 days, with a cost of €20 (plus 0.74€)
  • A single or round trip on two pre-defined routes:
    • Spain – Porto Airport, via A28 or A41
    • Spain – Faro Airport via A22

It can be purchased online here, at CTT post-offices, Porto’s airport, or at the following Cepsa service areas:

  • Viana dos Castelo (A28)
  • Abrantes (A23)
  • Olhão (A22)

3. Easy Toll

This is the easiest option for foreign visitors, especially those driving from Spain. It can be purchased at an Easy Toll Welcome Point without having to leave the vehicle, and it associates a credit card (Mastercard, Visa or Maestro) to the vehicle’s license plate. There is a signup cost of 0.74 € and each journey has an administrative cost of 0.32 €.


!!) Because the credit card is linked to the vehicle, the membership needs to be cancelled, otherwise, the same credit card can be charged in the case of a new customer renting the same vehicle.

!!) You are not allowed to use Via Verde lanes with options 1 (Toll Card), 2 (Toll Service) nor 3 (Easy Toll) unless you have a special device called a transponder (see option 4).

These are the only 4 Easy Toll Welcome Points available:

  • A28 – Viana do Castelo Service Area
  • A24 – at 3,5km from Chaves/Veribn border
  • A25 – Alto de Leomil Service Area
  • A22 – next to Castro Marim/Ayamonte border
Easy Toll Welcome Point
Easy Toll Welcome Point (source: http://www.carhirefaroairport.com/a22-toll-payment.htm)

4. Via Verde Visitors

Aimed at longer stays or frequent visitors, you can rent a temporary transponder device for €6 for the first week then €1.50 per week plus a refundable deposit of €27.50. You have to register a credit card with the system and tolls are automatically debited from the card. It is valid for a maximum of 90 days and can be used on electronic toll roads.

You can buy them online here.

Vehicles Registered in Portugal (including Hire Cars)

Local vehicles can either use a transponder (option 4) or pay after using the toll road.

The latter seems to be the best and easiest, but it is not. This is because you cannot pay for using a toll road any sooner than 2 days after your journey, but you must also pay within 5 days. Besides you need to pay at a post office or a Payshop, as there is no online option.

Some car hire companies decided to fit all their cars with transponders, such as Europcar. However; it is not always the case so you should ask and make the appropriate arrangements with them.

This is too complicated… What shall I do?

  • Are you flying in? ==> Ask the agency for a Via Verde device!
  • Are you driving from Spain? ==> Go for an Easy Toll, but plan it in advance!

For more information, including an up-to-date list of toll locations and rates, visit the official website.

Additional travel tips and recommendations

  • I strongly recommend Skyscanner for searching for both cars and flights. I always find the best deals. For cars, local agencies are normally much cheaper than big names such as Europcar and Hertz.
  • If you are in Lisbon and have some extra time, I would strongly recommend visiting Porto. It is only 3 hours away by train or car, and it is an incredible city. Once in Porto, do not miss the beautiful Douro Valley, the land of wine, sun and great landscapes.
  • We also recommend Visiting Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros and Pena Palace, another amazing attraction minutes away from Lisbon.

14 thoughts on “Electronic toll roads in Portugal”

  1. I did not know about the Electronic tolls on the A25 Portugal, until we were on the road. We did not know how to pay. We thought it would become clear by the before we left Portugal, sadly it was not.
    Immediately returning home I went on line to pay…..not possible !
    I have sent messages, I have phoned.
    I have received two emails back telling what to do. Nothing works.
    Why have they made it so very difficult for people to pay.
    Also my concern when going to the web site. It is not secure. No way am I giving my credit card details to an unsecured internet site.
    I have wasted a lot of time trying to pay this toll. Why make it so very hard!!!!

  2. I can confirm your frustration. I specifically asked when collecting my hire car about electronic only tolls, and was assured that the route I planned to take had a ticket toll-gate available. The advice from Guerin/Enterprise was completely inaccurate, and like yourself, it’s almost impossible to pay these tolls. The system needs urgent re-evaluation since it most certainly does not meet all requirements. I suspect it’s just another money generating ploy or a system implemented without enough thought!

  3. Hi ! We were in Portugal in June 2018 and entered Spain from the A22. Immediately upon entering we saw the signs for Easy Toll and since I had read up that Easytoll was the best way to handle the highways with no manual tolls we proceeded to one Easytoll machine. To our frustration the machine refused to accept any of my International Cards (Amex, Master, Visa – None).

    We spoke to a customer care lady at the EasyToll station who advised driving along and buying a Toll Card from a nearby Gas Station. I am so happy I did not take her advice as I was unable to locate the Gas Station she mentione.

    Instead, we immediately purchased an ONLINE TOLL CARD on the below website


    It requires no activation and the balance left can be refunded back to the credit card used for purchase (you have to email them after 1 month)

    The only thing to watch out is that you mention your car registration number properly.

    The toll gets deducted after 48 hours (not immediately) so dont worry if you have driven on the highway and the toll card still shows full balance.

    Hope this helps !

  4. i’ve just fallen foul of these roads, and whoever thought of them needs to be taken outside and shot.
    i entered spain via braganca and drove to porto, at various points i paid “ordinary” motorway tolls at the booths and thought no problem. along the route i saw the sign “electronic toll”, and thought it was simply an advice to pass through the automatic lanes when you arrived at the payment barriers, where the barrier lifted on approach instead of having to queue. why do the portuguese deem it necessary to have such a complicated system? whats wrong with the booths, take a ticket, pay the other end ? it seems as though they thought “if it ain’t broke, break it until it is”.
    many portuguese we spoke to think its the most ridiculous system ever invented and that it reflects badly on their motorway system. they avoid them like the plague
    to compound matters none of the portuguese motorway booths would accept any foreign bank cards or credit cards. all foreign plated cars were having to pay in cash, thus we were joining queues of french & spanish plated cards all frantically trying to assemble enough cash to pass through.
    the politest description would be an utter shambles.

  5. We were travelling from Spain into Portugal to Vagueira and then onto Vila Real on the A23 etc motorways.

    We hoped to use the pre-paid toll cards at the special booths at the start of the motorway and over the border.
    1. Foreign Debit cards are not accepted only credit cards.
    2. We were told buy the card at the next petrol station on the motorway.
    3. On the toll card the instructions are to activate it by sending a message to a certain telephone number ‘CTTCD “vehicular number plate” “scratch code”’
    4. There was no confirmatory return SMS msg, so my husband went back to the garage. They typed in a slightly different message but again the confirmatory message was not received.
    5. There is always the angst that if the toll card was not valid, we would be fined for not having one.
    6. We then checked on their website, several days later ( i.e. not on Easter Sunday) where we found the money had been taken and the pre-paid toll ticket had worked.

    Is it possible to ask the Toll Card operators to switch on the auto reply msg so foreign tourists know that their toll cards and tolls are being registered.
    Thank you

  6. I’m an Australian driving a leased vehicle with French number plates (registered in my name and home address) in Portugal and I didn’t get a toll card or any other method to pay when driving through the tolling booths where there is no payment option at the tool booth.

    Has anybody had any experience with what happens after this? Will I return home and find a number of letters asking for toll payment?

    I did accidentally drive through a via verde lane and from their web site I see that they will attempt to find my address and send a payment notice.

  7. Electronic tolls with no pay booths are a result of the hurriedly and totally inept thought out way of extracting money from motorway drivers. The fact is these newly tolled roads were never designed to be toll roads, most of the funding was largely down to EU grants, and major protests ensued from locals and indeed Spain when they brought this in after years of being toll free. Very difficult to set up infrastructure for pay booths along the A22 and A23 for example so this is the cheapest option. Personally as a regular traveller to Portugal I avoid them. Use the A62 through Spain, A100 Caceres to Badajoz, in to Portugal near Estremoz then use A6 where you can travel all the way down to the Algarve/Lisbon on pay booth motorways, or drive down via Evora, Beja using the IC2, IC1 national roads, both very good.

  8. Today I drove to Porto with a Spanish rental car. Before leaving, I asked at the rental company desk in Vigo about Portuguese toll procedures; answer: you can just pay with your credit card.
    Near Porto Airport we were surprised a few times with electronic toll collection (something like 6x 0.25 euros). On return I sorted out how to pay, and thus found this site.
    I have immediately purchased a “pre paid toll card’ with e rental car license number, but it is valid as of the hour of purchase, not before.
    Now I read, that the Spanish rental company is going to charge me with 38 euros ‘administrative cost’ if they have to charge my credit card for Portuguese toll. We are talking about 1 euro or so….
    Advice? How can I pay for my toll and avoid these rediculous charges?
    I am still in the area a few days, no prob to drive to Portugal.
    Thank you.

  9. I read all the different ways to pay on Portugal’s Toll Roads. To me really complex and time wasting. I already had a transponder for French Toll Roads from Emovis. I discovered that Emovis did a single Transponder for both the Spanish and Portuguese Tolls. Cost around €30.00 deposit, €10.00 set up fee and €10.00 admin each months you use it. Battery life 5 years. Order and set up account on line. Device is delivered within 7-10 days and on receipt just follow instructions to activate it via your account. Just fit the mount to windscreen and remove device when not in use. Transferable between vehicles. Account aitomatcally billes each months.

  10. We also inadvertently passed through a via verde toll point. As we’d paid in advance for Portuguese motorways we thought this must be the correct lane to take. Now we realise we were wrong as our advance payment is for electronic only motorways. How confusing is this? We have tried all ways to pay retrospectively but without success. Does anyone know how to do this? Concerned we’ll face a huge fine when we get home!

  11. I don’t understand all the problems. Why not just use google maps in ‘avoid tolls’ mode, drive a bit longer, spend a bit more on petrol/gas, release a bit more co2, and avoid all the tolling hassle? And possibly extra fees per day from your car hire (rental car) company? Rarely (if ever) do you NEED to use a toll road in PT (or in other countries with similar difficulties in tolling for foreigners). Have done this all over the world with success, but most notably in Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Argentina, Australia Taiwan and various US states. Google ftw on this one.

  12. Ok Sam unless like us you are towing a caravan then using small roads
    through villages and towns is a nightmare as many are impossible for our outfit. However have solved the problem of inadvertently going through a via Verde toll point. After much googling I found a site which is very simple and straightforward and allows you to pay retrospectively .just go to
    This allows you to enter your car registration and will search a time period then let you know how much you owe and you can pay on line. Why this was so hard to find I do not know!

  13. We were going to Coimbra and Aveiro in September, but have now changed our minds and will not visit Portugal whilst this ridiculous system is in place.

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