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    How to pay for road tolls whilst in Spain and Portugal

    If you’re considering on heading to southern Europe for your next holiday destination, then it’s a good idea to be fully aware of how you pay road tolls in Spain and Portugal. To simplify your holiday, we at Auto Europe have put together the most relevant information for paying your road tolls in both countries. The aim is to allow you to save time on planning whilst enabling you to fully concentrate on experiencing everything these beautiful countries have to offer.

    Tolls in Spain

    Generally, Spain has few motorway tolls in comparison to other to other European countries. Tolled motorways do exist, although they are normally found nearer Spain’s peripheral and coastal regions. For example, tolls exist from Malaga towards Estepona, Seville to Merida and in some sections of Northern Spain. Often trying to avoid tolled motorways will cost you more time and money on fuel-consumption than the actual toll cost itself. There are a few ways that you can pay for a Spanish toll road; these are by cash and credit card, manually or automatically.

    The most common way of using a tolled motorway is by obtaining a ticket upon entering it, then providing the ticket to the toll booth on exiting. The cost will be determined by the distance travelled and your vehicle type. On other motorways you will be presented with toll booths which require you to pay a standard fee before entering. Separate vehicle lanes exist on exiting the motorway and you should choose the lane corresponding to the payment method you desire. For example, some lanes only accept card payments, whilst others cash.

    An automatic toll collection system exists on motorways that have lanes signposted with “Via-T, T or Telepeaje”. To use these lanes you will require a transponder device registered to your vehicle and Spanish bank account. Due to this, this option is really only viable for residents or frequent visitors with a Spanish bank account. The automatic toll collection system allows you to drive through the appropriate lane without the need to stop. The amount will then be deducted from your bank account accordingly. Transponders can be obtained from any Spanish bank branch.

    Tolls in Portugal

    Tolled motorways are extremely common in Portugal, both in coastal and internal regions. Motorways tend to be more expensive than in Spain, but trying to avoid these can often cost you more in time and money – especially due to fuel-consumption. Where there is a motorway legally there is always an alternative free national road. However, these roads are less-maintained, and will often take you longer to get to your destination. Motorways can be paid for by cash or card, manually or automatically. Like in Spain, the fee amount is determined by the distance travelled and vehicle type. Recently there has been an increase in a new e-toll system, which will allow you to pay only electronically.

    Easy Toll - This form of payment was designed for visitors. In order to use this option, you must register your vehicle to your credit card at the border. You will then be provided with a ticket as proof, being valid for thirty days. Upon reaching a toll booth, you simply enter your linked credit card into the payment terminal. The system will then debit the fee from your credit card.

    Toll Card - This is a prepaid card which can be used to pay tolls electronically. The card is activated by sending an SMS with your card’s code and vehicle registration number. The balance of your card can be checked online, but you will also receive an SMS alert when your funds are running low.

    Via Card - Similar to the Toll Card, Via Cards are accepted on both of Lisbon’s bridges – Vasco da Gama and 25 de Abril. This is a prepaid card which is linked to your vehicles registration number. Upon approaching the bridge, simply choose the Via Card land, and then scan your card for the toll barrier to open. The Via Card provides discounts for frequent users of the bridges. Available funds can be view online, but you’ll also receive a SMS alert when your balance is running low.

    Toll Service - This is a convenient alternative for those that are driving through the country on short visits. Ticket options include unlimited journeys for up to three days or for specific journeys, such as driving along the A22 motorway to Faro Airport. The option you choose and your vehicle type will determine the cost of your ticket.

    Via Verde - Common amongst residents and those who frequently visit Portugal, the Via Verde system is an electronic payment system. A transponder is fitted to your vehicles windscreen behind the rearview mirror. When you approach a toll booth, simply drive through the Via Verde lane – indicated by a “V” sign on the floor and flashing green cat’s eyes. The Via Verde transponder must be registered to your bank account and car registration number. Rental suppliers can also provide these transponders during your rental at an additional cost.

    We hope that this post has gone some way to helping you answer any road toll questions you may have about Spain and Portugal. Our reservation agents are also available should you have any further questions or concerns about your car hire in Spain and Portugal.

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