Hitchhiking is legal in Portugal. Portuguese are very friendly people. If they see you on the highway, they stop their vehicle and offer to help. Make sure you know where you are going. Have a road map with you all the time.
Where can you ask for a lift in Portugal?
You can ask for a lift almost anywhere in Portugal. The best chances of getting a lift ride are at gas stations, tolls, and highways. Be polite and it is advisable to make use of proper posture and gestures when hitchhiking in Portugal.
Incorrect postures will not get the driver’s attention and they will not respond.
Things to consider while hitchhiking in Portugal
Here are some of the things you should consider while hitchhiking in Portugal:
Remember that the driver has only a second to see you. Stand near a highway sign so drivers have a better chance to focus in time to stop.
Globally, the thumb-up hand wave is the most recognized sign for asking for lifts.
Make sure you know a little bit of Portuguese and can tell the name of your destination places properly.
Make sure to give clear directions to your destination when you take a lift. Guide them if required. You don’t want to waste yours as well as their time driving around in circles. Ask if the person is heading toward the same route as you, this way you would not be creating much of an inconvenience.
Have a map of the area, so you can determine whether a ride will actually bring you closer to your destination.
You may have to walk a lot, so make sure you pack lightly. Instead of carrying 20 kg of everything you deem necessary, you better stick with 10 kg of what you will really need.
Make sure to carry enough food and drink if you’re going for a long trip. Ask them if they want to eat some food. Make sure they are ok with you eating food in their vehicle. Some people may not like that.
Smoking can be an awkward issue so don’t make your non-smoking driver open all the windows just because you couldn’t wait until the next rest stop to light up. Preferably wait for a moment after your smoke before trying to get a ride.
A big cardboard sign with an indication of where you want to go can help. Short general directions like North, or South can be written bigger, and seen from further away.
Bright clothes make you stand out, giving drivers more time to react.
Don’t try to catch a ride from downtown, instead catch public transport to the edge of town. City drivers are mostly traveling short distances, and it can be difficult for you to stand out or get them to stop in heavy traffic. Check your map, or ask around, to find a good spot.
Nod or wave thanks to all who at least give you eye contact and especially those who give you gestures explaining why they cannot take you. Not only does it lighten the fear of hitchers and make you feel much better along the way, but some may also even come back and pick you up.
Ask if you can be dropped at a good spot for getting more rides if your ride isn’t bringing you to your final destination, e.g. a gas station or a toll place.
Don’t leave items behind when you get out of the vehicle and make sure you have everything (including any rubbish) with you when you disembark.
Portugal is only bordered by Spain. If you are crossing the border, make sure you have all your documents with you.
Stay safe from Scammers while hitchhiking in Portugal
There is always a chance a scammer stops his vehicle for you. Take care who you get a ride with. Some criminals prey on hitchhikers.
They will pretend the ride is free when you ask how much it is when entering their vehicle. It is not unheard of that drivers take you for the ride inviting you in, just to turn out to be taxis that demand a heavy and uncommon charge for their ride.
Clearly state that you intend to ride for free. Just ask whether they are a taxi or not.
Sit in the front passenger seat, if you can.
You may also like to read:
Is Graffiti legal in Portugal?
Is Dash Cam legal in Portugal?