Our transportation plans are not complete at this point. We plan to spend a week in Lisbon and for that time we will NOT be driving ourselves as it sounds like it is quite the feat to navigate the city and there are plenty of other transportation options. The transportation for our time spent in the Algarve and exploring central – northern Portugal has yet to be figured out. We will be renting a car at some point.
From the forums I’ve read, it is debatable whether you need an international permit for driving in Portugal. A friend of ours who travels to Portugal frequently said she’s never had an international driver’s permit. Yet several are saying car rental locations have asked for it first thing. And others have said it to be beneficial should you be pulled over by the police. Considering the cost is very low ($12 for a set of 2 photographs (non-AMA members pay $14) and $25 for the IDP) I figure it is worth it just to be on the safe side. A IDP is only valid when shown with your current driver’s license.
Obtaining an IDP was quite a simple and efficient process (about 15 minutes). No testing was required. The only place you can obtain a IDP in Alberta is through AMA. Don’t forget to bring your current driver’s license with you. A IDP is only valid for on year so it is recommended that it is you get it shortly before you travel.