For those who travel to the Algarve in Portugal will quickly meet the A22 high/motorway, also known as the Via Infante de Sagres. This main-road stretches from Bensafrim (close to Lagos) all the way until the Spanish border. Faro (airport) can roughly be found in the middle. In total this road measures 133 Km / 83 Miles

This road is essential to travel across the whole Algarve. Sure there is an old National road parallel to the Motorway, but this road is a wide collection of all sorts of roundabout. For those who have an interest in the fine art of roundabouts it is a dream come true. For all the others it's a major pain in the ... (fill in the dots). The A22 on the other side is a comfortable and smooth motorway and gives good access to the whole region.

Since December 2011 the A22 became a toll road and this is where all the problems start. This toll road doesn't have the traditional toll booths. On this road there is only electronic Toll. Along the whole motorway there are in total 10 arches which register all the vehicles passing by using a transponder. If you don't have any then a picture will be taken from the license plate. There is a fixed price for every arch you pass depending on the class of vehicle.

Hopefully this article will provide some information when travelling to the Algarve and you are planning to rent a car.

As a resident with a licensed car you can buy a transponder and after attaching this behind your windshield you are good to go, so no real problem there. When you travel with a foreign vehicle than you can rent such a device at the post offices and at certain service stations. If you only stay for a short time you can also pre-pay at the before mentioned service stations by route or for a few days. 

NEW ON LINE TOLL PAYMENT 

Not tested but toll payments in arrears can now be made on line at https://www.pagamentodeportagens.pt/P... but be aware that there is 2,21 Euro administration charge. This will however be preferable to the minimum 25 Euro fine levied by the authorities if they have to contact you. Source "The Portugal News" edition of 2nd April 2016. 

  Residents

 - Portuguese Licensed vehicle, owned by resident:

Use a transponder or Post pay 48 hours after using Toll

- Foreign licensed vehicles:

There are four options, some of which you can buy online.

For more information:  http://www.portugaltolls.com/en/web/p...

- Portuguese licensed rental cars:

Rental companies have to offer the possibility of renting a transponder. Example: AVIS costs for this is €2,03 daily with a max amount of 20.30 per rental. Tolls will be charged to the credit card.

Most car rental companies offer a pre-paid transponder with 20 Euro credit. That will be sufficient to get you to either end of the Algarve from Faro airport and cover the return journey. If planning to use the A22 more than just to get to your resort and back, read on.

Post-pay minimum 48 hours after usage. No pre-pay possibility! So you won't be able to pay your toll when returning the car at the airport and take a plane. To avoid penalty: Don't use the toll road within 48 hours of leaving Portugal. Unless you have somebody in Portugal who doesn't mind to go to the post-office or payshop after two days and pay for you.

The car rental company may offer to pay the tolls after you leave the country. Be sure to trust them to make the correct payment!

Tolls can be paid at many Payshops.

There is a website giving the locations etc of all payshops

http://www.payshop.pt/default.aspx

It is only in Portuguese. You need to choose 'Pagamento de Portagens' then your location from the drop down menu at the bottom left.

That will bring up a list of all of them in your area and if you click on 'mais informações' you will get the full address and opening times.

This toll calculator, available in English, will help http://www.portugaltolls.pt/en/web/po...

The Algarve motorway is the A22, Faro Oeste (West) is the 'origin' tollgate heading towards Albufeira and Lagos, Faro Este for Tavira and Monte Gordo etc

Information in English and valid for rental cars is also available at  Algarvissimo A22 info with links to ViaLivre and info about the amount to pay per kilometer using the A22.

You may wish to check the Post Office web site; www.ctt.pt where there is an option to enter your hire car reg. number and see how much you owe, (up to 48 hours before). There is an English language option for this web site.

This page may prove useful - it is in English http://www.viaverde.pt/Website/Sectio...     

There is a downloadable and printable map showing all electronic toll roads in Portugal at http://www1.estradas.pt/documents/102...

Help is also available by email: duvidas.portagens@estradas.pt

At the car rental staff really do there best to inform you (in some instances), but beware that this information might not be true! They just don't know either even though their jobs depend on customers returning to use their services. 

PRE PAY for regular visitors

There's an option for Portuguese registered cars called "Pré-pago Anónimo", meaning that it's not linked to a specific license plate, it's usable on any Portuguese car for example on any rental every time you return. You can buy it at the post office. Info https:/…pre-pago-anonimo.html

The best advice is to simply avoid the A22 motorway, by using the N125, it will be slower but not by that much and the element of hassle is therefore removed. However fuel consumption may be higher, thus negating the savings made by avoiding the tolls. Also there are considerabl road improvement works taking place along the N125 during 2016 and 2017, causing delays to traffic.