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Is There Uber in Portugal?

Is There Uber in Portugal?

With Portugal growing in popularity with tourists and with expats looking for a low cost of living, the question is raised, is there Uber in Portugal? Let’s dive in and find out!

When you’re traveling around another country, it can be a little overwhelming to try and get used to the public transport system, especially if you’re flying in late at night, or you’ve got interrailing and have a load of cities to check out, all with their own networks.

At times like these, you want something reliable and familiar. Increasingly, we turn to Uber. 

As the almost universally used app-based taxi service, you can reliably find taxis nearby, and vet rates and drivers ahead of time to minimize getting ripped off or taken around by someone who is increasingly dodgy. However, Uber isn’t available everywhere yet.

Is There Uber in Portugal?

Yes, there is Uber in Portugal, but it may not be available in every city.

Where is Uber Available in Portugal?

Like in most countries, Uber isn’t available everywhere, but it is present in major cities. You’ll have no problem using Uber all about Lisbon and Porto, being the main cities in Portugal, and where a lot of travelers, tourists, and digital nomads fly into initially.

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You can also use Uber around most of the Algarve region. That being said, as the Algarve region is pretty large, some places are more common than others.

As Faro is where the main airport in the Algarve is located, it’s easy to get an Uber here, and around a lot of the popular beach towns and resorts, like Lagos and Albufeira, however, the more rural you get with your destination, the less likely you are to find Uber operating.

Is Uber Cheaper Than a Normal Taxi Service?

The main reason that a lot of people now use Uber is that they tend to be cheaper than local taxis. As they’ve got the infrastructure and a set amount that they can charge at certain times, it does normally mean that they can undercut the local taxi firms.

In Portugal, the local cab firms are actually pretty cheap already. Nevertheless, Uber is only slightly cheaper than a normal taxi service. So, unlike a lot of countries where Uber is way cheaper than the local taxi firms, you’ll only save a small amount by booking with Uber while you’re in Portugal. 

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How Do I Download Uber?

If you don’t have Uber on your phone already, it’s super easy to download and set up. Just go to the app store or Google Play Store on your phone and search for Uber. Download it and follow the instructions on the screen for your setup.

You may have to confirm your phone number when you download it, so it might be worth downloading it before you travel if you don’t plan on getting an international data plan or roaming SIM card while you’re in Portugal.

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Uber at Lisbon Airport

If you’re flying into the capital of Portugal, you should have no problem finding an Uber or similar app-based taxi service at the main airport. When flying into Lisbon airport, you’re naturally going to be coming into the arrivals hall.

The taxi rank and the Uber and Bolt pick-up areas are on the next floor outside the departure hall. 

So, grab your bags and head up the escalator to depart, go to the exit (or Salida as it is in Portuguese), head across the pedestrian crossing, and walk down past the bus stop. Here you should see the car park that’s sometimes called the Kiss & Fly car park.

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This is where most Ubers will pick you up, but if you can’t see them or they get lost, you can always ring them to find out where they are or how far away they are. You can also keep track on the live tracking map too.

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Uber at Porto Airport

If you’re flying into Porto airport, getting to the spot where your Uber is going to pick you up is a little bit more straightforward. Again, your Uber will tell you to head to the Kiss and Fly car park. However, unlike in Lisbon, the signposting isn’t very clear. 

Head out of the arrivals hall to the road outside. Here you’ll see a small island in the middle of the road.

Uber drivers normally pick up from the furthest side of the island, but you’ll be able to see both sides pretty easily so you can keep an eye out for your Uber ride. Simple!

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Should You Tip an Uber in Portugal?

Unlike in the US, Portugal doesn’t really have a clearly defined tipping policy that tourists and travelers should follow. As a rule of thumb, you round up by a euro or two. If you were in a regular taxi and the fare was 8.50, you would give them 10 euros and not waive the change. 

Essentially tips are appreciated as a sign of hard work and a job well done, as wages are still low in Portugal. That being said, they’re not necessarily expected. If you’re in an Uber, you can tip directly in the app and Uber does not take a cut from the tip, they only take their percentage from the ride fare itself.

Should We Be Supporting Uber?

This is honestly a big question with a lot of perspectives and complexities to it. On the one hand, local taxi firms and drivers have put a lot of time, money, and effort into getting their taxi licenses, building a reputation, and running their own businesses.

This should be rewarded. You can understand their frustration when Uber drivers don’t need to take the complex taxi driver tests or licensing procedures and, from their perspective, just take customers on their patch.

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Conversely, Uber provides, on the whole, a safer and more cost-effective way for locals and travelers alike to get around. With a fare quoted and locked in from the start, the rising charges and convoluted routes are largely a thing of the past.

Also, the review and rating system makes customers feel reassured that they’re not getting scammed.

When you’re half-awake from a transatlantic flight and want to get to your hotel, it’s an easy choice to book an Uber and not have to worry about getting driven all around the city and being charged a fortune for the privilege. 

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At the end of the day, the drivers who work for Uber in Portugal are largely locals, the same as those who work for local firms.

The main difference is that you are paying a significant cut to a corporation in Silicon Valley, rather than the whole fare going to the local economy, but when local taxi firms are hard to get hold of at night, or in certain areas of the Algarve, which has been reported, you’re trading off for convenience. 

Whether you want to support Uber or not is your own personal choice. Despite a few bad apples, like in every city, there are still plenty of reputable local taxi drivers and firms all around Portugal.

If you don’t want to use Uber, ask your hotel reception or AirBnB owner for recommendations before you arrive, or look at reviews online or on traveler forums so that you can book a local firm rather than taking a risk at the airport taxi rank.

Regardless of how you get around Portugal or from the airport to the city centers, Portugal is a beautiful and vibrant country that’s full of culture, art, fun, and great food. It’s always a great idea to head to Portugal!