Earlier this year Portuguese media reported that the country’s National
Republican Guard (GNR), which enforces motoring laws, had been told to increase
their annual revenue from traffic fines, to help support the country’s ailing
Offences such as parking against the flow of traffic, and driving while
wearing flip-flops, have reportedly attracted fines in excess of €200 (£160),
while the GNR has been accused of targeting overseas tourists in order to meet
One British resident of the Algarve, who asked to remain anonymous, was stopped
by police while driving last month. Although her paperwork was in order,
she claims that authorities were only pulling over foreign-registered cars, and
says she saw an elderly British couple having their vehicle confiscated.
Another expat reported seeing
several UK-registered cars clamped outside a supermarket in Albufeira,
despite no sign prohibiting parking. He claimed that tourists were seen as a
“soft target” as they tend to pay, and get on with their holiday, rather than
contest the fines.
Meanwhile, a shopkeeper in Guia claimed that foreign motorists in the town
had been targeted using a law that requires drivers carrying commercial loads to
possess a document of ownership. Drivers had been fined, he said, after visiting
a supermarket and then being unable to show police a receipt.
The Foreign Office warns that “fines for traffic offences are substantial in
Portugal”. It adds that police will carry portable ATMs in their vehicles to
facilitate immediate payment of on-the-spot fines.
A spokesman for the Automobile Club of Portugal said it was “struggling with
the government” over the issue, adding that it was “certainly not good for
Authorities in Portugal were criticised earlier this year following the
introduction a controversial road toll on the Algarve’s main motorway, the A22.