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Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

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posts: 539
reviews: 51
Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

Don't want to rent a GPS at $10/day from the rental car folk. In the past we've bought a simple used GPS with European maps on-line, reselling it for what we paid for it upon return (basically, it cost postage) - but not having used one in Portugal I'm wondering what's best there in cheap GPS devices?

Vilamoura, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
posts: 11,167
1. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

The brand Garmin is widely sold here in Portugal.

Porto, Portugal
posts: 112
reviews: 21
2. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

If you have a smartphone with gps you can download the free 'tmn drive' app that comes with portuguese maps.

O Savinao, Galicia
Destination Expert
for Galicia
posts: 4,702
reviews: 9
3. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

Please do not rely on GPS in Galicia. a lot of minor roads are not in any system. We have a road near us which runs along the Rio Miño. It has been there for over 12 years. Still is not on the system. One of my guests joked it was saying turn around you are in the water!!

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
posts: 30,877
reviews: 22
4. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

GPS also shows roads where there are none. It does where I live in the Algarve.

A rough track might look like a road in satellite mapping system, but not when you are trying to deal with it at ground level.

Garmin and Tomtom are widely available here.

Phila PA
posts: 1
reviews: 1
5. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

One week ago, I used a TomTom from Budget Rent A Car and my own TomTom. I was in the Algarve region. Both were very poor. Neither would not accept my destination inputs. Our local house rental agent said GPS does not work well here. My TomTom worked very well 2 years ago in the Niece, Monaco area. But this time it was BAD.

I recently bought another TomTom for my home in the Phila area and quickly returned it. A Garmin is much better and more user friendly. .

posts: 278
reviews: 69
6. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

I have an older TomTom 920 that I have been using both in the States, Canada and Europe. I also have GPS on my Samsung Note II and two of my previous global smartphones. The problem with using your smartphone in Europe as a GPS device is that you have to have mobile data turned on which can get expensive in a hurry.

One thing that I have found is important on any dedicated GPS is to download ALL the updates before you leave. I connect my GPS to my computer at home and create a 'trip' before I leave. IF you do this, it has all the satellite information and greatly reduces the time to 'find' the satellites and you don't have to fumble around when you are tired from an international flight.

All GPS units have issues with small roads and can lead you in the wrong direction quickly. I suggest emailing your hotel in advance to find out IF there are GPS issues. Sometimes if you are lucky, people will include issues with GPS's on their hotel reviews. For example, we were staying in Lake Garda and a review of the hotel said that their GPS led them astray. I let my GPs get us close and then when it led us down a little wrong road I quickly turned around and used the old fashioned method of following the well marked signs to the hotel. You have to use common sense.

I have used my old TomTom in Portugal twice. Sometimes it has worked perfectly and got me to our hotels in Porto and Cascais without one wrong direction just as it did many other places such as Obidos and Tomar. We did have trouble with a small hotel in the Algarve (first time using the GPS in Europe). While my GPS couldn't get us there, I was able to call the hotel and tell them exactly where I was and they were able to tell me where to go back to and correct my GPS error. I guess that this was a common problem and why I suggest emailing in advance.

FOR sure, the best device to carry with you is a global smartphone. IF I think I am going to have issues, I go on any of the many map programs and 'capture' the local map I need, store it in my Dropbox account and make it 'offline' available SO I don't have to use my global data connection. Of course, I do this at home where I have unlimited data.

Hope this helps.

7. Re: Best GPS for Portugal and Galicia

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