Car hire in the Algarve
Hiring a car in the Algarve
Portugal’s southernmost region is a popular holiday destination and with good reason. The Algarve has a winning combination of sandy beaches, golf resorts and fishing villages. The sunny Mediterranean climate helps to set all of these things off. It is also a dream to drive in, as all the major cities are connected by the A22 toll road. You can hop between Faro, Portimao and Lagos relatively easily, stopping off at whichever attraction takes your fancy along the way.
What you need to know
There’s a wide selection of car hire options to choose from, so be sure to use our booking tool to see which company will offer you the best deal on car hire in the Algarve. Whichever you choose, you’ll have peace of mind with Holiday Autos. We offer you free cancellation should your plans change; support around the clock; and compare no fewer than 1,500 companies to get the best prices. More than five million people across 170 countries have used us and endorsements don’t get much better than that.
Where to pick up your car
Picking up your hire car from Faro Airport (FAO) couldn’t be simpler, with the car hire desks located in the arrivals hall. This means you’ll be able to start your adventure straight away and drive to your hotel without the need for a transfer. Alternatively, you may wish to get the keys for your hire car in Albufeira or Portimao if this suits you better.
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“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
As soon as you’ve got your car the whole of the Algarve is your oyster. Want to relax on beautiful beaches? You’ve got it. Prefer to explore the old town of Faro? Yes please. Playing a round of golf more your to your tastes? That can be easily achieved too. If all of this sounds pretty good then you can combine them all, splitting your days between city and sea, while throwing your golf clubs in the back of the car for good measure.
If you fancy really making the most of your hire car and going on some scenic drives then there are some great places in the Algarve to explore. The fishing village of Olhao is renowned for its seafood and is just ten kms down the A22 motorway from Faro Airport (FAO), although the N125 secondary road is another good option. From Portimao, Foia is just 24 kms away and offers some of the best views in the region, because at 3,000 feet above sea level it’s the highest point in the Algarve. It’s all secondary roads to get there.
If heights aren’t quite your thing, then a road trip from the beautiful town of Lagos to Vila de Bispo might better suit your purpose. Stop off at as many of the quaint roadside chapels as you like. Be sure not to miss the traditional blue and quite tiles, known as azuleojos, inside the church at your destination, as they are unparalleled.
Head up the A2 main road to what was once the playground of the Romantic poets in Sintra. It looks like a storybook with its pastel-coloured villas and palaces. The highlight is the Pena National Palace on top of the hill and with great views all around.
While it’s natural to stay within Portugal, your hire car gives you the option of crossing nearby borders with other exciting tourist destinations. Some of Spain’s most enchanting spots are temptingly close, so you could drive down the A22 and A49 roads for just two hours if setting off from Faro and find yourself amongst the Flamenco and tapas of Seville.
Top attractions to visit in the Algarve
Take in some of the best sites in the Algarve with the flexibility and independence your hire car offers you.
The best preserved castle in the whole region can be found in Silves. It sits at the top of a hill beside the town’s cathedral, offering a magnificent first glimpse of its grandeur. When you are up in one of the 11 towers the view over Silves and the surrounding area is simply breathtaking. Before winding your way down the cobbled streets into the town, visit the gothic cathedral and its ancient tombs to get a real sense of history. A beautiful central square and peaceful riverside location await in Silves, making it a wonderful place to meander or enjoy an al fresco lunch.
Faro Old Town
Sometimes overlooked in favour of the Algarve’s many beaches, Faro’s Old Town is a rare treat. From the heights of the cathedral tower to the orange-tree lined square beneath, it is the sort of place that holidays were invented to enjoy. As the sun sets the cathedral is lit up, while the pavement cafes in the square offer a lovely place to enjoy a few drinks and an evening meal. Do not miss the Municipal Museum while you’re in Faro as it shows off the many sides of the city.
Ruins of Cerro da Vila
Not far from Vilamoura you’ll find a fascinating historical site that dates back to Roman times. These ruins are all that remain of two villas, but they offer an important insight into the life that once was lived there. Everything from baths to fish salting stations are identifiable, although not all of the evidence is purely practical. The remnants of marble and painted stucco walls are beautiful examples of the decorative techniques the Romans were well-known for.