The Algarve region is becoming more and more popular among holidaymakers and in summer Faro airport and the whole region becomes very crowded. If travelling in high season we recommend you to book your car hire months in advance to avoid disappointments of limited car hire availability and to get a better car hire deal at Faro Airport.
A short drive away from Faro lies the beautiful Natural Park of river Formosa, which is giving you an exceptional insight into the Algarvian flora and fauna - in the park you’ll be able to observe turtles, chameleons and other creatures. The area is especially popular for bird watching, as you can spot flamingos, spoonbills and many other birds, typical of the sea area. This wetland, where the sweet river waters mix with the salty maritime waters is full of dirty trails and mediterranean herbs. There’s also a very informative tidal mill, that uses the tide energy to mill the grains. It makes for a great and relaxing day out in the nature...just take care of the sunburns! A car hire at Faro Airport will take you to many interesting places!
If you’re a devoted golf player, that’s probably one of the reasons you’ll be visiting Algarve. Algarve has many golf courses just waiting for you to hit the ball, and many are found to the northwest of Faro in Tavira. You can combine the golfing with an excursion to the Natural Park of Ria Formosa.
If you’d like to travel a bit further away from Faro, Albufeira is the nearest attraction you must visit. Popular among the beach lovers, that adorn the coast with lobster red bodies, this town has its charm. It’s definitely the prettiest early in the day, when all the tourists are still asleep and when the fishermen boats are already in the port, but you can admire its cliffs in any time of the day, really. Beware of the possibility of rocks falling on the beach, so don’t go too near the cliffs with your towel.
Along the southern coast runs the A22 road making different spots and beaches along the coastline accessible without difficulty. Parallel to the A22 road runs a local road connecting the small villages, however the road is poorly maintained and marked, so we recommend using the motorway. Leaving the road conditions aside, the Alentejo Region is where you should go, if not for a longer stay, for a day trip at the least. Located at the south - western part of the country, this region has a roughness to it, with the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and the windy climate making it ideal for outdoor activities like wave surfing, windsurfing and kiting.
If a road-trip around Portugal is what screams your name, and you are not limited with just a few days off work, then this is what you should do. Hiring a car will save you days of driving from your home, and that time you’ll be able to spend on the road in Portugal, discovering the pristine beaches, tasting the local food and wandering around the city markets.
If you are arriving to Faro for a 2 day stay, we recommend you to find an accommodation in Lagos, where the beaches are a true gem and from there visit Sagres, a place well worth your visit.
If you are planning for a longer stay, say, a 7 day stay in Algarve, then, your options of what to visit expand. Again, we recommend you to find an accommodation in Lagos, as the town will satisfy your needs of crystal clear waters, dreamy sandy beaches and loads of facilities in the centre - restaurants, pubs and so forth. Lagos also makes for a great base point if you are interested in discovering the rest of Algarve - from Lagos you can visit Faro, Sagres, Albufeira, Loulé, and the western coast of the Alentejo Region, that makes just a perfect escape for all the adventurous travellers.
If you have more time for your Faro experience, at least a fortnight stay or more, then, it’s hard to resist the temptation of mentioning a road-trip around Portugal. Arriving by plane and hiring a car at Faro Airport makes a good start to explore the Southernmost part of Portugal. Once here, you should set forth towards the west of Algarve to absorb all the wind and the idyllic scenery of the Atlantic Ocean, combining the steep cliffs with divine sandy beaches in the Alentejo Region, surprisingly underrated by the tourists. Afterwards, the road by itself will lead you to Lisbon, where a few days should be spent to feel the laid back rhythm of this multicultural city, adorned with colorful tiles and charming squares. From Lisbon you have many one day excursion, from the mondene Cascais and proud Belém, to the ancient castles in Sintra, never disappointing its visitors.
Driving in Faro
Driving in Faro has legally the same restrictions that in any part of Portugal.
Age limits: 21 is the minimum age of the majority of car rental agencies. The minimum age can differ, and another general rule you can count on, is a Young Driver Fee for drivers that are under 25 years of age. Also, to be able to hire a car, the driver must hold a license for at least 2 years.
International Driving Permit: We recommend to check this data with the car rental agency, but a general rule is that the license must be written in a Latin alphabet. So, if the language of your license uses another alphabet, in Faro as well as in the majority of European cities, you'll need a international driving permit.
Additional papers: When renting a car, you'll need a valid passport, driver's license, and a credit card in the driver's name. The mentioned documents cannot be omitted and do not forget to have a deposit amount on your credit card available, as the representative at the car rental counter will block it in order to give you the keys of your car. Also, we recommend you to purchase our excess and damage cover that will cost you 2 to 3 times less money then the insurance of the car hire agency, offered on the spot. Expect a persuasive speech at the counter, trying to sell you the insurance of the car rental agency. Be polite but decisive declining the insurance by showing them your Vehicle Rent coverage. A car hire at Faro Airport will be easier if you are covered with an incurance!
Additional requirements: All the additional equipment you need in the car must be guaranteed by the car rental agency. Check the car trunk before signing your pick-up documentation and see if all the equipment is inside: Warning triangles, reflective vests and a spare wheel as well as spare light bulbs. An additional bonus is a hands-free equipment with hearing aids that must be used if you are driving and speaking on the phone.
Children in the car: A seat belt is required for all car occupants. Children under the age of twelve or shorter than 4ft 11in (1.50 meters) must ride in the back seat of the car. Suitable booster seats or chairs are required for smaller kids.
Driving side of the road: Right
Lights: Dipped headlights are to be turned on while driving in a tunnel or during conditions of poor visibility.
General speed limits: 75mph (120kph) on motorways, 60mph (100kph) on highways, 55mph (90kph) outside cities and 30mph (50kph) in residential areas.
Parking suggestions: Parking is usually well marked. There are some free parking spaces, but the majority will be paid parking. With a car hire in Faro, parking your car will be a frequent task, so we recommend you to use the parkopedia.com website. If you find yourself having trouble parking your car, don’t hesitate to ask the passersby - portuguese are always welcoming, friendly and helpful and will try to give you the best answer.
Public transport from Faro Airport
From Faro Airport you have no connections to other cities in Algarve, so for any further connection you’ll have to take a bus or taxi to Faro. The nearest railway station is in Faro centre, and the train can take you to the east of Algarve, passing the following main train stations: From Faro to Tavira to V. Real St. Antonio. From Faro you can travel to the west of Algarve by train, passing the following main train stations: Faro - Tunes - Portimao - Lagos. There’s also a train connection to Lisbon from Faro. Check the following map of train connections in Portugal, if you’re planning to make your trip by train.
From the airport, in terms of public transport, you have the option of either taking a taxi or a bus. On the airport, there are 2 bus stations, both easily identified from the terminal and the bus tickets are purchased from the driver. Be sure to have change, as the driver can run out of it. The bus number 16, also known as the pink lane, is a connection between the Faro Terminal station in the centre and Faro Beach (Praia de Faro). From the Airport there are 13 bus stops to the centre and in normal traffic conditions, the bus drive from the airport to the Faro city centre will take about 20 minutes. One of the stops from the Airport to Faro is the Faro train station (Estação de comboios) where you can step down and take a train to your next destination. Check the bus network from Faro Airport to Faro to better organise your trip.
If you’re planning to move around Portugal by bus, EVA bus is the bus company that takes care for the transfers between Algarve and Lisbon. It also has a new line connecting Faro and Seville in Spain, if you’d like to cross the borders.
If you’d like to travel to Albufeira you have the option to take a bus from Faro or take the train from the train station in Faro. We recommend you to take the bus in low season and the train in high season of July and August, as buses are easily sold out in the top months and the train is a little bit more relaxed and always has a couple of spare seats.
If you’d like to visit Alvor, you’ll first have to get to Portimao either by train or by bus. In Portimao you’ll take the bus to Alvor as the train does not pass by Alvor.
Public transport in Algarve is a bit hard on the passengers. If your main objective is to save money or a budget vacation, then relying on public transport is your best option (besides sticking to the hotel and the nearest beach). However, we warmly recommend you to book a car right away at Faro Airport as that is probably the best way to move around and explore the Faro surroundings and the Algarve region. Also, there is always the option of heading on a road trip around Portugal...A car hire at Faro Airport brings a million of opportunities…