Faro is the capital of the Algarve region, which is a popular sunshine destination on Portugal's south coast. Whether you're after a holiday in Faro, or one further afield, car hire in the Algarve is cheap and a great way to get around. Hop in your hire car at Faro Airport and you'll be off exploring Faro and the Algarve coast in no time.
Faro is not as stereotypically touristy as many of the other resorts in this part of Portugal - you will find that local life and culture is easier to find and historic monuments mix with traditional dining and cosmopolitan cafes to produce a pleasant, relaxing experience. Top attractions include the Bone Chapel, wandering the Old Town and taking a boat trip around the Ria Formosa. This is a nature reserve made up from hundreds of islands and it boasts plenty to spot whilst you're on a leisurely trip.
Hiring a car in Faro
If you're after car hire Faro Airport is a good place to start as all the major firms are represented alongside some local alternatives. Make sure to book your Faro car rental in advance so that you can be sure of both availability as well as the best price - as Algarve car hire is so popular in the summer you will find showing up at Faro airport hoping to rent a car may not go very well! Faro Airport is the gateway to the whole of the Algarve, so all holidaymakers will be picking up a rental car from here. You can imagine that the supply will start to dwindle at peak times.
If you're staying in Faro, it's probably best to make sure that your hotel offers car parking facilities, and to check whether there is a charge for this as parking your hire car in Faro can really add up if you're paying every day. There are some central car parks which are free to use, making car rental in Faro easy to use to get around the central sights. If you're travelling on to a resort along the coast it makes sense to pick up your car hire at Faro Airport. The roads in the Algarve are good, and most resorts are clearly signposted.
Places to visit in Faro and the Algarve
Faro is a seaside city and Faro marina is well worth visiting - even if you're just spotting all the large yachts. Whether you are staying for a night or two weeks the cheap hotels Faro provides should keep you satisfied. Get out and see the Ilha de Barreta - a beautiful beach island accessible by boat from Faro. With car hire Faro and the rest of the Algarve will be within reach. Why not go in 2012 or 2013 for the Ria Formosa Festival or the Faro Holiday Festival?
Once you're behind the wheel of your cheap car hire in Portugal, why not plan a few day trips to see more of the area? Here are some of our suggestions:
Sagres: This is the most south-westerly community in Portugal, and so in the whole of Europe. Head past the village and out to the Cape St. Vincent to stand at the edge of the continent, look west and south along the stunning coastline and see nothing but the vast expanse of the Atlantic in the other direction. If you can, do this from the lighthouse as the views are astonishing. There's quite often a local craft market on the headland too - ideal for getting those souvenirs.
Lagos: A popular town with a reputation for great nightlife, Lagos boasts lovely beaches and a charming centre that's just jam-packed with great architecture. Use your hire car in the Algarve to explore all the hidden beaches in this area, and don't forget to visit the Ponta de Piedade. You can hop on a boat from here if you like and explore even more of the stunning rock formations along the coast.
Tavira: Or take things easy with a day trip to Tavira, from where you can access different parts of the Ria Formosa National Park. This could mean spotting migrating flamingos, hiking woodlands or boating around lagoons. You can also take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the old sights in the city, which will make a change to driving around Portugal in your hire car!
Serra de Monchique: Rather than heading along the coast for the day, why not point your hire car inland from Faro and scale the Serra de Monchique mountain range. Visit the tiny town of Monchique to see this quaint place and to admire its stunning views. Check out the typical architecture of whitewash and carved stone. If you're feeling energetic then a hike to the Pico da Fóia, the highest point in the mountains, will afford you panoramic views well worth a snap or two. If you're after a meal, then why not try the local specialities of honey or sausages, or perhaps a cheeky sip or two of medronho, the Algarve brandy made from berries.
Silves: The former capital of the Algarve, a day trip in your rental car will open you up to plenty of historical sights, such as Silves Castle and the Cathedral of Silves. Spend some time strolling the pretty streets, and look out for somewhere to dine on Fevres de Porco, literally translated as Secrets of Pork, which is the local dish.
Alte: This inland village is best known for being the most unspoilt typical Algarve village you could ever hope to visit. Head for the church, which is the heart of the village, and then enjoy strolling the streets, soaking up the atmosphere. Typical architecture is easy to find here, with whitewashed houses, latticework and hand carved stonework. Make your way to the east of the village to see the Fonte Pequena, which is a great spot for a picnic.