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Key facts for hiring a car in Faro

  • Car hire locations

    There are 3 car hire locations in Faro, and the most popular is Faro Airport.

  • Average temperatures

    Coldest month: January (12°C)

    Warmest month: July (24°C)

  • Must trys

    Cataplana de marisco – a traditional seafood stew

  • Time difference

    GMT

  • Currency

    Euro (EUR, €)

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Hire a car in Faro

Easily reached by plane, many travellers pass through Faro on their way to coastal resorts. But there’s so much more to this Portuguese hub than just a stopover...

Faro is regarded as the gateway to the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost coastal region. While most of the city was destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1755, a well preserved medieval centre still remains – making it all the more impressive.

The pedestrian-friendly streets will guide you to a wealth of museums and cathedrals, and whether you’re looking for secluded lagoons or lively beaches, there is a piece of sun-kissed scenery for everyone.

Discover the Algarve

The beauty of Benagil

If you’re looking for a beach adventure, Benagil is the place to start. Under an hour’s drive from Faro, Benagil is the quintessential postcard image of the Algarve. The beach is surrounded by orange and yellow limestone cliffs, which have been eroded into bizarre and spectacular shapes.

Of all the cliffside rock formations, the Algar de Benagil is regarded as one of the most remarkable. This otherworldly grotto is far from your usual dark and musty cavern. Tens of metres in height, the sun streams into the cave through an opening in the ceiling – called the eye – and illuminates the sand and water within.

This pristine sea cave is just around the corner from Benagil beach, however, it can only be reached by water. You can take a boat tour (there are plenty of local fishermen offering their services), rent a kayak, or swim (though this is only for experienced ocean swimmers).

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Local knowledge

Tolls

The main toll road which you will come across in the Algarve is the A22. This wasn’t always a toll road, but fees were introduced in 2011. As this road was converted to a toll route, it’s useful to be aware that there are no toll booths for paying.

Don’t worry, there are a few other ways to pay these toll fines. The first is to get an electronic device from your car hire company which will charge your credit card when you use a toll road. Alternatively, you can pay at a post office 48 hours after using the route.

Use the N-125 if you want to avoid tolls altogether. This road runs adjacent to the A22 and can get you to all the popular stop offs along the coast, too.

Driving tips

  • Remember to bring sunglasses with you, as the sun’s glare can be quite exhausting as a driver.
  • You may find crossroads with traffic lights on dual carriageways.
  • Go for a car with air conditioning in the summer, you’ll need it!
  • Choosing a manual car if you can drive one will save you money.

Head away from the coast

Discover the mountains

Strolling along the Algarve’s rugged cliffside offers spectacular views, but there is more to the region than its seaside. Serra de Monchique, is a mountain range located northwest of Faro and offers visitors an alternative view of southern Portugal.

At 902 metres, Fóia is the highest point in Monchique. You can get to the peak by foot, mountain bike or car. On a clear day, you’ll get superb views of blue sky and lush vegetation.

If you’ve spent hours trekking (or just want to relax), a visit to the Caldas de Monchique spa may be in order. Mountain spring water was discovered here by the Romans, and its healing properties have been used to treat the body and mind ever since.

It is the 17th century Franciscan convent, Convento Nossa Senhora de Desterro, that is perhaps the most intriguing site in Monchique. As long as you are willing to endure the steep climb up, you’ll be greeted with a forgotten piece of history.

The ultimate Faro road trip

  • Faro Airport FAO

    The main airport in the south of Portugal, popular with tourists seeking sunshine.

  • Car hire pick up point

    Car hire agents are located within the terminal or at car park P4.

  • Vilamoura – 26km

    Popular holidaying area known for its beautiful marina and beach.

  • Portimão  – 56km

    Port town with good shopping facilities and an interesting selection of buildings to admire.

  • Lagos  – 31km

    Famed for the Ponta de Piedade rock formations – the perfect place to watch the sunset.

  • Sagres  – 33km

    At the south westerly tip of Portugal, visit Cape St. Vincent to feel like you’re visiting the end of the world.

Algarve road trips