The Algarve is a beautiful part of Europe and you really need a car to get around and do some sightseeing. You can visit the little towns and quaint villages with their markets, not to mention the dramatic and gorgeous coastline.
When we landed at the airport in, we hadn’t booked car hire in Faro yet. But it was simple enough to arrange it. The car hire companies are just outside the airport building and they are very competitive. Great range of vehicles available and good prices, although it would have been cheaper to arrange it beforehand. There is a good car hire website online, and you can see the details here if you want to know the rate and available car models.
The roads were quite manageable and well-signposted with clear and visible signing. We found Faro is not too bad in the rush hour. Driving in Albufeira caused us a few hair-raising moments. I felt like James Bond navigating through the challenging narrow streets. There were also lots of stray dogs roaming around so do be careful.
Street parking was a bit tricky in parts. Be careful not to park in a spot which has not been designated as a parking area, or authorities may impound your car. Another thing to remember is you must not park cars facing against the flow of the traffic.
The A22/IP1, the main coast motorway which runs from Spain through Faro to Lagos, has recently been turned into a toll road and has caused a great deal of confusion, as there is no warning as to where it actually becomes a toll road and many visitors are unaware of this. Charges are about 1 euro a time and the toll has to be paid within 48 hours or you will incur fines. The best thing to do is to make sure that your hire car has a device installed which adds the cost of using those tolls on your final bill. This will simplify things and it will be one less thing to worry about when you go on day trips.
Don’t forget to say ‘obrigado’, which mean ‘thanks’ when you return your vehicle to the car hire, or ‘obrigada’ if it is a female car hire employee.