The city of Faro, capital of the sun-drenched Algarve, is a perennially popular part of Portugal, sitting on its southern tip. It’s where many holidaymakers first touch-down when they visit the region, but it’s also a destination in its own right, one that straddles the world of modern tourism while retaining its own unique and historical character.
The Cidade Velha – or old town – is a place of charm, perfect for days spent browsing interesting shops, dining on local fare and delving into the area’s heritage. Classic squares, old churches, chapels and archaeological museums – there’s so much more to this area than beaches.
We’ll get you in the right car for you and out on the road as quickly as possible so that you can enjoy all that Faro, the Algarve and Portugal have to offer.
Opening hours: Mo-Su 0600-2400
Address: Faro International Airport
Opening hours: From 1 April until 31 October: Mo-Su 0800-1900
From 1 November until 31 March: Mo-Su 0800-1800
Address: Estrada do Aeroporto,
The roads of the Algarve are considerably quieter than in the bustling cities of Lisbon or Porto and if you want to get out into the more remote and quiet parts of the area, car hire in Faro is essential.
Seat belts are compulsory, cars drive on the right and speed limit signs will be in km/h. If you have children under 12 years of age, they must be taller than 150cms in order to sit in the front passenger seat.
The main road running east to west across the Algarve is the A22. To the west lies Vilamoura, Albufeira, Portimao and Lagos and east of Faro, it runs all the way to the border with Spain.
Please note that it is a toll road and must be paid for. National roads are smaller, and tend to go through towns rather than around them, but are free to drive on.
The N125 leads straight from Faro Airport and follows east, hugging the coast. If you wish to go west on it, initially take the IC4 north-west and then you can drive the N125 all the way to the far south-west of the country.
If you’re intending to visit Lisbon, follow the A22 west and then the E1 north, before taking the A2 west to the city.
Faro itself is pleasant to drive in, although at peak holiday times it can be best to park up just outside the busiest and most built-up areas and walk the last few hundred metres.
With a wide range of travellers passing through our locations every day, we've got a wide range of vehicles on offer to suit your needs - from smart executive saloons to compact family hatchbacks. ***
***Specific cars may not be available when booking
Faro retains its Portuguese atmosphere and the cut and thrust of a real city. Part of that is down the preservation of the interesting architecture, but also due to the presence of thousands of students who ensure the city buzzes day and night.
Dating back well before Roman occupation, Faro’s place in history is writ large in its architecture. Remains of Moorish buildings sit next to 18th century Portuguese relics.
The old city walls enclose Faro, making it a great place to park up and walk about in. Medieval arches separate different sections of the Cidade Velha, opening up onto ancient tree-lined squares.
Somewhat more macabre but equally fascinating is the Capela dos Ossos. This bone chapel is lined, in geometric patterns, with the bones and skulls of monks which were exhumed in the 19th century. The ossuary is open six days a week to visitors, and sits close to the beautiful Carmo Church. With its twin belfries, this early 18th century church is petite and pretty, and a study in contrasts next to its neighbour.
Among the many beaches in the area, Praia de Faro is perhaps the best of them all. Close to the city itself you’ll find 5km of soft sand on what is technically an island. To one side is the sea, on the other a lagoon. Watersports are popular here, and you’ll find plenty of vendors for jet skis, windsurfing and the like.
West of Faro, Praia da Falesia is even longer. Close to Vilamoura, it’s popular with both tourists and locals, with cliffs along the back, shallow waters and beach restaurants. Many people walk from town to town along the beach, and there’s a hiking trail behind the cliffs if you want to wander among the pine trees.
Eating and drinking in the Algarve is reasonably priced, and while many places cater directly to tourists, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes that serve more traditional Portuguese cuisine. Fish and seafood are almost always on the menu – after all there is some 200km of coastline on your doorstep.
It’s traditional for waiters to bring the ‘couvert’ to your table. This may be bread, olives, pate or crudités and, while you may not have ordered them, you will have to pay the small charge for them if you eat them. Portugal is the home of spicy piri-piri seasoning, usually on chicken, and you’ll find plenty of places serving ‘frango’, often on a rotisserie.
Close to the cathedral, Faz Gostos is an acclaimed place where you can sample rock lobster bisque, smoked duck magret and oven-baked salt cod with corn bread. End your meal with a traditional Trouxa de Ovos before walking it off as the sun sets on the old town.
Faro is a place of rich tradition, guaranteeing a warm welcome to visitors whether on a city break or a week on the beach. Car hire in Faro will let you enjoy it all, and also get out to visit the rest of the wonderful Algarve.
Please note that from 15 Nov to 15 Apr many cities are required by law to restrict the circulation to only vehicles equipped with snow chains or winter tyres. For a summary of the orders, please visit www.poliziadistato.it. To comply with the regulations, in specific locations subject to this requirement, vehicles are equipped with snow chains - the price is included in the rental charges through the cost of "Winterization Fee". At pick-up if you decide to bring your own snow chains or do not intend on driving on the roads subject to this requirement, you may decline the equipment by signing the appropriate release form. This change will be reflected in the rental charges. For more information on the fees, please click here. In all other regions, we recommend that you check before renting if your journey includes one of the roads subject to this requirement and therefore request the snow chains, if necessary.