Visitors to Faro could stay in the city itself, along the coastline, or in a nearby town such as Albufeira, which was once home to the Romans and Moors. By renting a car, you have the freedom to choose rural accommodations that may be difficult to reach without transport. With a car, you’ll be free to explore the Algarve’s many beaches at leisure. From Quinta do Lago’s sandy, umbrella-dotted beach to the natural cliff tunnels at picturesque Carvalho Beach, there's plenty to please both sun worshippers and nature lovers. Outdoor enthusiasts will be right at home if they stay near the Ria Formosa Natural Park and its network of inlets and marshes. Activities range from high-adrenaline sports such as kayaking and mountain biking to more leisurely beachcombing and birdwatching.
Whether you stay in Faro or not, you can park for free near the archaeological museum and spend a day in the quaint cobbled Old Town. For a dose of history and the macabre, visit the Capela dos Ossos. This 18th-century Carmelite church is adorned with the bones of over 1,000 monks. Sip sangria as the sun sets over Faro Marina. Take advantage of the free parking next to Faro’s shipyard and take the ferry to Culatra Island or Barreta Island. Tranquil Culatra is a 6km-long carless island with an extensive ocean beach. On Barreta Island, you can take a guided nature tour on a catamaran. There are also many golf courses clustered to the west of Faro. If you’re a serious golfer, a car will make it easier to tee off at one of the courses and transport clubs.
Faro is located on a lagoon on the Ria Formosa, a river stretching from southern Portugal into Spain. Considered one of the seven wonders of Portugal, it's also home to a nature reserve, the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Revel in nature on a boat trip down the river or to one of the several islands off the coast. During winter, the marshland is home to many bird species, including flamingos. Further inland, small, traditional villages nestle in the valleys in the hilly Barrocal area. Tour wineries (make sure to designate a driver in advance) or visit on market day to taste traditional Portuguese life. Faro’s hot Mediterranean climate has attracted visitors for generations. Average daytime temperatures are between 27°C and 35°C. Even in winter, temperatures can hover around 17°C. Expect around 300 sunny days per year.
|Time-Zones||Western European Time|
As in the rest of Europe, cars are driven on the right side of the road. The legal age for driving is 18, but most rental companies require drivers to be a few years older. You'll need a valid photo driving license and photo ID. When you rent a car in Faro, be aware that the legal drinking limit is lower than in the UK, at 50mg per 100ml of blood. Using your phone while driving can result in a €600 fine (unless the phone is hands-free). Children under 12 years old require a suitable car seat. Driving in the Algarve is relatively simple since there are fewer tolls, and road signs are easier to follow than elsewhere in Portugal. If you're going further afield, expect tolls on every motorway and make sure you have cash with you. At night, keep an eye out for horse-drawn carts, a common sight in rural Portugal.