Faro car hire
For getting about in the centre of Faro, your feet will probably serve you better than a rental car as the town is compact, with most accommodation and sights of interest being right in the centre of things. However, if you are not planning to stay in Faro for more than a night at either end of the vacation and you want to explore the rest of the Algarve, then a hire car is a good idea. In Faro, car hire companies are well represented at the airport, so you can get one as soon as you arrive, although several car hire operators have offices in the centre of Faro too.
Hiring a rental car in Faro, or indeed anywhere in Portugal, generally requires you to be over 25 years old and to have held a licence for at least a year. Some rental companies let younger drivers hire cars but they will charge higher rates because the insurance costs are higher.
There are several car hire companies with desks at Faro airport, including some of the top international names, and these also have franchises in town. This is ideal if you are flying into Faro as you can book with the larger companies online before you fly, and then all you have to do is pick the car up when you arrive. Also, as there is quite a lot of competition from local operators, car hire at Faro airport and in the Algarve in general tends to be cheaper than in Lisbon or Porto.
Bear in mind that booking a hire car in advance is usually cheaper than sorting it out once you arrive at the airport. Rental companies offer competitive promotional rates online when they are trying to win your business so, if you know your itinerary, take advantage of this because it will not be as cheap if you try arranging car hire at the airport on arrival. You will have a more limited choice, rather than taking your pick from a selection of competitive rates.
If you do want to book on arrival then local domestic firms usually have more favourable prices when put on the spot. For example, it might cost €200 to rent a small car for a week if you book in advance with an international firm or on-the-spot with a local firm, but up to €300 to book on arrival with a larger firm. In high season you should book a few days in advance anyway to be sure of getting a car.
However you go about it, remember that rental cars are prime targets for thieves so don't leave valuables in the car, and try to park in official, well-lit car parks if you are new to the area.
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