Is It Worth Renting a Car In Algarve Portugal? Tips For Car Hire in 2024

When planning your trip to Portugal, you have to consider whether it’s worth renting a car in the Algarve.

Getting around the Algarve can be a lot easier by car, but it’s not the only way to get around.

The most important thing to consider when it comes to car hire is what you plan on doing and where you plan on going.

Since the Algarve is a popular tourist destination there are plenty of options for public or private transfer between cities.

rental car faro

In this post, I’m going to help you decide if it’s worth renting a car in Algarve Portugal!

You’ll also discover the best car hire options at Faro Airport, what to consider before renting a car, and tips for car hire in 2024. contains affiliate links to various products, which means I may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my website. Read more about my Affiliate Disclosure.

10 Things To Consider Before Renting a Car in Algarve

1. Are you legally able to drive in Portugal?

The legal driving age in Portugal is 18 years old. Most rental companies require you to be at least 21 years old with a valid driver’s license. You must carry your license and passport at all times while driving in Portugal.

2. Are you capable of driving in Portugal?

It’s always intimidating when driving in a new country with traffic signs that are difficult to understand. However, driving in the Algarve is actually really easy and straightforward. Driving here is the same as most EU countries as well as the US – they drive on the right side of the road! And don’t worry, you can rent a manual or automatic vehicle.

3. How long are you staying in the Algarve?

If you are staying in the Algarve for only a few days then it may make sense to rent a car as it can be cheaper than the cost of roundtrip transportation to Faro. If you are staying for a week then car rental companies usually offer discounts.

4. Which Algarve destinations do you want to visit?

If you plan on staying in only one to two places then you may not need a car. However, if you want to see a lot of beaches or small villages outside of popular places like Lagos then you may want the convenience of renting a car in Algarve.

5. How much does a transfer cost from Faro to Lagos?

If you want to book a private transfer from Faro Airport to Lagos, you can expect to pay € 78 each way. This is something to consider as it can be cheaper to rent a car, especially if you split the costs with another person.

best car hire algarve

6. How much does it cost to rent a car in Algarve?

Depending on the time of year, daily car rental costs can range from € 11 to € 80. Summer (July to September) is the peak season in the Algarve so prices are higher during this time. Keep in mind, automatic vehicles are more expensive to rent.

7. What’s included in your rental agreement?

You want to get the best value for your money. Check your rental agreement to see what’s included. Is there extra insurance coverage? Can you have an additional driver? Do you have to pay for tolls? Is there a limit on mileage?

8. What are the car hire terms?

Do you need to pay a security deposit? If so, how much is it? What is the fuel policy? Do you need to fill it up full before you return the vehicle? Can you cross the border into Spain, if needed? What happens if there is damage to the vehicle?

9. What is the cancellation policy?

Some rental companies offer no cancellation fees, but it’s important to read the terms to see what a refund looks like! Sometimes you may only receive a credit refund to rebook at a different time instead of getting all of your money back.

10. How can I get around the Algarve without a car?

You can use public transport or private transfers to get around the Algarve. You can get around via shared rides on Uber or Bolt, take the bus, book a taxi, or ride the train.

renting a car algarve portugal

Where to Hire a Car in Algarve

Most visitors to the Algarve plan to arrive at Faro Airport (Aeroporto de Faro), which is the only airport in the region. At Faro Airport, there are many car hire desks located inside the exit gate as well as directly outside the airport. Picking up and dropping off rental cars at the Faro Airport is really easy.

If you’re already in the Algarve, there are a few rental companies available in bigger cities like Lagos, Albufeira or Portimão.

Best Car Hire Faro Airport

I’ve rented a car in the Algarve many times now and I’m happy to say that I’ve always had good experiences. Due to the demand, I recommend booking a car in advance online.

Here are some of the best car hire options at the Faro Airport to consider:


I managed to rent a car with LuzCar for the first time in December. Usually, they don’t have any automatic vehicles available when I fill out a request form. After you fill out a form here, you will get an email response. One of the nice things about LuzCar is that you don’t have to make any payments until you pick up your rental car.

Here are their starting weekly rates (includes insurance):

April to June & October

€ 180.00

July to September

€ 240.00

November to March

€ 140.00


I’ve had two really good experiences with Drive4Fun. I think the employees are super friendly and are happy to help answer any questions I have. Their vehicles are also equipped with toll responders. Sometimes I check rates on a 3rd-party site called Zest Car Rental and to see if the rates are better (keep in mind Zest’s cancellation policy is a credit refund, not a cash refund).

Here are their starting weekly rates (includes insurance):

April to June & October

€ 185.00

July to September

€ 300.00

November to March

€ 80.00


Sixt is a popular car rental company in Europe. I chose to use Sixt based on their reviews and their low security deposit, which is € 300. I only chose to use Sixt after I found out there was no availability at LuzCar and Drive4Fun. Their fuel policy is full to full, which means to pick up and drop off with a full tank (I do prefer fuel policy). Many add-ons are an additional cost, including an additional driver. I was unsure of my experience when I picked up my rental car but after I dropped off my car I realized my experience was really good overall.

Here are their starting weekly rates (only includes Loss Damage Waiver insurance):

April to June & October

€ 465.00

July to September

€ 530.00

November to March

€ 76.00

rental car praia da luz portugal

What to Expect When Picking Up Rental Car

When you pick up your rental car at the Faro Airport, you will need to visit the rental car company’s kiosk. You can find the kiosks inside the airport terminal as well as outside in the parking lots. Many rental companies share spaces with each other.

Personal Information

When you arrive at the correct kiosk, you will provide your Driver’s License and Passport. If you have a second driver they will usually ask for their information as well. You will have to complete and sign a form.

Toll Responder

The easiest and fastest way to get to many parts of the Algarve is by using the A22 Highway toll road. You can also easily avoid the toll road if you don’t want to pay for it. It costs € 7.60 to get to Lagos and back to Faro using the toll road. All car rental companies will offer you a toll responder for the vehicle, some companies already have them ready to go in the vehicle. Say YES to the toll responder. If you don’t get one, you must pay your fees at a local post office, which is such a waste of time. If you plan on visiting other places you may want to put a bit more on the responder. Keep in mind, if you put more Euros on the responder and don’t use it you will lose out on the money.

Vehicle Inspection

Okay, you’re probably used to marking up a sheet of paper with every ding and dent on your rental car before leaving the parking lot. However, this isn’t always to be expected in the Algarve. Every company does this a bit differently. Some will do a quick inspection with you and other times there isn’t one at all. You shouldn’t worry though because the smaller car rental companies don’t really care about small dings and scratches. For peace of mind, take some photos of anything you consider to be noticeable damage. You can also take a photo of your fuel level if you have a fuel to fuel policy.

Insurance Policy

Double-check your insurance policy!

luzcar drive4fun car rental algarve

Tips For Driving in Algarve


When you need to fill up your vehicle, you may get confused at the gas station (or petrol station). It’s important to put the right fuel in the vehicle. If you need gas or petrol, it’s labeled as gasolina and has a green handle. If you need diesel, it’s called gasóleo and has a black handle. Ask the rental car company which fuel you need to use.

Road Quality

The main roads in the Algarve are all wide and paved. When you drive in smaller towns and villages, you will find that the roads become narrow. It’s important to stay away from driving through many city centers as the roads can be too small for your vehicle to turn without driving into the walls. When driving to some of the beaches in the Western Algarve, you will have to drive on dirt roads with many potholes or large stones. Make sure to read reviews before driving anywhere in your rental car to avoid any damage.


The Algarve has lots of parking places. Some parking areas require you to pay and some are free. When I’m in Lagos, I always park for free in the dirt parking lot here.

renting a car in algarve portugal

Dropping Off Your Rental Car at Faro Airport

Fueling Up

If you need to refuel your rental there are plenty of options near the Faro Airport car return. Cepsa nearest petrol station to the airport. Prio is also near to the airport, but this petrol station tends to put a large hold on your card, so keep that in mind. You can also refuel at the nearby Galp. Make sure you return your car according to your fuel policy to avoid any extra fees.

Return Entrance

Since the car rental companies are located in different areas they have different entrances. Make sure you return the car to the correct lot. To get inside, you will have to push the green button and get a ticket.

Dropping Off Rental Car

Each rental company is different and will inform you what to do when dropping off your vehicle. For instance, if you rent from Drive4Fun you can leave with the key in the car. Others may require you to visit the kiosk.

Out of courtesy, make sure to get rid of your trash!

rental car lagos portugal

So, Is It Worth Renting a Car in Algarve Portugal?

If you want to make the most of your time in Portugal, it is definitely worth renting a car in Algarve. Driving in the Algarve is easy and can be more affordable than using other transportation.

However, if you only plan on staying in one or two places and have lots of tours booked or plan on going to surf school then you don’t need to rent a car.

Click here to book your car hire at Faro Airport

cheap rental car algarve

Boa viagem! Good travels!

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Do you have any questions on renting a car in Algarve Portugal? Let me know in the comments.

When planning a trip to the Algarve, you have to consider whether it makes sense to rent a car or not. Getting around the Algarve can be a lot easier by car, but it's not the only way to get around.

The most important thing to consider when it comes to car hire is what you plan on doing and where you plan on going. Since the Algarve is a popular tourist destination there are plenty of options for public or private transfer between cities.

In this post, I'm going to help you decide if it's worth renting a car in Algarve Portugal! You'll also discover the best car hire options at Faro Airport, what to consider before renting a car, and tips for car hire in 2023.

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