Algarve Car Hire - Uncovered!
Whether Algarve car hire is essential to your holiday or if you just want to get out and explore, there are plenty of rental companies to choose from!
All of the well-known car rental companies operate in Portugal, for example Hertz, Avis, Europcar and Budget and there are also lots of local Algarve car hire companies. The easiest way to arrange car hire is to book it online before you arrive but you can also just visit a local office when you get here. There are several car hire offices in each of the popular tourist resorts, such as Albufeira, Praia da Rocha and Lagos and even in smaller towns there will be one (often booking offices offering several things under one roof, such as attraction tickets, tours, transfers and car hire).
Algarve car hire over the busiest summer period may be in short supply (and will also be more expensive) so it is advisable to pre-book then to ensure you get a car (and a good deal). Car hire can be collected from Faro Airport itself or the rental company will take you to a collection point near the airport by bus. Car rental representatives have a designated area on the right of the Arrivals area at the airport and you can see all of the car hire boards as you walk through. If you have transfers included in your holiday package you can arrange car hire collection from your resort, or similarly if you just want to hire a car for a few days.
Algarve car rental and Portugal travel information:
For car hire in Portugal you will need to show your passport and driving licence and either leave an imprint of your credit card as a deposit or pay cash, which will be refunded on return of the vehicle. Most car hire companies include full comprehensive insurance in the price, but what is not normally included is "SCDW" (super collision damage waiver) - this protects you against paying the excess in event of any damage to the car. On a normal small family car the excess can be anything from 600€ to 1000€ and the premium payable to protect it costs, on average, around 7€ a day. The minimum age for hiring a car in Portugal is 21, but rental companies may vary with regards to the lowest age they will rent to. Visit our Algarve Travel page for more information about driving in the Algarve.
Tips for booking Algarve car hire
- Don't just compare the basic charges per day, check what is included in the price and what extras you may need to pay for, e.g. Super Collision Damage Waiver, surcharges for resort or hotel delivery, child seat.
- If you are requiring a baby seat or booster seat, check if the cost is per day or a total cost for the duration of your car hire.
- Check what the minimum age of the driver(s) can be - although legally it is 21, some companies will only rent to people 25 years or over.
- If you are planning on visiting Spain, check if the car hire company charges an additional insurance fee.
- In light of the 2009 car hire shortages that affected Portugal and Spain, you may prefer to book direct with a car hire company instead of going through a third party to guarantee car hire and the car of choice.
- For car hire during the peak summer months especially, you will need a vehicle with air conditioning.
- Always book with a reputable car hire company that you can get hold of easily while you are here in case of any problems, for example, a company that offers a contact telephone number not just an email address.