Renting a car in Algarve, best car hire companies. The best prices in the Algarve for renting a car? Are there hidden costs? We tell you everything.

two ladies in a rent a car in the Algarvr
Renting a Car in the Algarve

Is it Worth Renting a Car in Algarve?

It is definitely worth renting a car in Algarve. It is highly recommended you book your car rental before you arrive in the Algarve. Especially if you are travelling in high season, cars tend to rent out very quickly.

There are some great offers available online from known international companies. You can book to pick up from Faro airport or the hotel you are staying in.

Renting a car in Algarve gives you the freedom to explore the Algarve beyond the traditional tourist hotspots, allowing you to set your unforgettable itinerary that are tailor made to your interests.

Surprisingly, renting a car can be more cost-effective than other options of travel, especially if you’re traveling in a group or a large family. Splitting the cost of the rental and fuel among several people can save money compared to individual train or bus tickets.

Eventhough public transportation in the Algarve is improving and offers several options, at times it can still be linited. Especially if you want to explore the inner towns and regions of the Algarve.

Imagine discovering a hidden beach perfect for a swim, a local market in a small town, visit historic hilltop villages. There are no limits to your options.

It important that you research several rental companies.

  • Read the reviews customers have to say about each company.
  • Keep Deposit costs in mind, as you will need to leave a deposit when you collect your car. There are only a couple of companies that do not require deposits.
  • Check the Fuel and Mileage Policies.
  • Make sure know which insurance policies are included and what additional policies you should add.


There are some very good online companies that do all this for you and show you  all the options, customer rating and all the policies you need to know. We have always worked with Discover Cars as they are a very professional website that covers everything for you. 

It will also give you the companies review rating for each car. 

From experience this is the best way to search for your perfect car to suit all your needs while on holidays in the Algarve.

The Algarve works with both local and also international car rental companies. International companies provide a sense of Familarity and established reputations.

Local companies some times offer a more personalized service.

Is it Easy to Drive in Algarve?

Yes, It is very easy to drive in the Algarve. Renting a car in Algarve is not expensive compared to other European countries. 

The roads in general are very good and conditions and safely drive.

The two main road in the Algarve are the EN 125 a nacional road that crosses the Algarve from East to West.

The  A22 also known  as Via do Infante is a Toll paid road that starts at Castro Marim  until Lagos. 

There are also some very good secondary roads that drive through towns and take you to some of the great beaches of the Algarve.

renting a Red convertible with two women in the back seat with theit hands in the air driving in the country.
Renting a car in Algarve

What Side of the Road do you Drive in Portugal?

When renting a car in Algarve remember to drive on the right-hand side of the road in Portugal. You over take to the left.

If you live in one of the 76 countries that drive on the let hand side of the road, you have to pay extra attention when driving in Portugal. 

A bit of advice to remember which side of the road you have to be on when driving  is “the driver has to always be in the middle of the road” If you keep this is mind at all times you won’t have any problems driving in the Algarve.

Renting a Car in Algarve - Always Book in Advance

It is always recommended that you book your rental car in the Algarve well in advance, especially during the peak season (June – September).

This ensures you get the best rates and the type of car you want.

Last-minute bookings can be more expensive and limit your options.

Can I Rent a Car at Faro Airport?

Can you rent a car at Gago Coutinho Faro Airport? Yes, absolutely you can hire a car Gago Coutinho Faro Airport. Again, we highly  recommend you book your car hire before you travel.

Once you arrive at Faro Airport you can just pick up your car and drive away to start to explore the beautiful Algarve.

Faro Airport has over 45 car rental companies that you can choose from.

These include  well known and respected car hire companies such as;

  • Sixt – Customer Rating 8.8
  • Hertz – Customer Rating 8.3
  • Avis – Customer Rating 8.8
  • Europcar – Customer Rating 7.6
  • Drive on Holidays – Customer Rating 9.0
  • Discovery Cars – Customer rating 8.6

When you rent a Car at Faro Algarve Airport you have at least 3 options for picking up your rental car. 

We have outlined the 3 different options and the best Algarve rental car companies for each of the options.

We have found that the Car hire companies that offer the Shuttle service normally have the most competitive rates. You can do the comparison and see which is the best option for you.

rentinga a car in algarve
Best Car Hire Companies in the Algarve

Best Rental Car Companies at Faro Airport Terminal

If you are renting a car in Algarve and have opted to picking up your car in the Terminal at Cago Coutinho Faro Algarve Airport, this allows you to walk out of arrivals and walk straight over to the car hire company desks in the Terminal.

The best Algarve Car Hire companies that offer this service are the following;

  • Budget – Customer Rating 8.9. Require Full payment when you book.


  • Sixt – Customer Rating 8.8. They require you pay full payment when you book.


  • Enterprise – Customer Rating 9.1. They only require partial payment when you book.


  • Avis – Customer Rating 8.7. They require full payment when you book.


  • Discover Cars – Customer Rating 8.7. They require full payment when booking.


  • Alamo – Customer Rating 8.7. Require partial payment when booking.

Best Algarve Car Rental Companies with a Meet & Greet Location

You can rent your car at Cago Coutinho Faro Airport Algarve and arrange to be met by the rent a car representative at the arrivals area. They will then take you to your car.

By using the Meet and Greet option you do not have to walk around Faro airport looking for the car rental company. 

Companies that Meet and Greet at Faro Airport are the following;

  • AbbyCar – Customer Rating 7.5.  AbbyCar requires Full Payment when booking. You can Check In Online meaning you can fill in all the forms online and not have to fill them when collecting the car. You have Free Cancelation up to 3 days before your car hire date.


  • ResolvCar – Customer Rating 8.3. ResolveCar require a Partial Payment when booking when renting a car in Algarve. Free Cancelation up to 3 days before picking up your car.


  • Auto Prudente Car Rental – Customer Rating 7.9. Auto Prudente requires a Partial Payment when renting your car in the Algarve. You can also Check in Online allowing you to save time filling in forms after your arrival. Auto Prudent offers Free Cancelation up to 3 days before your rental date.


  • VisaCar – New to Online bookings no customer Rating yet. Viscar is a very respectable and reliable local car hire company. Eventhough they do not have an online Customer Rating we know the company well and recommend them when you want to rent a car in Algarve.  They Partial Payment when you book. You have Free Cancelation up to 3 days before your car hire date.


  • GolfAuto – Customer Rating 9.2. They have been give issued with the Excellent Service Award. You have Free Cancelation up to 3 days before car hire date. GolfAuto requires Partial Payment when you book your car hire in the Algarve.
car-hire companies in Algarve
Book with a trusted Algarve Car Hire Company

Best Car Hire Companies at Faro Airport with Free Shuttle Service Car Hire Companies

When renting a car in Algarve at Faro Airport not all rental car companies have a desk at the airport. However, Car Hire Companies offer free shuttle service from the airport to the Car Rental offices that are located on the main road EN 125-10 coming out of the Airport.

When renting a car in Algarve with free shuttle service these are your best Car Hire Companies;

  • AutoRent – Customer Rating 94. They have been awarded the Excellent Service Award. They only require Partial Payment when you book. You have Free Cancelation 3 days before your car hire commences.


  • Centauro – Customer Rating 8.8. Centauro has been awarded the Excellent Service Award. You can Check In Online (enabling you to fill out all the forms before you arrive and you saving time). Free Cancelation up to 3 days before picking up the car. You will only require to pay Partial Payment when booking your car hire. 


  • Record-Go – Customer Rating 8.2. Free Cancelation up to 3 days before rental commences. You are required to pay in Full on renting your car in Algarve.

Is it best to Rent at Faro Airport or Locally?

Planning your Algarve Car Rental: Choosing the right Options.

Before you book go through our check list and choose the right car, insurance, extras and look into any hidden costs.

Deciding on your Ideal Car When Renting a Car in the Algarve

Always take into consideration the number people travelling with you.

Economy Cars

Economy cars are ideal for budget-conscious travellers. For couples or solo travellers a small compact car is also a  great choice.

This will give you fuel efficency, easy to park in small parking spaces and driving in the narrow streets of some of the Algarve’s towns and cities.

You will still have plenty room in the car.

Family Cars and SUV’s

If you are a family with children or grown adults, then you should consider a mid-size car for added comfort and space.

If you plan on venturing inland and exploring unpaved roads then we highly recommend a SUV. They will provide additional ground clearance and handling capacities.

Luxury and Convertible Cars

If you like to drive in style in a luxury car such as a Convertible, Audi, Mercedes etc you also have this option with several Algarve car hire companies.

picture showing the different types of car when renting a car in algarve
Choosing the perfect car for your needs

Can I Rent an Automatic or Manual Transmission car in Algarve?

The majority of the cars in Portugal are manual transmission.

You can rent a car in the Algarve with an automatic transmission. If you feel more comfortable with an automatic transmission, especially when you are driving unfamiliar roads, then the automatic car is your best option.

However, if you are use to driving and feel comfortable with a manual transmission, you might find it more of a cost-effective option in most rental companies.

Manual or automatic transmission when renting a car in the Algarve
Choose between a manual or automatic transmission car rental

Insurance and Safety Options when Renting a car in Algarve

Understanding the types of insurance available is crucial, it can save you money at the end of the day.

Basic insurance is usually included in all rentals, but we highly recommend you  consider adding options like;

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW),
  • Theft Protection,
  • Personal Accident Insurance for more comprehensive coverage.

If you only opt for the basic insurance the smallest scratch on the car can cost you as much as the rental cost. 

Carefully review the insurance options offered by the rental company and consider purchasing additional coverage if needed.

Roadside Assistance.

Check if the rental company offers roadside assistance. This service can be of great help if you encounter mechanical problems get a flat tire, or need towing. It’s a safety net that ensures you’re not stranded in an unfamiliar place.

renting a car in algarve with insurance
Always inspect your car for scratches.

Additional Fees when renting a Car in Algarve

When renting a car in Algarve car some costs go beyond the daily base rate.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with additional fees that might apply, such as;

  • Airport surcharges
  • One-way drop-off charges (if you plan on picking up the car in one location and dropping it off in another)
  • Young driver fees (if applicable).
  • Child Seat

Renting a Car in Algarve - Fuel Policies what are they?

When you rent a car in the Algarve Car hire companies have two Fuel Policy options they can use;

Full to Full – what is Full to Full fuel policy? This simply means you have to return the car with full tank of fuel. If the fuel tank is not full, they will charge your credit card a fuel charge.

Same to Same – What does same to same fuel policy mean? If your rental car company has a same to same fuel policy, this means you must return the car with the same fuel level as you were given. It’s important to check the fuel level when you receive your car.

Renting a Car in Algarve - What are the Mileage Policies available?

When renting a car in Algarve car hire companies can use one of the two Mileage policies available. 

Unlimited Mileage Policy – What is the unlimited mileage policy? This means you can drive as much as you want. There is no extra charge for driving a lot of less. From experience we highly recommend you choose a rental company that offers unlimited mileage.

The majority of the car hire companies will use the unlimited Mileage policy.

Limited Mileage Policy– What is limited mileage policy? This policy will include a limited number of miles (kilometres) included in your contract. Once you reach this number, you will be charged extra for each extra mile (kilometre). Not the best option if you want to explore the Algarve.

Can I Rent a Car in the Algarve and Drive it in Spain?

The answer is Yes! Renting a car in Algarve allows you to drive over the border into Spain.

Is there an Extra Charge for going over the border?

Yes, to drive into Spain you will need to pay an “Cross-Border Travel” charge and ask your rental car hire company to write you and authorisation letter. This way if you get stopped by the police you can prove the car is not stollen.

Top Car Hire Companies In Algarve offering Best Cross Border Travel Rates

Depending on the Car-Hire Campany you rent with the Cross-Border travel cost can vary.

If you are planning to visit Spain while in the Algarve, take this additional cost into consideration.

These are some of the Best Car Rental Companies in the Algarve that offer competitive rates;

  • Centauro – 77 euros


  • Yes Car Hire – 50 euros


  • PAA RentaCar – 40 euros


  • Guerin – 49 euros


  • Hertz – 175 euros


  • Avis – 22.75 euros


  • Visa Car – 50 euros



Always ask for a written authorisation to travel over the border.

Required Documentation when Renting a Car in Algarve?

Can I use my home country licence to hire a car  and drive in the Algarve?

The answer is yes, you can use your own licence to drive in the Algarve, as long as the primary and secondary driver  have  had the licence for more than 12 months.

Your Licence must also be in your own language but also in Latin (Roman). 

You must always carry your passport or ID Card with you at all times when driving.

It is also important that you have a copy of your rental agreement in the car along side your identification documents.

Do I need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to rent a car in the Algarve?

To rent a car in the Algarve you do not need an International Driving Licence or Permit if you are on a short-term holiday.

If you plan to stay in the Algarve for more than 6 months then you will need to bring an International Driving Permit (IDP). AN IDP acts as a translation of your home country’s licence can help facilitate with local authorities if you get stopped on the road.