Most of our guests rent a car. This enables hassle free transfer between the arrival airport (usually Faro, but could be Lisbon or Seville), & the means to sightsee, go to supermarkets, restaurants etc throughout the holiday.
We cannot possibly say what is the best car rental deal for your particular needs – you will have to work it out yourself, usually from the internet. Here are a few “tips” to help you make an informed choice.
- Car Rental companies have become very slick about offering a low ticket price & then adding extras. One popular trick is to ask you to take out insurance to cover the policy excess, which could be several hundred pounds. Many are worried about the hassle of arguments over this & end up paying many pounds per day for this cover. Far cheaper is to take out a policy excess insurance in the UK before you leave, for example: http://www.rentalcover.com/
- You will see elsewhere in the briefing notes that Portugal has an electronic motorway tolling system. The car rental company will have some arrangement to ensure that they aren’t left with unpaid tolls after you have left. The systems will vary between operators, but you wont be able to avoid it.
- At Faro most of the rental companies have now delocated from the airport concourse – some to car rental compounds nearby, some further away. in the latter cases there will be someone waiting for you on arrival in the concourse who will either take you by bus to the rental compound, or, if the car has been brought from a more remote location, to where it has been parked. If any of this is inconvenient for you, look carefully at the ad to see where the car rental company is located.
- Be aware that if you have a return flight that’s substantially earlier than your inbound flight you may have to pay an extra day’s rental – check this when you get a quote. Also look for any late night charges that become payable if your flight is delayed.
- One way rentals eg in Lisbon, out Faro are available, but you will have to pay an additional charge.
http://www.economycarrentals.com/default.aspx is a rental company that Ann our house manager knows well & recommends.
Alternatives to Car Rental
Despite the comments above you may not wish to rent a car, or perhaps rent one for a shorter period, or use public transport or a mixture of any of the above. Here is some information to help you plan:
Ann can arrange an airport transfer by minibus – about 80 euros each way (2015).
Local Car Rental
It would be feasible to get an airport transfer, then later a taxi to Lagos & rent a car locally for 3 days or more. Just tell the taxi driver which rental company you are using. It is better to pick up the car from the rental office than to have them deliver the car to you as it is extremely difficult to describe (in English) where to bring the car to.
We are about 15 mins walk from the local village, Mexilhoeira Grande which has a good range of food shops a few cafes/restaurants (fairly basic). Here you can pick up a bus to Lagos or Portimao, the 2 largest local towns. another 15mins & you can reach the railway station where there are infrequent trains right across the Algarve, from Lagos in the west to Vila Real do San Antonio on the Spanish border.
Here is the timetable for Portimao – Mexilhoeira – Lagos http://www.algarvebus.info/009.htm
Walk to the village, turn left at the T junction, at the 4 way junction ahead you will see the bus shelter on the right.
At the bus station in Lagos or Portimao you can get details on further services, or visit the Frota Azul website http://www.frotazul-algarve.pt/frota_azul_algarve_2012/
The easiest way to check out train times is on http://www.thetrainline-europe.com/ as its all in English. Its possible to travel to Faro train station & then take a taxi to the airport, but leave plenty of time for the journey – there are no “expresses”.
Ann can arrange a taxi for you (Maria our house maid’s husband is a taxi driver). Alternatively you can book your own – Marco is a local “minicab” driver who can organise 2 vehicles (up to 11 people – a regular car &/or a people carrier). He speaks perfect English, he is just minutes away in the village. For example a return trip for 4 to Lagos for an evening would be 20 Euros (2015). tel: 910 95 155/910 958 668. In either case you must book ahead.