Price comparison and online booking
To help you book a car for your arrival at Faro airport, we provide access to a platform that allows you to get the available cars for your dates and compare prices charged by all the car hire companies operating at the airport. The booking process is simple, transparent and allows you to get the most cos effective car hire prices for the season - just follow the step-by-step instructions. Renting a car at Faro airport has never been easier.
Car rental companies at Faro airport
As in many airports, Faro is served by two groups of car rental operators - multinationals companies and the local car hire businesses. International brands like Avis, Hertz or Europcar have more financial power and are able to maintain representation desks inside the terminal and their own parking facilities. Equally credible, the local and smaller car rental companies - commonly referred as low cost car hire - share facilities outside the terminal, located at the P4 park. Both larger and smaller operators are present in the car hire price comparison and online booking system.
International car hire companies
Most of the international car rental suppliers operating at Faro airport have their own counters inside the terminal and car pick-up / return parks outside.
If you want to hire a car through one of these companies or already have an online booking associated with one of these, upon your arrival at Faro airport, the whole process will be conducted from the respective representation desk in the arrivals hall.
Companies such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Interrent, Enterprise, Goldcar, National and Alamo are some of the multinational car hire companies you will find at Faro airport.
Local car hire companies - low cost
Faro airport provides shared facilities at park P4 for local and smaller car rental suppliers that can not maintain or choose to operate without their own representation desk inside the terminal arrivals area.
These car hire companies are credible alternatives to multinationals and are also present in the price comparison system - usually, these operators have the lowest car rental rates on the Internet.
Commonly referred as low cost car hire companies at Faro airport, brands like Guerin, Auto Jardim, Airauto, Visacar, Autorent, Auto Prudente, Amoita and Luzcar are some examples of local Portuguese suppliers you can choose for your car rental at the airport.
Car pick-up and return at Faro airport
The car rental collection and drop-off areas at Faro airport are well defined and identified. Basically there are two places to pick-up your car upon arrival and to return it before flight departure. Depending on the supplier associated with your rental, it may be at the company own park or at the P4 park shared by several car hire companies. Please refer to your booking voucher for the instructions on which park to pick-up and return your car.
Picking up the car after flight arrival
Some car hire companies choose to have a representative at the arrivals area holding a sign with the client's name or the company logo. After exiting the baggage claim area and as you walk through the terminal arrivals hall take a look around to find the person who is expecting you. If your reservation does not mention that someone will be waiting at the arrivals, you have two options to find your rental dealer.
Case 1 Car hire desks inside the terminal
Bigger rent-a-car companies and multinationals like Avis, Europcar or Hertz, have their own representation counters inside the terminal, next to the arrivals area. The car pick-up process will be handled at the company desk and the passengers will then be guided outside to the respective car park.
Case 2 Car pick-up at park P4
If your rental booking is associated with a local car hire company without its own counter at the arrivals area, passengers must follow the signs to the shared facilities located at the P4 park outside. The entire process is handled from there and passengers will be accompanied by the respective company staff to the place where the car is parked.
Returning the car before flight departure
Unless your rental supplier gives you different instructions, car return at Faro airport takes place at the companies own parks or at the park P4 shared by several smaller companies inside the airport.
Case 1 Car return at the company's own park
If your rented vehicle was provided by an international or bigger supplier like Europcar, Hertz, Avis or Guerin, go to the company's own drop-off park inside the airport. These parks are located next to the terminal arrivals area - view map. Once there look for the respective company logo next to the park entrance.
Case 2 Car drop-off at park P4
For car rentals provided by local suppliers like Auto Jardim, Autorent, Airauto or Luzcar, the return takes place at the P4 park next to the airport entrance, after the petrol station - see terminal map. This park is shared by several smaller companies for the delivery and collection of their cars at Faro airport.
Location of car rental parks
After landing at Faro airport, as you leave the terminal arrivals hall, the P4 park lies on your left side at approximately 250 meters from the terminal exit door - just follow the signs outside. The walking distance from the terminal arrivals hall to the P4 park outside is approximately 250 meters. Inside the park there is a customer service desk shared by several car hire companies where passengers should present their rental reservation.
If you are entering the airport to catch a flight, after passing the main entrance roundabout and gas station, you will find the access to the P4 park on your left.
What you need to know before renting a car
At Faro airport, renting a vehicle is a common practice among the thousands of passengers visiting the Algarve. It's a great way to explore the region and discover other places. To avoid last minute surprises and unforeseen expenses you should plan your car hire in advance and be aware of all the rental conditions involved in the process. You should also take into account some key aspects when renting a car for travelling in the Algarve. Take a few moments to read some of the important advices and car rental rules applied by most of the suppliers operating at Faro airport.
Always try to book in advance
Avoid last minute bookings. Car rentals should be booked with as much time in advance as possible, not only to guarantee the car availability but most importantly for obtaining cheaper prices. Between June and September many suppliers have less available vehicles to rent, especially in July and August - the summer peak in the Algarve. During this period, demand greatly exceeds supply which causes prices to go up considerable.
If you want to rent a less common vehicle, from a special category such as automatic cars, cabriolets, sports cars or vans, it becomes even more important to make your reservation in advance.
If possible avoid renting the car directly at the airport upon arrival. There's a higher risk of fleet shortage and you might be charged a much higher price. Also avoid the rentals through travel agencies as you will also have to support their margins in the final price. In general, the cheap and safest option is to rent a car in advance on the Internet.
Many people still search for rental deals that do not require a credit card. However, unless you leave a deposit, almost every car hire company requires a credit card to be presented at the counter even if the client decides to pay in cash. The reason behind this rule is to ensure companies are able to charge their clients for possible damages to the car and also to guarantee that the vehicle is returned with the initial amount of fuel in the tank. To make an online reservation at the most competitive prices, you also need a credit card to confirm the booking - Visa and MasterCard is accepted by most suppliers for the secure online payment. The amount payable at the time of booking, total or partial, may vary depending on the time of year and the company associated with the reservation.
In Portugal, drivers under the age of 18 are not eligible to drive. When booking a car rental you should always confirm the minimum age requirement as it may vary according to the supplier. Most car hire companies at Faro airport require the driver to be at least 21 years old and to have a driving license for more than two years. Some companies may also apply a daily charge if the driver is less than 25 years (young driver fee) or if the driver is over 65 years old. Always be aware of the stated rules and costs involved regarding the driver age.
In addition to the standard liability insurance required by the Portuguese law, most car hire companies include a basic collision damage waiver in the rental contract covering damages up to 1 500 EUR (this value may vary), excluding damages to the car tyres, windshield and windows - these are only covered by paying an extra fee. There are also complete coverage insurance options for extreme cases of irreversible damages to the car. During your online reservation please read all the possible insurance options associated with your car supplier.
If you choose the basic insurance, when collecting the car it becomes even more important to search for visible damages already present in the vehicle - wheels, headlights, windows, scratches in the paint and damages to the car seats. Always confirm that any visible damage is previously registered in your copy of the contract. You can always use your mobile phone to record pictures that can be used as evidence in case you're accused of causing damage to the vehicle during the rental period.
Fuel policy and mileage limits
As the rent-a-car market is very competitive, you should always be informed of the fuel and mileage policies associated with your car rental. Some car hire companies advertise very attractive rates, but contractually clients have to purchase fuel directly to the rental supplier at higher prices. Although unusual, some companies may also apply a fee if you exceed a certain mileage during the rental. Always be aware of the respective policies during the booking process.
If you want to cross the Portuguese border with the rented vehicle, most likely you will be charged an additional fee for extra coverage on the car insurance. If you plan to travel outside Portugal look for this topic in the rental conditions during the booking process.
Only the rental contract holder is authorized to drive the vehicle. For other people to be legally allowed to drive, usually, an extra fee is applied for each additional driver.
In Portugal, children under 12 years old and under 1,50 m tall may only be carried in cars with the help of child restraint systems. If you are travelling with minors, by paying an extra amount you can request baby seats or booster seats during the car rental booking. The equipment will be pre-installed on your vehicle.
Out of hours charge
For flight arrivals and departures during the night, between 20:00 and 08:00 of the next morning, some suppliers may apply an out of hours fee for the pick-up / drop-off of your car rental during this period. If one of your flights at Faro airport fits this schedule, be aware of this detail in the rental conditions.
Charging of tolls on the A22 highway - Via do Infante
The Algarve has two main traffic routes - the free national road N125 and the paid A22 motorway, also known as Via do Infante. Both extend along the Algarve and establish the connection between the region most important cities and tourism locations. During the summer months the N125 becomes quite congested and many people opt for the faster alternative through the A22 motorway. Initially free, the recent global financial crisis led the Portuguese government to introduce electronic tolls on the A22 and other major motorways throughout the country in late 2011. The A22 motorway construction didn't foresee the use of pay booths and as a result the charging method is a bit unusual.
Tolls are charged through the use of electronic gates placed along the motorway that identify the vehicle's plate on each passage - no pay booths and no need for stops. In the early stage, this automated system led to numerous complications to the rent-a-car companies. Due to the lack of proper information, many tourists used the motorway without being aware of the costs involved. Many of them refused to pay the respective costs later which originated hundreds of fines addressed to the car hire businesses, the actual owners of the vehicles.
Currently, the majority of rent-a-car companies operating at Faro airport have equipped their fleet with transponder devices to identify the passage of their vehicles in the A22 toll gates as well as in other paid motorways across the country using the same charging method. The use of such motorways can be charged directly to the customer's credit card or paid later when returning the car. To avoid later unforeseen expenses you should always ask your car rental supplier about their method of charging the use of paid motorways.
Alternatives to car rental
Renting a car to get around the Algarve at your own pace and with total freedom is certainly an excellent option to explore the region. However, for those who spend their holidays in just one place, close to all amenities, renting a car can become an expensive option, especially during the summer high season. At this time of year the demand is greater than supply causing rental prices to rise considerable. For such scenarios, other transportation options become more desirable. The most common alternative for those who just want to move sporadically from A to B is the private transfer service - transport between Faro airport and also between Algarve locations. Learn the advantages of this service and how to request a transfer between Faro airport.