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Portugal's southernmost continental region, the Algarve, was once the western outpost of the Moors. Over a thousand years have passed since then but, before the Moors, the Romans were here, and before them the Phoenicians, braving the waters and advancing inland as deeply as possible. Today, invaders of yesteryear are replaced by legions of tourists who come here for the mild weather, sea and beaches, looking to stay close to the water and rarely adventuring into the interior. Its capital Faro is the gateway to this region, a destination that could easily be explored in one day, if we are referring only to the town itself. Despite a severe earthquake in 1755, with its epicenter only 200km away, parts of the Moorish architecture can still be seen adorning a few buildings around the historic centre including the bell tower of Largo da Se, constructed in 1251. You should climb up to the top and enjoy the spectacular views along the coast.
Discover Faro and the surrounding area using a car hired from the most affordable and reliable car hire service in Faro, Autoclick. Using our free Wi-Fi, you will always have Internet access and be able to contact your friends and family back home, no matter where you are. With our GPS system you will easily be able to find your way, regardless of the time of day. Everything is just one click away, using our simple step-by-step booking system.
Tourism is arguably the most important aspect of the local economy. Just to give you an idea, the whole province has close to 350.000 inhabitants. During the summer, almost half of Portugal's total number of tourists come here, mostly by plane, tripling that number to 1 million. The reasons behind this exodus are quite simple - a special climate and world famed beaches - details that made it Europe’s Leading Beach Destination in 2012 and 2013 during the annual World Travel Awards event. Aside from its countless natural attractions, man-made marvels can be found here as well, from incredible golf courses to vibrant nightclubs and outstanding Michelin restaurants.
Faro's old port and promenade are places where one can meet the locals, an area you should visit in the early evening, after you have paid the old town a visit. There you will see modest fishing boats floating next to luxury yachts, local fishermen selling their daily catch, mixing with the world's most sophisticated clientele. There is also an attractive Museu Marítimo (Maritime Museum), displaying a lot of information on Portugal's glorious maritime past.
Manuel Bivar Garden is an oasis of peace and relaxation, with multicoloured flowers, palm trees and other exotic trees. There is also a lovely church, Igreja da Misericordia.
Cidade Velha is surrounded, in part, by medieval walls of Moorish origin, which, over the years, have been transformed into residences. You may access Cidade Velha by passing through the main gate, Arco da Vila, located near the beautiful Jardim Manuel Bivar. Once there, you might want to visit Igresa da Se, the cathedral and the Museu Municipal.
Paco Episcopal (Bishops’ Palace) just in front of Faro's cathedral dates from the 18th Century and hosts a collection of sacred art.
Ria Formosa is probably Faro's main attraction. It is Ria, not Rio - if "rio" is a river, "ria" is a smaller stream of water, like the channels passing by Faro. Best seen from on board a boat, Parque Natural da Ria Formosa (Ria Formosa Natural Park) was recently named one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. It offers, aside from its well known beaches, a couple of amazing islands, teeming with birdlife - Ilha Deserta and Ilha da Culatra.
Praia de Faro is the main beach, always busy but not as spectacular as the beaches you can find in Albufeira, Lagos, Portimão or Corvoeiro, all of which are in the same region, Algarve.
These are some of the main attractions, easy to discover on foot, and in a relaxed style. For those who dare to venture beyond the shoreline, even for only a few hours, rewards are plenty and always surprising. Using Faro as a base for your vacation, you could travel along the Algarve by car to explore an untarnished paradise ready to be discovered, from Olhão, Fuzeta and Tavira in the east, to the green valley of River Guadiana and Vila Real de Santo António on the Spanish border, passing through Albufeira, Armação de Pêra or Carvoeiro in the centre, going up the Serra de Monchique mountains with the beautiful spa resort Caldas de Monchique. Let's not forget the Western coast, with slightly cooler waters and the incredible natural reserve Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (South West Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park). Take a look at some of them; below we will provide you with some itinerary ideas, so you could take full advantage of your rented car.
41 km / 46 min
Recommended for: beach, spectacular landscapes, relaxation, nightlife
Albufeira is an area of incredible and rugged beauty, where exotic plants and flowers are a common sight. Albufeira is renowned for its fine sandy beaches and crystalline waters. In recent times, it has become a golfers' favourite, with courses for both, beginners and advanced players.
89 km / 1 h 01 min
Recommended for: beach, boating, fishing, relaxation
Come here if you are in the Algarve for sea, sand and sun. Wander along the eastern part of the resort. By car, it is easy to reach Ponta da Piedade, one of the most dramatic coastal sections in Europe. Explore Meia Praja for instance, or Praia Dona Ana, Praia Camilo or Porto de Mas, and spend your evening in Lagos old town, filled with restaurants and cafés where it gets pretty busy after 8 PM.
89 km / 1 h 01 min
Recommended for: beach, boating, fishing, relaxation
This large seaside resort is best known for the Beach Soccer World Cup and the Algarve International Formula 1 Circuit. Visit the Jesuit College, the Museum of Azulejos (painted ceramic ware), Fort of Santa Catarina and the Convento de São Francisco. The castle monument Castelo de Silves is partly accessible, as is a section of the medieval wall. To the south you will find Praia da Rocha, popular with younger tourists for its numerous bars, restaurants, nightclubs and the casino.
65 km / 50 min
Recommended for: beach, spectacular coast, rural life
If you are going to Portimão, this could be your last stop, turning left on A22. Portimão used to be a fishing village until very recently, when travel operators discovered the beauty of its coast. You should try a few of the rather spectacular beaches here - Carvalho, Benagil, Paraiso or Albandeira. If you have a little more time, get in the car and explore the rural region within easy reach.
These are just a few of Algarve's famous resorts, easy to reach by car from Faro. You should also consider a visit or even a longer vacation in Armação de Pêra, the exquisite Vilamoura or the smaller Salema or Burgau. The Algarve coast is an area difficult to explore if you are not driving, so keep this in mind and rent a car from Autoclick when planning your vacation. We have the lowest prices, the best terms and in-car equipment you will not find for free if you rent from any other car hire agency in Faro.