Getting around the Algarve
Car Hire: One of the best ways to discover the Algarve is to rent a car, drive around and find your favourite places. As with most things in the Algarve, car hire is a very competitive market. There are many car rental companies and they all seem to offer more or less the same. If you book in advance to the company or through your tour operator you can be sure that you'll get what you want. Internet offers tend to be the best priced. We highly recommend Strawberry Autos.
To rent a car you will need a valid driving license (of course!), passport, and you have to be at least 21 years old. Make sure that the price you pay includes mileage and insurance.
Bear in mind that there are some things you should be aware of when driving in the Algarve (see our 'Driving in the Algarve' section).
Two wheel rides: Several companies offer bicycle hire (mountain bike hire), moped hire, scooter hire and motorcycle hire. Prices vary depending on the number of days you hire the bike, but they usually start at around 25 euros per day for scooter hire and 10 euros per day for bicycle hire. The more days you hire a bike for the lower the price will get. You have to wear a crash helmet that you can get at the same time as you hire your bike. For hiring bikes you have to be at least 18 years.
You can get a taxi almost anywhere. Just stop one in the middle of the street or go to the nearest taxi rank. Usually, you will have to take the first taxi in the queue but, if for any reason you find that it doesn't suit your needs, you can choose another one. Imagine the taxi driver doesn't speak your language. Why shouldn't you be able to have one that best suits your requirements?
Each taxi usually takes a maximum of four persons and if you take extra luggage with more than 30kg the driver may levy an extra charge, but never exceeding 50% of the fare (except for wheel chairs or another disabled device that are free).
Bus Travel: If you plan to get around by bus you can pick up a timetable from a bus station, shops, or perhaps from your hotel. Coach travel in Portugal is made easy by an extensive network of privately run companies who operate with efficiency and competitive prices.
EVA Transportes, Rede Nacional de Expressos and Renex are the main companies in charge of the public transport to, from and inside the Algarve.
EVA Transportes, meaning Empresa (Company) de Viação (of Transport) do Algarve (of the Algarve), began operating in 1933. It connects the Algarve to Lisbon, Porto and Évora and to other international destinations like Paris, Geneva, Zurich and Hamburg, apart from the buses that make the connection between regions from the Algarve.
The Rede Nacional de Expressos counts on more than 100 buses providing connections to 300 Portuguese localities.
Train Travel: trains are clean, comfortable, cheap and always on time. CP (trains company) has several lines that take you around almost all the country. The Algarve is served by Lisbon's Barreiro station on the south side of the River Tagus, and you can reach it by ferry.
The tickets can be purchased at the ticket office of the respective boarding stations and at the automatic selling machines. It is important that you do not travel without a ticket otherwise you will have to pay a high fine.
Consider paying a little extra for what the company calls “Comfort class” and enjoy the air conditioning and soft reclining seats.
One of the best things on train journeys is the beauty of the landscapes that you get to see on the way to your final destination!