British tourism to the Algarve, and southern Portugal in particular, has grown steadily over the last fifty years. Since sixties holidaymakers from the UK have been heading there in increasing numbers. Many of the region’s tourists touchdown at Faro international airport, the region’s capital. Faro is a wonderful destination in its own right and some tourists never venture further than its delightful old town. Nevertheless, the region has so plenty more to offer and visitors who choose to do a road trip there are rarely disappointed.
Car rental in Portgual is simple. It is quite possible to leave it until after you have arrived at the airport to book a car. There are a number of well known hire companies in the locality of the airport, including the likes of National Car Rental, who can provide you with a suitable vehicle. However, if you need a specific car, perhaps one with disability modifications or child seats, it is best to book in advance from the UK.
Once you hit the open road, it is time to start exploring the Algarve in earnest. Head out from Faro Airport on the N125-10. Take the right hand turn at the first junction and proceed on the coast road past Olhão, stopping off at the delightful city of Tavira. Here you will find some of the best examples of architecture in the whole of Portugal. Tavira has a pleasant island which can be accessed from the mainland by boat or by a causeway at low tide. If you want to take your car then check the times you can drive over to ensure you hit the wonderful beach there at the right time – and that you can make it back, of course.
Another good destination is to head in the other direction from Faro, westwards to Lagos. Here, the coastline is particularly dramatic. Lagos has a lively nightlife, so if you enjoy going out and partying to the wee small hours, then this is the place for you. Meia Praia is the beach that is most popular among tourists. The beach is made up from soft white sand and the bay that it sits on is one of the largest in Europe. The result is that there are particularly calm seas, perfect for kids. If you like water sports, or fancy taking one up, it is an ideal destination. While some beaches in the region can suffer from excessive wind, Meia Praia has cliffs that afford sheltered coves which enable you to escape from windy conditions.
Driving further to west, beyond Lagos, you find that the Algarve’s shore turns to the north. The extreme tip of the Iberian Peninsula is a national park and an area of exceptional natural beauty. It is only possible to explore this part of the Algarve by driving on the smaller roads that connect the main road to the sea. This part of the Algarve is famous for its local food which, as you might expect, is based around seafood. All in all, the region is one of the best parts of Europe to enjoy by road.