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Transportation in the Algarve

We are on a planned tour of Portugal using trains and have 3 nights in the Algarve in Portimao with free time and want to spend it exploring nearby towns such as Salema and Lagos ...will we need a car rental ? Is there good transportation? We are with another couple and ,perhaps, could share a taxi...Your thoughts would be helpful..

Thank you
Sylvia , Burlington, Ontario

Posted by
3349 posts

Public transport isn’t that great in the Algarve and car hire is easy and cheap, particularly for 4 people. I have always hired at the airport, but there will be car hire offices in Portimao, which is the major port on the Algarve.

Three nights means two days. Day 1 - drive a loop from Portimao to Monchique up in the hills, across to Aljezur and explore it’s castle then at Carrapateira, turn off the N268 and drive towards Bordeira beach and park on the right hand side in the car park and take a walk on the stunning beach and look at the amazing rock formations. I would give Sagres and the Point a miss as it’s always bleak and windy, but you may want a quick look, just to say you have been there. Salema - it’s been ruined by over development, but you can loop through it and back onto the N125. Lagos can easily absorb a couple of hours of your time before you return to base.

Day 2 - head to Silves and explore its castle, then head over to Tavira, which has a different character to the western end of the Algarve.

Posted by
813 posts

I agree with Jennifer that a car is a must - and about skipping Salema.

I will add Ponte de Piadade outside of Lagos to your list of ‘must sees’. If you haven’t made your hotel reservations, Lagos is a much better place to stay IMO. The small old town is much more charming than Portimao. I’ve stayed in both places and much preferred Lagos.

Posted by
3349 posts

Ponte de Piadade isn’t a “must see” if you visit the Carrapateira area, as the scenery is similar, but you can get closer to the rocks in Carrapateira.

I agree about staying in Lagos.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks to all of you for the helpful information. I think then we will consider renting a car. That makes us nervous as a few of our friends have had BIG issues with car rentals ( esp.Sixt) charging extra for scratches..we will take photos of our car and not rent from sixt.

Sylvia ,..Burlington,Ontario , Canada

Posted by
813 posts

Try Auto Europe. I’ve used them for many years and always had great service with no scamming efforts.