You can visit from Faro
Laid-back villages you can drive to from Faro
Make visiting these villages your no.1 priority once your car hire is sorted
Portugal is awash with local villages, whether you’re looking for a remote, traditional spot where you can recharge or somewhere you can kick back over lunch and soak up the buzzy atmosphere. If you’re planning a rent-a-car holiday, we recommend hitting the road and visiting some or all of the following...Car hire Faro
Explore churches and countryside views in Almodovar
The traditional, white-painted village of Almodovar is found 90 kilometres north of Faro, meaning it’s within easy reach if you’ve decided that a car rental is going to be part of your Portuguese holiday.
This is a place where the surrounding countryside makes for essential visiting too, mainly for the striking views. Head to the outskirts of town for a rolling rural vista and take your time driving along the N2 road that leads from Faro to really drink in the scenery. It’s drives like these that make the flexibility of car hire a great alternative to navigating via train.
Get a slice of history in the tiny, walled village Sortelha
For a completely different experience, one that will make you feel as far from the crowded beaches of the Algarve as possible, head north towards the medieval village of Sortelha. The village is flanked by the Serra da Estrela mountains and appears to have been preserved specifically so that you can escape the nuisances of modern life. A benefit of a car hire is that you can seek out spots like this because public transport is definitely not reaching this far into the countryside. We recommend you stay the night, preferably within one of its traditional stone houses.
Explore a yellow castle and colourful village in Sintra
The winding, hilltop village of Sintra is something that might’ve been plucked from a Portuguese fairytale. Less than three hours from Faro, it’s a great rent-a-car destination. After your road trip up the coast, you’ll be greeted by a village whose cobbled streets merge into relaxed cafes with photo-ready views that roll out over the surrounding countryside.
The highlight of Sintra is the primary-coloured Pena Palace. Meander through trees towards the bright yellow and red structure and explore its ramparts before venturing into the grounds to track down ancient wells, overtaken by moss. A day out you’ll never forget.
Visit Silves, “the most beautiful town of the Algarve”
A shorter drive for you now, but one that we still think is definitely worth making if you’ve taken out a car rental. Silves, the former capital of the Algarve, is technically a town, but it’s of such huge historic importance that we couldn’t really leave it off our list. Cobbled streets, Arabic architecture and an impressively well-preserved castle make this a great spot for a day trip, and there’s a popular beach for when you need to cool off too. Stop off to sample traditional seafood and meat at one of the many local restaurants
Learn all about Alentejo’s long history in Monsaraz
The 700-resident village of Monsaraz found just under three hours north of Faro in Alentejo, has been called one of the seven wonders of Portugal and “the medieval village in the sky”. This might be a strong reason for visiting but we promise this label doesn’t oversell it. It’s one of the country’s oldest villages, having been founded in prehistoric times and later falling under the control of the Moors. These days it’s a designated “museum village”, with well-maintained city walls and an elevated position that allows you to look out across the countryside as it rolls towards Spain.
Catch a wave (and some quality seafood) in coastal Nazare
Nazare, found in Centro de Portugal, is three and a half hours north of Faro and is a village you’ll want to head to if surfing is your holiday activity of choice. It has been dubbed “Portugal’s most famous fishing village” and the wide array of seafood restaurants will attest to that. Nazare is also perfectly situated so that you can hop back in the rent-a-car and explore the wild Atlantic coast, which we would recommend if your surfing is up to scratch. The waves here get very, very high.
Finally, embrace romance in atmospheric Óbidos
Half an hour south of Nazare and just over a three-hour road trip from Faro is the village of Óbidos. We couldn’t finish this piece without recommending the village, which is home to Gothic passageways, bougainvillea, cobbled streets and a castle that dates from the 12th Century. As you might be able to guess, it’s often cited as one of the most romantic villages in the country. Want a better way to end your trip? We can’t think of one.