6 Things to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a car for your Algarve holiday

Here are 6 useful points to take into account when deciding whether or not to hire a car for your holiday on the Algarve

1. Location

The location of your Algarve holiday accommodation is probably one of the most important factors to take into account. Because Duas Quintas is a rural guesthouse we generally advise guests to rent a car while staying with us. This allows our guests to take advantage of our central location on the Algarve and visit the many beautiful areas around Duas Quintas. It is possible to do this, but to a more limited extent, by public transport but in general, choosing a rural location for your holiday  means that car hire is more likely to be recommended.

2. The time of the year when you plan to visit the Algarve

The time you choose to visit the Algarve will have a big influence on whether or not it is best for you to hire a car. Each season brings its own considerations. When you are planning your Algarve summer holidays you may be visualizing yourself spending a lot of time swimming and sunbathing. From this perspective a hire car may seem to have little to offer. However, one other fact to take into account is that the busiest beaches may be those that people can access easily on foot or by public transport. If you envisage yourself on a quiet beach, with less people, in the middle of the summer, then you really should consider hiring a car. However, in peak season, you will be faced with higher car hire costs. Car hire is generally a lot cheaper in winter. On an Algarve winter holiday you will probably spend less time by the pool. Many people choose to travel a bit more at this time of the year. With shorter days a car allows you to get more out of your Algarve winter holiday.

Enjoying the pool

3.Exploring the area

Everyone loves exploring their holiday destination but how do you want to explore it? Do you intend to explore widely or locally?

Duas Quintas is ideally suited to exploring the whole of the Algarve as it is centrally located and has easy access to both the A22 motorway and the N125. From Duas Quintas guesthouse it is possible to be on the west coast beaches in under an hour or in Spain in just over one and a half hours. But you need to hire a car if you intend doing this type of exploring. On the other hand, if you really want to explore an area there is nothing better than public transport and foot. On foot you see and experience things you are oblivious to in a car -the smell of the trees and flowers, the narrow streets and alleyways, the conversations from doors and windows. Public transport is often a great way to meet local people. People chat at bus stops and trains in a way that is less common in other venues.

South coast beach March 2010

4. Budget considerations

At first glance, hiring a car can seem to take a big bite out of your holiday budget. However, costs such as airport transfers quickly mount up. Do your sums in advance and total your essential transport costs while on the Algarve. Then compare this with your likely car hire cost. In general public transport costs and taxi fares  are very reasonable on the Algarve. Remember too that while airport transfer costs and public transport costs change little over the year, car hire cost rise rapidly in the high season. So the timing of your Algarve holiday will be a significant factor in making this calculation.

5. Stress

This is the part that is really down to you and your unique character and personality. Are you nervous driving in Southern Europe, on roads you don’t know, in a car you don’t know? Or is this part of the fun of being on holiday? Will taking 2 hours to get somewhere that you could have reached in a fifth of the time in the car make you appreciate another pace of life or leave you a frustrated wreck, pacing the bus stop or train station and a nightmare for the unsuspecting ticket collector who has to deal with you? We have had guests at both ends of the spectrum, people who love the freedom that the hire car gives and people who are thrilled with the windows on Portuguese life that public transport has offered them. The real key is to know in advance what makes a holiday relaxing for you.

6. The real purpose of your holiday

We know that some people come to Duas Quintas guesthouse because they want to relax and take things easy, spend lots of time by the pool or just ´chill out´ in the sunshine. Others really want to get to know the Algarve, especially rural Algarve which is a hidden treasure that many people are just beginning to discover. Others are here for an Algarve walking holiday.The Algarve offers the possibility of many different types of holidays and having your own transport will determine to some extent, the options that are open to you. So work out the real purpose of your holiday and consider how having, or not having, your own transport, will allow you to achieve what you want.

silves old roman bridge

And remember your decision to have an Algarve holiday one way does not meant you have to do the same next time you come back. We have had guests at Duas Quintas who have come for short, car-less breaks and later returned for longer breaks with a hire car. We have also had some guests who have thoroughly enjoyed their long car-less break and decided to return the following year for a different type of holiday with a rental car. The secret is in knowing what you want from your holiday.

So to hire or not to hire? What are the most important considerations for you?

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