Car rental is relatively inexpensive and usually cheapest of all arranged in advance through one of the large multinational chains (Avis, Budget, Easycar, Hertz, Holiday Autos or National, for example). Check their websites for competitive Internet deals and special offers. Otherwise, rental agencies (including local ﬁrms) are found in all the major towns and at the airports in Lisbon, Porto and Faro; details are given in the guide. Local rates start at e30–50 a day with unlimited mileage, theft cover and collision damage waivers. Minimum age for rental is 21, though up to and including the age of 24 you’ll have to pay a supplement.
Collision insurance is vital, since without it you’ll be liable for costs should the vehicle be damaged – and this includes even minor scratches, easily acquired down unmade tracks or in crowded car parks. Ensure that all visible damage on a car you’re picking up is duly marked on the rental sheet. The standard supplement is CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), but even this often has a liability rate of up to e1000, though for an additional daily fee (Super CDW) you’re completely covered, save for a small (usually e50) excess. These waiver charges soon add up (from around e10 a day on top of the car rental fee), but you can avoid all Super CDW and excess charges by taking out an annual insurance policy (from £51) with Insurance4carhire.com, which also covers windscreen and tyre damage.
You can also rent mopeds, scooters and low-powered (80cc) motorbikes in many resorts, with costs starting at around e25 a day. You need to be at least 18 (and over 23 for bikes over 125cc) and to have held a full licence for at least a year. Rental should include helmet and locks along with thirdparty insurance. Helmet use is obligatory.