How to get around in the Algarve
Traveling in the Algarve is easy and inexpensive, especially if you choose to travel by public transport. There are different benefits to each type of transportation depending on your needs and budget. Find out below what best ways there are to explore the region. From time tables to costs, this is the complete guide on how to get around in the Algarve.
The easiest way to get around within the Algarve is by car. This is the fastest way to travel to cities and beaches. Some remote beaches can actually only accessed by car. In the Algarve there are two main roads to reach the main towns:
- The highway A22 is the fastest road. You have to pay toll to drive this road. Most rental cars have an electronic device in the car that registers your drive on the A22. The costs are automatically charged by the rental company.
- The second road is the national N125. This is the national road that you can drive free of charge. If you like to take your time and enjoy a bit of scenery, this is the best option to take.
Renting a car
If you didn’t drive to the Algarve with your own car, we recommend that you rent a car. This is more expensive than traveling by public transport, but if you value speediness and freedom over costs, then renting a car is a great way for traveling and moving around in the Algarve. There are several different rental car companies in the Algarve, each with their pros and cons. If you want to read the pros and cons of each car rental company, we have a separate article for you.
There are three bus companies that operate in the Algarve region:
- Frota Azul Algarve
Tickets are purchased at the bus stations and it is recommended to keep (small) cash at hand to pay the fares. Bus stops are indicated with the sign Paragem. In the main towns, both Portugese and English signing is used: paragem / bus stop. Busses stop at every stop, but it is recommended to give the bus driver a clear signal when you are waiting for the bus and you see the bus approaching.
Bus from Faro Airport to Faro City (bus 16)
When you arrive in Faro Airport and want to take the bus to Faro, you should take bus 16. The name of the urban local bus company is Próximo. You can recognize the buses from the light blue and white design. The cost for a single ticket is € 2,25. The trip from the airport to the bus station in the city centre takes about 20 minutes. The bus stops several times, including a stop to the main shopping mall Forum Algarve. The bus runs twice an hour and the bus service runs daily. Check the timetable to see at what time the bus is leaving.
You can travel by bus to all the main towns in the Algarve. Most intercity buses in the Algarve are operated by the bus company Eva. You can recognize the buses from the white, orange and green design. Please note that the buses do not carry route/line numbers. You must check the destination display on the front of the bus. It is possible that the destination is written on a piece of paper that is pinned in the driver’s window. Around the area of Portimão, some buses are operated by the bus company Frota Azul Algarve.
Tickets and prices
Tickets for the bus can only be bought at the sales offices from the bus station self. Check the addresses and opening hours. To give you an idea of the rates, we have listed the prices for single fares from Faro to a number of popular destinations:
The tourist pass is an easy and inexpensive option to travel between all the towns in the Algarve. With the pass you have unlimited use of the bus network of EVA Transport and Frota Azul Algarve. Prices are:
- 3 days: € 30,40
- 7 days: € 38,00
Most buses run from 07.00 am in the morning till 20.30 pm in the evening. In the weekend, the bus service runs less than during the week. Many smaller villages in the countryside do not have a bus service during the weekends or on public holidays. The main intercity bus routes do have weekend and holiday service, but run with less frequency. You can check all the timetables for more information.
The name of the train company that runs the train transportation is Comboios de Portugal (CP). A railway line runs between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António, connecting the west of the Algarve with the east. The main towns that the train passes are Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António. Please be aware that the train stations are not always based in the city centres. For example, in towns such as Albufeira and Loulé, the train station is located a couple of kilometres outside the centre.
These are the regional train stations in the Algarve:
Before you take the train, make sure to check the timetable.
Tickets and prices
You can purchase your train tickets online on the website of Comboios de Portugal, which saves you money. If you buy your tickets well in advance, you can get discounts up to 65%. You can travel with the fast train (IC) or with a regional train (R). Below you can find the single fare rates from Faro to give you an idea of the costs:
- IC: €9,50 second class; € 11,50 first class
- R: € 3,35
- IC: €12,55
- R: € 10,55
- IC: €13,05 second class; € 16,25 first class
- R: € 7,40
A great economic option is to buy a tourist travelcard. With this card you can have unlimited travel with the train for 2 or 3 consecutive days on the Algarve Line Regional trains. The prices are:
2 Days Pass
- Adults €20.90
- Children €15.90
3 Days Pass
- Adults €31.90
- Children €23.90
You can buy a tourist travelcard at the ticket offices.
Taking a taxi is a comfortable and fast way to move around the Algarve. Especially if you don’t like to drive abroad, this is a great transportation option. Taxis circulate day and night and carry up to four passengers. If you order a taxi by phone, you can request a larger vehicle.
All taxis have a meter and it depends on the distance and traffic what the costs will be. To give you an indication, the price of the fare between the airport and the city of Faro is between € 10 and € 15. This trip takes about 15 minutes. The price from the airport to Albufeira is about € 55 euros. This trip takes around 40 minutes, depending on the traffic.
Uber has conquered the transportation market in the world. It is quite popular in the Algarve as well, among both tourists and locals. It is an easy option to move around the towns. A main benefit is that you don’t need cash at hand, but the costs are charged automatically from your credit card. Another benefit is that you see the price upfront, allowing you to accept the rate or not.