Here are the easiest ways to get to downtown Faro and other places in the region. You can get to the city on foot, but I strongly recommend choosing public transportation or a car.
In a nutshell: to Portimao and Lagos by train, to Albufeira by bus, and you can also conquer Cape St. Vincent (Sagres) without a car.
How to get from Faro airport to the city center?
How to get from the airport to the center of Faro by bus?
There are two bus lines between the city center and the airport – 14 and 16. A one-way ticket costs 2.35 euros and you can buy it from the driver (cash only). The trip from the airport to the city center takes about 15 minutes. The buses themselves can be very crowded in high season, so if you plan to come to Faro in July – don’t always set your sights on the first bus.
Line 16 runs between the beach (PRAIA) and the bus station (TERMINAL – FARO BUS STATION). Right next to the bus station is the train station. Exact departure times, updated by the carrier, can be found at proximo.pt.
Line 14 runs between the beach (PRAIA) and the bus station (TERMINAL). The lines differ in route and frequency – Line 14 runs only a few times a day and goes a tad longer. Exact departure times can be found at proximo.pt.
How much does it cost to take a cab from the airport to downtown Faro?
The average cost of a ride between Faro airport and the train station is 8 – 10 euros. The most popular app for ordering cabs in Portugal is Uber. Getting to Faro should cost about 8 euros, to Albufeira about 45 euros, to Lagos about 80 euros. If you want to go to one of the hotels directly from the airport, it is best to order a transfer in advance. Uber for further distances is relatively expensive. As of autumn 2019, Bolt (formerly Taxify) also operates in the Algarve, currently rides are cheaper than identically Uber.
Another equally popular app is Cabify. You can find only cabs there, and the ride is not much more expensive than Uber. The best thing to do when using the app is to compare prices on both. For your first ride through the app you will receive a 5 Euro discount. Discount code: MATEUSZK17. You can also use MyTaxi, but it is definitely less accessible.
This is an option more for the stubborn than the comfortable – the route runs in part on a gravel road, for pedestrians available only recently. You need to leave the airport, head east and go down to the road behind Firefly rental. I’ve marked it here on Google Maps. It should take about an hour to walk with your suitcase to the train station. I would advise against any other route into the city, it is just plain dangerous on the N125 road for pedestrians. However, it is very good for catching a hitchhike towards Lagos – not many rental tourists go anywhere else.
How much does it cost to rent a car in the Algarve?
Portuguese rentals are among the cheapest in Europe – you can rent a car from 15 euros a day, and the cost of a liter of gasoline is about 1.40 euros. Car rental companies are located right next to the airport exit. From the rental companies of the so-called chains I recommend Drive on Holidays and Centauro, if we can rent and return the car in Faro – Drive4fun, Luzcar, autorent.pt, FaroCar.com. I recommend just them instead of cars from Ryanair’s website or other rental companies – it is often definitely cheaper.
The cost of driving on the highway or so-called “gates” from Faro to Lagos will cost us about 6,60 euros. However, you do not need to use them – the national roads are of decent quality. If you plan to go, for example, to Lisbon, it is worthwhile for the car to have the Via Verde electronic toll transmitter on.
How to get to Lagos, Albufeira, Portimao, Sagres from Faro?
How to get from Faro to Lagos and Portimao by train?
The most convenient way to travel between Faro and Lagos is by train. Trains leave from the Faro train station, which is located in the center of the city (on how to get there in point 1).
A regional train ticket to Lagos costs €7.40, this is a fixed price, it is possible to get a discount being under 26 years old (25%) or over 65 years old (50%). You can check the timetable on the Comboios Portugal website – cp.pt. When you select the direction of travel, regional trains will be marked with the letter R. Unfortunately, tickets for regional trains in Portugal cannot be purchased online, but only at the ticket office on site. I recommend being prepared to wait in line for about 10 minutes during high season (July-September).
It is also possible to take the Alfa Pendular (AP) or Intercidades (IC) trains, but this involves changing trains in Tunes. The station in Tunes is small, changing trains does not change the platform, the change in Tunes is chosen by tourists going from Lisbon to Lagos – trains often “wait” for each other if there is a delay.
The train also stops in Portimao and Albufeira – Ferreiras. If you plan to get to the latter town, it is definitely better to take the bus. The Albufeira-Ferreiras train station is located about 6 km from the city.
How do I get from Faro to Albufeira by bus?
A single carrier, Eva Transportes, runs regular services between Faro and the rest of the Algarve. Most buses leave from the bus station located next to the train station, four connections leave directly from Faro airport. You can find current schedules on the carrier’s website, and you can easily purchase a ticket at the station. It is also possible to buy a ticket online, but often the schedules on the Eva website and the Rede Expressos website differ, which causes a lot of problems when buying a ticket (for example, you see one connection when there are actually 4 buses leaving). You must purchase tickets at the ticket office before departure, there is no possibility to buy a ticket from the driver.
How to read the schedule? It’s quite simple. In Portugal, we start the week with Sunday, and it is relative to it that each day on the timetable is numbered. For example, the inscription on the schedule “2as, 3as, 4as, 5as, 6as excepto feriados” means that buses run from Monday (2as) to Friday (6as) excluding holidays (excepto feriados). Buses that run daily – including holidays – are marked “Diariamente.” The schedule is also available in English on the website.
From Faro airport we can only get directly to Albufeira and Spanish Ayamonte, Seville or Huelva. Most often there are 2 or 3 buses a day departing on this route.
Instead, from the bus station in Faro we will get to practically every point of the Algarve. If we don’t have a car, by buses we won’t lose so much of the excursion at all – it is possible to get to practically every point of the region – also to Sagres or (almost) to Benagil.
A second carrier, Frota Azul, also runs between Portimao, Lagos, Albufeira, Lagoa or Silves. Unfortunately, it does not offer connections to the regional capital. However, it is a good alternative if you plan to visit the Algarve by bus.