Lisbon Airport is the largest airport in Portugal, so it is natural that the Humberto Delgado Airport tarmac also receives the most tourists. However, not everyone wants to stay on the Tagus River and chooses to go to the warmer and sandy Algarve. Below is a packet of information on how to get to the south of Portugal most easil
How to get from Lisbon to Algarve by train
Travel time: about 3 hours Cost: 20 to 30 euros, in promotions even 11 E.
The train trip from Lisbon to Faro takes about 3 hours. Trains leave from Lisboa Oriente train station (about how to get there from the airport here). The station is about 3km from the airport and about 8km from the center. We can purchase train tickets at the ticket offices at the station as well as online at cp.pt. For both Alfa Pendular (marked AP) and Intercidades (IC) trains, the cost is about 23 euros for second class. The price can be reduced by up to half if you book tickets in advance.
We will get directly from Lisbon to the largest cities in the region – Faro and Albuifera (however, the Albufeira-Ferreiras train station, which is located about 6 km from the city). If you plan to spend your vacation in Lagos or Portimao, a transfer in Tunes is required. The transfer is really easy, the station is small and you leave from the same platform you arrive on. There is no need to worry about the transfer time (usually about 10 minutes), even if there is a delay, the trains are waiting for each other. The alternative is to take the bus, which will take you straight to Lagos.
How to get from Lisbon to the Algarve by bus?
Travel time: about 4 hours,
Cost: 18 – 20 euros.
Connections between Lisbon and the Algarve are regularly operated by three carriers – Eva Transportes, Renex, Rede Expressos. All three are brands of one company – Rede Expressos. Buses leave from two stations – Lisboa Oriente and Sete Rios (follow the link for an entry on how to get there from Lisbon airport).
Unlike trains, the bus connection allows us to get to Lagos and Portimao without changing trains. Travel time is about 4 hours, and the cost of a ticket is 19-20 euros. We can buy tickets online and at the train station. Note that some buses run only in high season (they are marked with a calendar icon on the Rede website). The purchase of tickets and schedule activates about two months before the date of travel. I would compare the quality of Rede’s transportation to FlixBus – it’s okay, reasonably comfortable, but not crazy.
How to get from Lisbon to Faro?
Travel time: One hour.
Cost: 50 – 60 euro, promotional 40 euro.
The only carrier operating flights from Lisbon to Faro in 2019 is Portugal’s Tap Air. Departures are from terminal one at Lisbon airport, and in less than an hour you arrive in Faro from where you can easily get to any point in the Algarve. Tickets usually cost between £250 and £350, but can often be found at a lower, promotional price – starting at €25.
How to get from Lisbon to Algarve by car?
Travel time: about 2 hours and 40 minutes, depending on the chosen destination.
Cost: 26 euros (gates on expressways).
Portugal is one of the cheapest European countries in terms of car rental prices. We can rent a car from 10 euros per day, and the cost of a liter of gasoline is about 1.40 euros. From the network rental companies, i.e. those where we can rent a car in Lisbon and return, for example, in Faro, I recommend Centauro and Drive on Holidays. As for rental companies in Lisbon, I have used Olivauto at Roma-Areeiro station many times. I recommend renting a car right away with the Via Verde electronic toll system.
If you are traveling by car from Lisbon to Lagos or Albufeira en route, there are several interesting places to stop, so I divided the guide into two parts – the express one via the highways and the cheaper, but a bit longer, tourist one. The difference between the two roads is about 50 minutes, and in my opinion it is definitely worth avoiding the exit to the E1 road.
From the Lisbon airport you head to the Vasco da Gama Bridge, then onto the A12 highway, near Setúbal turning onto the A2 and entering the E1. Before Alcácer do Sal you can take the national road or continue on the expressway. If you choose the national roads you will pay about 15 euros less and your travel time will increase slightly by about 40 minutes.
I recommend that you choose to leave Lisbon via the Vasco da Gama bridge (a fee of 2.70 euros is charged only for entering Lisbon), and return via the April 25 bridge – the fee charged is lower (1.50 euros). The total cost of driving on the highways from Lisbon to the southern Algarve should be between €10 and €30, depending on which of the towns and access roads you choose.
I could go on for hours about how to choose a travel route from Lisbon to the Algarve. It all depends directly on our tastes – in the passing Alentejo we will find beautiful, endless beaches with cliffs, more sun-baked, but often surrounded by exceptional vegetation, quite different from those at the southern end of Portugal. Along the way, we can stop at one of the dozens of wineries on the lookout for new customers. The most interesting, of course, are the former quintas, or landed estates, often additionally serving as museums like the Palácio e Quinta da Bacalhôa, just a dozen minutes from Lisbon near Setubal.
The first stop can be made as early as Sesimbra. The beaches in the Arrábida region are quite different from those you will encounter in the rest of Portugal. They are in perfect harmony with nature and the surrounding, wind-shielding cliffs.
Troia, on the other hand, is a resort town, with a beautiful, perfectly sandy coastline and the warmest water on the Lisbon peninsula, because it is located in a bay. I dedicated a separate entry to the Troia peninsula, invite you here.
The way south is already Alentejo, which is known as the capital of Portuguese wine, but also some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Here we have Aljezur, where we can find both beautiful cliffs on the beach do Canal and a cove where one of the rivers, Amoreira, flows lazily into the ocean. But before we go so far south, it’s worth stopping at Odeceixe, which is one of the most highly ranked beaches in Portugal. All thanks to its location within a national park, which has kept the area from filling up with hotels or apartment buildings. Here we can truly commune with Portuguese nature.
Just a short distance from Aljezur we find the small town of Monchique. It’s a pretty little town near the Serra de Monchique mountains, whose summit – Foia – is the highest peak in the Algarve. Unfortunately, you can’t climb to the top itself – it has been occupied by NATO-owned radars – but on the way up, you can enjoy Portuguese nature – olive, almond or fig trees, and even eucalyptus.
Title photo of the Alfa Pendular train by user Nuno Morao.