Getting Around the Algarve the Easiest Way
Getting around the Algarve is very easy and also inexpensive whichever mode you choose.
If you are already living in the Algarve no doubt you are already finding your way around.
However, If you are thinking about making the move to the Algarve here are some hints on the transport options available.
Obviously, there are different benefits to each option of transportation depending on your requirements and budget.
Below are what we would consider the best ways to explore the Algarve region.
With links to timetables and approximate costs, this is our complete guide for the best ways to get around the Algarve.
The Easiest Option by Car
We find the easiest and most convenient way to get around the Algarve is by car.
This is the quickest way to travel between towns and cities.
The Algarve has two main roads that pass the length of the Algarve and give easy access to the main towns and cities.
The quickest option is Highway A22. However to use this road you do have to pay the toll.
Most rental cars are fitted with an electronic device in the car that registers your route on the A22.
The costs are automatically charged to your card by the rental company.
If you have your own car you can pay at any post office or on the Via Verde online.
If you are considering using the A22 regularly you can also rent the electronic device.
The second main road is the National N125. This is the national road that you can drive free of charge. It basically follows the same route as the A22 but does get more congested.
However, if you like to take your time and enjoy some of the beautiful Algarve scenery, this is your best option to take.
Renting a Car Can be Cheap
If you don’t have your own car there are plenty of hire companies across the region.
They are quite expensive during the summer months but out of peak season, you can find cheap deals.
Public Transport – Take the Bus
There are three main bus companies operating in the Algarve region, they are
Frota Azul Algarve
Each municipality may also have local services to get around.
You can buy tickets at the bus stations online, or pay the driver.
The Bus stops are easy to spot with a blue sign named Paragem.
In the main towns, English is also on the sign ie bus stops. You will also find a timetable to work out your route and the number of the bus you need.
The Busses stop at all the stops, just give the bus driver a clear signal if you are waiting for the bus.
Intercity Buses – Towns and Cities
You can catch a bus to all the main towns and cities in the Algarve.
Most of the intercity buses in the Algarve are run by the company Eva.
Please note some of the buses do not show route or line numbers. You need to check for the destination display on the front of the bus.
Tickets and prices
Tickets for each main bus service can only be bought at the sales offices at the bus station. Check the addresses and opening hours.
To give you a quick idea of the rates listed below are the prices for single fares from Faro to some of the popular destinations in the Algarve:
The best way to use the bus service is to buy a tourist pass, an easy and inexpensive option to travel to all the towns and cities in the Algarve.
The pass gives you unlimited use of the bus services of EVA Transport and Frota Azul Algarve. The Prices are as follows:
- 3 days: € 30,50
- 7 days: € 38,30
Most of the main bus services run from 07.00 am till 20.30 pm in the evening. Although services to Lisbon run through the night.
At the weekend buses are less frequent than during the week so always best to check.
Some of the smaller villages do not have a bus service running on weekends or public holidays.
The main intercity bus services do run on weekends and public holidays but with less frequency. You can check all the bus timetables for more information.
Trains are Frequent and Reasonable
The train company that runs the Portugals service is Comboios de Portugal (CP). You can book tickets on their website as well as buying at stations and pay the conductor on the train.
The train line runs between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António, so it’s quite easy to get from the west of the Algarve to the east.
The main cities and towns that the train passes through are Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.
However, there are many smaller stations along the route but not all services stop so make sure to check the timetable before you book.
Tickets and prices
Buying your tickets well in advance can get discounts of up to 65%. So well worth checking out.
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
The best option is to purchase a tourist travel card. With this card, you have unlimited travel on the trains for 2 or 3 consecutive days on the Algarve Regional Line services. 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 travel card at any of the station ticket offices or online.
Local Taxi Services available in Most Towns
Taxis are another option especially if you don’t like to drive abroad or are going out for a drink.
Most Algarve towns and cities have designated Taxi ranks and they also circulate day and night carrying up to four passengers. You can also order taxis by phone, or check the local numbers on Google.
Algarve taxis are metered so it depends on the distance and traffic conditions as the cost.
To give you an indication, the price of the fare between Faro airport and the city of Faro is approximately € 9 to € 14. The trip takes around 16 minutes.
Travelling further afield, the approximate price from Faro airport to Albufeira is about € 50-55 euros. It takes around 40-50 minutes, depending on the traffic conditions.
Uber Rides are Popular and Frequent
Ubers Rides are now very popular in the Algarve and normally arrive within 5-10 minutes, apart from peak season.
They are an easy option to get around the towns and are usually cheaper than the normal taxis.
One benefit of Uber ride is that you see the price upfront unlike the endless ticking over of the meter in the taxis.
Keep Fit – Get on Yer Bike or Walk
The Algarve is becoming recognised as one of the friendliest regions for bikers and trekkers alike. So we come to the cheapest modes of travelling around the Algarve.
Most of the major towns provide cycle paths and if you don’t have your own bike rental outlets are in abundance. Walking is safe along most of the seafronts in the Algarve with no traffic allowed.
Apart from the town cycle paths, there are many off-road treks for cyclists and walkers taking in some of the beautiful Algarve scenery. And of course, the beach is another great place to take in the fresh air.
Flights to Major Cities
If you are looking to go further afield for a weekend break away from the Algarve then flights could be an option.
From Faro, you can get cheap off-peak flights to most of the major cities in Europe.
Some one-way bargain prices to be had include 10 euros to Porto, 30 euros to Lisbon, and Paris for 30 euros.
To Conclude Getting Around the Algarve
Hopefully, we have given you a good idea of all the options available for getting around in the Algarve.
When searching for your Algarve property it is advisable to take into consideration the mode of transport you are going to need. Some of the more out-of-the-way villages will require a car to reach the towns and cities.
Google Local Guide for the Algarve. Been living in the Algarve for over 20 years and loving the experience. Now writing about and photographing the Algarve experience to share with others. Contributor to all that is Algarve on Wikipedia