The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Faro Airport is the main international airport of the Algarve, and is located 3km to the west of Faro. Faro is a charming and historic city that also serves as the region's main transport hub, with a major bus and train station.
However, Faro Airport has surprisingly poor public transport, with almost no connections to the largest towns of the Algarve. This means if you want to use public transport to reach one of the popular holiday destinations in the Algarve, you will first need to travel into Faro city. Fortunately, the journey from the airport to Faro is relatively short, only 7km by road, and a 12-minute taxi or 20-minute bus ride.
This limited public transport from the airport, also forces most tourists to either pre-book a transfer, take an expensive taxi or use a ride-hailing app (such as Uber or Bolt). During the summer, there can be incredibly high demand for Uber and Bolt at the airport, while the cheaper shared transfers frequently sell out.
This guide will detail the best methods to travel from Faro Airport to Faro city.
The bus is the cheapest way to travel from the airport to Faro
There are many options of onward travel from the airport to Faro city. The suitability of these varies depending on how busy the airport is, the time of day, and your budget. The options are:
Taxi – The fastest method of travelling from the airport to Faro, but also the most expensive. There will be plenty of taxis available in the peak season, and they drop off directly at your accommodation. Sometimes, taxi drivers may try to take advantage of weary travellers by trying to charge inflated fares or not using the taxi meter.
Bus – The cheapest option, but the slowest. There can be long waits for the bus, it can get very busy, and the journey takes 20 minutes. From the bus station, it may be a long walk to your accommodation.
Uber/Bolt – The ride-hailing apps are significantly cheaper than taxis, but there can be very long waits to connect to drivers during peak hours. You will need to download an app to your phone, and the initial setting up of the app and first booking can be tricky. This is a good option for late at night.
Private transfer – The most convenient method of onward travel from the airport, with a driver waiting at the airport for you. This is great for families but needs to be organised before your holiday. A pre-booked private transfer will cost slightly more than a taxi.
Aerobus – An infrequent bus service that connects Lagos to Faro and stops at the airport. There are only seven departures during the summer and two at winter.
Shared transfer – There are no shared transfers from Faro airport to Faro.
The remainder of this article will explain in detail these options for travel from the airport to Faro.
The view over Faro from a plane about to land
Taking the bus to Faro is a good idea if you have plenty of time, want to save money and are travelling during the day. The issue with the bus is that it can get very busy at peak times, the journey is surprisingly long, and there is no designated storage for luggage.
There is just a single bus route from the airport to Faro, the number 16 route. This bus service is by the Próximo bus company and a single ticket costs €2.50. The ticket can only be purchased with cash, so make sure you have coins or a small note.
The location of the bus stop is GPS: 37.021327, -7.968840; when exiting arrivals, turn left and head towards the short stay car park and it is just beyond the drop-off point.
The bus stop is just to the left of this interactive image
The number 16 route connects Faro city with the Praia de Faro and stops midway at the airport. If the bus displays "Praia de Faro", it is heading to the beach and not the city centre.
The bus journey takes 20 minutes (compared to the 10 minutes by taxi) as it performs a loop of the village of Montenegro.
This bus can get very busy at peak times at the airport or in the late afternoon when everyone is heading back from the beach. During the summer, there is a departure every 15 minutes between 7:30am and 8pm, but this reduces to every 30 minutes at the weekend and in the low season. The route and timetable can be seen on the Próximo website: www.proximo.pt/
The number 16 bus terminates at the "Proximo" bus station in central Faro (GPS: 37.017301, -7.937996). The Proximo bus station is next to the older inter-city bus station or a 200m to the train station (turn left when exiting the bus station). It's also only a short walk (150m) to the marina and the historic centre of Faro (turn right when exiting the bus station)
Unfortunately, the number 16 bus route passes through a very dilapidated section of the city. The historic section of Faro is charming, and the city is a safe destination. The first impression most visitors get of Faro when viewed from the bus is very poor, which is a shame for the city.
The number 16 bus waiting in the Proximo bus station
There are two ride-hailing apps in the Algarve, Uber and Bolt. Both are very similar and provide much cheaper fares than a regular taxi.
An Uber/Bolt fare from the airport to the centre of Faro will cost approximately €7, but this will increase at peak times. One of the advantages of the ride-hailing apps is the ability to know the fare before booking a transfer.
Insight: Uber and Bolt are very convenient for travelling around the Algarve. It is recommended to have downloaded their app (and know how to use them!) before heading on holiday.
The issue with both ride-hailing apps is that there is always a shortage of drivers during the peak season. This results in long waits for rides and increased prices. In the worst-case scenario, the app may not find a driver - if this happens, consider taking a taxi.
Passengers are picked up from the "Kiss and Fly" drop-off point, which is located close to the bus stop. While it's not common to tip Uber or Bolt drivers in Portugal, they always appreciate a €1 or €2 coin.
Keep in mind that you'll need mobile internet to book an Uber or Bolt. If you're experiencing connection issues, make sure your phone's data roaming is turned on.
A taxi from the airport to Faro train station will cost €15-18 (plus luggage fees), and the journey is 12-minutes. When taking a taxi from the airport, always ensure that the meter is switched on, or that a fair price has been agreed.
The basic fare for a four-seater taxi within the Faro district is €0.94 per kilometre and €0.25 per minute waiting (or stuck in traffic!). There is a minimum fare of €3.25 and a surcharge of €1.60 for luggage placed in the boot. These rates increase by 20% at the weekends or at night (9pm and 6am) and are €1.13 per kilometre and €0.25 per minute waiting. An eight-seater taxi is much more expensive at €1.21 per km, or €1.45 per km during nights or weekends. This rate applies even if you are a group of 4 or fewer.
Note: The above rates apply within the Faro vicinity, if you travel outside of this area, fares will be much more expensive. Taxis register in Faro are only able to pick up from the Faro area, so if they drop off outside of this area they must return back empty, and hence charge a high rate.
If you are travelling to one of the popular holiday destinations (such as Albufeira, Vilamoura or Lagos), it is always advisable to pre-book a transfer. We always recommend YellowFish as the best transfer company, and their website can be seen here: www.yellowfis
An eight-seater taxi and regular taxis waiting at Faro train station
There is a very limited bus service called the "Aerobus" that connects Faro and Lagos and also stops at the airport (along with Albufeira, Lagoa, and Portimao).
It is possible to catch this bus from the airport to Faro, and it often has many seats available. Most passengers take this service from the west of the Algarve and exit the bus at the airport.
During the peak season (1st May to 31st Oct), there are seven daily departures, while in the low season (1st Nov to 30th Apr), this reduces to just two departures. The Aerobus is route number 56 and is operated by Vamus. For the latest timetable please see the Vamus website:
Note: On the above webpage use the drop-down box to select route '56', and the next page will display a link to the latest timetable as a pdf file.
The Aerobus departs from the same location at the number 16 bus service, and tickets are purchased from the driver.
Insight: If you are heading to Albufeira, Lagoa, Portimao or Lagos, the Aerobus is a great option for onward travel. It is just a shame that the service has so few departures.
The city of Faro is the main public transport hub for the Algarve. From the city are train and bus services along the coastline, and express intercity trains to Lisbon and the north of Portugal.
As a generalisation, we recommended train travel for the eastern Algarve (Tavira, Monte Gordo and Vila Real) and the bus to the west (Vilamoura, Albufeira and Praia da Rocha). The reason we do not recommend the regional train for western travel is that the train stations are a long distance from the main tourist centres; Albufeira station is 6km from the town, while Carvoeiro and Vilamoura do not have a station. The one exception is Lagos, where taking the train is recommended.
There are no late-night public transport options from Faro city to the resort towns, the last departures for both bus and train (and east and west) are around 19:00-20:00. If you arrive later than this, you will need to take a taxi, Uber or Bolt. An alternative is spending a night in Faro, which is a charming and historic city, that is sadly often overlooked by most tourists.
The Algarve regional train
The bus network of the Algarve is operated by Vamus, and departing from Faro bus station are many routes covering the whole of the region. The entire network and timetables can be seen on the Vamus website: https://vamusalgarve.pt/
There is just a single train line along the Algarve, which extends from Lagos in the west to Vila Real de Santo António in the east. Faro lies at the midpoint of this train line and also connects to the high-speed rail network that needs north to Lisbon. Portuguese trains are operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP), and full details can be seen on their website www.cp.pt/passageiros/en