The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Alvor is a charming and scenic resort town on the western side of the Algarve. Alvor has a wonderful beach, fantastic restaurants and is ideal for visitors wanting an enjoyable and relaxing holiday. The main international airport of southern Portugal is Faro airport and this is located 72km to the east of Alvor. This guide will detail how to travel from Faro airport to Alvor by taxi, bus and train.
Related articles: Alvor guide
There are three main stages for the journey from Faro airport to Alvor by public transport, they are:
• Faro airport to Faro city (bus or taxi)
• Faro city to Portimão (train or bus)
• Portimão to Alvor (bus)
There is no public transport hub at Faro airport and all visitors must first travel to the city of Faro for onward bus or rail services. Alvor is a small town and has no train station or major bus station, the nearest bus/train station is in the city of Portimão 7km to the north. This means that there are three distinct stages to the journey from Faro Airport to Praia da Rocha by public transport.
Public transport throughout the Algarve is inexpensive and of a high standard, but departures tend to be infrequent and journeys are slow…. The transfer from Faro airport to Alvor by public transport can take anywhere between 3 – 5 hours. Due to the limited number of departures and poor connections always check the latest timetables, which are listed in the later sections of this article. The main advantage of taking public transport for this long journey is that it is very cheap; a single using purely bus/train will cost around €10 per person.
The other inconvenience is that the last daily train departs Faro at 20:50 (correct October 2019 - please see link to latest timetable later in the article). So for flights landing after 18:00 should book a transfer as there will not be time to connect to the train.
Alvor is worth the effort!
No, a taxi hired directly from the airport arrivals lounge to Alvor will be very expensive (>€90). A much better option is to pre-booked a private transfer which cost €54/€108 (one way/return). Cheaper options are transfer buses with tickets around €17- €20 but as Alvor is a distance from the airport expect multiple stops and a very long journey (90 minutes). Summers in the Algarve are manic and Faro airport can be chaotic, with huge queues for everything, it is always best to pre-book transfers.
A private transfer is the easiest and fastest method of travel from Faro airport to Alvor. The most reliable and highest regarded (by people who live and work in the Algarve) transfer company is Yellow Fish Transfers. They operate smart, clean and safe cars and their drivers are renowned for being punctual. A transfer from Faro airport to Alvor costs €54/108 (single transfer/return), takes 60 minutes and their website, along with bookings can be found here.
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The remainder of this article will explain in detail traveling from Faro airport to Alvor by public transport.
When we travel to Alvor from Faro Airport we always take public transport (due to the cost) but always plan well ahead. The key advice is that we always catch the earliest flight to the Algarve, this allows us the maximum time for the onward transfer. Also the first flight of the day tends to have the least and shortest delays, especially if flying with the low cost airlines.
For the first stage between the airport and Faro city we take a taxi, as the bus is so infrequent. From Faro to Lagos we catch the train, which always has ample free seats and is relaxing. At Portimão we walk down from the train station into the city centre and the Avenue Guanaré where the Portimão urban buses depart from. The urban buses take around 20 minute to travel to Alvor and a well-deserved glass of wine or beer! The following section explains each of these sections in detail and provides links to timetables.
The first stage of the journey is the 6km from Faro Airport to Faro train or bus station. There is a direct bus service from the airport with irregular departure times but at least one bus per hour between 6am-11pm. The journey takes under twenty minutes, the fare is €2.35 and tickets are purchased from the driver. There are departures every 30-50 minutes, and the latest timetable can be seen on the Proximo website at:
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A taxi from the airport to the train station cost €12-15 and only takes 10 minutes. Faro train station and bus station are very close together and are only a 200m apart. For a very detailed guide to this first stage please see this guide, Faro Airport to Faro train station.
The proximo bus station in Faro
The train journey from Faro to Portimão takes 1 hour and 30 minutes and a single ticket costs only €6.00. Tickets are purchased from the ticket office and cannot be pre-booked as the train is a regional service. There is no need to pre-book tickets as there is always space on the train with ample space of heavy luggage.
The main issue with the rail service is the lack of departures and the infrequency during the day, for example there are no departs between 12:30 and 16:20. Also, the last train is at 20:50, (correct October 2019), so no good for passengers arriving at Faro airport after 18:00. The latest timetable as a PDF can be viewed at the CP (Comboios de Portugal) website and the link is:
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The slow regional train
Faro is connected to Lagos by bus services but the departures are just as irregular and infrequent as the train. The express bus, operated by Eva buses, takes 1h50min and the latest timetable can be viewed on their website:
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The express bus to Lagos departs from the older covered bus station, which is next to the Proximo bus station. Tickets must be purchased (€5.50) from the ticket office (not the driver) and there can be long queues especially during summer. It is better to catch the train than the bus as the journey is quicker and the train is more relaxing.
Inside Faro bus station
The final stage is from Portimão to Alvor and your hotel. There are regular urban bus routes that serve Alvor from Portimão and include bus routes 13 and 14. The only issue is that the buses depart from the Avenue Guanaré and not the train station, so it is a short walk into the city centre. The bus ticket is €1.50 for 1 hours travel or €3.50 for a 1 day pass. For a map of the Portimão local buses please see this link:
bus timetables can be seen here:
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