The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Praia da Rocha is a lively beach resort that is situated on a stunning coastline and makes for a fantastic holiday destination for both families and couples of all ages.
The main international airport of southern Portugal is Faro airport and this is located 70km to the east of Praia da Rocha.
This guide will detail how to travel from Faro airport to Praia da Rocha by taxi, bus and train.
Public transport from Faro airport is not great and this is surprising considering how many visitors pass through the airport every year.
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. Praia da Rocha is a small town and has no train station or major bus station, the nearest bus/train station is in the city of Portimão 5km to the north.
This means that there are three stages to the journey from Faro Airport to Praia da Rocha by public transport:
• Faro airport to the Faro train or bus station (by bus or taxi)
• Faro to Portimão (by train or bus - train is faster)
• Portimão bus/train station to Praia da Rocha and to your hotel (taxi or short bus ride)
(All of these stages are explained in detail later on in the article)
Praia da Rocha is amazing once you get there.....
The other inconvenience is that the last daily train departs Faro at 20:50 (correct 2019 - please see link to latest timetable later in the article). So for flights landing after 19:00 should book a transfer as there will not be time to connect to the train.
Should I just get a taxi from the airport?
No, a taxi hired directly from the airport arrivals lounge to Praia da Rocha 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 Praia da Rocha 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. The main (and only) advantage using public transport is that it is inexpensive (less than €10) and there is always space on the train.
Faro taxis, waiting outside the train station
A private transfer is the easiest and fastest method of travel from Faro airport to Praia da Rocha. 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 Praia da Rocha costs €54/108 (single transfer/return), takes 60 minutes and their website, along with bookings can be found here. (The link opens new window).
The remainder of this article will explain in detail traveling from Faro airport to Praia da Rocha by public transport.
Yellow Fish operate the best transfer service in the Algarve
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:
(links open new windows)
A taxi from the airport to the train station cost €10-12 and only takes 10 minutes. Faro train station and bus station are very close together and are only a 200m apart.
For a detailed guide to this first stage please see this guide, Faro Airport to Faro train station.
There are many enjoyable activities in Praia da Rocha and Portimão. We have worked with Getyourguide.com over the last five years, and a selection of their best tours and activities include:
Stage 2 - Faro to Portimão by train
The train journey from Faro to Portimão takes 1 hour and 30 minutes and a single ticket costs only €6.10. 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 Algarve regional train
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 13:55 and 15:17. Also, the last train is at 20:50, (correct October 2019), so no good for passengers arriving at Faro airport after 19:00. The latest timetable as a PDF can be viewed at the CP (Comboios de Portugal) website and the link is:
(the link opens a new window)
.....or by bus
There are express buses between Faro to Portimão, which depart from Faro bus station and take 1h45m. The bus departures are just as infrequent as the train and as of October 2019 the last bus leaves Faro at 19:40, a link to the bus time table can be found here:
(the link opens a new window)
The bus ticket costs €5.50/€11.00 (single/return) and are purchased from the ticket office, which can be very busy in the summer months - when traveling from Faro bus station bus tickets cannot be purchased from the driver. The express bus to Portimão is part of the express bus route to Lagos therefore buses will be have "Lagos" in their display window. Bus to Portimão depart from the older covered intercity bus station not the new open air "Proximo" bus station, where the Faro airport bus terminates.
Stage 3 - Portimão station to Praia da Rocha
The final stage (and possibly the time why you wonder why you choose to travel by public transport) is from Portimão train station or bus station to Praia da Rocha and your hotel. For this short stage it is generally easier just to catch a taxi for this final stage of the journey and there are always taxis waiting when the train/bus arrives and the taxi fare will be between €10-12. There are direct local bus from the main bus area of Portimão but not the train station. For a map of the Portimão local buses please see this link:
The main local bus routes for Praia da Rocha are the 33,and 35
35 time table http://vaivem.pt/images/docs/LINHA_35.pdf
or 33 timetable http://vaivem.pt/images/docs/LINHA_33.pdf
The bus ticket is €1.50 for 1 hours travel or €3.50 for a 1 day pass. The Largo do Dique (where the local buses depart from) is a 1km downhill walk from the train station and is much easier than waiting for another bus.
Our final advice
The route by public transport from the Airport to Praia da Rocha may seem overly complicated while transfers are expensive, especially during the summer season or on budget holidays. Our advice (and what we do when visiting Praia da Rocha) is to catch a taxi to Faro from the airport then take the train to Portimão and finally a taxi from Portimão to Praia da Rocha.
This works out at a total transfer cost of around €32 for two people and can take as little as 2 hours. For the possible lunch time delay in Faro, either do as the Portuguese do and have a long lunch or visit Faro which is a surprisingly pretty city (just not near the train station).
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