The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Praia da Rocha is a lively resort town that boasts a stunning beach, and vibrant nightlife, which makes for a fantastic holiday destination.
The main international airport of southern Portugal is Faro Airport, situated 70km to the east of Praia da Rocha.
There is no direct public transport from the airport to Praia da Rocha, so the majority of visitors take some type of taxi/car/coach transfer. These options include expensive taxis, ride-hailing apps (such as Uber/Bolt), shared minibus transfers or - if you're organised - a pre-booked transfer.
If you do wish to take public transport, there are two stages of the journey; travelling from Faro Airport to the city of Portimão and then from Portimão to Praia da Rocha. There is a bus service (the Aerobus, May-Oct only) from Faro Airport to Portimão or there is a train from Faro city. Once in Portimão, a local bus service connects to Praia da Rocha, or you may wish to take a taxi for the 5km journey.
This guide will detail all of the options for travelling from Faro Airport to Praia da Rocha, helping you to choose the best one.
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The flight path into Faro Airport crosses over the city of Faro
If you're reading this guide before your holiday to Praia da Rocha, it is strongly recommended that you book a private transfer. This provides a hassle-free way to start your holiday and is particularly useful if you're travelling with children. A private transfer to Praia da Rocha can cost as little as €59.60 (2022 prices) if booked far enough in advance. Details of the best transfer companies can be found later in this article.
If you're reading this guide just before or after landing at Faro Airport, the best options are a shared transfer (€15-20 - ticket offices can be found in the arrivals hall) or hailing an Uber/Bolt once you've collected your luggage.
If nothing is available (or it is an increased surge time for ride-haling apps) then there are taxis, which will cost €90-110. When taking a taxi, make sure the meter is used - and refuse a 7-seater taxi as this will cost 20% more. Be warned: there can be very high demand for Uber/Bolt services during the peak season, and the shared transfer coaches do sell out.
If nothing is available (or it is an increased surge time for ride-hailing apps), then there are taxis, which will cost €90-110. When taking a taxi, make sure the meter is used - and refuse a 7-seater taxi as this will cost 20% more.
If you want to save money and are happy with a longer journey, you could take public transport. The Aerobus (May to Oct, 1h45, €11.00) or train (year-round, 1h15, €6.15) connects Faro to Portimão. From Portimão, there are local buses to Praia da Rocha costing €1.50. The last train of the day from Faro (city) train station is at 20:50.
If you've just landed and it's night-time, then your options are limited and more expensive. There is no public transport at night, shared transfers may have finished for the day, and ride-hailing apps (Uber/Bolt) are always in high demand at these times as people go for evening meals or nights out. Taxis at night (9pm to 6am) cost 20% more than daytime rates.
Faro Airport is modern, but will be busy during the peak season
A private transfer is the best and fastest method of travel from Faro Airport to Praia da Rocha. This also has the added convenience of having a driver waiting for you at the airport.
The best transfer company regarded by people who live and work in the Algarve is Yellow Fish. They are the largest transfer company in the Algarve, with a fleet of modern cars and professional drivers.
A private transfer from Faro Airport to Praia da Rocha in 2023 can cost as little as €59.60, if booked far enough in advance (but in peak season, expect it to cost up to €71). Further details can be found on the Yellow Fish website: www.yellowfis
Insight: There are many third-party booking websites offering private transfers, these are always more expensive to cover their costs. Hotels and travel agencies typically add 10-15% on the basic price of an airport transfer. Always book directly with a transfer company for the best price.
Insight 2: Many of the transfer companies provide prices based on demand. Booking the transfer two months in advance will ensure the lowest prices, while leaving it to the last minute will always result in higher prices. If there are higher prices compare the three transfer companies listed above.
Faro Airport to Praia da Rocha by public transport
Public transport links at Faro Airport are not great, which is surprising considering how many visitors pass through the airport each year.
During the summer (May to October), there is an Aerobus bus service that connects Faro Airport to Portimão, but there are only six daily departures.
The Aerobus should be your first choice but during the winter or if there is no bus service you will need to catch a train or bus from Faro city to Portimão.
Once in Portimão, you will need to either catch a taxi, Uber/Bolt or local bus to Praia da Rocha.
The Algrave regional train
The number 56 bus route (the Aerobus) connects Faro Airport with Albufeira, Lagoa, Portimão and Lagos.
Insight: This bus service is the only connection from the airport to the entire central and western Algarve, so it can get very busy.
The Aerobus has six departures per day (Monday to Friday), with the last departure being at 19:30. At the weekend and on public holidays, there are only five departures per day, with the last bus leaving at 18:00. This bus service only operates during the high season (May to October).
The Aerobus service is operated by Vamus, the new public transport company of the Algarve, and the latest timetable can be seen on their website: vamusalgarve.pt/#/
(Note: The bus route is 56)
A bus ticket costs €11.00 and the journey to Portimão takes 1 hour 25minutes. The bus stop at the airport is to the left of the main entrance when exiting it (GPS: 37.021344, -7.968876)
The intercity bus station in Portimão (the Central De Camionetas Portimão) is inconveniently located at the far north of the city (GPS: 37.146960, -8.535140)
Once at Portimão, you will have to catch a taxi (€7) or a local bus to Praia da Rocha and your accommodation.
The local buses connecting Praia da Rocha and Portimão are the number 11, 33 or 3N routes. A single costs €1.50, and the buses depart from the Largo do Dique in Portimão. The latest bus timetables can be seen on the Portimão section of the Vamus website:
There is a regional train service that connects Faro to Portimão. The journey takes 1 hour 15 minutes and only costs €6.15.
The issue with train travel is that you will need to take a Taxi/Uber/bus from Faro Airport to the Faro city train station (€10-15 taxi) and a second Taxi/Uber/bus from Portimão to Praia da Rocha (€7-€10 taxi).
The last train service is at 20:50, and the latest timetable can be seen on the Comboios de Portugal (CP) website:
Faro train station is located just to the north of the city centre (GPS: 37.018410, -7.939675), and tickets must be purchased before boarding the train.
The train station in Portimão is to the north of the city, and is close to the intercity bus station (GPS: 37.144444, -8.537565)
Faro is only a small train station
An alternative to the train is the express bus service from Faro bus station to Portimão (route 57), which takes 1 hour 20 minutes.
The issue with the express bus is the same as the train; you have to travel into Faro city centre and it only stops in Portimão. The other issue with the bus is that there are only two departures at the weekend and on holidays - Monday to Friday there are seven departures.
The latest timetable can be seen on the Vamus website:
Note: The Faro- Portimão bus is route 57
The 56 bus does conveniently stop in the centre of Portimão at the 'Guanaré' bus stop, making it easier to find taxis here than at the intercity bus station.
Insight: The train and bus station in Faro are very close to each other. It is advisable to check departure times for both and take the first service.
The bus to Portimão waiting in Faro bus station
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