The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Vilamoura is an exclusive and stylish resort town situated in the beautiful central Algarve region. The main airport in southern Portugal is Faro airport, and this is located 25km to the east of Vilamoura.
There is surprisingly poor public transport between Faro Airport and Vilamoura. The journey by public transport requires two bus journeys and is time-consuming due to limited departure times.
The majority of visitors to Vilamoura take some type of taxi/car/coach transfer from the airport. These options include taxis, ride-hailing apps (such as Uber/Bolt), shared minibus transfers or - if you're organised - a pre-booked private transfer.
This guide will detail all of your options for travelling from Faro Airport to Vilamoura, to help you choose the best one.
Related articles: Vilamoura introduction - Vilamoura’s beaches
The flight path into Faro Airport flies over the city of Faro
If you're reading this guide before your holiday to Vilamoura, it is strongly recommended that you book a private transfer. This provides a hassle-free way to start your holiday, as well as being cost-effective if travelling in a group of three or more. A private transfer to Vilamoura costs as little as €29.20, (2023 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 hailing an Uber/Bolt once you've collected your luggage, or a shared transfer (€10-15) from the ticket offices in the arrivals hall.
For the relatively short journey to Vilamoura (30min), taxis are not an unreasonable option and will cost around €32-36. 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 summer, and the shared transfer coaches do sell out. In the peak season, a taxi may be your only option.
If you want to save money and are happy with a longer journey time, you could take public transport. The journey requires two buses (Faro Airport to Faro city, then Faro to Vilamoura). This journey can take a long time due to the limited number of departures, and is fully detailed at the end of this guide.
Faro Airport is modern, but will be busy in the peak season
A private transfer is the best and fastest method of travel from Faro Airport to Vilamoura. 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 Vilamoura in 2023 can cost as little as €29.20, if booked far enough in advance (but in peak season, expect it to cost up to €34). Further details and bookings 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.
A Yellow Fish mini-bus at the airport drop off point
The relatively short distance (25km) from the airport to Vilamoura means a taxi is a viable option. A taxi transfer will be the most expensive means of travel (more than Uber/Bolt's normal prices), but it is the most convenient if you haven't booked a transfer.
A taxi from the airport uses tariff 3 (the 'outside city limits' tariff), and the rate for a 4-seater taxi in 2023 is €0.94 per kilometre. There are additional fees for luggage (€1.60), waiting in traffic and any toll roads used (such as the A22). These prices are 20% higher at night (9pm to 6am), as well as at weekends or on public holidays.
Insight: Expect a taxi fare to Vilamoura to be around €32 or €38 at night and weekends.
A 7-seater taxi has a base rate of €1.21 per kilometre, and this rate will be used even if you are in a group of less than four. If you are a group of four or less, refuse a 7-seater taxi if it is at the head of the taxi queue at the airport.
The majority of taxis accept card payments, but check with the driver before starting the journey. American Express is rarely accepted due to its high fees.
Insight: Portugal does not have a significant tipping culture, but a small tip (10%) is usually expected for a taxi ride.
Considering that Vilamoura is only 25 km from Faro airport, the journey by public transport is time-consuming. The two stages of the journey are; the bus (or taxi) from the airport to Faro bus station, and a bus from Faro to Vilamoura. Depending on where your accommodation is, you may need to take a further taxi.
The first stage is the 6km journey from Faro Airport to Faro bus station. The number 16 bus connects the airport with central Faro, and there are departures every 30-50 minutes – the latest timetable is posted at the bus stop. The journey takes 20 minutes, and the fare is €2.50.
The number 16 bus departs from the bus stop just to the left of the terminal building when exiting it (GPS: 37.021344, -7.968876)
A taxi from the airport to Faro bus station costs €10-12 and takes 10 minutes.
The number 16 bus from the airport into Faro city centre
Bus to Vilamoura
The number 9 bus route connects Faro with Vilamoura, and departs from Faro bus station. This bus service is operated by Vamus, the new public transport company of the Algarve.
At the weekends there are only six departures, which increases to ten Monday-Friday. The limited number of departures means there can be a long wait at Faro, especially at the weekends. The latest timetable can be seen on the Vamus website: vamusalgarve.pt/#/
(Note: The Faro-Albufeira bus is number 9)
The tickets for the bus must be purchased from the bus station ticket office before boarding. Also, when purchasing the ticket, confirm the departure location of the bus, as it is often not from the bus station but on the street in front of it.
Insight: There is no train station in Vilamoura, so the train is not an option.
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