Topics include Dining Scene, Portugal: For Foreign Visitors & more!
The coastal areas of the Algarve (ie the main tourist areas) have a reasonable network of bus routes but going inland, even a few miles, the network is sparse and services very infrequent.
Bus services on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and Public Holidays are a lot less frequent than on weekdays. Most routes have no service after about 8pm.
There are frequent daily, long-distance bus (coaches to UK readers) services connecting all the towns in the Algarve with Lisbon and the rest of Portugal.
There are urban bus networks in and around Albufeira, Faro, Lagos and Portimão. They may seem complicated at first glance! Also there is often NO information displayed at bus stops. Recent cutbacks have reduced service in Lagos and Portimão by as much as 50% and most of the weekend service has been withdrawn, even in summer. However the local buses are still a reasonably efficient and economical way of getting around within the major urban areas.
Except in Faro, these city networks operate some routes until midnight during the summer. During the winter, service ends at around 9pm
Other smaller towns also have local bus networks, but most of these do not operate outside of commuting/shopping hours.
There is a railway line, with several daily passenger trains, running along the coast between Lagos, Faro and Vila Real de Santo António and also a route up to Lisbon. Unfortunately, the local geography means that between Portimão and Faro the line runs several miles inland, away from the tourist resorts. Some of the stations (eg Albufeira) are many miles from the towns they purport to serve.
Travel by bus and train is no longer the bargain it once was, particularly on the city networks, but longer journeys are still inexpensive. The long-distance trains are air-conditioned and very comfortable. Local (regional) trains in the Algarve are now of a newer type with power operated doors and air-conditioned interiors. Train fares are sometimes cheaper than bus fares.
Travel to and from the airport
There is no train or bus service at the airport except for the local bus from and to the city centre. This runs at irregular intervals once or twice an hour from around 0500 to 2300. Fare is €2,22 and the journey to the city takes about 18 minutes. These local buses stop outside both the railway and bus stations in Faro, for onward connections to all parts. Beware that last trains and buses to other parts of the Algarve leave Faro at about 2000hrs except for later trains at 2108 and 2200 hours to Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.
Sources of information including timetables and fares
To and from Faro Airport Unofficial website page Trip Advisor member. There is a bus once or twice each hour to/from the city, nothing else.
Bus services across the Algarve Unofficial website, Trip Advisor member, listing all known information about scheduled services.
Bus services across the Algarve EVA Bus Company Official website, some information in English.
Bus services in the Western Algarve Frota Azul Bus Company Official website – Portuguese language only
Long distance buses (coaches) Algarve – Lisbon unofficial website Trip Advisor Member
Long distance buses (coaches) Algarve – Lisbon – official bus company websites
Renex (Portuguese language only, no ticket sales on line)
Rede Expressos (Timetable information and reservations now available in English)
For Airport taxi transfers prices, from / to Faro airport , can check this website example, http://www.algarvetaxitransfers4u.com there are several websites for online reservations.
There is also this Trip Advisor page on airport transfers
Trains in the Algarve
Trains across the Algarve and to Lisbon unofficial website, Trip Advisor member
Trains across the Algarve and throughout Portugal – Official Portuguese Railways Website partly in English
Travel between the Algarve and Seville and southern Spain. There are NO TRAINS across the border, nor do lines even meet up!
Travel between the Algarve and Spain (Seville) – summary of information – unofficial website Trip Advisor member. Four or five daily coaches / buses in winter, six or seven in summer. One in each direction operates during the very early morning hours. Most journeys now run via Faro Airport, thus offering direct connections with Huelva and Seville. If boarding at the airport, tickets must be purchased from the company websites as there is no ticket sales facility.