What’s The Main Airport for the Algarve?

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Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

When planning a move to Portugal or an extended stay in the Algarve, it’s essential to consider the airport options available to you. While Faro Airport is the primary airport serving the region, it’s important to understand its capabilities and limitations, as well as explore alternative airports that may better suit your travel needs.

Faro Airport

Faro Airport, located just 4 km outside of Faro, is the main airport serving the entire Algarve region. It’s a medium-sized airport that primarily caters to flights from the UK, Ireland, Germany, and other Northern European countries.

However, it’s crucial to note that Faro Airport has a limited number of international flights, particularly to destinations like the United States and Canada. If you’re American or Canadian planning to live in the Algarve, you may not be able to get the perfect flight from Faro and should anticipate connecting in either Lisbon or somewhere like London or Amsterdam.

It’s also worth mentioning that Faro Airport is heavily geared towards tourists and expats, particularly those from Northern Europe. This means that while there are plenty of flights to Dublin or most UK cities, it can be hard to find flights to destinations like Madrid or Barcelona, for example. This can be a drawback if you need to travel to these destinations frequently for work or personal reasons or simply to take advantage of the cheap international flights they frequently have.

If you’re considering a move here, it’s a good idea to look at the different destination Faro Airport has flights to (note: this can differ depending on the season). One way you can do this is with Skyscanner: put Faro Airport as your departure airport and ‘everywhere’ as your destination airport, making sure to select the ‘direct flights’ checkbox. Google Flights offers a similar feature.

Unfortunately, while it’s relatively easy to get a bus or drive to Seville, getting to Madrid or Barcelona from the Algarve isn’t as straightforward.

Alternative Airports

Besides Faro Airport, there are a number of other airports to consider.

Lisbon Airport

Located approximately 2.5-3 hours by car from the Algarve, and around 3-3.5 hours by train (from Faro to Lisbon Oriente, a few metro stops from the airport), Lisbon Airport is Portugal’s largest airport and offers a wider range of international flights, including to the US and Canada. It’s a viable option if you require more comprehensive flight options and don’t mind the added travel time to and from the Algarve.

Portimão Airport

Located near the city of Portimão, this airport primarily serves general aviation traffic, with parachuting being a popular activity here. The single asphalt runway is on the shorter side, which limits the types of aircraft that can operate from the airport.

However, there is one commercial airline that calls Portimão Airport home: Seven Air. This small carrier offers flights from Portimão to a handful of domestic destinations within Portugal, including Cascais, Viseu, Vila Real, and Bragança.

Seville Airport

Although located in Spain, Seville Airport is just 2-2.5 hours by car from the Algarve. It may be worth considering if you find convenient flight options that aren’t available at Faro Airport. It often has affordable flights to the Canary Islands or parts of Italy, for example, that may not be available from Faro Airport.

However, keep in mind that renting a car and crossing the border may incur additional fees. Of course, if you are living in Portugal and own a car, this isn’t such an issue.

There are buses between the Algarve and Seville (see Rede Expressos or Flixbus), and then you can take additional public transport to the airport. There is no train between the Algarve and Seville.

Porto Airport

Porto Airport, situated about 5-5.5 hours from the Algarve, is smaller than Lisbon Airport but still offers a good selection of international flights. While it may not be the most convenient option for regular travel to the Algarve, it could be a suitable alternative if you find a particularly good flight deal or plan to combine your Algarve stay with a visit to the charming city of Porto.

Porto Airport is located further outside the city than Lisbon Airport is. Lisbon Airport is three stops from Oriente train and bus station whereas Porto Airport is about 18 stops from Porto-Campanhã train station. Because of this, and because of the closer proximity to the Algarve, it’s easier to fly into Lisbon, especially if you need to get public transport after.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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