Heading to the Algarve, and wondering which airport you should fly to? Or, do you want to see if it’s cheaper to fly to somewhere else nearby?
There is one major airport in the Algarve, Faro Airport, but don’t worry if you can’t find flights to Faro: there are also several other airports nearby.
Faro Airport is the Algarve’s regional airport, located 4 km outside of Faro which is the largest city on the Algarve. Regardless of where you’re staying on the Algarve, this is the airport that you’ll be flying to.
Although Faro Airport is situated on the Eastern Algarve, just under an hour from the Spanish border, it serves the whole of the Algarve. It actually doesn’t take too long to get from one side of the Algarve to the other, particularly if you use the A22 motorway as opposed to the N125: you can actually get from Faro Airport to Alejzur on the western coast of the Algarve is just over an hour.
For most towns and resorts, it’ll take even less than that. Faro Airport to Albufeira, the most popular resort on the Algarve, takes around 40 minutes by car. Other resorts are even closer. Quartiera and Vilamoura, for example, take around 25 minutes, while Praia da Rocha is a bit further at 55 minutes.
Of course, you don’t have to rent a car. Shuttles and airport transfer services are available at Faro Airport, and will take you anywhere that you need to go on the Algarve. Taxi services and apps like Uber are also available.
Faro Airport actually isn’t the only airport in the Algarve. There’s also a very small airport called Portimão Airport in Montes de Alvor just outside of Portimão. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fly here, though, as it only has 1 or 2 commercial flights and they’re usually to and from Portugal (usually Cascais, Bragança, Vila Real, and Viseu). More than likely, you’ll need to fly to Lisbon or maybe Seville (see the list of other nearby airports below).
Other nearby airports
If you can’t find a flight to Faro Airport, there are other airports in Portugal and abroad that you could consider flying to. Although most people visiting the Algarve fly to Faro, quite a few people fly into Lisbon or Seville in Spain, and then continue their journey onto their accommodation in the Algarve.
Lisbon Airport (Humberto Delgado Airport) is Portugal’s largest airport and, if you can’t find a flight to the Algarve, this is the airport you should look at next. Lisbon is a major European airport, with flights from across Europe as well as international destinations like the United States and Canada.
Lisbon Airport is just over 2 hours’ drive from the Algarve, and the drive down is very pleasant and easy going. You can also take a train from Lisbon to the Algarve, which connects you to many major towns on the Algarve including Faro, Lagos, Portimão, and Tavira. For towns that don’t have their own station (Albufeira is a good example), you’ll need to take the train to the nearest station (Ferreiras in this case) and then take a taxi. Buses are also available, if you prefer to travel by bus.
Most people who fly to Lisbon to get to the Algarve do so by car, but you could also get an airport transfer to the Algarve. This does work out fairly expensive, though, and you may find it cheaper to rent a car.
Seville Airport (Aeropuerto de Sevilla) is nowhere near as big as Lisbon Airport in terms of the number of passengers that use the airport, but it is still worth looking at.
Seville Airport has a lot of flights from other parts of Spain, many of which do not fly to Faro Airport, as well as a few international destinations like Italy.
The distance from Seville Airport to the Algarve and Lisbon Airport to the Algarve is roughly the same, but there are a couple of reasons to choose Lisbon Airport over Seville Airport.
- If you rent your car at Seville Airport, it’s likely that the car hire company will charge a border crossing fee for driving it into Portugal. This is the main and most important reason.
- Although the driving distance to the Algarve is roughly the same for both Seville Airport and Lisbon Airport, there is a time distance which can affect your travel plans. Driving to Portugal, you gain an hour but driving to Spain you lose an hour which means you’ll have to leave a little earlier when taking your return flight.
- The traffic outside of Seville can be a little crazy, and it can be difficult to find the turnoff for Portugal. This isn’t to say that Lisbon doesn’t have bad traffic, it does. It’s just that the Seville traffic is particularly bad.
Beja Airport is the regional airport for the Alentejo, situated around 10 km outside of Beja. Commercial flights have only been available from Beja Airport since 2011, prior to that it was a military airport.
Beja Airport is situated an hour and a half from the Algarve, so it’s slightly closer to the Algarve than Lisbon Airport. Unfortunately, it only has a handful of international flights usually from a couple of airports in the UK, Germany, Spain, and Cape Verde as well as a few charter flights.
Porto Airport is situated in the North of Portugal, roughly 4 and a half hours’ drive. This is quite a big drive for most people, particularly if you’re only visiting the Algarve for a short trip.
If you do need to fly to Porto Airport, it’s worth splitting your time between the Algarve and Porto and seeing a little bit of Porto as well. Porto is an incredibly beautiful city, that’s incredibly photogenic and home to the world-famous Port Wine.
Alternatively, consider changing your destination airport
Rather than trying to find another airport to fly to, you could also consider trying to find another airport to fly from in your origin country. For example: if you can’t find flights from Edinburgh to Faro, or if they’re too expensive, consider flying from Glasgow or maybe even Newcastle. The same advice applies wherever you are in the world.
Which airport do you fly to when you visit the Algarve? Are you able to fly to Faro or do you need to fly to somewhere else? Share your tips and thoughts by leaving a comment below.