The Eastern Algarve starts somewhere around Olhão and continues until the Spanish-Portuguese border. Although it does get its fair share of tourists, it’s much less crowded than the Central Algarve but nowhere near as remote as the Western Algarve.
While there are plenty of beaches in the Eastern Algarve, they’re not always as easily accessible as those in the Central Algarve which is one of the main reasons it’s not as touristy. Many of the beaches are only accessible by boat, and there’s only really one major beach resort town here (Monte Gordo).
It’s also heavily influenced by its proximity to Spain and, one of the benefits of visiting this part of the Algarve is being able to get into Spain so easily. Most towns on the Eastern Algarve are less than an hour from the Spanish border, and Spanish towns like Ayamonte, Huelva, and even Sevilla are all close enough for a day trip.
Of course, there’s plenty to see and do in the Eastern Algarve without having to venture into Spain. The biggest attraction is the Ria Formosa, an area of immense natural beauty and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal.
Many of the towns in the Eastern Algarve are also worthy of a day trip especially Tavira, Castro Marim, and Vila Real de Santo António. They’re all on the train line, or easily accessible by car or bus as well.
Towns on the Eastern Algarve
- Olhão – Seaside town that’s known for its seafood market.
- Tavira – One of the Algarve’s most picturesque towns.
- Monte Gordo – Large seaside resort town with a large, sandy beach and high-rise accommodation.
- Castro Marim – Small village with a castle, fortress, and other historical attractions.
- Vila Real de Santo António – Popular riverside town with
Getting to (and around) the Eastern Algarve
If you’re planning on exploring a lot of the Algarve, it’s a good idea to rent a car at Faro Airport. While some of the towns on the Eastern Algarve are well-connected by public transport, it can be difficult to get to more remote places (like beaches) without a car.
It is possible to visit the Algarve without a car, of course, and, of the three Algarve regions, the Eastern Algarve is probably the easiest region to get around by public transport. If you don’t hire a car, here’s how you can get around.
In comparison to the Central Algarve, and especially the Western Algarve, the Eastern Algarve is very well-connected by train.
Olhão, Tavira, Castro Marim, Monte Gordo, and Vila Real de Santo António are all on the train line, and you can easily get to Faro and other parts of the Algarve as well. From Faro, you can also get a connecting train to Lisbon and other towns and cities in Portugal.
From Faro Airport
There isn’t a train station at Faro Airport so, if you want to take the train to your destination on the Eastern Algarve, you’ll need to take the airport bus (#16) or a taxi into Faro City Centre and then head to the train station to get a train to your destination.
From Faro Airport
Some towns in the Eastern Algarve, like Tavira, Olhão, and Vila Real de Santo António have direct bus links with Faro Airport, although there are usually only a few journeys per day. Tickets and timetables can be found on rede-expressos.pt.
For most journeys, however, you’ll need to go into Faro and take a bus from there. You can get from Faro Airport to Faro either by taking the airport bus (#16) or by taking a taxi from outside of the airport terminal. To check bus timetables and tickets from Faro, visit eva-bus.com.
By Shuttle Bus
Shuttle buses go from Faro Airport to most towns and hotels on the Eastern Algarve and tickets can be purchased from hoppa.com.
They’re only available to and from Faro Airport. If you want to get around the Algarve, you’ll need to take public transport or a taxi.
By Taxi (or Uber)
Most towns on the Eastern Algarve will have a taxi rank, and Ubers (and other taxi app services) are increasingly available in most of the larger towns.
Taxis are available at Faro Airport as well but, unless you’re going into or close to Faro City Centre, it’s normally cheaper to book an airport transfer to your destination. Uber is slightly cheaper than an airport taxi, but still not as cheap as an airport transfer.