So, you’ve booked a trip to the Algarve, and now you need to work out how to get from Faro Airport (the airport on the Algarve) to your accommodation.
There are many ways to get there. You could hire a car, take public transport, or book a taxi when you arrive. Of all these options, booking an airport transfer is probably the most convenient. Aside from taking public transport, it may also be the cheapest option as well.
Airport transfer companies
There are lots of different airport transport companies in the Algarve, but which one is the cheapest and the best? To find out, I asked for quotes from each of the main airport transfer companies and comparison sites like Welcome Pickups, Rideways, Yellowfish Transfers, and Hoppa.
This is only an estimate, and only accurate at the time of writing (March 2019). Price is typically for up to 4 adults.
Airport transfers with young children
If you’re travelling with young children, and especially with a baby, one big concern is whether or not the car will have a baby or child seat.
The following companies confirm that they have child car seats.
- Yellowfish Transfers: Free, but you need to let them know at least 24 hours in advance.
Alternatively, most airlines allow you to bring a child car seat with you for free.
Alternatives to taking an airport transfer
Airport transfers are just one way to get from Faro Airport to your hotel or accommodation. You could also book an airport shuttle, take a taxi, book a hire car, or travel by public transport.
Airport Transfer VS taxi
Generally, taking a taxi from Faro Airport to your destination is going to be more expensive than booking an airport transfer: a taxi to Albufeira costs around €41 compared to the €30 average most airport transfer companies charge. The other benefit of an airport transfer is that your driver will be at the Arrivals Terminal waiting for you.
Note: If you arrive at Faro Airport and don’t have transportation booked, simply go to the taxi rank outside the Arrivals Terminal.
Uber is also available in the Algarve. Prices seem to be more expensive than using an airport transfer service: Faro Airport to Albufeira was around €43 with Uber vs €30 using an airport transfer service.
Airport Transfer VS shuttle
One of the cheapest ways to get to your accommodation, without taking public transport, is to take a shuttle bus – unless you’re travelling as a family, in which case it probably makes more sense to travel by airport transfer.
For the Faro Airport to Albufeira trip, a ticket on the shuttle bus costs around €8. You can book tickets for the shuttle through Hoppa.com.
Airport Transfer VS hire car
An airport transfer is normally cheaper than booking a taxi or Uber, but how does it compare to booking a hire car?
Having a car on the Algarve is incredibly useful for getting to and from the beaches, and for taking day trips to explore the nearby towns and villages. If you aren’t planning on exploring the Algarve, and if the town that you’re staying at is within walking distance of a beach, it mightn’t be worth you renting a car. You could also book a taxi or Uber as and when you want to travel around the Algarve.
Airport transfers are also usually cheaper than renting a car: car hire usually starts from at least €5 per day, and that’s before you factor in other costs like fuel and toll road charges. Car rental usually means a lot more paperwork and hassle before you can actually leave the airport, whereas you can get straight into your airport transfer.
Airport Transfer VS public transport
Public transport on the Algarve wasn’t designed with tourists in mind. Only a few of the beaches on the Algarve are accessible by public transport, and even getting from town to town can be quite confusing.
That said, it’s definitely possible to get around the Algarve by public transport. It isn’t the easiest way, and it isn’t the fastest way, but it is possible.
Regardless of whether you decide to travel by bus or train, you’ll probably* need to head into Faro City Centre to begin your journey. To do this, take the #16 bus airport bus.
*You can get from Faro Airport to Albufeira, Ayamonte (Spain), Huelva (Spain), and Seville (Spain). For other destinations, you’ll need to head to the bus or train station in Faro first.
The Algarve has a good and affordable train service. The biggest challenge with using the trains on the Algarve is that it doesn’t connect every town on the Algarve: Albufeira, Praia da Rocha, and Carvoeiro, for example, three of the most popular resort towns on the Algarve, don’t have a train station in the town centre.
Each town has a train station nearby (Albufeira has Albufeira-Ferreiras, Praia da Rocha has Portimão, and Carvoeiro has Estombar or Parchal), but you’ll need to get a taxi from the train station to your accommodation.
There are a lot of towns that are connected by train, though, and, if you’re staying in one of those towns, you can get around quite a lot of the Algarve by train. Towns that have a train station in the centre include: Faro, Tavira, and Lagos.
The Algarve has a good bus network that connects all of the towns on the Algarve, and you’ll be able to get to most towns on the Algarve from Faro. It isn’t as pleasant as travelling by train, or as fast as travelling by train, and it isn’t always easy to find the timetables that you need, but it works.
For bus timetables, take a look at AlgarveBus.info. It’s usually the most up-to-date and accurate source of information.