Known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe, it’s a part of Portugal that’s definitely worth visiting – especially as its so close to Lisbon. Getting from Lisbon to the Algarve is easy. It’s only just a little over 2.5 hours from Lisbon, and there are several ways to get there including train, bus, car, and by plane.
Generally speaking, if there’s a direct train that’s the easiest and fastest way to get there by public transport – and often the cheapest way as well. The following table shows which popular towns on the Algarve have direct bus and train routes from Lisbon.
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|Albufeira||Yes*||Yes||*Requires Taxi: Albufeira is 7 km from the nearest stop Albufeira – Ferreiras.|
|Alte||Yes*||No||*Requires Taxi: Alte is 12 km from the nearest stop Messines-Alte.|
|Armação de Pêra||Yes|
|Cabanas||Yes*||Yes||*Cabanas is 1 km from the nearest stop Conceição.|
|Ferragudo||Yes*||Yes**||*Requires Taxi: Ferragudo is 4 km from the nearest stop Ferragudo (Parchal).|
|Praia da Luz||Yes**|
|Praia da Rocha||Yes*||Yes||*Requires Taxi: Praia da Rocha is 2 km from the nearest stop Portimão.|
|São Bartolomeu de Messines||Yes||Yes|
|São Bras de Alportel||Yes**|
|Silves||Yes*||Yes||*Requires Taxi: Silves station is 3.5 km from Silves|
|Vila do Bispo||Yes|
|Vila Real de Santo Antonio||Yes||Yes|
** Bus journey has changes. You may also need to book two tickets.
The train is the fastest form of public transport that you can take from Lisbon to the Algarve. The journey from Lisboa Entrecampos Train Station to Faro Train station takes anywhere from 2h52 to 3h25, depending on the service you take.
Trains in Portugal are quite basic, but they’re fairly comfortable. They’re also incredibly affordable and, if you book in advance, you can often get as much as 40% off your ticket (see more here).
- Train tickets can be booked through cp.pt (available in both Portuguese and English).
- Trains to the Algarve start from Lisboa Oriente, but also stop at Lisboa Entrecampos which may be easier to get to.
- There’s a fast train and a slow train, but there isn’t that much of a difference in journey time.
- Discounts are available if you book in advance (see here).
- Some stations are outside the actual town (Silves Station is 3.5 km from Silves, for example).
- Some destinations require a change (either Tunes or Faro, depending on where you’re going).
- Power sockets are only available in 1st class.
Buses from Lisbon to the Algarve take a little bit longer, but the services are a lot more frequent. There’s also free wi-fi and power sockets, which allows you to watch movies and access the internet on your devices.
- Train tickets can be booked through rede-expressos.pt.
- EVA Transportes, the Algarve bus company, also has a few services between Lisbon and some of the towns on the Algarve.
- Buses to the Algarve normally leave from Sete Rios Bus Terminal (blue line on the metro) or Gare do Oriente in Parque das Nações (red line on the metro)
Driving from Lisbon to the Algarve is incredibly easy, particularly once you get out of Lisbon and onto the motorway. The journey from Lisbon to Faro takes around 2.5 hours on the toll roads (A2) and about 3.5 hours on the non-toll roads. (As an estimate, you should expect to pay around €20 on the toll roads).
The A2 road eventually connects to the A22, which is the Algarve’s toll road that connects one side of the Algarve to the other. The tolls on the A22 road are entirely electronic, and you will either need to have a transponder in your car (ask your car rental company) or you will have to pay them at the post office or online.
If you’re renting a car, and don’t live in Portugal, the easiest thing is to get ask your car rental company for a transponder to go in the car. This normally costs €1-2 per day + toll charges, and is much easier than queuing at the Post Office or trying to pay online (more info here).
A big benefit of driving to the Algarve is that you can drive directly to your hotel or accommodation rather than having to walk there or take a taxi from the train or bus station.
- Portugal has both toll and toll-free roads that connect the Algarve to Lisbon.
- The Lisbon-Algarve toll road (A2) has both electronic (Via Verde) and cash/card toll machines.
- Avoid going through the Via Verde tolls on the A2 unless you have a transponder in your car.
- Sometimes the tolls struggle with foreign bank cards, so it’s a good idea to carry some cash.
- The A22 only has electronic tolls (which need to be paid using a transponder or at the Post Office – see here).
There are flights from Lisbon Airport to Faro Airport almost every day of the week, and the journey takes around 40-45 minutes. You have to factor in the time at the two airports as well, obviously, but otherwise it can be a very comfortable and fast way to travel.
Note: Faro Airport is the Algarve’s regional airport, but it actually isn’t the only Algarve airport: there’s also a very small airport near Portimão that has flights from Cascais near Lisbon. Almost everyone that flies from Lisbon to the Algarve flies from Lisbon Airport to Faro Airport, but it is worth knowing that this other airport exists.
- Faro Airport is situated around 6 km from Faro.
- To take a bus or train to other parts of the Algarve, you’ll first need to take the airport bus into Faro.
Other ways to get to the Algarve
As well as the standard planes, trains, and automobiles, you can also get to the Algarve by:
- Blah Blah Car: A car-pooling website that allows you to find other people that are driving from Lisbon to the Algarve (or anywhere else) and pay to journey with them. This
- Hitchhiking: Hitchhiking is always an option, and you’ll often see people standing by the side of the road in Portugal with their thumbs out.
- Cycling & Walking: It is possible to cycle between Lisbon and the Algarve, although it can be challenging at times. Once you get to Santiago do Cacém, though, you can join the Rota Vicente walking trail that takes you down as far as Cabo de São Vicente near Sagres.