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São Bartolomeu de Messines, Algarve: Travel Guide

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São Bartolomeu de Messines (normally just called Messines or S.B. Messines) is not a town that many tourists go to. It’s not as pretty as some of the other towns on the Algarve, it doesn’t have a beach, and it doesn’t really have any attractions worth visiting.

While all of those things might seem like cons rather than pros, they do mean that Messines has remained very Portuguese and has not become as touristy as the rest of the Algarve.

There are some expats living here, and you do get the occasional tourist passing through, but, in comparison to a lot of the Algarve, it’s very non-touristy. If you’re looking for an authentic slice of rural Algarve life, Messines could be the perfect destination for you.

If you find cheap accommodation here, it can also be a good base for exploring the Central Algarve. Silves and Alte are both just a short drive from Messines, while the mountainous town Monchique is a little further again.

Although Messines is located inland, it’s still not too far from the beaches. The nearest beaches, which are those around Armação de Pêra and Albufeira, are around 30 minutes drive away.

Featured accommodation in Messines

  • Bartholomeu Guesthouse – One of the most popular accommodation options in Messines, Bartholomeu Guesthouse offers rooms with a shared kitchen and onsite restaurant.
  • Feliz Apartments – 1 and 2-bedroom apartments with free wifi, a BBQ, and an outdoor swimming pool.
  • Guia Guest House – Offers simple rooms with free wifi and essential mod cons like air conditions and flat screen TVs.

Getting to Messines

From Faro Airport

  • Airport transfer: Numerous airport transfer companies operate at Faro Airport, including Welcome Pickups, and this is the fastest and easiest way to get from the airport to Messines.
  • Rental car: Although Messines is on the train line, and there are local bus services, if you’re staying in Messines, it definitely makes sense to rent a car at Faro Airport. Messines is just 35 minutes from Faro Airport on the A22 toll road, or 50 minutes on the normal roads (see: renting a car at Faro Airport). 
  • Taxi (or Uber): Taxis are available from outside of Faro Airport, and there are normally Ubers in the area as well. These are typically more expensive than a pre-booked airport transfer.
  • Public transport: There isn’t a direct train or bus between Faro Airport and São Bartolomeu de Messines. To get to Messines, you’ll first need to take a taxi or the airport bus (bus #16) into Faro and then take connecting transport to Messines (see below).

From Faro

  • Taxi/Transfer: Welcome Pickups is one of several companies offering transfers from Faro City Centre to Messines.
  • Train: There is a direct train between Faro and S. B. Messines, which runs several times per day. Tickets are available from cp.pt and discounts are available if you book in advance.
  • Bus: There isn’t a direct bus between Faro and Messines.

From Lisbon & the rest of Portugal

  • Bus: Long distance buses are available from Lisbon and other parts of Portugal. Tickets are available from rede-expressos.pt
  • Train: There are trains to Messines from Lisbon and other parts of Portugal. Tickets are available from cp.pt and discounts are available if you book in advance.

Last updated in April 2019.
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