The Algarve is a beautiful place to spend the summer and it’s easy to get around too. In this Algarve transport guide we will take a look at the trains, buses and other transport options. My preferred options for transport in the Algarve are actually trains and Uber!
Trains in the Algarve
Trains in the Algarve are extremely easy to use and they are my favourite method of Algarve transport. There is a main train line that stretches from Lagos in the West all the way to Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the Spanish border, via Albufeira and Faro. You can stop off at most towns and some villages along this stretch of Algarve coastline.
West of Lagos the trains are non existent, so if you are wanting to travel to Salema, Sagres and Vila do Bispo then it becomes more difficult and you will need to consider alternative transport methods for these areas – possibly hiring a car.
These local Algarve trains are easy to use. You can book a ticket on the day at the local station. Most of them speak English, but it is a nice and easy opportunity to practice some Portuguese if you can.
From Faro and Albufeira, trains go North to Lisbon. It’s a good idea to book these longer journeys in advance and you can do so on www.cp.pt. Remember that you will need to put your Passport ID number in when booking, and also carry your passport ID with you on that journey. If you were a Portuguese citizen, you would be likely to use your citizen card here.
If you would like to read more on this then see our article on booking Portugal train tickets.
Buses in the Algarve
Buses in the Algarve are easy to use. Although they are cheaper, however, they do take a lot longer. So personally, I only use them when there is no train alternative. Here are the main bus companies:
Rede Expressos – Rede Expressos buses take you all around Portugal including the Algarve. They are good value and you can also download the app to book digital tickets in advance.
Eva Transportes – This is the regional network that focuses purely on the Algarve.
You might also come across Renex or Frota Azul.
Taxis and Transfers
You will be pleased to know that UBER works in the Algarve. I used Uber to get from Faro airport to my hostel in Faro and it was only around €7! The great thing with Uber is that you know exactly what you can expect to pay. Portugal also have BOLT which is kind of the mainland European version of Uber. I would recommend downloading both Uber and Bolt because some may or may not serve different areas.
You also have the option of booking private transfers. Portugal is a very tourist friendfly destination and you will be able to book transfers and tours from most hotels and youth hostels. They will either have a dedicated driver or be able to recommend one.
Renting a Car
Renting a car will be a good option that opens up many remote areas to your itinerary. However, driving in Portugal can be a challenge! If you are used to the UK and driving on the left then yuou will have to adjust to a right hand drive. You will also need to be prepared for lots of cobbled narrow roads and plenty of hill starts! The drivers may not be as courteous as they are in the UK and horns are used more frequently. However, the long distance roads are very well maintained and a pleasure to drive. Portugal has many toll roads and so it’s a good idea to have some spare Euros in cash at the ready.
We rented a car from Europcar at Lisbon airport. It was a Fiat 500 that we used to drive along the coast and it was a really positive experience. I felt that we got to see many additional beaches that we would have missed had we been without the car.