Have you ever thought of stretching your Portugal trip from Lisbon to Algarve? Well, this might end up being your best decision ever for an epic trip in Portugal.
Located between Spain and the Alentejo region, the Algarve has a lot to offer. From spectacular caves, dramatic rock formations, and historical heritage sites to cinematographic beaches.
In fact, the Algarve beaches are precisely what gives it the nickname of “Europe’s most famous secret”.
The region is made up of 16 small municipalities, which together have about 500,000 inhabitants. The capital Faro is the most populous city and is home to the airport that serves the entire region.
Albufeira, Lagoa, and Lagos are the most famous cities and are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve.
This is also why the Algarve is one of the most popular summer destinations on the continent. Its natural beauty with warmer waters than other regions of Europe attracts mainly the French, English, Germans, and Portuguese themselves.
Besides all this natural beauty, the Algarve villages are made up of narrow cobblestone streets with white houses, and of course, the local fresh seafood which provides the region with a very unique and delicious traditional cuisine.
So, let’s see all the different ways to get from Lisbon to the Algarve.
How to get from Lisbon to Algarve Portugal
From Lisbon to The Algarve by bus
Getting from Lisbon to the Algarve is very easy. And there are quite a few options if you choose to go with public transport. In general, the bus is the cheapest, and sometimes the easiest, option.
Rede Expressos buses run from Lisbon to several cities in the Algarve. On their website, you can see timetables and buy tickets with three different companies (Rede Expressos, Renex, and EVA).
The buses leave from Sete Reis station (blue metro line in Lisbon) and Oriente station (red metro line).
Traveling by bus from Lisbon to the Algarve usually takes about the same time as traveling by train. Check the travel times for some destinations:
- Lisbon – Portimão: 3 h 30 min
- Lisbon – Albufeira: 2 hr 45 min
- Lisbon – Lagos: 4 h
- Lisbon – Faro: 3 h 35 min
One advantage of taking the bus is that you usually don’t need to change transportation and in addition, the wi-fi network on the buses is usually better than on the trains.
Also, depending on where you want to go taking the bus is your only option if you don’t have a car. For example, to get to Carvoeiro you will need to buy a bus ticket to Lagoa and from there another local bus to Carvoeiro.
How much does it cost to travel from Lisbon to The Algarve by bus?
Traveling by bus from Lisbon to the Algarve is usually cheaper than traveling by train. Prices vary between 18 and 22€. There is a Youth discount if you are younger than 29.
And here is a fresh tip: recently the bus company Flixbus started doing the route Lisbon – Albufeira for around 5€ a ticket!
From Lisbon to The Algarve By train
If you don’t want to drive but also don’t feel like taking the bus, going by train might be your best option. There are at least 5 trains per day that you can choose – check the schedules on CP’s website.
Where to catch the train in Lisbon Portugal
Trains from Lisbon to the Algarve leave from Oriente Station (red metro line).
The trains pass through two other stations in Lisbon: Entrecampos station (yellow metro line) and Sete Rios station (blue metro line).
Depending on your final destination in the Algarve, you may need to change trains. In this case, you will switch to a regional train, which is a bit slower but connects the various cities in the Algarve.
I leave as a suggestion that you choose to travel from Lisbon to Faro as your first destination because the Faro train station is in the heart of the historical center.
There, you have excellent connections to any other cities in the region.
How long does it take to travel from Lisbon to The Algarve by train?
Check here how long the journey takes from Lisbon to some cities in the Algarve by train:
- Lisbon – Portimão: 3 h 47 min
- Lisbon – Albufeira: 3 h 04 min
- Lisbon – Lagos: 3 h 45 min
- Lisbon – Faro: 3 h
How much does it cost to travel from Lisbon to Algarve by train?
Train tickets from Lisbon to Algarve cost between 21 and 30€ depending on the destination, type of train (intercity or alfa pendular, which is the high-speed train), and class.
And remember that when buying it in advance, you can find discounted tickets!
Traveling from Lisbon to Algarve by car
Of all the available options, going from Lisbon to the Algarve by car turns out to be the most practical and fun, in my opinion.
This is mainly because public transportation to go to the south of Portugal is quite restricted in schedules and access. Also, renting a car in Portugal is very easy and cheap.
On top of that, driving in Portugal is very easy and safe and allows you to reach incredible destinations on your own.
How long does it take to drive from Lisbon to the Algarve?
If you go straight from Lisbon to the Algarve, your travel time will be around 2h30 to 3 hours. This is the fastest way to get there since there is an excellent highway (A2) connecting these two regions.
The A2 highway leads directly from Lisbon to Albufeira in 155 miles. At the end of the A2, you change to the A22, the highway that crosses the entire Algarve.
Take the west direction if you are going to:
- Carvoeiro: 170 miles from Lisbon
- Portimão: 174 miles from Lisbon
- Lagos: 186 miles from Lisbon
Take the eastern direction if you are going to:
- Vilamoura: 170 miles from Lisbon
- Faro: 174 miles from Lisbon
- Tavira: 186 miles from Lisbon
- Or if you are going to continue to Spain. Seville is only 106 miles from Tavira.
Visiting the Algarve by car also has the advantage of giving you more flexibility to visit several beaches in the region since the public transport between cities and beaches in the region is very limited.
How much does it cost to get from Lisbon to Algarve by car?
Going by car you will spend approximately 45€ (toll + fuel) plus the
This will highly depend on the
We suggest renting with discovercars.com as you can compare different sites
Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!
Flights from Lisbon to Faro AIRPORT
Going from Lisbon to the Algarve by plane is also possible. There are many flights between Lisbon and Faro, most of which are run by Tap airline.
However, nowadays, with the new policies of the airlines, there is usually a restriction of luggage on board. So, in the end, air travel becomes more expensive.
The positive part is that the route is really beautiful when the weather is clear.
Leaving from Lisbon Airport
Anyone traveling from Lisbon to the Algarve will most likely take a flight from Lisbon Airport to Faro Airport.
To leave the airport, there are numerous
The choice will depend on your luggage and final destination.
Also, Faro is connected by direct flights to cities like Porto, and other major European cities such as London, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Geneva.
You can find tickets both with conventional airlines and with low-cost carriers, such as EasyJet and Ryanair.
How long does it take to fly from Lisbon to Faro
From Lisbon airport to Faro the journey takes only 45 minutes. But although the trip is short, if we account for the airport procedures on departure and arrival, the time is almost the same as the other options.
Therefore, it ends up not being the best option overal unless you are already coming from an international flight connecting in Lisbon.
How much does it cost to fly from Lisbon to the Algarve
This si also the most expensive way to travel between Lisbon and Faro since a flight ticket costs at least 65€ (carry-on luggage only).
Can you do a day trip from Lisbon to the Algarve?
Technically yes, you can!
Since Lisbon is only 3h away from Lagos, for example, you could do it if you started your day very early.
But, honestly, I don’t thing it’s worth it. Both Lisbon and the Algarve deserve to be fully enjoyed and a day trip like this would only make you frustrated.
With all the rush and driving around, you would maybe have around 8h to explore the Algarve. And if you take into account you need some breaks to eat and drive around, this doesn’t leave you much time to actually enjoy the day.
But if you choose to do this, I highly suggest focusing on a smaller area. For instance, you can discover the high cliffs of Sagres or the rocky formations close to Lagos.
Is the drive from Lisbon to the Algarve scenic?
Theoretically, from Lisbon to Algarve by car will take you less than 3h. Very quick, right?! Well, keep in mind that quick is not always better.
So, if you are not in a hurry there are many interesting places to visit along the way. So, as an alternative to the simple traditional A2 drive, you can drive along the coast or through the rural area of the Alentejo.
Along the coast, you can stop at Vila Nova de Mil Fontes and explore the Costa Vicentina, which is already part of the Algarve.
The roads N261 and A26-1 are single lanes and pass some distance from the sea (they are not coastal!), but allow you to enter or stay overnight in the seaside villages of this region.
And if you choose the other option, you get to visit the one and only Évora.
The city which holds a Unesco World Heritage Site title is surrounded by walls that are more than 500 years old.
So, you can imagine just how well preserved and full of sights Évora is.
Also, don’t forget that the Alentejo is the second most famous wine region in Portugal, only staying behind the Douro Valley.
How many days do you need in Algarve?
Who goes to the Algarve during the summer, rarely stays less than a week. Seven days are ideal to get to know the beaches of the region and visit the main cities.
Your Algarve itinerary will be rich in breathtaking landscapes, beaches of different types, local markets, and fresh food at the most traditional restaurants.
The list of attractions of the Algarve is extensive and goes much further than just beaches.
The Algarve night is also another point to highlight, with incredible parties that last until the next day.
So, the ideal is at least 5 days, but if you can stay 7 to 10 days, you can be sure that you will have different activities for each day and still not see everything.
On the other hand, if your trip is a bit shorter, be sure to spend at least a full weekend in the Algarve.
How many days do you need in Lisbon?
Because it is a relatively small city, compared to other European capitals, I would say 2 days in Lisbon is the minimum to get to know the Portuguese capital.
But, in reality, four days is the ideal time to spend in Lisbon to explore all of its magic. Remember that besides the traditional attractions, Lisbon has a lot of culture, food, and history to be discovered.
And although four days is a good amount of time to get to know Lisbon itself, it is worth trying to extend the trip a little more, if you can.
Because then you can also go on day trips from Lisbon to get to know places like Cascais, Sintra, Fátima, and the beach region of Setúbal.
Do you need a car in the Algarve?
The most often asked question about the Algarve is if it is possible to explore the region without a car.
Well, it is not necessary to have a car during your Algarve vacation, but it might be fun to be able to travel around more freely and stop whenever you like.
Without a car, you can travel between cities by train or bus. Both choices are uncomfortable and have a limited amount of options and schedules, but they do the job and link the major cities.
Keep in mind that the distances between cities are rather considerable, ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour by car.
That said, the Algarve is perfect to visit by car! With a car, you have the autonomy to visit the beaches you want, without depending on tours or public transport.
Parking in the historical centers is complicated, but on the beaches, it is not so difficult (although sometimes you have to walk a long way from the parking lot to the beach).
So, yes, it is possible to visit the Algarve without a car.
However, I do not encourage you to do so because the daily fee for a basic rental car in the Algarve is not outrageous, gasoline is inexpensive, tolls are typically low, and parking lots are free.
Not to mention the ability to go wherever you want, whenever you want, with exponentially quicker displacement.
Is Lagos Portugal worth visiting?
Home to gorgeous beaches that are conveniently accessible; this is the greatest base for those who do not have a car.
Walking from the town takes around 15 to 30 minutes to reach places like Praia Dona Ana, the “best beach in the world”.
Also, Lagos is the most central city in the region making the journey to other cities and villages very easy and quick.
Read also my post on where to stay in Lagos for further information.
Is Lagos better than Faro?
Some people say yes. In fact, most people will say yes if you ask that. But, the truth is… It really depends on what type of tourist you are and what kind of activities and experiences you want to have.
While Lagos is the most popular destination in the Algarve, it can also be very crowded. However, this does not take away all the charm the city has to offer.
The historic old town with its surrounding walls and cobblestone streets is the perfect place to see some of the Algarve culture.
Although it is small, it holds a lot of history and it is the best-located city in the region since it is right in the middle of some of the most famous landmarks in Portugal.
However, Faro also has its charms! Even though it is the capital of the Algarve with the main airport in southern Portugal, it is much quieter than Lagos.
Some might even say it is more picturesque since the city is located in a different setting than the rest of the Algarve with the Ria Formosa as the background for some paradisiac sandy islands.
All in all, they are both worth visiting if you have the time!
Which is the best area to stay in Algarve
Deciding which city in the Algarve to stay in is a difficult task sin there are options for all tastes and pockets.
If you have a car, everything is easier, because you can choose options that are more distant from the city center and also easily move from one city to another.
But those without a car need to choose carefully and take into consideration the ease of access to the beaches, train/bus stations, and the region’s airport in Faro, should they need to use it.
In a itinerary with only a few days of travel, the idea is to choose a more central base, such as Lagos, and explore the rest of the region from there.
For those on foot, the tip is to stay in the larger cities, with more structure. The preferred ones are usually Lagos, Albufeira and Portimão.
Lagos is the best option to stay at if you don’t have a car since it is possible to visit almost all the beaches on foot.
Besides that, the train station is right in the center, as well as the bus station. Lagos also has a great structure of restaurants, bars, and supermarkets.
There, you will find beautiful beaches such as: Praia do Pinhão, Praia da Dona Ana, and Ponta da Piedade.
Albufeira is a good option for those looking for excitement, parties, and nightclubs. It is the city with the best nightlife in the Algarve.
Lagoa is an option for those who want to stay halfway between Lagos and Albufeira, facilitating the displacement between these cities. The Lagoa region offers many resort options and it is the closest city to the Benagil Cave (in this list).
Portimão is a very busy city in the Algarve and is home to the largest shopping center in the region (in case you want to do some shopping).
The Centro Comercial Aqua Portimão is very large, open, and has stores like H&M, Lefties, Primark, and Mango.
Faro is the capital of the Algarve and is home to the airport that connects the Algarve to several cities in Europe.
The main attractions in Faro are Cidade Velha (highlighting the Arco da Vila and the Cathedral), the Bone Chapel, the São Francisco Church, and the one and only Faro Beach.
This village is located in the town of Vila do Bispo and offers countless beaches, as it has two coasts, the southern and western coasts.
It is on the tip of the continent, facing the Americas. The view from this point in the country is wonderful.
The city also offers numerous other activities, such as hiking, environmental and cultural tours, bird watching, and surfing. It’s actually one of the top surfing spots in Portugal!
The region is beautiful and way less touristic than Lagos and Albufeira.
How to get from Lisbon to Algarve: final thoughts
As you can see there are multiple ways to get from Lisbon to Algarve and there is no better or worse. It all depends on what kind of trip you want to have. We would personally choose the
About the Author
I’m Camila, an Oceanographer from Brazil which is where my journey began. My studies have taken me to unique places around the world since I was a teenager. I found in my academic career the chance to come across different cultures and languages while working as a scientist. By having lived in several countries I have been able to share my experiences as a travel content writer for the last 4 years and I still have plenty more to tell. I have a great passion for the outdoors and animals, especially dogs and seals (which, let’s be honest, are basically sea dogs!).