Many tourists visit Algarve after Lisbon, but most fly directly to Faro. Around 9 million passengers arrive at or depart from the city’s international airport (Gago Coutinho Airport) each year. Faro is the capital of Algarve, and its location in the center of the region makes it the perfect transportation hub for southern Portugal and even to southwestern Spain.
The airport (FAO) is located just 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) west of the city center, so it has no train or bus station, as you can quickly get to the stations in town. For that, there are always taxis and a regular bus service. Many travelers, however, pre-book private transfers and head straight to their hotels, especially if those are in other destinations in the region.
The airport is relatively small, but quite busy from March to October. There are often long waits at the check-in counters and boarding gates. If you’re arriving from another European country that’s part of the Schengen Area, you go straight to the arrivals hall and the exit, but those from other countries (such as the UK) first pass by passport control.
In addition to TAP Air Portugal, which connects Faro to Lisbon (in just 40 minutes), other major airlines, such as British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa, and Ryanair, have flights from major cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Dublin.
Faro Airport has everything you expect from a modern airport, including ATMs, currency exchange services, car rental companies, shops, cafés, restaurants, and free Wi-Fi.
Bus from the Airport to the Center of Faro
Buses number 14 and 16 of the local “Próximo” network stop outside the arrivals hall once or twice per hour, depending on the time of day. Number 16 is more frequent, but both have the bus station in town as their final destination. Number 14 is slower, taking about 30 minutes, while number 16 takes just 20. The schedules may change from time to time, but the first bus is at around 5am and the last one at around midnight. The ticket is purchased from the driver. Try to pay with coins, as often the driver doesn’t have change for €20 or €50 bills. If you only have large bills, buy something or request change at the airport’s shops. Also, keep in mind that due to traffic from the beaches and by the airport, the bus is sometimes delayed. The bus station is a short walk from the marina and the Old Town, as well as from the train station. Most hotels in central Faro are within walking distance.
Taxi from the Airport to Faro
You’ll find taxis outside the arrivals hall at the airport. Depending on traffic, time of day and whether you have luggage, the ride to the center of Faro should cost 10 to 15 euros and take just 15 minutes. Note that fares increase at night (after 10pm) and on weekends, and there’s always a surcharge for luggage. Eight-seater taxis are also more expensive than the typical four-seater. It’s recommended that you take a taxi to Faro only. For the other towns in Algarve (such as Albufeira, Lagos, Tavira or Vilamoura), it’s cheaper to use a transfer.
Transfers from Faro Airport
The most convenient and fastest way to reach other towns from Faro Airport is taking a pre-booked transfer. The drivers wait at the arrivals hall and you go straight to your hotel. Find the options available here: Faro Airport Transfers
Car Rental at Faro Airport
If you want to rent a car at Faro Airport, you just have to follow the signs. The offices for the different companies are right outside the arrivals area. The airport is close to the A22 highway, which connects Faro to other cities in Algarve and to Lisbon to the north.
Aerobus - Faro Airport Bus to Albufeira, Lagoa, Portimão and Lagos
Vamus bus 56, also called Aerobus, passes through the airport after departing from the Faro bus station, and continues to the bus stations of Albufeira, Lagoa, Portimão and Lagos. In the high season (May to October), it runs 5 times a day, and in the low season (November to April), it runs only twice a day. For the schedule, see the Vamus website.