Easy ways to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve

5 Easy ways to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve

Want to combine a great city with the most beautiful beaches in Europe? In this article, I’ll tell you how to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve for an unforgettable vacation!

Why combine Lisbon and the Algarve in one trip?

Lisbon and the Algarve are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. The Algarve is a region in southern Portugal and is known for its beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and picturesque villages. Did you know that the Algarve has been named the best beach destination in Europe at the World Travel Awards (those are the travel Oscars) for four years in a row?

A trip to Lisbon and the Algarve is a great way to combine the best of both worlds. You can not only enjoy a beautiful and vibrant city full of culture and history but also relax on the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Praca do Comercio - the most famous square in Lisbon
Praia do Camilo Lagos - Algarve Portugal

Traveling from Lisbon to the Algarve: 5 ways

If you will soon be vacationing in Portugal and plan to explore both Lisbon and the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, you are probably curious about how best to travel between these two destinations. There are several ways to do this, each with its own advantages. In this article, I list five ways to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve.

With a rental car

One of the most flexible and convenient ways to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve is by rental car. By renting a car, you have complete freedom and can stop wherever you want along the way. Moreover, having a car during your stay in the Algarve also offers many advantages, such as easy access to secluded beaches and charming coastal towns.

To travel by rental car, you can choose to pick one up upon arrival at the Lisbon airport. There are several rental companies available and you can reserve a car online in advance to ensure you have the one you want. From Lisbon, follow the A2 highway south and in about 2.5 hours you will reach the Algarve.

Route from Lisbon to Faro

Good to know before driving from Lisbon to the Algarve

Toll Road: It is good to know that the A2 from Lisbon to the Algarve is a toll road. Allow for about €20 in toll charges. You can easily avoid the toll road by taking other roads, but it will take you at least 3.5 hours.

Toll payment is unfortunately not possible on every road with cash or credit card. Therefore, it is wise to ask for a toll badge right away when you pick up your rental (you will pay a small fee for that, but trust me, it is worth it). Are you traveling in your own car? Apply for the Via Verde system before departure.

One-way fee: If you pick up your rental car in Lisbon and drop it off in, say, Faro, you will have to pay a one-way fee. The amount depends on your car rental company. I have seen them charge fees as low as €50, but also as high as €500. So research this well in advance. Of course, you can avoid this fee by returning the car to Lisbon.

Useful websites to rent your car are Rental Cars and Discover Cars.

Read more: Renting a car in Portugal: tips & tricks

Taking the train from Lisbon to the Algarve

Did you know that train travel in Portugal is pretty good? Although they do not go every hour as you might be used to, they are clean and comfortable. And they’re usually on time, too! From Lisbon, several trains a day go to Faro, the capital of the Algarve.

There are two types of trains that run on this route:

  • Alpha Pendular (AP) is the fastest, stops at fewer stations, and takes about 3 hours from Lisbon to Faro.
  • Intercity (IC) is slightly slower than AP and stops more often. The IC takes about 3.5 hours from Lisbon to Faro.

In Lisbon, you can board at three different stations: Lisboa – Oriente, Lisboa – Entrecampos (IC only), and Lisboa – Sete Rios. In the Algarve, the train also stops in Tunes, Albufeira, and Loulé.

By train from Lisbon to Faro
On the train from Lisbon to Faro.

If you don’t want to go to Faro, but to Portimão or Lagos on the western side of the Algarve, you can take the same train. However, you need to change trains Tunes. The local Algarve train is slow and not luxurious at all, but is very charming.

Check the website of Comboios de Portugal (CP, the national Portuguese railways) for train times. Tickets can also be purchased on this website and, of course, at the stations. Personally, I mostly use the CP app (it is in English). Tickets cost about €20-€25 (second class). Sometimes promotional tickets are available and you pay only €10-€15. Booking early pays off!

By bus

The bus is the cheapest way to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve. There are several bus companies offering buses to Lagos and Faro in the Algarve, including Rede Expressos, Flixbus, and Alsa. Buses from Lisbon leave from bus stations at Sete Rios and Oriente.

Travel time depends on the bus company (you’ll see it when you book), but is usually between 3.5 and 4.5 hours. If you book early, you can score a ticket for less than €10. Last minute prices tend to be slightly higher, between €15 and €25. You can book bus tickets from Lisbon to the Algarve through Busbud.

Private transfer

Do you find all of the above options too much hassle and want to make it as easy on yourself as possible? You can also always book a private transfer. A driver will then pick you up in Lisbon and take you to your destination in the Algarve. There are several providers, and you can choose, for example, for a transfer to Lagos, Albufeira, or Portimão.

With a guided tour

If you are looking for a stress-free and hassle-free way to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve, an organized tour is also a good idea. There are several tour operators that offer day trips or multi-day tours where you are taken on a comfortable bus trip and make interesting stops along the way.

An organized tour has the advantage that you can relax and enjoy the scenery without having to worry about navigating or parking. Moreover, the guide will give you valuable information about the places you visit. Note that these are usually private tours, which come with a hefty price tag. But it’s definitely worth it if you’re short on time and you want to see the most beautiful places in the Algarve.

Several providers offer both day tours and multi-day tours. A few options:

  • Private tour from Lisbon to Portimão and Lagos in the Algarve (day tour). This is highly recommended because you can never see the entire Algarve in one day. With this tour, you will see two of the nicest cities and some of the most beautiful beaches and rock formations.
  • 2-day private tour in the Algarve from Lisbon. During this tour, you will follow almost the entire coastline of the Algarve. You start in Tavira in the east, spend the night in Albufeira and end at Cape St. Vincent near Sagres, on the most southwestern tip of mainland Europe.
The lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent

Whether you choose to rent a car, use public transportation, or join an organized tour, there are plenty of ways to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve. The important thing is to choose the option that best suits your personal preferences, budget, and schedule. Regardless of which method you choose, you can rest assured that both destinations are great to visit and you won’t want to miss them during your vacation in Portugal.

Please note: it’s also possible to fly from Lisbon to the Algarve, but because of the short distance and the state of the climate, I would recommend choosing one of the more sustainable options :)

Read more about Portugal

Are you already envisioning a trip to Portugal? Then it’s a good idea to purchase one of these travel guides for even more tips:

DK Eyewitness Portugal

Rick Steves Portugal

I myself travel to Portugal for a few months every year, as it feels like my second home. Therefore, you can read a lot about a vacation in Portugal on this website. Check out these articles:

Subscribe to my newsletter for great travel stories and tips on the most beautiful destinations.

Hi, and how nice of you to read this disclaimer! As you may understand, maintaining a website costs money. Therefore, I would love it if you use the links in this article for booking or buying something you like. This way I get a small commission which I can use to maintain this website. At no additional cost to you. Thank You! Check this page for more information and opportunities to support this website.

Easy ways to travel from Lisbon to the Algarve

As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.