Topics include Transportation, Things to Do, Dining Scene, Portugal: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Most visitors will arrive at Faro airport. The airport is approximately 43 miles or 70km, about 50 - 60 minutes driving along the A22 motorway. The route is well signposted. Be aware that TOLLS are now payable for trips along the A22 road. Toll collection is electronic only, therefore any foreign registered vehicle must be fitted with the appropriate tag or temporary visitor pass available at the border crossing from Spain. Portuguese registered cars do not have to be fitted with a tag, as there are various options to pay the tolls after you made a journey. This is however somertimes cause problems for some visitors when returning cars to the airport. Your car hire company will advise.Most now provide pre-paid toll transponders.
There are NO cash toll booths on the A22. The parallel N125 road (known colloquially here as the road of death) will save you the 8 cents per km toll but take longer.)
Portimão has a complicated system of one way streets. It is a good idea to have a map and the correct address of where you are heading.
There are many licensed private transfer companies with whom visitors can pre-book a pickup and return journey. Average price for 1-4 passengers is 100 Euros return (round trip). Cheaper prices are available, but these companies often use large vehicles and visitors may encounter many stops before reaching their destination. Consult the Trip Advisor forums for latest recommendations.
A taxi from the airport (not pre-booked) will be about €67 one-way on weekdays, 20% extra at weekends and on holidays.
Not easy, but cheap for solo travellers. There is a local bus two or three times each hour from the airport into Faro city centre, where it stops at both the railway and bus stations. The bus takes about 18 minutes and costs €2.22. A taxi will cost €8 - €10.
There is an irregular service of local trains from Faro to Portimão until 2012 daily. Nine trains run on weekdays, eight on Saturdays, seven on Sundays and Holidays. A similar service operates in the reverse direction. There is a gap of nearly FOUR HOURS between trains during the afternoons.
For times in detail visit www.cp.pt where the information can be obtained in English by clicking on the EN symbol at the top of the page. One way fare is €6.00 and the journey takes about 1 hour 20 minutes. These are local trains, therefore reservations and advance purchase of tickets are neither necessary nor available.
The railway station in Portimão is a little way to the north of the city centre. There are infrequent buses, taxis are normally waiting or it is about 10 minutes walk.
On weekdays there are seven fast buses at irregular intervals between Faro and Portimão starting at 0800 until 1940 , but only two such journeys on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. The bus takes about 1 hour 45 minutes and the one-way fare is €5,50. At weekends there are slower buses taking 2hrs 20 minutes, sometimes with a change of bus in Albufeira. Note that the last possible bus at weekends leaves Faro at 1745hrs!
For bus times visit www.eva-bus.com and the information is available in English.
Portimão does not have a bus station as such, but the stop for buses from Faro is in the city centre, with easy access to local buses and taxis.
Portimão is about 175 miles/280 kilometres south of Lisbon. Almost all the journey is by the A2 motorway (highway) and the drive should take about 3 hours. There are tolls to pay, which can be paid in cash on this road. A standard car will pay about 18 Euros in tolls.
Using a non-toll road from Lisbon will add about 13 miles/30km to the distance and, overall, about two hours of time. The bridges across the Tejo (Tagus) river in Lisbon are toll bridges and it is a few km/miles inland to the first alternative crossing.
There are five daily trains between Lisbon and Portimão with a journey time of between 3hrs 11 minutes and 4hrs 9 minutes. A one-way ticket in Turista (Standard) class is €21,25 or €22,25 depending on which train is taken. For times in detail and reservations, which are compulsory, visit www.cp.pt and note that a change of train en route at Tunes is always necessary. Connections are fairly immediate except for one train in the afternoon which requirers a 43 minute wait.
An extra train runs on Friday evenings in July and August southbound, returning on Sunday evenings from Faro to Lisbon via Tunes.
All trains start from Lisbon Oriente station and stop at Lisbon Entrecampos. Certain trains also stop at Lisbon Sete Rios and Pragal, which is south of the river.
If travelling from other areas of Portugal be aware that a change of train will almost always be necessary in Lisbon, except for the two daily direct trains from Porto, which stop also in Aveiro and Coimbra.
Two coach companies operate services between Lisbon and Portimão. These are
Rede-Expressos www.rede-expressos.pt departing from the Sete Rios bus terminal in Lisbon and
RENEX www.renex.pt departing from the Gare Oriente bus terminal in Lisbon.
A one-way ticket will be €20.00 or €21.00 depending on route. The journey takes, on average, 3 hours 20 minutes with Rede-Expressos, 3hrs 45 minutes with Renex. There are 7 - 10 departures every day with each company. Reservation is strongly advised if travelling on Friday evenings (southbound), Sunday evenings (northbound) or at any time around major holidays or during summertime. Tickets can be purchased on line for Rede Expressos, but RENEX does not currently have on-line ticket purchase facilities. Otherwise arrive at the bus terminal in good time before departure to allow time to buy your ticket.
These coaches stop in the centre of Portimão, with easy access to local buses and taxis.
If travelling from other areas of Portugal be aware that a change of coach (bus) will almost always be necessary in Lisbon.
Getting around by car is not recommended for visitors. The system of one-way streets and very busy traffic is a recipe for confusion and chaos. There free car parks for visitors near the city centre, which are signposted on the approach roads. On street parking in the centre is metered.
Portimão and its suburbs has a network of local bus routes under the 'Vai e Vem' banner. Buses on some routes run seven days a week, major holidays included, but most routes have no weekend service at all. There is a late evening service between Portimão and Praia da Rocha in July and August, otherwise last buses run at around 1930 / 2000hrs.
A single journey ticket is €1,50 and a one day ticket €3.50. The system is a bit confusing at first sight. This TA members private website page www.algarvebus.info/011.htm contains a summary of the routes plus links to official maps and timetables.
Taxis are readily available, except in the height of summer when waits can be long. All taxis are metered and painted either beige or black and green. Taxis cannot normally be hailed on the street nor can they be reserved in advance. Taxi ranks are located in all tourist areas and the taxi office phone number can be obtained from hotel receptions etc. English is widely spoken, but it is a good idea to write down the adress of your holiday accommodation as there are many places with similar names.
A taxi ride of 5 Euros (6 at weekends) will get visitors between almost any two points in the city.