Getting from Lisbon to Albufeira
Albufeira is one of the most well-known holiday destinations in Portugal, and that’s for good reason. It’s home to an amazing climate, picturesque beaches, outstanding eating and shopping opportunities, a vibrant nightlife and is popular choice with holiday makers travelling to Portugal.
As a result of everything it has to offer, this historic fishing village has turned into the marquee attraction of the gorgeous Algarve region, the southernmost region of Portugal and home to 200 kilometres of beaches.
But the question is, how do you get from Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon to Albufeira? Fortunately, it’s quite easy, and you have several transportation options to choose from. The distance from Lisbon to Albufeira is roughly 257 kilometres, and it should take around three hours to get here via most forms of transport (with some getting there quicker).
Read on as I detail and outline the various travel options available for getting from Lisbon to Albufeira.
Taking the train from Lisbon to Albufeira is no doubt a top choice most travellers consider first and foremost. However, there is one caveat to this option. Taking a train right into the city of Albufeira is not possible as the station is located a little way outside the centre. Located about 7 kilometres from there, just a fifteen-minute bus or taxi ride into the city will get you to the heart of Albufeira.
Comboios de Portugal is the main rail transport company in Portugal and is the one that you’ll be taking should you use this form of transportation. One of Lisbon’s primary rail station is Entrecampos although you can also catch Albufeira-bound trains from a few other Lisbon-based stations, most notably Oriente, another major transport hub.
The Lisbon to Albufeira train route is operated on two different services. One, being the faster Alfa Pendular (AP) route that takes around 2h30 mins, and the other being the Intercidades service (IC) that will take around 3 hours.
The price will vary, generally costing around €27-€29 for first class and €21-€22 for second class depending on which of these two services you book.
Note that there are only a few of these trains a day, so, if you need more flexibility than that, you should consider another mode of transport.
Top Tip: My advice would be to book your tickets in advance to help save on the ticket price as you can get access to promo fares by doing so. It’s worth noting though, that you can only book up to 2 months ahead on the CP website. So, the moment ticketing opens up, go ahead and book to secure those cheaper fares.
Top Tip: I’ve also written a post outlining all my tips & suggestions on how you can save on your travel costs when exploring Portugal. This article also includes a section on rail travel and discounts associated to this mode of transport. Go read my post on Top Money Savings Tips for Travel in Portugal.
Once you arrive at the Albufeira-Ferreiras railway station, you can either take a taxi from there into the city or catch the Linha Laranja bus, which runs from the station to the Albufeira Bus Terminal, where you can then make your way to your final destination.
Lisbon to Albufeira bus
If relying on public transport, then taking a bus service is in my opinion the best option. This service is operated by Rede Nacional de Expressos, which is an express coach network that transports travellers throughout Portugal. It’s based in Lisbon and provides a comfortable trip with, in nearly all cases, Wi-Fi access and power sockets. However, Wi-Fi access may not be available during more remote areas of the trip.
The Rede Expressos website is fairly easy to use and navigate and includes an English language option too. My advice is to definitely book ahead of time. The ticket queues at the different stations can be long and the last thing you want is to be delayed trying to buy a ticket.
Tip: I like to compare all available options on a site like Omio that allows you to compare flights, trains, and buses from one simple bookable site.
Buses to Albufeira depart from two places in Lisbon. One is Lisbon’s Oriente station, the same locale as one of Lisbon’s busiest train stations. The other is Sete Rios, which is situated just south of the Lisbon Zoo (with the closest metro line, Jardim Zoológico being only 300m away).
Twice as many buses, about 20 in total, depart from the latter departure spot. Regardless of where you depart from in Lisbon, the cost will be about €17. You can depart at just about any time of the day or night. For example, both Lisbon-based departure spots even have buses leaving at 1 a.m. for the southward-bound journey.
The Lisbon Albufeira bus trip usually takes between 2h45 mins and 3 hours with buses departing Sete Rios sometimes taking a little longer than that. Pay careful attention when selecting between the different options as some buses make more stops and results in a longer overall journey time.
Equally, several of the other options make the trip non-stop. When you go to purchase your ticket, click the blue information icon to the left of the price to see how many stops that option will make.
When deciding on your mode of transport, make sure that you take into account that the bus will take you right to the main bus terminal in Albufeira as opposed to another transportation step being necessary for those who ride the train here. The bus terminal is located about 2kms from Albufeira’s historic town centre.
Flying to Faro and travel from Faro to Albufeira
Another option for getting to Albufeira is by flying. For this, you’ll need to fly into Faro Airport, the primary international hub for the Algarve region. TAP Air Portugal is the only airline that flies from Lisbon to Faro as the vast majority of flights arriving at this particular airport are from other European and International countries.
Click here to search flight availability and book on Skyscanner.
Fortunately, it’s not too far from Faro Airport to Albufeira as it’s just 40 kilometres from one to the other. However, it has to be admitted that your transportation options for this route are not the best.
You can catch a taxi, but, if you do, expect to pay at least €50, most likely more. A much more affordable option, which will cost a 10th of that, is taking a bus from EVA Transportes. However, this option, which takes 45 minutes, is only available at 4:20 p.m. Alternatively, you could take a local bus, route 16, to the Faro Bus Terminal and then catch another bus to Albufeira.
Flying into Faro, it would be far easier to rent a car and travel freely throughout the Algarve region this way.
Although the flight from Lisbon to Faro only lasts 45 minutes, when you consider the time that it takes to get to the airport, check in and then, after arriving, getting from Faro to Albufeira, this might not be the best option. And that’s not even considering that the flight to Faro will most likely cost quite a bit more than train or bus transport from Lisbon to Albufeira.
Travelling from Lisbon to Albufeira by car
Many will say that the most comfortable and convenient option is to hire a car and use that to get to Albufeira. Of course, the benefits of doing this are numerous as you have so much more flexibility, not only en-route, but, more importantly, after arriving in Albufeira. If you want to explore the entire Algarve region from your home base in Albufeira, hiring a car is definitely in my view the best option.
However, also consider the cons. Fuel will be additional, and you will have to pay a series of tolls too, as you make your way along the highways to your destination. Most highways in Portugal are tolled and its important to keep this in mind when planning out your travel budget.
If you are interested in renting a car then I can highly recommend comparing and booking through Rentalcars.com. In the past when we’ve rented, they offered quite competitive rates as they show you various available providers. Booking was also pretty seamless which I liked! Visit here to compare and book.
Top Tip: When hiring a vehicle in Portugal, most car rental companies do offer an electronic toll tag service. This is an electronic tag fitted inside the car that allows you to easily pass through the various toll gates without having to manually pay every time. They will link it up to the card that you lodge with them and it will then automatically deduct the fees off this card as and when you make use of the tolls. Note that this does come at an extra cost, so ask the car rental agency for more info on the service and associated costs.
As with anything, the choice to rent a car or not all depends on what’s important to you. Spending a little bit more to hire a car may be worth it in the end, especially since you’ll be able to freely explore the Algarve region outside of just Albufeira.
Where to Stay in Albufeira:
Do bear in mind that the centre of Albufeira does have a vibrant and busy nightlife, so if you are looking for a more peaceful stay, then don’t be afraid to book a bit further out.
When we stayed in Albufeira, we stayed close to Praia dos Aveiros beach which was located about 3 – 4 kms outside the historic centre. Since we had a car rental, it was convenient as we could easily get to Albufeira town whilst also staying away from the clubs, bars and nightlife hustle & bustle.
You may also want to browse through & book Airbnb options in Albufeira here!
Tours in and around Albufeira:
If you are looking for tours and activities in and around Albufeira then click below to search for available ones in and around your dates.
One of my absolute highlights was travelling to the Praia de Benagil beach and taking a boat tour of the Benagil and surrounding caves!
These tours normally take you all along the coastline exploring hidden caves and beaches. The piece de resistance is the Benagil Cave itself, which has its own beach inside and is absolutely stunning. Without a doubt the HIGHLIGHT of our trip in the Algarve.
Albufeira is a great place to visit and a good option if you want to be centrally located in the Algarve. Regardless of which transportation option that you decide to take, getting to Albufeira from Lisbon shouldn’t be too much hassle if you follow my guidance.
Have you already visited this area? How did you get here? What was your trip like? Which transportation option would you recommend others take to Albufeira?
I would love to hear your feedback, tips and suggestions, so feel free to comment and also share this post.