Accessing the Algarve region, in the south of Portugal, is easy via land transport from the rest of Portugal or from Spain. Its main hub is the city of Faro, the regional capital, which has its own international airport. There is another small airport in the Algarve, in Portimão, though it receives far fewer flights.
The Algarve is known for its white-sand beaches, historic towns, and warm climate. You can experience both Lisbon and the Algarve in one trip with this weeklong itinerary.
Duration: 45 minutes to 4 hours
Frequent direct flights leave from Lisbon to Faro Airport. The flight takes just 45 minutes.
You could also reach the Algarve from Lisbon by rental car or by booking a private transfer. The drive takes around 2.5 hours, and there are tolls along the way. Note that many highways only offer electronic toll payment—if your rental car comes with a ViaVerde pass, you can use this to pay tolls. If you don't have a pass, you could also pay tolls using the EASYToll, TOLLCard, or TOLLService systems, although these are only valid on highways with electronic-only tolls.
If you prefer to take public transit, you have the option of taking a bus or train to one of the Algarve's main towns, like Faro or Lagos. Typical journey times are about four hours.
Duration: about 2 hours by car, 3-5 hours by bus
Some people may choose to fly into Seville Airport, in Spain, if the flights to Faro Airport don't work with their schedule. Getting from Seville to the Algarve takes about two hours.
You could drive a rental car or book a private transfer from Seville to the Algarve. Be sure to check with your rental company to make sure that it's okay to bring your car into Portugal. Since both Portugal and Spain are in the Schengen Zone, there is no border control between the two countries. However, it's still a good idea to keep your passport handy during the trip. Don't forget that there is a time zone difference between Spain and Portugal (Spain is one hour ahead).
Buses can also be booked from Seville to cities in the Algarve. Most buses leave from Plaza de Armas Station in Seville. The bus takes about three hours to get to Faro and about five hours to get to Lagos.
From Elsewhere in Europe
It's possible to fly into the Algarve from various European cities.
Direct flights arrive at Faro Airport from cities such as London, Dublin, Paris, and Frankfurt, among many others. If you are coming from outside of Europe, you will probably need to transfer through Lisbon (one exception is Toronto, which is connected directly to Faro).