Faro Airport (IATA code FAO), located 22 miles from Albufeira`s Old Town, is the main international airport link North America and Europe has with the Algarve. With over 6 million travelers in 2015, it is the third-busiest airport in Portugal. Ryanair, easyJet, and Monarch Airlines use Faro Airport as a hub.
Proximo, the bus system in Faro, runs a route (#14) from the airport`s arrivals terminal to Faro bus station. The bus ticket will cost under €4 and can be purchased directly from the driver. Buses run between the airport and the city at least three times an hour every day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (longer and more frequent service on weekdays). To learn more, visit www.proximo.pt/en.
EVA Transrapido buses leave from Faro bus station and take 55 minutes to reach Albufeira`s bus station. Buses leave Faro seven times every weekday (between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.) and twice on weekends and holidays (12:30 pm. and 5:25 p.m.). Rates on EVA buses are priced by the kilometer; for an accurate price, visit www.eva-bus.com. A taxi rank is located outside Albufeira bus station, and all five Giro bus lines leave from this station; both options can take you to where you need to go.
People taking the EVA Transrapido buses back to Faro at the end of the trip are allowed to take Faro city buses connecting to Faro Airport for free as long as the ticketholders present a valid Transrapido ticket stamped for the current day.
A taxi rank is located just outside Faro Airport`s arrivals terminal, and you will notice a big sign that quotes taxi prices from Faro Airport to various locations throughout the Algarve. Be warned: Taking a taxi from Faro Airport straight to your hotel in Albufeira will set you back a sizable amount (at least €50).How do I get from the train station to my hotel?
For those coming to Albufeira by train, the city bus, Giro, runs from Albufeira-Ferreiras train station to the city bus terminal on the Orange Line (Linha Laranja). From there you can take any of the five bus lines to anywhere in Albufeira and environs. Also, there is a taxi rank outside Albufeira-Ferreiras train station, and the drivers will take you directly into town. Fares start at €4 for the first 1.1 miles, with €1 added for each 0.6 miles traveled. Expect a 20% price increase if you are traveling after 9 p.m., on weekends or during holidays. There is an upcharge of approximately €2 for each piece of luggage placed in the trunk.How do I get around using public transportation?
Albufeira`s local bus service is operated by EVA Transportes, `EVA` being an acronym for `Empresa de Viacao do Algarve`. EVA operates the Giro bus system, which is broken up into five lines: Linha Vermelha 1 (Red Line 1, noted on maps by a simple red shade); Linha Vermelha 2 (Red Line 2, noted on maps by a maroonish shade of red); Linha Azul (Blue Line); Linha Verde (Green Line); and Linha Laranja (Orange Line).
The Green and Blue Lines take travelers to many of the tourist destinations, including Albufeira`s Old Town and The Strip. The Orange Line connects Albufeira-Ferreiras train station with the city bus station (on the corner of Estrada de Vale de Pedras and Rua Paul Harris). The Red Lines cover the city from west to east; the Red Line 1 travels out to Albufeira Marina. Red Line 2 is the closest bus line to Praia do Peneco, and the Blue and Green Lines are closest to Praia dos Pescadores, Praia do Inatel and Praia dos Alemaes.
Bus fares can be paid for in cash or on a special Giro card. The Giro card costs €3 and can be bought either at the bus station or at the Bus Shop on Avenida da Liberdade. You can buy a 20-ride pass on your Giro card for €20, a good deal considering it is roughly €1.50 cash for just one ride (not including transfers). One thing you will find somewhat strange about Giro buses is that there are no fixed timetables: Giro buses run every thirty minutes on weekdays and at least once per hour on weekends, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m. (9 p.m. during the summer). For a map of bus routes, visit www.cm-albufeira.pt (map only available in Portuguese).
Visitors to Albufeira may also notice an automobile trolley, resembling a steam-powered `choo choo` type of train. It is called the Albufeira Tourist Train and it runs on a circular path through Areias de Sao Joao (the Southern Strip) and the Old Town, stopping at the Brisa Sol Hotel before returning to the Strip. The Tourist Train runs every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (to 1 a.m. during the summer, and even later for select holidays). The Tourist Train is run by Turistrem Transportes. To buy your ticket in advance (€5 plus fees for a one-day pass), visit www.turistrem.com and click on `Touristic Train`.How do I call/hail a taxi?
Taxis can be flagged down from the street anywhere in town as long as the light on top is green (signifying a vacancy). Taxis in Albufeira will be either white or black/green in color. Unlike in other towns, you will find that many taxi companies in Albufeira will not reserve a cab in advance. If you need a cab, call just before you wish to depart.
Albufeira is a tourist town and many people speak English, but do not assume your driver will automatically speak it. Just so there is no confusion, write your destination (with street address) on a piece of paper and give it to your driver before departing.
There are 24 taxi ranks in Albufeira`s four parishes. In high-traffic tourist areas, you will find taxi ranks located on Avenida da Liberdade, Rua 25 de Abril, in Areias de Sao Joao, and on Avenida Doutor Francisco Sa Carneiro, among others.
As mentioned previously, fares start at €4 for the first 1.1 miles, with €1 added for each 0.6 miles traveled. Expect a 20% price increase if you are traveling after 9 p.m., on weekends or during holidays. There is an upcharge of approximately €2 for each piece of luggage placed in the trunk. Many companies, such as Radio Taxis de Albufeira (+351 289 583 230), charge flat rates to drive to many sights in Albufeira proper from the Old Town (for example, €5 to the Strip, €5 to the Marina, etc.). For those set prices, plus a list of taxi ranks in Albufeira, complete with maps, visit www.taxis-albufeira.pt (website in English and Portuguese).Should I rent a car in Albufeira?
If you only want to explore Albufeira city and the other parishes surrounding the city, a car is not necessary. If you`d like to explore and visit additional cities in the Algarve, such as Lagos and Portimao, or sights further afield like Zoomarine or Aqualand, then a car may be what you need (although the Algarve is covered quite decently by rail, taxi, and ridesharing services).
If you would like to rent a car while in Albufeira, TripMasters recommends that you reserve the car before arriving in Portugal. When you do arrive, you will be able to pick it up at Faro Airport (not in Albufeira). If, for whatever reason, you decide to rent a car after arriving in Albufeira, you will find that Europcar, Hertz and Avis, among others, are located in town. Since there is a lot of competition out there to snag tourist dollars, you may find some deep discounts are offered online (as low as €5 per day for a rental car). When renting in person, the price will be higher (at least €30).Is Albufeira a walking city?
Albufeira is a wonderful place to explore on foot. Keep in mind that some distances are large: it is a two-mile trek from west to east on Avenida dos Descobrimentos, and the Strip is about two-thirds of a mile long. If you feel tired from walking, there are other forms of transportation to get you to sights in Albufeira proper.Is Albufeira a dangerous city? Are there any areas I should avoid?
Albufeira is safer than many cities in Portugal, and definitely safer than most sizable cities in the UK, or in North America. There aren`t any areas of town that need to be avoided during the day. With that said, you will encounter vagrants in Albufeira, as you will in many towns in the Algarve. They are harmless; simply ignore them and walk away purposefully.
Albufeira is safe to walk about at night, but stick to well-lit and well-populated routes, keep your wits about you, and always look like you know where you are going, even when you may not. Be sure to keep your valuables on your person at all times, and never keep all of your money in one place; split up your cash into various pockets in your clothes. On the Strip especially, tourists have been known to be targeted by robbers and pickpockets if they are perceived to be intoxicated. When leaving a bar, play it safe and take a taxi to your next destination, even if it isn`t far up the road. Also, if you make friends with the locals, they may offer to drive you to your hotel. Some of these offers are innocent and helpful and some are not. Make sure you find your own way home; if someone is offering you a ride to your hotel because they want to be helpful, they will understand your refusal.Which areas are the best for shopping?
Albufeira is shopping heaven for tourists and locals alike. Let`s start with the North American-style shopping centers. Albufeira Shopping is an enclosed mall on Rua do Municipio, approximately 0.3 miles from The Strip. Algarve Shopping, located about seven miles north-northwest of Albufeira and about a mile east of Zoomarine Algarve, is an open-air shopping center anchored by familiar stores such as Zara, H&M, Quiksilver, The Body Shop and Sephora. Albufeira Shopping is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Algarve Shopping is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (to midnight in the summer and in December).
If you are looking for souvenirs that are unique to Albufeira, visit Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco, the square adjoining the Jardim Publico. The stores around the square (and along roads such as Rua Candido dos Reis and Cais Herculano) offer a range of items, such as embroidery, handicrafts, jewelry, clothing and other items.
Albufeira`s boutiques and upper-end clothing stores can be found on Rua 5 de Outubro and Avenida da Liberdade. Areias de Sao Joao is also a good place to shop for couture items, including pieces and ensembles you may not be able to find back home.Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
The currency of Portugal is the Euro and US dollars are not accepted for payment. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks and ATMs can be found at the airport and many locations throughout Albufeira.I do not speak Portuguese. Do many people speak English?
It is more common to find English speakers in Portugal than it is in other southern European countries, such as Spain. A recent European Union language survey found that 32% of Portuguese people over the age of 18 can speak English on a conversational level or better.
Albufeira caters heavily to tourists, many of whom only speak English. It is still recommended to brush up on basic Portuguese phrases before arriving, like basic pleasantries and numbers from 1 to 10. To ask someone if they speak English, say `Fala ingles?`
Note: Do not speak in Spanish to a Portuguese person, thinking they will understand you when you do so. Responses will range from stunned silence to outright hostility; the Portuguese people are proud of their culture and heritage, and such an act will cause nearly everyone to take personal offense. On another note, the vocabulary and pronunciation in Portuguese differs from Spanish more than you may realize.What are the drinking laws in Portugal?
The legal drinking age in Portugal is 18, whether you find yourself in a pub or a nightclub. Asking for proof of age upon ordering an alcoholic beverage or entering a nightclub is becoming more commonplace, especially if you appear younger. Keep your passport with you as it doubles as proof of age and identification.
If you are renting a car, do not drive after consuming alcohol. A blood alcohol content level of 0.05 is considered the legal limit; penalties can range from fines to a jail sentence of up to one year. Save yourself the potential trouble and heartache.What is nightlife like in Albufeira?
Albufeira is home to a bustling bar and nightclub scene. One cannot describe nightlife in Albufeira without mentioning The Strip. The Strip (aka Avenida Doutor Francisco Sa Carneiro) is split into two parts: the northern portion (in the Montechoro neighborhood) and the southern portion (in Areias de Sao Joao). Most of the nightlife on The Strip is in the southern part. Popular bars and nightclubs located on this part of The Strip include Matt's Bar (www.mattsbar.net); Garage Bar (www.facebook.com/garagebaralbufeira); Connection (www.connection-bar.com); and Wild & Co. (www.wildandcompany.com), among many others.
In the Old Town, there are many bar and nightclub options as well. Look around the Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco and follow the road down Rua Candido dos Reis. Dozens of bars and nightclubs can be found within a radius of 2000 feet or so. The Old Town knows how to party but it is definitely a lot calmer than The Strip.
Keep in mind that many bars in Albufeira open at 9 p.m., but all must close at 4 a.m. You may find that some bars are only open on Fridays and Saturdays.