Inside Of An Airport

Algarve Airports explained – Which Airport Should You Fly to?

Choosing the right airport is a crucial part of planning your trip to the Algarve, a region known for its breathtaking beaches, charming towns, and sunny climate. With several airports to consider, each offering different advantages depending on your origin, destination within the Algarve, and travel preferences, this guide aims to simplify your decision-making process.

Faro Airport the main airport for the Algarve
Faro Airport in the Algarve

Faro Airport: The Primary Gateway to the Algarve


Faro Airport is the linchpin for travelers heading to the Algarve, providing the most direct and convenient access to the region. As the main hub, it boasts a broad array of flights from major cities across Europe, especially from the UK and Germany, making it the top choice for European travelers.

Accessibility and Convenience

Situated a mere 4 km from Faro city, the airport offers unparalleled accessibility to the Algarve’s myriad attractions. The A22 motorway and other major roads ensure that whether you’re heading to the bustling resorts of Albufeira, the luxurious marinas of Vilamoura, or the serene beaches of the western Algarve, your journey will be swift and straightforward.

Travel Options from Faro

Aside from car rentals, Faro Airport provides numerous options for reaching your destination, including shuttles, private transfers, and public taxi services. This variety ensures that every traveler can find a suitable mode of transport, tailored to their budget and preferences.

Lisbon Airport around 3 hours away from the Algarve
Lisbon Airport

Lisbon Airport: A Strategic Alternative


For those unable to secure flights directly to Faro, Lisbon Airport emerges as a strategic alternative. Serving as Portugal’s largest airport, it offers extensive connectivity, not only across Europe but also with international flights from the Americas and beyond.

The Journey to the Algarve

Though over two hours away by car, the journey from Lisbon to the Algarve is scenic and well-trodden, with clear signage and modern highways smoothing the way. Train services also link Lisbon with key Algarve towns, offering a relaxing alternative to driving.


Opting for Lisbon might necessitate additional planning, particularly regarding the transfer to the Algarve. Renting a car, while offering the most flexibility, may come with higher costs, especially when considering airport transfers.

Porto-Airport 5 to 6 hours away from the Algarve
Porto Airport

Porto Airport: For the Intrepid Explorer

The Northern Gateway

Porto Airport is best suited for those looking to combine their Algarve holiday with an exploration of Portugal’s northern regions. While the distance to the Algarve is considerable, the journey offers an opportunity to experience the diverse landscapes and cultural heritage of Portugal.

Travel Tips

Travelers flying into Porto should consider splitting their vacation between the north and the south to make the most of their trip. Porto, renowned for its stunning architecture and port wine cellars, provides a compelling reason to extend your itinerary.

Regional Airports: Portimão

While Faro, Lisbon, Seville, and Porto offer broad connectivity, the Algarve region is also served by smaller airports such as Beja and Portimão. These lesser-known gateways provide unique opportunities and conveniences for certain travelers.

Portimão Airport: A Closer Look

Introduction to Portimão Airport

Portimão Airport, officially known as Aeródromo Municipal de Portimão, is located in the Algarve, near the town of Portimão, one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. This airport primarily caters to private flights, aviation schools, and skydiving activities, making it a hub for aerial sports and private aviation enthusiasts. It operates a regular route of Portimão to Braganca, Cascais, Vila Real, and Viseu

Accessibility and Services

Though commercial flight options are limited, Portimão Airport serves as a convenient point for those flying privately or participating in aviation-related activities. Its proximity to major tourist spots in the Algarve, such as Lagos, Albufeira, and the iconic Praia da Rocha, makes it a strategic choice for travelers looking for direct access to the western part of the region.

Why Choose Portimão Airport?

Travelers looking for an intimate and quick entry to the Algarve, away from the busier airports, might find Portimão an appealing option. It’s particularly suitable for those renting private planes, partaking in skydiving adventures, or seeking a bespoke travel experience to the Algarve.

Beja Airport: A Potential for The Future

Overview of Beja Airport

So I have added Beja Airport a former military airport to this list because it used to operate commercial flights from European destinations between 2011 to 2018. Beja Airport (Aeroporto de Beja) is located roughly 150 km north of the Algarve. Several new hangers have been built there since 2018 and in 2023 there were discussions on resuming commercial flights. So if and when flights do resume at least you have the information here.

The Appeal of Beja Airport

For travelers looking for an alternative route to the Algarve, particularly during the peak tourist season, Beja offers a less crowded alternative to Faro. Although it’s situated further from the Algarve’s central and western resorts, its proximity to the southern Alentejo region presents an opportunity to explore this less-traveled part of Portugal en route to the Algarve.

Travel Considerations

Given its distance from the Algarve, travelers landing at Beja will need to plan their onward journey carefully. Car rentals and bus services are available, offering a scenic route through the Alentejo to the Algarve. This option might suit those who are exploring both regions or are looking for a quiet, relaxed start to their holiday.

Sevilla Airport in Spain several hours away from the Algarve
Seville Airport

Seville Airport: The Spanish Option

Pros and Cons

Seville Airport, located in neighboring Spain, presents an unconventional but viable option for some travelers. While the drive to the Algarve is comparable in time to that from Lisbon, cross-border car rental fees and the absence of direct train services to the Algarve are potential drawbacks.

Navigational Tips

Travelers choosing Seville should be prepared for the nuances of cross-border travel, including time zone changes and potential traffic challenges. Nonetheless, Seville itself offers cultural and architectural marvels worth exploring if you have time to spare.

Expanding Your Travel Options: Navigating Through Alternative Departure Airports

Understanding the Benefits of Flexibility

When planning a trip to the Algarve, direct flights to Faro or other regional airports like Lisbon or Porto may not always align with your schedule or budget. In such cases, the flexibility of considering alternative departure airports can be a game-changer, potentially saving you both money and time. This approach requires a broader view of your travel plan, considering not just the end destination but also the journey itself as part of your adventure.

Exploring Alternative Departure Airports

Start with Nearby Airports

If your nearest airport doesn’t offer direct or affordable options, look at airports within a reasonable driving or train distance from your location. Sometimes, flying out from a slightly more distant airport can lead to significant savings or more convenient flight schedules. For instance, if you’re based in a city with a smaller airport, nearby major airports might offer a wider selection of flights and more competitive prices.

Utilize Flight Comparison Tools

Leverage online flight comparison tools and apps to survey a broad spectrum of flights departing from various airports. These tools can provide a comprehensive overview of available routes, including those you might not have considered initially. They can also alert you to deals and offer insights into the best times to book.

Consider Secondary Airports

Many cities and regions are served by secondary airports that might not be as well-known but can offer direct routes to your destination or better connections. These airports often host low-cost carriers that provide competitive pricing for travelers. For example, instead of flying out from a city’s main international hub, a nearby secondary airport might have direct, cost-effective flights to Lisbon or even Faro during the peak travel season.

Planning your trip to the Algarve

The Ripple Effects of Choosing an Alternative Airport

Cost Savings

Opting for an alternative departure airport can lead to substantial savings on airfare, which can then be allocated to other aspects of your trip, enhancing your overall travel experience in the Algarve.

Discover New Routes

This strategy opens up new route possibilities, including layovers that allow you to explore additional cities or countries along the way. A layover can be an opportunity rather than an inconvenience, offering a glimpse into a place you might not have considered visiting before.

Timing and Convenience

While the primary aim might be to reach the Algarve, choosing an alternative airport might actually align better with your travel dates and preferred times of day for flying, making your journey more comfortable and convenient.

Making the Most of Your Alternative Airport Choice

Early Planning

The key to capitalizing on alternative departure airports is early planning. Start your search well in advance to have the broadest range of options and the best chances for lower fares.

Stay Informed

Keep an eye on airline and airport announcements for new routes or special promotions that might arise. Signing up for newsletters and alerts from airlines and flight comparison sites can keep you ahead of the game.

Weigh the Total Costs

When considering alternative airports, account for any additional costs such as travel to the airport, parking, and overnight stays if necessary. Sometimes, what appears to be a savings on airfare might be offset by these extra expenses, so it’s crucial to evaluate the total cost of your travel.

Making Your Decision

Factors to Consider

When choosing your airport, consider factors such as travel time to your final destination, transportation options, and overall travel costs. Also, think about incorporating aspects of Portugal you may not have initially planned to explore; each airport offers a unique gateway to different parts of this diverse country.

Your choice of airport can significantly impact your Algarve experience, affecting everything from your travel time to the overall cost and convenience of your trip. By carefully considering each airport’s advantages and weighing them against your personal travel needs and preferences, you can ensure a smooth start and end to your Algarve adventure.

Similar Posts