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General Information about buses in the Algarve

EVA Bus Info | Portugal Online |

This page is unofficial. The information has been obtained from printed timetables and other local sources(like taking the bus)and is given in good faith.
Everything is correct to the best of my knowledge as of 15th June 2014
Bus operations in the Algarve are possibly quite different from what you may be used to back home!

Click here for a list of all the timetables on the site; please first read the various notes on this page.
An alphabetical list of all the places included in the timetables is here.
A diagram showing the bus routes in the Algarve is here

Operators, route/line numbers

The EVA bus company operates most bus services in the Algarve. Their buses are predominantly white with green and yellow trimmings.evabus

In the west, particularly around Portimão, some buses are operated by Frota Azul (Algarve). Their buses are mostly white with blue and green trimmings. All the buses in regular use are modern air-conditioned vehicles.frotaazulbus

To confuse the issue, the companies do often use each others buses and you may see a sign ‘Em serviço de EVA’ as well as the destination. Local buses (Urbanas or City buses) in the main cities or towns are run by a number of different companies.

Apart from local city/town services, buses do not carry route/line numbers as they do in most other parts of the world. No I don’t know why not. You therefore need to check the destination display on the front of the bus, which is often just a paper sign pinned in the driver’s window.

By the way, almost every bus driver in Portugal has the radio on during the journey. Too bad if you don’t like their choice of music, but most of the time it’s OK!

Different types of service - Algarve buses

There are four different types or operations of bus on rural and interurban services. In the major towns and cities, the local city or urban mini-buses may operate along the same roads as EVA or Frota Azul, but fares will be different and tickets are not generally inter-available.

TRANSRÁPIDO (picture below) runs as an express service the length of the coast between Faro and Lagos. It stops only at the places shown in the timetable. Transrápido buses carry a sign in the driver’s window and they are usually identifiable by the paintwork! Download and print the latest timetable. 
transrapidobus
TOILETS - or lack of! Transrápido buses do NOT have toilets on board and neither is there sufficient time at any stop to use one. So if you are travelling the whole way, make sure you go before getting on! This may be an issue at Armação de Pera and Portimão, where there is no bus terminal building and therefore no toilets nearby!

DELAYS - Transrápido buses are frequently delayed by traffic. Anticipate delays of 15 - 20 minutes on all the Transrápido buses and also on the buses between Albufeira and Lagos, even at weekends! These delays are a combination of unrealistic timetables and heavy city traffic.

ALBUFEIRA - LAGOS (formerly Algarve Littoral) route runs as a limited-stop service between Lagos and Albufeira. If two buses arrive at the same time to the same destination, you may need to ask the driver which one he is!  I have also noted that some buses continue to and from Albufeira to/from Faro via Vilamoura or Loulé although this is not advertised. I have included details in the relevant timetable pages. Note that these buses are also often delayed.

INTERURBANAS (Interurban) are the ‘normal’ buses between all the main towns and to the surrounding areas. Between Faro and Albufeira several buses on weekdays (ie Mondays to Fridays) are labelled ‘DIRECTA’ and miss out some stops, notably between Albufeira Bus Terminal and Modelo, in the outskirts of Vilamoura and the outskirts of Faro. The differences in stopping places between the NORMAL and DIRECTA routes are detailed here. There are also some 'Directa' runs between Faro and Olhão. Yes I know it would be easier if there were route numbers! NB - there are NO BUS SERVICES AT THE AIRPORT except for a local bus into Faro city centre - details here.

LOCAL BUSES AND MINIBUSES IN THE MAIN TOWNS

Several towns have local city (Urbanas) mini-buses operated or sponsored by the city or town council. I have included details for FaroAlbufeira , Lagos and Portimão in these pages and links on the alphabetical index page to the local council website for the timetables for the Loulé and Quarteira services. I have included brief details of the operations in Olhão and Tavira in the relevant pages. There is also a local bus running between the airport and Faro city centre - details here.

Express buses (coaches) to and from Lisbon etc.

All towns and many villages have express buses (coaches) to and from Lisbon and further afield. Larger places eg Faro, Albufeira have 12 to 15 departures a day. Smaller places might have only 2 or 3.

I have listed some timetables for Rede-Expressos here but be aware that these are difficult for me to check.

These long-distance services are operated by two companies, REDE EXPRESSOS* and RENEX. You should reserve a seat in advance for all long-distance buses, especially at weekends and around holidays. Tickets can be bought from the various offices and agents around the Algarve. There is a list of EVA and Frota Azul ticket offices, with opening hours in English, on their website here. * Rede-Expressos is a consortium of several bus companies operating under this network banner.

Note that in many towns the companies have separate offices and stopping places. These are sometimes quite some distance apart, so check that you are at the right place, as the timetables do not tell you. The RENEX office in Lagos is about 300 metres from the bus station down near the indoor market. You will see a sign 'Caima Viagems'. In Faro it is opposite the bus station and in Vila Real about 200 metres away. In Portimão the RENEX ticket office is a little wooden hut, oposite the REPSOL petrol station in Avenida Guanaré,  about 100 metres from where their vehicles stop to take on passengers

Note that ticket offices are NOT open 24 hours. If your bus leaves late at night or during the early hours of the morning, you will need to buy a ticket in advance or on-line.

These services do not carry local passengers in the Algarve. You can get times and buy tickets at  www.rede-expressos.pt or www.renex.pt but be aware that the Renex site is in Portuguese only and currently has NO one line ticket sales.

Below is the diagram of the RENEX routes serving linking the Algarve and Lisbon. Note the use of the Vale Paraiso 'terminal' at Albufeira as a 'terminal'. This is about 3km out of town on the Ferreiras road, at the retail/industrial park. Some journeys require you to change buses there, but this is not obvious from the timetable! RENEX provide connecting buses between the old town centre of Albufeira (Avenida Liberdade) and their terminal at Vale Paraiso. They do not serve the main bus station in Albufeira.

Renex network diagram


It will cost about €20 to get to Lisbon from anywhere in the Algarve. A round-trip (return) fare is slightly less than the cost of two singles. The journey is around 3 - 4 hours from Albufeira and obviously more the further afield you are. If travelling to and from Lisbon. CHECK which bus station in Lisbon your bus will use. EVA/Rede Expressos buses use the Sete Rios terminal. Renex use the terminal at Gare Oriente. Both of these are several km from the city centre, but have metro (underground railway) stations adjacent for the final part of your journey, they also have bus connections to and from the airport. The Lisbon metro goes to the airport, direct from Oriente train and bus station in about 5 minutes. From Sete Rios it takes about 25 minutes with one change of train required, in São Sebastião station.


Trains run in the Algarve, also to and from Lisbon - click here for  information.

Bus Stops and Bus Stations / Terminals

Stopping places are clearly indicated with signs of various types. old bus stopPARAGEM is the Portuguese word for bus-stop; helpfully many signs also display ‘Bus Stop’ in English. In rural areanew bus stops, the bus stop sign may be on one side of the road only. The bus will stop on the opposite side if you are waiting. All bus stops are REQUEST stops. If you are waiting at a stop, give the bus driver a clear signal as the bus approaches. If you are on the bus and wish to get off, ring the bell in good time before your stop.


Most of the towns have a bus station or terminal, ranging from the large busy bus stations in Faro, Lagoa and Albufeira, down to simple waiting shelters, for example in Silves. These are usually at the edge of town, as the roads in the town centres are either too narrow or too busy to accommodate buses.

The bus terminal in Albufeira is about a mile/1.6km from the old town centre and major hotel areas.  If arriving from the west, north or on Transrápido from Faro, you will need another bus, a taxi or maybe 15 minutes walk to reach the old town centre and beaches. Local buses from the east (eg Faro, Vilamoura) pass through town and it’s best to get off near Modelo supermarket before you end up in the middle of nowhere. Click here for more information about the bus terminal and ways to get into town.

The bus terminal in Faro is in the centre of town and 150 yards/metres from the railway station. The bus terminal in Tavira is three minutes walk to the town centre.

The terminal in Loulé is about 4 minutes walk from the main shopping area, indoor market and town centre. Most buses also make a stop in the town centre near the indoor market. The terminals at Silves and SB Messines have no office, but in both cases there is an enquiry office/agency nearby at the municipal market building. Portimão does not have a bus terminal as such - click here for more information. At Lagos, the bus terminal is a few minutes walk from the historic town centre and about five minutes walk from the railway station, which is on the other side of the river.

Fares and Tickets

IMPORTANT! When boarding at a BUS STATION/BUS TERMINAL you must usually buy your tickets at the ticket office window.

Allow a few minutes for buying tickets at the ticket office, especially at Faro! Ticket prices are available at the EVA BUS website or the Frota Azul website, depending of course which company operates the route in question. There is a list of EVA and Frota Azul ticket offices, with opening hours in English, on their website here.

If boarding elsewhere or when the ticket office is closed, have small change ready and pay the driver as usual. For our North American readers drivers will make change, but they will not thank you if you hand over a €50 note! Even the longest journey here will cost only €5.90.

Bus fares were increased on 1st January 2014. The fares below are taken from the EVA official website as of 1st January. Most tickets have been increased by 5 or 10 cents. Trains are usually cheaper than buses where they offer service between the same towns

Faro to Lagos - €5.90; Albufeira to Portimão and Praia da Rocha - €4.60,  Albufeira to Lagos - €5.50; Albufeira - Faro €4.70; Albufeira to Armação de Pera €4.10; Silves – Portimão €3.25; Silves – S.B Messines €4.10; Albufeira to Silves, Quarteira or Loulé €4.30; Monte Gordo to Tavira €4.10, Monte Gordo to Vila Real €2.25, Monte Gordo to Faro €5.50

You can buy return tickets at Bus Stations. That doesn’t save any money but may help for time. Bus drivers do not issue return tickets.

Pre-paid rechargeable ticket cards - EVA and Frota Azul buses

If you are staying a while and intend to make the same journey during your stay five or more times, it may worth investing in a pre-pay card. This rechargeable card stores a set number of journeys in either direction between two points. It saves money (in many cases as much as 50%) and queuing time, but you do have to pay a €3.00 fee for the card. You can buy the cards from any bus station or, in Albufeira, also at the bus office in Avenida da Liberdade. Separate cards are also available for the local city buses not operated by EVA, for example the GIRO service in Albufeira. You can get your money back for the card if you hand it in at a bus office before leaving. You can of course keep it for next year.

On boarding, place the card on the ticket machine pad, count three and your ticket is automatically printed.

TOURIST PASSES FOR ALGARVE BUSES

These are available as three day versions at €28,80 and seven days for €35,90. Days must be consecutive. They can be bought at any bus station ticket office, also the Albufeira old town Bus Shop and the EVA ticket office in Largo do Dique, Portimão. They are valid on ALL buses operated by EVA or Frota Azul listed in timetables on this site. They are NOT VALID on EVA, Rede-Expressos or RENEX long distance services, international services nor on the local urban buses in Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Loulé, Vilamoura, Quarteira, Faro and Tavira. The local buses in those towns have their own day passes, multi-ride tickets and season tickets for frequent or regular users.

There is no other discount for persons over 60 / 65 except for residents. Some bus operators do not give child discounts except to those holding official student passes. However children aged under 4 years travel free.

Tickets and passes are not interchangeable between different operator's buses, except the Algarve tourist pass, which can be used on EVA and Frota Azul buses. All the urban buses require a different ticket or pass.

Timetables

Timetables are, in many places, not displayed at bus stops especially in rural areas. Even at Bus Terminals, you may find only a list of departures to principal destinations. That’s one of the reasons for my making these pages! Printed timetables are usually available at the Enquiry Desk or Ticket Office.  English is spoken at most locations but it is polite to ask first! The EVA and Frota Azul bus company websites do have a timetable search facility, but not all routes and destinations are included.

Click here for a quicklist of all the timetables on the site; please first read the various notes on this page.
An alphabetical list of all the places included in the timetables is here.

Bus Service Start and Finish Times

In general, bus services linking the various towns and villages in the Algarve start around 0700 on weekdays and finish by 2030, which means that, in most places, last buses are on their way around 1930. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays first buses are generally fairly early, but there are a lot fewer buses than on weekdays. Last buses are often earlier than weekdays. Many villages out in the countryside have no buses at all at weekends or on public holidays, but the main inter-urban routes do have weekend and holiday service, albeit at reduced levels.

There are often long gaps in service on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays. Buses do not usually run at regular intervals ie at so many minutes past each hour. Buses away from the main coastal tourist areas are mostly few and far between, as they cater for local needs of schools and shopping. You are strongly advised to double-check the times of last buses back if you are off hiking in the hills.

The local city buses (GIRO) in Albufeira operate until midnight during the summer (1st June to 30th September) and until 2200 for the rest of the year. Buses between Portimão and Alvor also Portimão and Praia da Rocha run until about 2000 all year. There is a late night service between Portimão and Praia da Rocha during the summer. The Lagos area has local buses until midnight on some routes during the summer, otherwise service ends around 8pm. Weekend service on the urban routes in Lagos and Portimão has been drastically reduced in recent months, to the extent that in Portimão the only buses at weekends and on public holidays are on the routes to Alvor and Praia da Rocha.

In other cities and towns, local buses usually operate between about 0700 and 1900 on weekdays and between 0700 and 1400 on Saturdays. They either run very limited schedules or not all on Saturday afternoons, Sundays or holidays.

Point-to-point timings and fares for EVA services from the main towns can be checked on their official website at http://www.eva-bus.com/ but beware that some of the information on the website is demonstrably at variance with even the most recent printed timetables! Frota Azul has a similar website. Neither website has complete timetables nor can any be downloaded. Two of the reasons for this site!

What days do the buses run?

Most bus journeys do not run every day. In the various timetable pages, there are column headings and notes to indicate the days a particular bus runs. In one or two cases, there are separate sections for weekday and weekend services where the times are very different, but on most pages there is one table for the whole service.

These codes and information en Français, auf deutsch, em Portugues please click here

Daily – runs every day including holidays (NB - buses and trains DO RUN on Christmas Day, New Year's Day etc)
MFO – Mondays to Fridays (weekdays) only; does not run on Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays
SSH – runs on Saturdays,Sundays and Holidays only
SHO – runs on Sundays and Holidays only
SHX – does not run on Sundays or Holidays
SAT – runs on Saturdays only except holidays
SCH – runs on SCHOOLDAYS only ie will not be running in July and August, nor during Christmas and Easter breaks or on Public holidays.
NSC - runs MFO but during School Holidays only
XXX – used where bus runs only on certain days that do not fit into these headings – look for a special note.

PORTUGUESE HOLIDAYS 2014 -  details here.

I have tried to be consistent with these headings in all the pages. Apologies if I fail anywhere.

Travelling at school times?

A word of 'warning' - between 0800 and 0900 also between 1630 and 1700 on schooldays, buses to/from the main towns are VERY crowded with schoolchildren and older students on their way to and from school/college. In some areas schools operate early and late 'shifts' (because of overcrowding) and you may get an extra 'rush hour' around 1pm, for example in Lagos.

I personally have experienced this at Loulé on the 1340 and 1640 buses to Albufeira and also the 1655 from Silves to Albufeira. You may have to stand for a while - no they are as unruly as in any other country! 

The good news is that schools are closed during the main holiday season of July to early September, at Easter and for two weeks over Christmas and New Year.

www.algarvebus.info