The Algarve has a wide network of public transport that many people rely on for their daily needs. If you are holidaying on a budget or just dont fancy joining the Portuguese drivers at first hand you can still explore using public transport.
The Algarve railway line runs from Vila Real at the Spanish border to Lagos in the west. At Tunes it links with the line north to Lisbon and the rest of Europe. Yes! you can get on a train at Lagos and connect the Eurostar to London.
Be warned.. there are two sorts of trains. Express which only make a few stops and normal which take all day. Fares are amazingly affordable and carriages clean and spacious. Buy your ticket before boarding except at unattended stations.
Unfortunately few of the stations are convenient for the major resorts, although there are usually taxis waiting outside. Lagos and Portimao have stations conveniently close to the town centres.The train to Lisbon stops south of the river and your ticket includes a ferry ride into the city centre. The railway is called Caminho de Ferro..track of iron
Buses and Coaches
Virtually every village has a bus stop and a bus service. When trying to interpret the timetable note that like the railways services are different on different days of the week.
Local buses are a great, if rather slow way of getting about.
At the bus stations in towns you will have access to the Expresso, fast coaches connecting the towns and major centres.
The Algarve is also linked to Lisbon by operators providing fast coach services. Usually these leave very early in the morning to allow people a days work in the city. Ask at tourist offices or hotel reception.. many of whom are ticket agencies.
These services should not be confused with the more expensive tourist excursions which may include over night accomodation. Even if you have a hire car a coach to Lisbon, either public transport or an excursion can avoid the parking hassles in a very busy city devoid of convenient car parks.
The taxi industry in Portugal is very tightly licensed and there are no mini cabs. Outside of Lisbon it is very rare to hear of a complaint regarding the conduct of taxi drivers except from other motorists.
Taxi fares are more or less the same between different operators although no system of regulation exists. The taxis do not have meters and you should never get into the taxi without agreeing your fare first.
Do not haggle for the sake of it or you will find yourself left standing on the pavement.
Taxis can normally be booked to fetch you at a given time provided it is a significant fare. Getting a cab to go somewhere obscure in the night may be difficult.