As prices for flights to the Algarve continue to soar, explore some different options to travel to the Algarve cheaply – It really is possible to visit the Algarve for less!
The Algarve is a great place to visit at any time of the year, however with Monarch airlines closing and Ryanair cancelling flights we have seen the price of regular flights to Faro airport in the Algarve reaching sky high prices!
So how do you travel to the Algarve cheaply? Luckily there are many ways to visit the Algarve for less and we have come up with a few suggestions that could work for you and your family.
1. Fly to Seville
The Algarve borders with Spain and it is only takes around two hours to drive from Seville to the Algarve so if you are looking for an alternative airport to get to the Algarve without using Faro airport then Seville is an easy option. If you do choose to travel to Seville then why not take a couple of days out of your schedule to explore this beautiful and historic city or spend the day at the Isla Magica theme park located in the centre of the city? You can travel from Seville to the Algarve by hiring a car, which is often cheaper to hire in Spain, and driving over or if you are on a tight budget then you can catch a bus to take you to the Algarve directly.
2. Fly to Lisbon
The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is quickly becoming one of the most popular city destinations in Europe and it is only around two hours to drive from Lisbon down to the Algarve. Lisbon is filled with fantastic restaurants, museums, tourist attractions and history as well as top things to do for kids including Kidzania and the beautiful Oceanarium. Once you are in Lisbon you can hire a car to drive down either on the toll road or on the slightly slower free road, alternatively you can catch a bus or take a train down with discounted tickets available for children, students and pensioners.
3. Fly to Porto
Porto is famous for its wine making, food and of course the port that is made there! While it may be further north, it is very easy to travel between Porto and the Algarve thanks to regular flights between Faro and Porto airports with budget airlines including Ryanair and flights only taking around 45 minutes. You can also choose to catch a bus or take a train to get you down to the south of Portugal and while you are in the city you can take the chance to soak up the history, culture and a couple of glasses of port!
4. Take the Ferry
A ferry crossing is not always the cheapest option to get to Portugal but if you are wanting to bring a lot of luggage with you, have a full car of passengers or are looking to save on car hire fees then this can prove to be an economical way to travel to the Algarve. There are many options for those wanting to get to the Algarve by ferry but some of the most popular routes are between Plymouth and Portsmouth to Santander in Spain and then to drive down. Choosing to travel by car and ferry gives you the chance to explore Spain and Portugal on the journey down and to take your own time on your journey.
5. Go by rail
There is no single train to take you from the UK to the Algarve by rail, however it is not a difficult trip with the route with least stops involving changes in Paris, Irun and Lisbon if you begin your trip in London. The cost of the journey depends on the times you choose and the number of stops you have but you can get discounted tickets if you are a child, OAP or a student and there are also discounts for booking your ticket in advance and for InterRail and Eurail passholders. The train is a great way to take in the European countryside and you can choose cheaper tickets if you are happy not to travel first class.
Hitchhiking is not for everyone and while hitchhiking in Europe is generally considered to be a safe option, precautions for safety do need to be taken. This being said – there are not many cheaper ways to get to the Algarve than catching a lift! Drivers are used to picking up hitchhikers in Portugal and in most cases you will have a very friendly welcome but remember to take care of your physical safety at all time and dress for hot weather and cold weather conditions when applicable, don’t stand waiting on dangerous roads and be prepared to have no strict timetable.
7. Make a delivery
There is a considerable amount of traffic going between the UK and the Algarve at all times of the year and thanks to the number of British residents in the Algarve and number of Portuguese residents in the UK, people are often transporting goods between the two countries. If you have your own vehicle you could have part of the journey funded by transporting furniture, pets, personal items, or in some cases even vehicles themselves! You can find out details about people looking for a delivery driver by signing up to Facebook groups and joining the community. Always be aware of any legalities in transporting goods – especially animals and the documentation that you need.
8. Avoid the holidays
Some times of the year are more expensive to travel than others so if you want to get to the Algarve for less then it is a good idea to avoid the peak season and holiday times. School holidays, half term breaks, the festive season, and of course during July and August, are the most expensive times of the year to travel to the Algarve. Coming to the Algarve out of season is usually much cheaper and with 300 plus days of sunshine a year in the Algarve you can be pretty sure of blue skies at any time of the year!
9. Share the cost
With so many people travelling between the UK and the Algarve it is possible to find other people looking to make the same journey as you and to share the cost. Look on various Facebook groups to find out people travelling in the same direction as you and make some arrangements to share the cost. If you have a car you could give someone a lift or you may find someone with an empty seat looking for a cheap way to get to the Algarve around the same dates as you.
10. Book early
You can still fly to the Algarve on a cheap ticket if you are able to book your trip early enough to take advantage of the early booking discounts. A number of low cost airlines fly directly from the UK to Faro airport including EasyJet, Jet2.com and Ryanair and even some of the premium airlines such as British Airways and TAP have tickets at lower prices if you are able to book your seats well in advance. It pays to plan if you want cheap travel to the Algarve!
11. Look for promotions
Throughout the year a number of the airlines offer special priced seats and promotions on a first come first served basis and these can often be a very cheap way to travel to the Algarve. It is a good idea to sign up to the airline newsletters so that you are one of the first to find out about a promotion and to get your cheap seat on the plane first.