Faro International Airport is the only commercial airport in the Algarve, and is the 3rd largest airport in Portugal in terms of passenger numbers after Lisbon and Porto. The airport is located at the edge of the Rio Formosa Nature Reserve, and is only 10 minutes (4km) by car from the centre of Faro.
Flights from the west into Faro Airport often approach from the sea, offering spectacular views of some of the most popular Algarve Resorts including Albufeira, Vilamoura and Vale do Lobo during the descent. The final minutes before landing in Faro also offer views over the Rio Formosa nature reserve which is located at the end of the airports single runway.
Flight paths arriving from the east of Faro offer eye-catching views of the River Guadiana and the Guadiana Bridge which links Portugal and Spain at the southernmost point.
Faro Airport arrivals and departures are both located in a single terminal building, with Arrivals on the left as you face the building.
See a video of Faro Airport.
When your flight arrives in Faro, expect to queue for 5-15 minutes depending on the time of year to get through the passport check area. The baggage reclaim is next to the passport check area and there are no long walks with baggage inside the terminal building.
If you have a micro-chipped passport there are a number of automated passport checking machines where you can save time and avoid queues of tourists.
For drivers it is possible to collect and drop-off passengers at the front of the terminal building with no charges.
Having checked in for your flight at Faro, you pass through the security checks into the duty-free area. This is where all the main shops and food outlets are located. However, there is a second passport check point which leads to the departure gate area, so during busy periods (July/August) allow enough time to pass through this final checkpoint.
Prices inside Faro Airport are generally more expensive than buying produce locally in the Algarve. If you have room in your suitcase we would recommend that you purchase wine, cigarettes and other produce locally before you travel.
There is a smoker's lounge located in the boarding lounge.
If you have some spare time when you are waiting for a flight, Faro has a large duty free shopping area with a few restaurants and duty free shops. Although the airport prices for many items are lower than in the UK, wine, spirits, olive oil and Portuguese foods can be found cheaper at local Algarve supermarkets.
In the Public Area of the terminal building there is a Tourist Information centre, a bank (Santander), a bureau de change, a Delta kiosk selling newspapers and magazines, several cash point machines, a post office, police station, a pharmacy, a lost and found point, a Costa Coffee and a Faro Airport cafe (this café is often where late night arrivals meet their car hire representatives).
It is also possible to hire golf equipment at the airport - the golf hire shop is in the arrivals area close to the coffee bar.
There are cashpoint (ATM) machines which accept major credit and debit cards at Faro Airport in the arrivals and departures area - look out for the "M" signs.
There is a very helpful Tourist Information centre located in the Faro Airport terminal building in the arrivals area. If you have any questions about the Algarve, or if you need help with transport or accommodation, call in before leaving the airport.
Faro Airport has both long and short-term parking to the front of the terminal building. The short-term parking is a 2-minute walk from the terminal building entrance (directly outside the terminal entrance). Long term parking is located to the rear of the short-term car park.
You can pre-book long-term airport parking at the ANA website (ANA are the authority who administer civilian airports in Portugal).
Most of the international rental companies have desks and collection areas on site at Faro Airport. These companies are currently Avis, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise/Guerin, Goldcar and Hertz. If you are renting a vehicle from one of these companies, go to the rental desk inside the arrivals hall to sign the contract. Your vehicle will be collected from the rental car compound which is a short walk from the arrivals terminal.
Some of the local Faro-based car rental companies operate from the car rental building in Car Park 4 which is located outside the arrivals/departures terminal. Other companies use a shuttle service to local premises, so check your car rental "Terms and Co nditions" if you want on-site car collection.
NOTE: If you have a late-night flight arrival, there will usually be a "Meet and Greet" service in the arrivals hall (there is likely to be a charge for this of around €20).
See a video of Faro Airport Car Park 4 showing the distance to the terminal building.
When returning a rental car at Faro, the larger international companies (including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise/Guerin, Goldcar and Hertz) have drop-off areas inside the rental car compound. Most of the local companies have vehicle drop-off points in the Car Park 4 area, which is signposted as you enter Faro Airport or at their local premises.
There is a fuel station at the roundabout at the entrance to Faro Airport where you can refuel your rental vehicle if you need to return the vehicle with a full tank. "Gasolina sem chumbo" is unleaded fuel. If you don't refuel the rental vehicle yourself, most of the rental car companies charge fuel at an inflated higher rate.
If you are not planning to rent a car, below is a guide to the alternative transport options which are available at Faro Airport.
Taxis are available from Faro Airport to all the major resorts. Most taxis will only carry 4 people, so if you are travelling in a larger party you may be better to book a larger taxi or minibus transfer in advance.
A taxi from the airport to Faro bus station or train station or to the city centre should cost around € 12-15.
A taxi for 4 people from Faro Airport to Albufeira should cost around € 35 to 40. A larger taxi will be around €45 to 50.
The bus is the only means of public transport between Faro Airport and Faro centre. Routes 16 and 19 run regular services throughout the year. The overall journey takes about 15-20 minutes and should cost just over €2.
The main bus operator at the airport and throughout the Algarve is EVA. You can find bus timetables from Faro Airport on the Algarvebus website.
There is no train service at Faro Airport, but there are rail connections from Faro city centre to Lisbon, most of the major Algarve resorts and to the Spain border. The rail station is located close to Faro Marina. Buses from the airport stop at the train station.
For train times from Faro train station or anywhere in the Algarve, visit the cp.pt website.
Driving from Faro Airport to destinations in the Algarve is very straight forward with excellent road links to Albufeira and Lagos to the west, and Tavira and Spain to the east. The roads are not usually busy, and once you get away from Faro itself the rush hour traffic is minimal. Traffic around Faro can be busy from around 8.30-9AM and 6-7PM.
Whether you are driving east or west, you can choose to use the A22 toll road which is signposted from the roundabout at the exit of the airport. However, the payment procedure for the A22 hasn't been particularly well planned for tourists (see our driving advice page for more details). Your car rental company should be able to provide you with information on toll payment including prepaid options.
The A22 is the only motorway in the Algarve and was converted to a toll road in 2011. If you are using a rental vehicle you will need to check with your rental agent on the payment method for using the road.
If you are planning on using the A22 toll road from Faro Airport, the table to the right gives the current tariffs to some of the major locations in the Algarve. These prices are for small vehicles, larger vehicles such as minibuses are more expensive.
If you are looking for a hotel close to Faro Airport, the Hotel Ibis, Hotel Monaco and Faro Beach Hotel are low cost hotels within a 10-minute drive from the airport. See our Faro Airport hotel guide for more information.
Faro Airport is one of Europe's busiest holiday airports, mainly offering flights from the cooler European countries including Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Germany and the UK. In 2010 Faro Airport became a hub for Ryanair resulting in flights from many UK and European locations.
From the UK Ryanair fly to Faro Airport from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, London Stansted, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Newquay (Summer only). There are also Ryanair flights from Belfast and Derry in Ireland.
Additionally Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Easyjet, Jet2.com, Lufthansa, Monarch, SAS, TUIfly and many of the low-cost airlines fly to Faro in summer, but in winter the number of flights reduces significantly, with many operators offering no flights or reduced services between November and March.
TAP Portugal have a connecting service from Faro to Lisbon, and Ryanair connect from Faro to Porto.
The table gives some average flight durations from Faro Airport to major European airports.
NOTE: The flight times given in the table above can be affected by factors such as weather conditions and the jet stream.
If you want to enjoy the last few hours of your holiday soaking up the sun, there is a Delta snack bar serving coffee, sandwiches and alcoholic drinks outside the front of the main terminal building.
There is a Costa Coffee inside the departures area of the main terminal hall which you can use to pass time before check-in, or if you are waiting to meet someone. In the main departures area there are a number of bars and restaurants including Subway, a Carlsberg bar, the obligatory Irish bar and a rather expensive burger restaurant (there is no Mcdonalds or Burger King at Faro Airport).
If you arrive early at Faro Airport, or if you want to get something to eat before checking in, there are a few local options if you want to avoid the elevated airport prices.
Montenegro is situated approximately 1 km from the airport. There are a few small bars and cafes on Montenegro high street where you can sit outside and enjoy the sun with a beer or a coffee en route to the airport.
The Forum Algarve shopping centre is a modern shopping complex located around 2km from Faro Airport. At Forum Algarve there are a large number of shops, a supermarket and several low-cost restaurants including Mcdonalds.
Alternatively, if you have some time to spare before your flight, why not spend an hour or 2 at Faro beach. From the Faro Airport roundabout follow the signs for "Praia de Faro" and in 5 minutes you will be at Faro beach where there are a few small cafes and bars.
Back in 2011, storms caused a large part of the roof structure at Faro Airport to collapse. Since then the airport has been undergoing a major renovation, particularly to the front of the terminal building where new car parking and car rental compounds have been constructed.
The front of the airport has unfortunately lost much of its original charm as many of the green areas which greeted visitors from abroad in the past have been removed. Nowadays the arrivals area has a few palms but little in the way of the sub-tropical foliage which formerly welcomed visitors to the Algarve.