Where to stay in Algarve without a car – 8 Best areas 

In this article, I will help you to find Where to stay in Algarve without a car. I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Algarve without a car (include map), where I stayed in the Algarve, and the best hotels for all budgets.

It is possible to get around the Algarve region in Portugal without a car. The Algarve has a relatively well-developed transportation system that includes buses, trains, taxis, Uber, and even some bicycle rental options.  

Algarve has an extensive network of public buses, so you can use buses to reach popular tourist destinations. The central bus station in Faro is a major hub for regional bus travel.

The region also has a railway network operated by CP (Comboios de Portugal). The train is a scenic way to travel along the coastline.

The main train line runs between Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António, stopping at towns like Faro, Albufeira, Olhão, Tavira, Loulé, and Portimão along the way. 

Some areas of the Algarve, especially along the coastline, are bike-friendly. You can rent bicycles in many tourist areas and explore the region at your own pace.

If you’re in a relatively compact town or village, walking can be a pleasant way to get around. Many tourist areas have pedestrian-friendly streets.

In some coastal towns like Lagos, Albufeira, and Portimão, you can take boat tours to explore nearby beaches and caves.

You can also consider joining organized tours and excursions that include transportation. These tours often provide convenient transportation to popular attractions.

While it’s possible to get around the Algarve without a car, some remote or less touristy areas may have limited public transportation options. It’s a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance, check transportation schedules, especially if they are off the beaten path.

Where to stay in Algarve without a car?

The best areas to stay in Algarve without a car are Lagos, Albufeira, Portimão, Faro, Tavira, Vilamoura, Quarteira, and Sagres. These towns are easily accessible by public transportation, and easily explored on foot, making them great bases in Algarve for car-free travelers.

Additionally, many hotels and guesthouses in these towns can also help arrange day trips or excursions to explore the Algarve further if you don’t want to rely solely on public transport.

In general, Lagos is the overall best place to stay in Algarve for car-free travelers. It is a popular coastal town with excellent public transportation connections. You can explore the historic center, beaches, and take day trips by bus and train.

During my trip to the Algarve, I didn’t rent a car and booked a hotel in Lagos and Albufeira. From these towns, I was able to make day trips to its surrounding beaches and attractions using bus and train, which I feel are very convenient and affordable.

Map of the best areas and neighborhoods in Algarve without a car:

Map of the best areas to stay in Algarve without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Algarve without a car

8 Best areas to stay in Algarve without a car:

1. Lagos

Lagos is one of the best areas to stay in Algarve without a car. You can easily explore the Old Town and the beaches on foot. Additionally, the town is well-connected by train and bus, making it easy to make a day trip to nearby attractions by public transportation.

Lagos is one of the Algarve’s most popular destinations due to its picturesque coastline, historical significance, and vibrant atmosphere.

The town is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve, including Praia Dona Ana, Praia Camilo, and Praia da Batata. These beaches are known for their golden sands and crystal-clear waters, making them ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, windsurfing, paddleboarding.

The coastline around Lagos features impressive rock formations, sea caves, and grottoes. You can take boat tours to explore these natural wonders or even kayak through some of the sea caves.

Lagos has a charming historic center with cobbled streets, historic buildings, and a lively atmosphere. Some notable landmarks include the Church of St. Anthony, the Mercado de Escravos (Slave Market), and the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira.

The marina in Lagos is a bustling hub with restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s a great place to enjoy a meal or a drink while overlooking the yachts and boats in the harbor.

Lagos is known for its vibrant nightlife, especially during the summer months. There are numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues where you can enjoy the evening.

Lagos serves as a good base for day trips to nearby historic town of Sagres, Cape St. Vincent (the southwestern tip of Europe), and the picturesque village of Praia da Luz.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Lagos without a car:


2. Albufeira

Albufeira is a popular resort town in the Algarve region and is one of the great locations for car-free travelers. It is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and picturesque old town.  

Albufeira is easily reachable from Faro airport by a direct bus, as well as from Lisbon by the long distance  Flixbus and Alsa bus. Albufeira has a train station called Albufeira-Ferreiras Railway Station, but take note that it is located a few kms away from the city center, you can take a bus/taxi to the Old Town.

Albufeira boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, including Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s Beach), Praia da Oura, and Praia de Santa Eulália. These beaches offer golden sands, clear waters, and a variety of water sports and recreational activities.

The historic center of Albufeira, known as the Old Town (Cidade Velha), is a charming area with narrow cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and a lively atmosphere. It’s a great place to explore, shop, dine at local restaurants, and experience the local culture.

Albufeira is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. The Strip (Avenida Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro) is a popular area for nightlife, offering a wide range of options for partygoers.

The Algarve region is known for its golf courses, and Albufeira is no exception. There are several golf courses in the vicinity, making it a popular destination for golf enthusiasts.

Albufeira is home to some exciting waterparks, including Aqualand Algarve and Slide & Splash, where families and thrill-seekers can enjoy water slides, wave pools, and other attractions.

Beyond its beaches and cityscape, Albufeira is surrounded by natural beauty. The cliffs and rock formations along the coastline are particularly stunning and are a great backdrop for hiking and photography.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Albufeira without a car:


3. Portimão

Portimão is a city and municipality that is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage. Portimão has a bus and train station, conveniently located in the city center, with connection from Faro airport and Lisbon.

You can take a taxi/bus to the nearby picturesque Alvor fishing village, a boat to Ferragudo or a short train ride to Silves.

Praia da Rocha is one of the most famous beaches in Portimão and the Algarve region. It features stunning golden cliffs and a wide stretch of sandy shoreline, where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

The marina in Portimão is a hub for boating and yachting enthusiasts. It’s a great place to stroll, dine at waterfront restaurants, and admire the luxurious boats and yachts.

Fort of Santa Catarina dates back to the 17th century and offers panoramic views of the coastline. It’s an interesting spot for history buffs.

Museu de Portimão is located in a former sardine canning factory and showcases the history and culture of Portimão. It’s an excellent place to learn about the area’s maritime heritage.

Portimão hosts an annual Sardine Festival (Festival da Sardinha) where locals and tourists come together to celebrate with grilled sardines and live music. It’s a fun and lively event.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Portimão without a car:


4. Faro

Faro is the largest city and the capital of the Algarve region, home to the Faro Airport, which is one of the busiest in Portugal, serving as a major gateway to the Algarve region. Many tourists arrive at this airport before heading to other destinations within the Algarve.

From Faro Airport, you can take a light blue and white bus number  16 of Próximo company to the bus station in Faro city center, stopping by the Forum Algarve shopping mall. The journey is around 20 minutes and costs € 2,25.

From Faro, you can easily take a bus to popular towns in the Algarve region including Albufeira, Lagos, Portimão, Olhão, and Tavira. 

Faro serves as its administrative and transportation hub, making it a great base for travelers without a car. It is located on the southern coast of Portugal and is known for its historic old town, charming streets, and cultural attractions.

Faro’s historic center, the Old Town, is enclosed by medieval walls and is a delightful place to explore. It features narrow cobblestone streets, traditional Portuguese architecture, and historical landmarks like the Faro Cathedral and the Arco da Vila (City Arch).

In addition to the Old Town, Faro has some popular beaches including Praia de Faro, Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island), and Praia da Ilha do Farol.

You can easily take a day trip to the nearby Ria Formosa Natural Park, which is a protected natural park and lagoon system. It is a haven for birdwatching, featuring various species of migratory birds, and is also known for its scenic landscapes and unique ecosystems.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Faro without a car:


5. Tavira

Tavira is a beautiful town known for its historical/cultural significance, and its natural beauty. It was an important trading port and played a significant role during the Moorish occupation. Many historical sites, including churches, bridges, and castle remnants, can be found in the town.

Tavira is easily reachable from Lisbon and Faro airport. It has a bus station located in the Old Town, a pier, and a central train station located 10 minute walk from the city center, making it a great base for visitors without a car. 

One of the main attractions in Tavira is its beautiful beach, Tavira Island (Ilha de Tavira). It’s a natural barrier island accessible by a short ferry ride from the town. 

Tavira is situated within the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a protected area that comprises a diverse ecosystem of wetlands, salt pans, and lagoons. It’s a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

Given its location on the coast and proximity to the Ria Formosa, Tavira offers boat tours and excursions that allow visitors to explore the natural beauty of the region and its unique ecosystems.

Tavira Castle, or Castelo de Tavira, is a historic landmark that offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding area. It’s a great place to explore and learn more about the town’s history.

The Roman Bridge (Ponte Romana) in Tavira is one of the town’s iconic landmarks. It spans the Gilão River and is a picturesque spot for photos and a leisurely stroll.

Tavira is often called the “town of churches” due to its numerous religious buildings. The Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo, with its beautiful azulejos (decorative ceramic tiles), is a notable example.

The historic center of Tavira is characterized by narrow winding streets, traditional Portuguese architecture, and a laid-back atmosphere. It’s a pleasant area to explore on foot.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Tavira without a car:


6. Vilamoura

Vilamoura is a popular resort town known for its beautiful beaches, world-class golf courses, marina, and vibrant nightlife. From Faro airport, you can take bus number 16 to Faro, and another bus to Vilamoura. You can also take a taxi/Uber at the airport, which is a 30 minute ride away.

There is no train station in Vilamoura, the nearest train station is in Loulé, from where you can take a taxi to Vilamoura. You can take a long distance bus from Lisbon and Porto to Vilamoura at Rede Expressos or Flixbus.pt.

Marina de Vilamoura is the heart of Vilamoura and is one of the largest and most sophisticated in Europe. It’s surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops, and luxury hotels. You can take a leisurely stroll along the marina, admire the yachts, and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.

Vilamoura is home to several stunning beaches, including Praia da Marina (Marina Beach), Praia da Falésia (Falesia Beach), and Praia de Vilamoura (Vilamoura Beach). These beaches offer golden sands and crystal-clear waters, making them perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports.

Vilamoura is a golfer’s paradise, with several world-class golf courses in the vicinity. The Vilamoura Golf Club offers championship courses where you can enjoy a round of golf with scenic views.

Vilamoura comes alive at night with a wide range of bars, clubs, and restaurants offering live music, DJ sets, and entertainment. The nightlife scene is known for being lively and vibrant.

The Casino Vilamoura is a popular entertainment hub with a variety of gaming options, including slot machines, poker, and blackjack. It also hosts live shows and events.

Vilamoura has some interesting historical sites, including Roman ruins known as Cerro da Vila. These ancient ruins give you a glimpse into the region’s rich history.

If you’re traveling with family, you can visit nearby water parks like Aquashow Park, which offers water slides, pools, and other attractions.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Vilamoura without a car:


7. Quarteira

Quarteira is a popular tourist destination, situated close to Vilamoura. It is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a wide range of recreational activities. 

Similar to its neighbor Vilamoura, Quarteira doesn’t have a train station, the nearest one is in Loulé. So from Faro airport, you can catch an Uber/taxi, or get on bus 16 to Faro, and change to another bus to Quarteira. 

Quarteira’s central location in the Algarve makes it a convenient base for exploring the wider region, including nearby towns like Faro, Albufeira, and Lagos by bus.

The Praia de Quarteira is the main beach, and it offers golden sands, clear waters, and various water sports and leisure activities.

The town has a pleasant seaside promenade, perfect for leisurely strolls and enjoying scenic views of the ocean. You’ll find palm trees, benches, and restaurants along the promenade.

Quarteira is famous for its fish market, where you can find a variety of fresh seafood caught by local fishermen. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and sample some delicious seafood dishes.

The Algarve is known for its golf courses, and Quarteira is no exception. There are several golf courses in the area, making it a desirable destination for golf enthusiasts.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Quarteira without a car:


8. Sagres

Sagres is a beautiful coastal town, located in the western tip of the Algarve. It is known for its stunning natural scenery, rich history, and as a popular destination for tourists. 

The consistent Atlantic swells make Sagres a popular destination for surfers. There are several surf schools and rental shops in the area.

The closest airport to Sagres is in Faro, which is located approximately 90 minutes away. Even though the best way to reach it is by car, you can also take a bus/train to Lagos, then take bus number 47/ taxi to Sagres. It is a 30 minute drive away.

Sagres is compact, you can easily explore all the sights in town center on foot. You can take bus 47 (running between Sagres and the lighthouse) to visit the Cabo de São Vicente.

The Cabo de São Vicente is the southwesternmost spot of mainland Europe and is often referred to as the “End of the World.” The rugged cliffs, breathtaking views, and stunning sunset make it a must-visit.

You can explore the Fortaleza de Sagres, originally built in the 15th century and played a significant role in Portugal’s Age of Exploration. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Sagres offers easy access to numerous beaches. Praia do Beliche is a beautiful beach known for its pristine sands and great surfing conditions. It’s a popular spot for sunbathing and water sports.

Another lovely beach in Sagres, Praia da Mareta is ideal for swimming and has several beachside cafes and bars where you can relax.

You can visit the Museu da Baleia (Whale Museum) which is dedicated to the history of whaling in the region and provides insights into the maritime heritage of Sagres.

Sagres is surrounded by natural beauty, making it a great destination for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. The Rota Vicentina hiking trail passes through this area, offering excellent opportunities for long walks along the coast.

Best places to stay in Algarve in Sagres without a car:


In conclusion, Lagos, Albufeira, Portimão, Faro, Tavira, Vilamoura, Quarteira, and Sagres are the best places to stay in Algarve without a car. They all have a walkable town center, and are well-connected by public transportation, making them great locations for car-free holidays in Algarve.

You can continue reading about Algarve and other destinations in Portugal in these articles:

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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