Algarve Travel - Getting There


Getting to the Ecovia do Litoral bike path, either with or without your own bike, is going to involve one or more of:

Planes

Flying to the Algarve there are really only two possible arrival airports:

  • Faro from Reykavik, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Exeter, Southend, Southampton, Luton, Stansted, Gatwick, Newcastle, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Stockholm, Oslo and others
  • Lisbon from Dublin, Cork, Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Oslo, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Bordeaux, Frankfurt and others

You could come over the border from Malaga but the above two arrival airports are a better bet. There are many sources of cheap flights but we have found that cheapflights.co.uk offers consistently low prices.

If you are flying with your bike, check the airline's terms of carriage (many budget airlines disclaim liability for bicycles), Bikes on Planes and your travel insurance. We don't recommend transporting an expensive bike by plane. Also, choose a direct flight wherever possible, as the more your bike is handled, the greater the chance it will be damaged. Advice on packing your bike for a flight is to be found in the Guide.
Don't forget to book an airport car park in advance, it will be much cheaper than just turning up. Purple Parking has better coverage than most, with car parks at over 20 UK airports.
 

Trains

The train is not an obvious means of reaching the Algarve from the north of Europe but if you want to travel by rail then the following should allow you to plan the journey:

  • The Man in Seat 61 gives by far the best, independent explanations of all things rail-related and we can only recommend that you check out his views on bike travel.
  • Travel with a bike inside the UK is relatively easy, as most trains will carry bikes as long as there is room (avoid commuting times and travelling in a large group of cyclists) and for free, but advance reservations are sometimes required.
  • For information, train times and ticket purchases, we find that trainline is better than most of the other commercial sites.
  • For unbiased information, we again recommend The Man in Seat 61. Note that the London Underground (the Tube) does not take bikes, unless they are bagged and do not look like bikes.

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Ferries

There are not many ferry options from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. However, you could catch a ferry into Bilbao or Santander and then drive down the length of Spain or Portugal.

  • To the North of Spain
    • Bilbao from Portsmouth
    • Santander, from Portsmouth and Plymouth
The drive from Santander to Faro is about 1,000 km.


Driving

The rules vary by country and you should double check current requirements before setting off. If you are a member of a motoring organisation, it should be able to provide up to date information, as should the national tourist board web sites, or see here. At the time of writing, the most stringent requirements required for all of Spain and Portugal are:
  • carry your passport, driving licence, vehicle registration documents and certificate of insurance
  • display a country of origin sticker (GB etc) on the back of the car
  • use mobile phones only with "hands free" kit
  • children should sit in the back
  • all passengers should wear seat belts
  • fit beam converters to the head lights of a right hand drive vehicle
  • carry a warning triangle (2 in Spain) and spare light bulbs
  • no alcohol in the blood above 0.5mg/ml (pros and new drivers <0.3mg/ml in Spain)
Fines are levied on the spot and must be paid in cash (Euros).

For further details, click here.

 

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