Although many people fly to Faro when they have Lagos as their destination, there are also many who first visit Lisbon and then head south to Lagos. Others may even find a good deal on a low-cost flight to Lisbon and, when adding up costs, find it cheaper to fly to Lisbon and then take the bus to Lagos. There is no direct train to Lagos from the capital, and rail travel between the two cities is a couple of euros more expensive than the bus. The bus is also comfortable and air-conditioned, so those not renting a car will find it to be the better public transportation option. Lagos is 300km south of Lisbon, following the A2 and A22 highways. By car it’s just 2 hours and 45 minutes, but the bus stops at towns in between, so it takes about one hour longer.
Bus from Lisbon to Lagos
There are three different companies linking Lisbon to Lagos (Rede Expressos, Eva-Mundial Turismo and Renex), and they all use clean, comfortable and modern buses. They all depart several times a day (more on weekdays and in the summer) from the Sete Rios terminal, although Renex also has departures from Oriente Station. For Sete Rios, take the Metro to Jardim Zoológico station (on the blue line). Outside (up an escalator) is the bus terminal. For Oriente Station, take the red line of the Metro. Unless you’re staying at a hotel by Oriente (in the Parque das Nações district) or heading straight to Lagos from the airport (Oriente Station is just three Metro stops from the airport), it’s more convenient to depart from Sete Rios. Renex buses make several stops in Algarve before reaching Lagos, take about 4 hours and regular tickets are €20. Rede Expressos and Eva-Mundial Turismo make a couple fewer stops, so take about 3 hours and 45 minutes (regular tickets for Rede Expressos are €20 and for Eva-Mundial Turismo they’re €22). It’s recommended that you buy your ticket before the day of travel, as this is a very popular route. In the high tourist season (summer) you can also expect long lines at the bus station’s ticket office. Sometimes the bus companies offer discounts on tickets bought in advance, so that’s another advantage. For departure times, availability and purchase of tickets, see the Rede Expressos website (it also shows the times and prices of the other two companies, and also allows you to buy tickets for those -- despite the different names, these companies are owned by the same group). When buying tickets from the website, you’ll need to provide the number of your national ID or passport. The bus station in Lagos is to the north of the Old Town, but is central and within walking distance of most hotels.
Train from Lisbon to Lagos
The advantage of the train from Lisbon is that it offers more space (leg room) and a more scenic route, but it does require connecting at the small town of Tunes. The complete journey can be anywhere between 3h45m and 4h10m. There are also just five daily services -- three of the regular Intercidades train and two of the slightly faster Alfa Pendular. A ticket for the Intercidades is €22.65 (€28.30 if you prefer first class) and for the Alfa Pendular it’s €24.05 (€30.95 for first class). There isn’t much difference between first and second class, except for more spacious seats and the availability of power outlets in the first. There is one Intercidades in the morning and two in the afternoon, and one Alfa Pendular early in the morning and in the afternoon. For the exact departure times, see the cp.pt website.
Tickets must be purchased before boarding, at the ticket office or online at the CP website linked above. Tickets have an assigned carriage and seat for the Lisbon-Tunes journey. For the regional Tunes-Lagos train, you’re free to sit anywhere. There is always space available, just remember that this is a regional service on a slower train, stopping at several small towns in Algarve before Lagos. Connecting at Tunes is easy -- just follow everyone else, as this station is mostly used to connect to the regional line of the Algarve.
The train station in Lagos is to the east of the Old Town, by the marina. It’s about a 15-minute walk to the center.