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Best place to stay to use buses to access walking

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    Posted: 14/November/2022 at 21:26
Hi  
I'm looking for advice as a first time visitor to Portugal please.  Despite the excellent website www.algarvebus.info (thank you whoever is responsible for that) I am finding it difficult to figure out if many of the walking routes I am interested in are actually accessible by bus.  I have a UK guidebook which details walks on the coast between Albufeira and Luz and inland routes around Monchique and Marmelete.  Is it possible to access these by bus? (we would be visiting in January or February so I understand the winter timetable is in effect).  Also, what would be the best place to stay to access the buses?  Would it have to be Albufeira?  I would prefer to be out of a big city and have been looking at Olhos d'Agua or Armacao de Pera.  However if Albufeira offers the best chance of travel to other areas for walking I'd be willing to go for that.  I know this is an Albufeira forum but would Lagos be another option?

 I live in the Scottish Highlands and don't drive so I am used to the inconvenience of using public transport.  As long as there is one bus there and back it is a bonus!

Many thanks in anticipation of any help. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bob d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14/November/2022 at 22:38
Our very own Cubsur on this forum is the man behind the site. I’m sure he’ll be along soon to advise. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cubsur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15/November/2022 at 07:59
Will do. Off out in a few minutes, so will reply fully this afternoon.

When will this trip be? After 1st December the bus routes around Albufeia are supposed to be changing. As there is no information yet available, a detailed reply could be a bit difficult!

The general lack of buses these days, especially at weekends, makes the Monchique and Marmalete areas almost impossible as a day trip from Albufeira, but with careful planning it can be done on a weekday.

Olhos D'Agua is a 15 minute bus ride from Albufeira bus station, currently very infrequent and irregular at weekends, so perhaps a bit out of the way give your plans. Armação de Pêra might be worth considering for the shorter journeys, but still nothing much to offer in terms of getting to inland areas.
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www.algarvebus.info public transport information for the Algarve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iscicles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15/November/2022 at 17:41
Hello Cubsur

We would be coming in late Jan/Feb for 2 weeks so we can accommodate the lack of buses at weekends as long as we can get to places on the weekdays.  Would you be able to advise if there is access to walking routes from Albufeira without using a bus?   Just to give you an idea of what we are looking for, our interests are walking and wildlife/bird watching and having a nice beer and we usually look for less developed resorts or smaller towns.  However, we are open to anything!

Thanks for your help.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cubsur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15/November/2022 at 18:16
OK so coming back from Monchique area is only possible on a weekday. There is a bus from Monchique to Portimão at 1730, arriving 1815 then there's a bus from Portimão to Albufeira at 1845. The previous buses are three hours earlier. Not possible at weekends.

There is some nice walking and bird watching to be done in the Salgados lagoon area a few miles west of Albufeira and even with the current limited bus service that's fairly easily done. You will have see the current timetable at www.algarvebus.info/030.htm and it can be hoped that with the change of network due to come in from 1st December there might even be buses at weekends! No information currently available.

There is also a marked walk from Paderne up around the hills to the castle ruins and down the other side back into Paderne. Buses go to Paderne, but again a very limirted service nowadays - www.algarvebus.info/021.htm

The other walk I have done is along the cliff or beach from Rocha Baixinha into Vilamoura. Buses out to Rocha Baixinha www.algarvebus.info/023.htm and back from Vilamoura www.algarvebus.info/002w.htm .

Another small town worth a visit and from where you can strike out into the hills is Messines. Two bus routes www.algarvebus.info/021.htm and www.algarvebus.info/020.htm

You really do have to get 3 or 4 miles out of Albufeira town to be into even semi countryside, so a bus or taxi is probably needed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bunnyrunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/November/2022 at 09:47
There is a book, "Walking Trails in The Algarve" for sale at 7€ in the (Algarve) Tourist Office just near the Tunnel beach entrance. It's a good walking route book with plasticised pages and about 35 different walks throughout the Algarve. They do stretch the entire length of the Algarve from Vila Real de Santo Antonio in the East to Vila do Bispo and the Atlantic Coast in the West but you should be able to do plenty of them from Albufeira using buses.
The one cubsur mentions is the Paderne Castle trail and there's another, the Saint Vincente trail just the other side of Paderne in the direction of Tunes. There are some lovely walks up around Olhao and Tavira, The Ilha de Culatra trail which will involve getting the ferry but it is all year round, The Nature discovery trail at the Marim Environmental education centre just outside Olhao and the Praia do Barril trail towards Tavira where you can learn about the now defunct tuna fishing industry and have a pleasant beer at one of the many cafes in the converted factory. Tavira itself is well worth a vist as a historical town with it's 26 churches and Roman bridge, you may need an overnight stay to see the town and do the trails. There are very pleasant small hotels right on the riverside near the ferries for c60€ a night.
Cubsur will be able to advise you on buses better than anyone in the Algarve including the staff at the bus station (Rodovaria) but another thing that might come in useful is the Uber app. I would be surprised if you have a need for it in the Scottish Highlands but this is the app for taking private rides in people's cars. Often times the bus will only get you so far and an uber is a good add on, sometimes as you are paying 2 bus fares the uber can be cheaper or at least more convenient. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cubsur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/November/2022 at 10:42
Here's a recent news item of interest


I should also have mentioned that if the VAMUS buses are to be used more than a couple of times, you should buy the pre paid fare card which reduces the cost by up to 50%. You can get one at Albufeira bus station. Information - http://www.algarvebus.info/images/CartazCartaoPrePago_Dezembro2021.pdf

This can also be kept on your phone using their 'app' at https://vamusalgarve.pt/#/pt/vamus%20algarve/point-of-sales - look towards top right of the page.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bunnyrunner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/November/2022 at 14:05
Tom, the app is a complete nightmareAngry, you're better off paying the 2€ for the card. OK I know the app is more convenient for topping up on the internet with a credit card, saves going in person to the bus station like with the card. However to use your balance, i.e. pay the fare you have to generate a QR code which for some good reason expires after a minute and has a countdown from 59 seconds just to add a bit of pressure. Whereas you just tap your card on top of the driver's terminal and away you go, with the app you have to hold the phone about 2 feet away from the camera/scanner, crouch down with your head in the driver's groin so you can see the screen to line up your QR code. While you are doing this the dreaded countdown clock has turned red and inevitably just as you get the code within the square on the screen, the code expires! Plus if it's sunny forget it as you can't even see the screen. Of course while you are doing this there's a bus full of passengers and people in the queue behind you grinding their teeth and spitting out portuguese profanities. So If you see some old plonker at the front of the bus messing about with his phone and his head in the drivers lap don't give him a hard time, it's probably me!Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iscicles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/November/2022 at 20:26
Thanks to everyone for your advice.  I'm looking forward to visiting early next year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cubsur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/November/2022 at 08:35
I don't use the app precisely because I don't trust them to work when needed. I have the old fashioned plastic card. It's now possible also to reload the card using the new ticket machine at Albufeira bus station.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iscicles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/November/2022 at 18:31
Hi again everyone.  I've been doing more research and am seeking more advice please. Would Praia de Rocha be any good as a base for a pleasant environment to stay in but also access to Portimao for buses to elsewhere? Also, for the same reasons what about Alvor?  I'd prefer not to stay in Portimao itself.

Many thanks in anticipation of any help.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cubsur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22/November/2022 at 07:53
Praia da Rocha and Alvor both have buses to and from Portimão but not much else other than the infrequent number 51 on the Albufeira - Lagos route.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iscicles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22/November/2022 at 16:36
thanks very much
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