Portugal has three main international airports, Lisbon, Faro and Porto. The three airports serve different regions of the country but all have numerous international routes and are served by standard and budget airlines. Portugal has excellent and inexpensive public transport which makes it possible to travel from one airport to another but it makes sense to fly into the region you intend to visit. This guide will provide an overview of the airports in Portugal, common visitors to each airport and busy seasons.
An Overview of Portugal Airports
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and Lisbon airport (LIS) is the main airport of the country. The airport handles the highest number of international flights and most flights from outside of Europe fly into Lisbon airport. The airport has recently under gone a program of increasing capacity and facilities, so now the airport is painless to fly into. Lisbon airport is conveniently located within the city limits and is connected to the metro and bus network. For a guide to Lisbon airport please click here.
The international terminal at Lisbon airport
Faro airport (FAO) serves the southern side of Portugal and this region of stunning beaches and enjoyable resort towns is referred to as the Algarve. The number of flights and passenger levels fluctuates during the year, with most travelers passing through the airport during the long summer season. For a guide to Faro airport please click here.
A TAP flight landing at Faro airport
The north of Portugal is served by Porto airport (OPO). The airport is becoming a hub for low cost airlines and the number of flights outside of European is increasing. Generally there is not massive seasonal variation as experienced by Faro airport. The airport is within city limits and is connected to the metro for easy onward travel
There is no airport which serves the eastern side of Portugal, for central Portugal fly into Lisbon and for the north eastern side of Portugal fly into Porto. The Algarve regional railway serves the entire southern coastline but is very slow, pre-arranged transfers are recommended for resorts not close to Faro airport.
Portugal Airports for Passengers
The majority of tourists to Portugal fly into either Faro airport (for a beach holiday) or Lisbon (for a city break or touring holiday). The two main industrial and commercial centers of Portugal are at Lisbon and Porto with the Algarve receiving very little business flyers.
All of the airports have facilities that reflect the size of the airports and include car rental, money exchanges, ticket sales and duty free lounges. There are numerous taxis outside of each airport but the drivers are notorious for charging too much for new arrivals, always ensure the meter is used.
Warnings about Portugal Airports
Portugal airports have a non-standard lay out for departures. Passport control is after the duty free lounge and this adds a significant amount of time after the shops. Many passengers end up missing flights as they do not appreciate that there is an additional stage after the shops. The low cost airlines can have massive queues during the height of the season always leave plenty of time at the airport.