Pick up your hire car in Marbella or from Malaga airport and you can get from Marbella to Lagos on the Algarve in less than five hours. It’s a journey we make at least once a year if not twice, just for the weekend. We most often stay in Jack’s or Rocha de Gralheira up  behind Faro or the Marina Rio hotel in Lagos. 

Getting to the Algarve.  You have three routes to choose from:

1) To Sevilla through  Málaga city. it’s a fast open road with great places to stop for a coffee and tostada. You’ll smell fresh olive oil fragances from the olive oil co-operatives or 50 kms after Antequera.  If you are travelling from the airport take the AP43 from behind Malaga airport which will whizz you up to Antequera in no time at all. 

2) To Sevilla through Ronda, very picturesque for the passengers but winding curves for the driver all the way to Ronda and you can get stuck behind buses or lorries on a Friday.  Lovely rolling farm landscapes between Ronda and Sevilla. 

3) To Sevilla past Los Barrios. Take the AP7 toll road all the way down the coast and then turn inland just before you get to Algeciras. You’ll pass Jerez de la Frontera airport on your left after travelling through magificent cork oak covered landscapes.   There are two speed traps on this section. One going to Sevilla and one returning. They are just after the exits from tunnels. Watch your speed as you come out of the tunnels.

Getting through Sevilla  The Sevilla ring road is merciless. However you get to Sevilla my advice is when  you see a sign for Huelva to the west of Sevilla, take it.  You don’t get a second chance. Driving on the ring road at rush hour is like the Indianapolis speedway. On this stretch, I drive and watch out for cars on my left and right and merging traffic and my wife looks for the signs.  We’ve done it many times but always switch in to super alert mode. 

From Sevilla to Lagos. You’ll travel through  the Huelva province just before Portugal. It’s a superb road with lots of variation in the roadside services and ventas for food and drink and a break. Travel in the morning because the sun will be behind you and return to Spain in the afternoon when the setting sun is behind you again. The striking suspension bridge over the wide Guadiana river will come into sight. You are about to cross into Portugal. There are no border checks but just inside the Portuguese border pick up your toll road registration and travel in comfort on the Algarve toll roads.

Lagos is just another hour away heading west on a gently curving highway inland from the Atlantic coast of the Algarve. Not long now, focus on the beach and a cold glass of good Portuguese vino branco in your hand.

Travelling by Bus. The route is also popular by bus. It’s an overnight trip from Faro on the  Algarve to Fuengirola and a day trip from Fuengirola to the Algarve. Check out the route and  timings on the Gomarbella online bus ticket reservations reservation system.

Please write to me any questions using the comment form on the blog below. Have a great stay on the Algarve!

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Tap into my 40 years of experience of living in Marbella when you ask your question on Gomarbella. I love travelling and enjoy helping others finding their way round Spain or moving here. Travelling, keeping fit, eating well, mountain biking, staying in touch worldwide with my family and friends and of course helping Gomarbella users are what drive me every day. Get in touch, no question too small to answer!

14 COMMENTS

  1. Hello again Avi, I phoned the Ronda bus station +34 95287 22 60 and checked that the left luggage lockers are still there. They are. They have a size for large rucksacks. The fellow told me that around these dates (March) and in fact most of the year travellers can find an empty locker. As mentioned on the Ronda bus station page, luggage can be left safely in the bus office as well. I know how you feel about not wanting to be parted from your pack unless it's locked up. In January this year I did a 6 day trek in Patagonia in the Andes and left stuff behind the counter in reception in my back packers' lodge. It was all there when I came back. I hope this helps Aki, travel well and have a great day in Ronda. Best wishes Mike

  2. Hi Mike,

    I would like to travel from Malaga to Ronda, spend the day in Ronda, and take the bus from Ronda bus station to Seville in the evening.

    The question is whether or not the left luggage lockers in the Ronda bus station will fit my 80 liter pack or not? You posted a picture of them on GoMarbella, but I couldn't tell how large they are.

    Thanks, Avi

  3. Hello Avi, sorry not to reply earlier. I wanted to phone the Ronda bus station and check with them to be absolutely sure because I gave information in 2009 about the left luggage lockers in La Linea, next to Gibraltar and since then they have been removed!

    I'll phone the Ronda bus station tomorrow and then answer you here.

    Best wishes and thank you for your patience. Mike

  4. Hi Mike,

    I will be traveling from Malaga to Seville and onto Albufeira in late March.

    I thought of doing the trip from Malaga to Seville via Ronda, and taking the day to walk around Ronda.

    This would of course, involve leaving my luggage at the Ronda bus station. I see that you posted a picture of the left luggage lockers at the Ronda bus station. However, I can't tell whether or not the lockers are big enough to fit my 80 Liter backpack.
    What do you think?

    I don't know if I can rely on leaving my bag in the storeroom.

    Thanks, Avi

  5. Hi Sonia

    Thank you very much for writing in. Curiously enough on Tuesday afternoon I drove back with my wife along the Algarve back to Marbella. We had come all the way down through Portugal from Vigo in the north west of Spain. We go to the Algarve at least once a year.

    On the way back we stopped off behind Faro at the big Continente Modelo hipermarket and when I checked on GPS it showed the distance from Faro to Marbella as 466 kms or 4 hours 20 minutes driving time, say 4.50 hrs from Mijas. The route is down the coast towards Gibraltar, turning inland towards Seville, passing Los Barrios on the right before passing Jerez de Frontera airport on the left.

    It's a lovely drive approaching Seville on the toll road. The few kilometres going round the bottom of Seville on the ring road before picking up the road to Huelva and the Portuguese border need maximum concentration. A GPS will talk you through it. That's the only tricky bit because you only get one chance to make up your mind for each exit. Follow the signs for Huelva on this bit because Portugal does not appear.

    From Seville to the border it's a very easy drive and you'll be on the Algarve before you know it. Leave Spain in the morning to miss the 4.30pm onward peak hours as you pass round Seville and to avoid the westerly sun as you drive towards Portugal. We love the fact that when you get to Portugal you put your watch back an hour and gain more time on your first day. On the way back to Spain leave early enough to miss the 4.30pm onwards peak traffic around Seville and late enough not to have the morning sun in your eyes.

    We usually stay at Rocha de Gralheira on the Algarve:

    There's lots to see and do on the Algarve, I'll send you a couple of suggestions for excursions and places to visit. Yes, I think it is well worth going there!

    You can do Tangier in a day, the first visit is always easier on an organised excursion but if you have a car and are feeling adventurous you might be tempted to drive down to Algeciras, leave the car in the carpark in the port and take a ferry over. No need to book in advance. You certainly don't need the car over there. It's tricky to say whether your own trip or an organised excursion would be easier without knowing the age of the teenagers and ratio of boys to girls. If they are younger teenagers rather than older, I would tend to think that an organised excursion will be easier. Without a guide you will be hassled all the way around Tangier and to get a guide you will need to negotiate as you get off the boat. After trips to Portugal and Morocco inside their holiday to Spain the children will have had a very rich cultural experience.

    I hope this helps you Sonia, let me know if you have any questions or doubts. Thanks again for writing in.

    Best wishes from Marbella

    Mike

  6. Hi, I will be visiting Mijas for a week at the end of June, with my husband and 3 teenagers. We would like to visit Portugal (maybe the Algarve region) by car. We are renting it at Malaga and plan to return it back in Malaga. How long is the drive to Portugal and is it worth the effort? Also, is visiting Tangier something you would recommend?
    Thanks, Sonia

  7. Hello Lisa

    Thanks very much for checking in to Gomarbella.

    The cheapest and easiest way to get from Malaga to Lagos will be by bus and I am happy to say that online bus reservations are now possible with gomarbella online bus seat booking and reservation engine
    When you book your journey from Malaga to Lagos you will need to break your journey from Malaga to Lagos into two steps. 1) Malaga to Sevilla 2) Sevilla to Lagos

    You will see that leaving Malaga at 11.00 you will arrive in Sevilla at 13.45. Your bus from Sevilla to Lagos will leave at 16.15 and arrive in Lagos at 21.45.

    In Sevilla you will arrive at the Estación de Autobuses Prado de San Sebastian and you will need to change bus stations to the Estación de Autobuses Plaza de Armas for your bus to Portugal. There is a local bus service linking the two stations running every 15 minutes and this short journey only takes 15 minutes at the most. This gives you time to have a meal at the great little cafeteria at the Prado de San Sebastian bus station before you change bus stations.

    Print off your seat reservations and hand them directly to the driver.

    For your return journey to Barcelona, book your journey back to Sevilla from Portugal and then book from Sevilla right the way through from Sevilla to Barcelona on the overnight bus service.

    Let me know if I can help at all Lisa over on the Gomarbella Travel Page and thanks again for your contact.

    Best wishes Mike

  8. Hi,
    We will be in Malaga for a few days this month and want to head over to Lagos for a couple of days. Can you tell mw what the easiest and most inexpensive way to do this is. Also, would you happen to know how we can get from Lagos to Barcelona? Thanks a lot
    Lisa

  9. Hello Jennifer

    Thanks very much for writing in to the Gomarbella Travel Pages. Have a look at the Gomarbella online bus ticket booking system and enter Faro bus station in as your Origin and Fuengirola as your Destination. This bus will pass through Sevilla at the Plaza de Armas bus station and then on to Malaga bus station finishing its route at Fuengirola bus station.

    The other way to do the journey by day is to take a bus from Albufeira to Sevilla and then change buses there. You would need to change bus stations in Sevilla from the Plaza de Armas bus station to the Prado de San Sebastian bus station then travel from there to Marbella.
    I hope this helps you Jennifer please let me know how you get on and if any queries come up.

    Best wishes from Marbella

    Mike

  10. Hi,
    I am trying to book a bus from Albufeira to Marbella on August 3rd for 2 adults and 2 kids. Can't seem to find any bus routes, etc. Direct would be better, but a transfer in Sevilla is fine too. Please help! Thank you so much.
    Jennifer

  11. Hello Sher,

    Go to the Gomarbella online booking site and put in details of your trip in this order:
    1) Spain 2) Malaga for your departure
    3) Portugal 4) Faro for your arrival

    Put in any travel dates so that you can go through to the next page to get the schedule for the bus service between the two countries.

    The bus doesn’t come through Marbella, it goes inland from Sevilla to Malaga bus station then on to Fuengirola.

    If you haven’t already done the journey, let me know as I asked before and I’ll find that last bit of information for you.

    Best wishes for your journey.

    Mike

  12. Thank you – this is great information..Another Question – we would like to experience N Africa for an afternoon without an extremely long guided tour…Where would you recommend? I have been reading about a place called ceuta. We’d like to experience a mix of cultures including middle eastern. Safety is always a concern…What is your opinion?

  13. Hello Imarish

    Thank you very much for checking into gomarbella.

    From Malaga airport, to get to the Alanda Club Marbella, take the Malaga airport bus to Marbella. From the Marbella bus station take the Marbella to Fuengirola bus.

    Here is the link for the Marbella bus station and from this page you will find the timetable of buses from Marbella to Fuengirola and a list of all the bus stops on the way.

    Check on the page with the list of bus stops between Marbella and Fuengirola and you will be getting off at the Elviria bus stop.

    It’s a short distance,easily walkable from the bus stop to the Alanda Club Marbella resort. You walk up from the bus stop to the roundabout and then walk towards the sea. Alanda Club will be signposted from there.

    You could also catch the train from the airport to Fuengirola and then take the bus from Fuengirola to Marbella. I did that once just to see if it saves time but it is six of one and half a dozen of another.

    For comfort and speed and less changing of transport and stations and stops I prefer the route; Malaga airport to Marbella bus station and then a bus (or a taxi from the bus station) to Alanda Club Marbella.

    I´m preparing a list of hotspots and wireless internet points in and around Marbella. There are lots around and you can also use any internet cafe or Interlocutorios as they are called.

    I do hope that helps you Imarisch.

    Best wishes from Marbella for your trip.

    Mike

    Mike

  14. Hello! We are coming to Marbella next month. How do you get to the Alanda Club marbella from the Malaga airport? Also -I’d like to bring my laptop – will I get wireless service around town? Thanks!

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