Arriving at an international airport for the first time can be a confusing experience. You and your family or friends want to navigate your way through and out of the other side with minimal stress. Ease this process by being prepared in advance with Monarch’s ultimate guide to some of the most popular airports it flies into.

First in this series is Faro Airport – gateway to the Algarve and the beginning of your fabulous holiday in Portugal.

Where your Monarch flight will arrive at Faro Airport

As Faro Airport has only one terminal, it’s not too confusing when you arrive. It is also this same building where your flight will leave from when returning to the UK.

Navigating around Faro Airport

While Faro Airport is more than capable of coping with the influx of holidaymakers it experiences during the busy summer season, it isn’t a huge, modern airport. This means it retains its personal feel and is relatively easy to navigate. All of the signs giving directions to the likes of check-in, baggage reclaim and transport options are in both Portuguese and English.

Customer service personnel throughout the airport have a high level of English as a second language and should be able to help you with any queries. The tourist information point is located in the arrivals hall and is staffed by helpful employees. It is open from 8am to 11pm daily.

The layout of Faro Airport is thankfully straightforward, with departures at one end of the long terminal building and arrivals at the other. After passing through security, the distance to the departure gates is relatively short when compared to many other airports. Smokers will find the designated smoking area on the level above the shops and restaurants.

Eating and drinking

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There are three food outlets on the public concourse – Air Tasty, Costa Coffee and Faro Airport Café – but a much wider selection can be found once you have passed through security. In the departure lounge, there is another Air Tasty and Costa Coffee, as well as Burger MH, Carlsberg Bar, Mulligans, Quiosque Delta, Soho Coffee, and Subway. They tend to open at 4am or 5am and close once the last flight of the day has departed.

Airport shopping

A wide selection of shops awaits once you have been through security at Faro Airport, allowing you to spend the last of your euros. You may wish to get local specialities from the likes of Airport Craft Shop, Casa dos Sabores de Portugal or Cores Doces sweet shop to take home as souvenirs. Alternatively, internationally-known brands, such as Accessorize, Billabong, Sunglasses Hut and Swarovski are also present.

Facilities and amenities

If you haven’t yet sorted out your holiday money, there is a bank, bureau de change and several ATMs at the airport, allowing you to access euros for your trip. The pharmacy in the public area of the arrivals hall is open between 8.30am and 11pm.

Onward travel

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Faro Airport is located four kilometres outside of the city centre. There are a number of options to transport you to your hotel in Faro or further afield to a resort in the rest of the Algarve. Unfortunately, there are no train services that depart directly from the airport. For these, you must make your way into Faro itself.

Buses

Buses run along lines 14 and 16, which go between the airport and various locations in Faro city centre. If you are going to other locations throughout the Algarve, this could be taking you in the wrong direction, however, and there are no buses to these destinations. Buses run from 5am to 11pm and the 20-minute journey costs €2.40.

Airport transfers

Private transfers are one of the most convenient ways to get to your destination and can be compared online prior to travel. There are plenty of companies that offer these services, so look for a good deal and one that includes everything you need. They should be able to provide car seats for babies, space for all your luggage and the safe transportation of golf clubs should you require any of these things.

Car hire

The car hire desks at Faro Airport are located just outside the terminal building and well-known international names, such as Avis, Europcar and Hertz are all represented. It’s a good idea to organise your hire car in advance to get the best deal and cut down on hassle once you arrive. Once you have picked up your car, the A22 toll road runs close to the airport and is the best route to most of the towns and resorts close by.

Taxis

Hiring a taxi from the airport taxi rank is relatively easy, but not the most cost effective way to go long distances. It’s fine, however, if you are only going as far as Faro city centre and should cost no more than €16 during the day and €20 at night for a four-seater vehicle. All of the prices are displayed on a list, so be sure of the price before you set off. The taxi rank is to the right of the exit from the arrivals hall.

Top tips for Faro Airport

· There is free public WiFi at Faro Airport, but users must login to access it.

· Ensure your phone or device is well-charged prior to getting to the airport, as there are very few charging points.

· An Airplay area in the departures hall allows kids to let off a bit of steam before boarding.

· Just after security you can pick up a pushchair to pop your little one into and leave it at your departure gate.

Having started her travelling career at the age of five on a trip to Africa with her family, Emma has gone on to visit more than 45 countries across the globe. Highlights have included taking part in a tango lesson in Argentina, seeing Victoria Falls from both sides and getting lost among the streets of the Albaicin in Granada.

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