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The Algarve, Portugal’s Exquisitely Beautiful Coastline

The Algarve region is known for its exquisitely beautiful coastline and Portugal’s loveliest beaches, white sand, warm waters, hanging cliffs, and caves.

Know Before You Go

 

With so many things to do and such an immense variety too, the Algarve coastline is well worth a visit.

This southernmost region of Portugal is an amazing variety of fishing villages, golf resorts, sandy coves, villas, hotels, restaurants, bars, spectacular cliffs, and much more.

Portugal Algarve Sea Coast Nature Rock stone Beach travel and home
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Portugal Algarve Sea Coast Nature Rock Beach travel and home
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I suppose you can cram everything into 3 days, but my recommendation is nothing short of a week. At least then you’ve had time to settle in properly, enjoy all the places to see and excursions, and relax on the beach. A must-do is a sunset guided tour and the exquisitely beautiful Benagil caves. Oh, and don’t miss out on the Hop on Hop Off City Tour by Tourist Train – it’s great fun! And then there are also parasailing, dolphin watching, and bird watching. To conclude, 7 days will be a good length of stay in the Algarve.

 
 
  • Weather: The Algarve has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is during the summer months (June to August) when temperatures are high, often exceeding 30°C (86°F). If you enjoy hot weather and vibrant beach scenes, summer can be the best time for you. However, it can also be crowded, and accommodation prices tend to be higher.

  • Spring and Autumn: The shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) can be excellent times to visit the Algarve. The weather is generally pleasant, with milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower accommodation rates. You can still enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities without the intense summer heat.

  • Winter: While winter (December to February) is the off-peak season, the Algarve still has mild and pleasant weather compared to many other European destinations. Although swimming in the sea may not be ideal, you can explore the region’s cultural attractions, enjoy hiking or golfing, and experience a quieter side of the Algarve. Winter is also a good time to find great deals on accommodations.

  • Events and Festivals: Consider any specific events or festivals you may want to attend. The Algarve hosts various events throughout the year, such as the Loulé Carnival in February, the Portimão Sardine Festival in August, and the Algarve International Jazz Festival in October. Planning your visit around these events can add a unique flavor to your holiday.

ALGARVE WEATHER

Faro airport. The best way to get to your hotel is to book a transfer ahead of time.

  • Fly to centrally located Faro airport. Airlines such as Iberia service Portugal.
  • Take the train from Lisbon, which will take you between 3 and 3h30m – depending on which train you take.
  • Drive with your vehicle or rent a car – the signages are well-posted and it’s an easy drive.

Lisbon is about a 2h30m drive from the Algarve region.

Suggested Read: Lisbon, A Beautiful City Full Of Surprises.

 
 

If you plan to stay on the beachfront and spend your days in and around your hotel and relax on the beach, then you don’t need a car. 

 
 

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Best places to explore in Algarve

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Faro

Faro Portugal Shopping cafes

The provincial capital of Algarve with a greater concentration of historic monuments!

Faro’s top attractions:

Old Town Faro    |    Palácio de Estoi    |    Carmo Church    |    Faro Cathedral    |    Forum Algarve (shopping and movies)

 
 
 
 
 
Fishing Boat Algarve Gulls Sea portugal travel and home
Algarve Portugal sand sculptures travel and home music

Lagoa

Lagoa fishing village is about 15 minutes away from the famous Benagil cave.

Lagoa is the home to SandCity, a Sand Sculpture Park that is usually open from March to December. As of 2021, it is the biggest sand sculpture park in the world, spanning an area of six hectares. Get more information and your tickets here.

Lagoa’s top attractions:

Praia de Benagil    |    Slide & Splash – Parque Aquatico (Water Slide Park)    |    Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos    |    Sand City    |    Algar de Benagil

 
 
 
 
 

Lagos

Lagos is a pleasant beach town, and about 40 minutes away from Benagil beach and the sea cave.

Lagos’ top attractions:

  • Praia do Porto de Mos (second largest beach in Lagos)
  • Cave Boat Trip to Ponta da Piedade
  • Explore Ponta da Piedade headland
  • Walk Around the Saturday Farmers’ Market
  • Sunbathe on Praia do Camilo
  • Meia Praia (beach)
  • Old Lagos
  • Visit 17th century fortress Forte Ponta da Bandeira, also known as Forte de Nossa Senhora da Penha Fraça (Address: 8600-563 Lagos)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tavira Algarve Portugal travel and home
Tavira Portugal Street Algarve Summer

Tavira

Known as the jewel of the Algarve, Tavira is a popular tourist attraction. You’re about to be enchanted by Tavira’s long, sandy beaches, salt pans with plenty of flamingos, spoonbills, and other wading birds. 

Pre-book a private transfer from/to Faro Airport (or Faro city center) to Tavira for a hassle-free arrival.

Tavira’s top attractions:

Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Train (discover the city and its varied sights, history, and scenic landmarks)    |    Half-day boat tour from Cabanas de Tavira

 
 
 
 
 
Portimao Algarve Portugal travel and home

Portimão

Do you love sardines? We know where you’re going…

Portimão is a great choice for shopping and eating sardines.

Portimão’s top attractions:

Museu de Portimao    |   Alvor Boardwalk    |   Praia dos Três Irmãos    |   Autodromo Internacional do Algarve    |    Praia Do Vau    |    Praia Da Rocha    |    Vau Beach    |    Marina de Portimão

Loulé

The charming city of Loulé is the most traditional and authentic side of the Algarve.

  • The Mercado Municipal de Loulé – You’re going to love Loulé if you’re into leather, lace, and copper – make your way to the most emblematic market of the Algarve, the municipal Saturday market on R. José Fernandes Guerreiro 34. It’s also the largest covered market in southern Portugal.
  • Stroll through the winding lanes of Loulé’s historic district.
  • Visit the Gothic Church, the Igreja Matriz de São Clemente. The bell tower was originally a minaret and is the only mosque construction from the Moorish era (8 – 12th century) that is still standing in Portugal.
  • Visit the medieval convent of Do Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit), now housing the Municipal Art Gallery. It was constructed in the early 1800s, but following the earthquake of 1755, it required extensive renovations.
  • Set foot inside the 16th-century Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Conceiço, a beautiful little church with stunning gold decor and eye-catching blue and white tile details.
  • Go to the local museum to observe the Islamic influence across the area.

Best hotel stays in Loulé

Where to stay in Loule Hotel DowntownLoule Prestige

Situated in Downtown Loulé only 400 m from the market, the Downtown Loulé Boutique Hotel is well placed for the keen explorer.

Hotel Downtown Loule Prestige

Where and what to eat in Loulé

Loule Algarve Portugal travel and home, Portugal's most beautiful destinations

Above: The colorful José Fernandes Guerreiro Street near the famous market.

Visit Loule Portugal where to eat Restaurante O Pescador Loule

Above: If you’re looking for seafood, hop in at Restaurant O Pescador.

Visit Loule Portugal where to eat in Loule best pizza in Loule Daje Pizzeria Artigianale

Above: For the best pizzas head on over to Daje Pizzeria Artigianale on R. Ascensão Guimarães 84

Algarve Portugal Mar Ferragudo

Ferragudo

This gorgeous fishing village is only 2 km from Portimão. 

By foot, it’s 3.5 km which will take you about 45 minutes, and worth every step. You can always catch a bus (9 minutes ride) or a taxi (5 minutes’ drive) back!

 
 
 
Portugal Ferragudo Bay
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Portugal Sagres, Lighthouse, travelandhome

Sagres

Sagres is one of the hidden gems with a working harbor and a fabulous coastline that is ideal for beach adventures.

Top attractions in Sagres include:

  • Beautiful lighthouses: Cape Saint Vincent, Farol do Cabo Sao Vicente.
  • Beaches: Martinhal Beach, Mareta Beach.
  • Historic Sites: Fortaleza de Sagres, Fort of Santo António de Belixe.
  • Piers & Boardwalks: Porto da Baleeira.
  • Churches & Cathedrals: Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça.
  • On the Water: Sea Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Boat cruises, Dolphin and whale watching, Eco tours.

Things to do in Algarve

Portugal Algarve Benagil Caves felsentor travel and home
Mind-blowingly beautiful Benagil Caves in Portugal's Algarve. (About 2h30m from Lisbon). It's more than 20 million years old. On foot, you can't get to the inside, but you can get above the caves. You can get to the inside by boat, kayak, paddle, (not too sure about abseiling) or swim - it's about 200 m during low tide, starting from Praia de Benagil.
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