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Things to do in The Algarve

Things to do in  The Algarve

Welcome to The Algarve

There’s far more to the Algarve than the sun, sand, and sea it's famed for. Although its beaches, which are among the best in Europe, are a worthy draw, Portugal’s Algarve also promises a wealth of delights further inland. Distance yourself from tourist hotspots along the Atlantic coast and you’ll discover historical old towns, rolling vineyards, and top-class cuisine. Popular Algarve launch pads are Faro, Silves, Albufeira, and Portimão, all of which combine local highlights with plentiful day trip opportunities. Snorkel and kayak in the crystal clear lagoons of Lagos; observe dolphins and flamingos during a boat trip to Ria Formosa Natural Park; head inside the surreal Benagil Caves; or escape the modern world in the remote village of Sagres. The glamorous port of Vilamoura brims with million-dollar yachts, and in the Monchique Mountains, Portuguese cuisine and wine reign supreme—take a tour of the vineyards in a sidecar for an alternative sightseeing experience. Just over the border is Spain, making the Algarve a top choice for travelers planning to visit Andalucia. Sightseeing tours of Seville, Gibraltar, and Cordoba are all doable in a day, while full-day excursions to Lisbon, Sintra, and Cascais are a popular choice with travelers short on time.

Top 10 attractions in The Algarve


Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta)

A sandy, uninhabited island off Portugal’s Algarve coast, Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta) is a popular beach destination and wildlife refuge inside Ria Formosa National Park. With freshwater lagoons, salt flats, sand dunes, and more, the park has a diverse range of habitats—each with its own resident population of birds and other species, including chameleons.More

Lagos Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Lagos)

Home to more than 140 different species from across the world, Lagos Zoo offers a family-friendly alternative to the crowded Algarve coast. Opened in 2000, the zoo has become a world-class conservation facility, and its close proximity to central Lagos makes it a top choice for a day away from the city.More

Ria Formosa Natural Park

Located at the southernmost tip of Portugal’s Algarve, Ria Formosa Natural Park (Parque Natural da Ria Formosa) is a scenic swirl of freshwater lagoons, sandy islands, and lush salt marshlands. The park hugs the coast between Manta Rota and Vale do Lobo, and is best known for its varied topography and diverse bird life.More

Praia Gale

Just steps away from the resort town of Gale, and a handful of kilometers west of Albufeira, stretches one of the region’s favorite beaches, Praia Gale. It’s a favorite because of its eastern rocky and cave- and cove-filled coastline, and probably even more so for its western stretch of soft sands and calm waters especially loved by families. This expansive stretch of shoreline is ideal for relaxing walks, watersports, and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the waterside restaurants and bars. Families relish in enjoying the calm beach but also the many tide pools. Meanwhile, those looking to explore further can take advantage of watersports, or go on a healthy walk westward toward other regional beaches such as Praia dos Salgados, Praia Grande, and even Armacao de Pera.More


Twenty-one miles west of Lagos, the whitewashed village of Sagres is popular with families looking for a laidback holiday spot near the Algarve’s famous beaches. Backpackers, surfers, and divers also come to Sagres to holiday. Most of the action takes place around the town square, where there are plenty of lively restaurants and cafes. And on August 15 of every year, a big party is held to celebrate the local saint’s day with fireworks.More

Falésia Beach


Praia dos Salgados

Golf, nature and a seaside resort — these are all things you’ll find just steps away from the sandy stretch that is Praia dos Salgados. This beach is where you’ll want to come for a seemingly endless and calm shoreline that offers all the amenities, including showers, lifeguards and rentable sunbeds. It is just a short walk away from other visit­worthy spots, too, such as the Dos Salgados Lagoon, and the nature reserve around it, famously home to flamingos and loads of other birds and wildlife. While in the area, you can also hit the links at one of Algarve’s best golf courses, Salgados Golf Course. Or wander in either direction down the coast to discover still more beaches, such as Praia Gale to the east, and Praia Grande to the west, and even beyond to Armacao de Pera Beach and its sweet resort town­-meets-fishing village.More


On the opposite bank of the Arade River to Portimão and linked to the city by bridge, the small seaside resort of Ferragudo is a world away from the crowded malls and yacht filled marina across the water. A traditional coastal village, where the hillsides are dotted with white-painted fishermen’s cottages and a maze of cobblestone lanes lead to the lively quay, it’s the Algarve’s best-kept secret that is unlikely to stay secret for much longer.More

Silves Castle (Castelo de Silves)

Silves’ regional prominence began in the 11th century when the Moors conquered the town. Giving it the name of Xelb, they constructed lavish palaces and created a cultural centre of learning for the whole Iberian Peninsular. Prior to its decline as a port due to silt build-up in its river, Silves was once the capital of the entire Algarve region. It traces its history back to 1,000 BC, and the Romans later found its location and resources much to their liking. During the 11th century, the Moors took and fortified the city, renaming it Xelb and building opulent palaces with the intent of creating a cultural center for the entire Iberian peninsula. Silves castle, a red sandstone fortress of Moorish design and décor is replete with beautiful gardens and statuary.More



Trip ideas

Top Beaches on the Algarve

Top Beaches on the Algarve

How to Spend 3 Days in the Algarve

How to Spend 3 Days in the Algarve

How to Spend 1 Day in Albufeira

How to Spend 1 Day in Albufeira

Recent reviews from experiences in The Algarve

Beautiful tour with lots to discover
Sina_B, Oct 2020
Wild and Wonderful West Coast Full Day Tour
I can only recommend the tour to anyone who would like to see the amazingly diverse places the Algarve has to offer.
The tour itself is really something...
Angel H, Jul 2018
Seville Day Trip from the Algarve
The guide gives you plenty of places of interest to visit and there is sufficient time to do the main attractions and make it back to the Algarve.
Great way to see a different side of...
TTPH99, Sep 2017
Full Day Jeep Safari in Algarve
Great way to see a different side of the algarve.
Fun adventure!!!
Sheree23, Feb 2020
Full Day Jeep Safari in Algarve
I could not have asked for anything more, even had a lovely swim in the natural spring by the waterfall..
Great tour for seeing the Algrave in a day.
deborahepadilla, Dec 2019
ALGARVE from Lisbon PRIVATE Tour - Lagos, Benagil and Marinha beach
David also took us to see the Christ statue afterwards which was awesome and then we tried custard tarts in Belem.
Four friends traveling to Albufeira from Faro airport
theresawills19, Sep 2019
Lagos Shared Departure Transfer to Faro
He was at the airport waiting for us with sign and he spoke very good English which was great as unfortunately we can’t speak Portuguese very well.
Great safari trip with Fred
766ian, Aug 2019
Half Day Tour with Jeep Safari in the Algarve Mountains
Just don’t expect to see any giraffes or zebras!!
Awesome Day Trip!
Roger V, Jun 2019
Western Algarve Day Trip to S. Vicente Cape, Luz, Sagres & Lagos
You get to see so many things that you might not be able to see on your own.
Great tour! We were a group of 10...
lsavoni, Jul 2016
Premium Wine and Gastronomic Mountain Tour in The Algarve
Hope to see you again soon.
This was absolutely beyond our...
Stephanie M, Jul 2017
Lagos and Ponta da Piedade Private Tour by Convertible from Portimão and Alvor
He asked us what we wanted to see and tailored the tour so that we were able to do and see what we wanted.
Amazing. Very lucky to see 2...
NEIL C, Jul 2017
Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Albufeira
Very lucky to see 2 different species of dolphin.
We had a great day on this trip! We...
Sophie M, Aug 2017
Seville Day Trip from the Algarve
Obviously you will not get to see an entire city in one day but Ana gave us great advice on where to visit.
This was by far the highlight of our...
Derek A, Sep 2017
Private Tour: Algarve Wine and Tapas Tour by Sidecar Motorcycle from Portimao
Very good chilled out way to see more than normal.
I'm not going to lie to you when...
Cinde Q, Jul 2016
Private Tour Benagil Caves from Portimao
There is no better way to see the beauty of the Algarve coast then to do it by boat.
Brilliant tour. Our driver/guide...
Christabel S, Jun 2016
Private Tour: Algarve Wine and Tapas Tour by Sidecar Motorcycle from Portimao
The stops were scenic and we got to see the real Algarve where residents lived.
Phantastic off road tour!
Hannah T, Nov 2019
Full Day Jeep Safari in Algarve
We stopped twice to visit local farmers where we could taste honey, almonds, figs and of course the famous Medronho, that you could also buy which is a good opportunity to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

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