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Things to do in The Algarve

Things to do in  Algarve

Welcome to 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 15 attractions in Algarve

Lagos Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Lagos)

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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

Praia Gale

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A favorite among locals due to its golden sands and calm, swimming-friendly waters, Praia Gale should be at the top of any beach-lover’s Albufeira itinerary. Steps away from the resort town of Gale, Praia Gale offers more than just sunbathing opportunities: you can spot marine life in natural pools between the rocks or explore the sandstone caves on either side of the sand.More

Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta)

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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

Armacao de Pera Beach (Praia Armacao de Pera)

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With its golden sands and sandstone-carved coves, Armacao de Pera Beach (Praia Armacao de Pera) epitomizes the coastal beauty of Portugal’s Algarve. Backed by a fishing village of the same name, the beach is an ideal choice for both families and sun-worshippers: umbrella-shaded sunbeds offer respite from the midday sun while the rocky coves on either side of the beach make for a fun day of exploration.More

Praia dos Salgados

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Backed by ochre cliffs, the seemingly endless shoreline of Praia dos Salgados exemplifies the picture-perfect beauty of The Algarve’s coastline. Steps away from the sand, you’ll find a golf course and reserve that cater to nature lovers and families alike. Meanwhile, the calm waters of the Atlantic Ocean provide a safe place for kids to swim.More

Ria Formosa Natural Park

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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

Sagres

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Sitting atop a headland at the western tip of the Algarve, Sagres was—up until the discovery of the Americas—believed to be the end of the world. Surfers flock to the fishing town to ride waves off its golden-sand beaches, and soak up the scenery at Cape Saint Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente, where Atlantic swells pummel the craggy cliffs.More

Olhão

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Olhão is a beautiful and very popular seaside tourist town in the Algarve region of Portugal. The biggest fishing port in the area, the town is a summer vacation destination for those looking for great seafood, wide beaches, and sunny weather.More
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Praia de Faro

Praia de Faro

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Hailed as one of the best beaches in the Algarve, Praia de Faro boasts soft, golden sands that stretch for more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) along Faro Island. One side of the beach overlooks the sea, while the other side offers views of Ria Formosa National Park, home to mud flats and wetlands that can be explored by bicycle or boat.More

Vilamoura

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Set in the sun-soaked Algarve region, Vilamoura is a purpose-built upscale resort centered around a marina and palm-bordered esplanade. As well as two golden-sand beaches—Vilamoura Beach and Falésia Beach—Vilamoura also has Roman ruins, high-end hotels, championship golf courses, and a wealth of restaurants, bars, shops, clubs, and cafés.More

Silves Castle (Castelo de Silves)

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A testament to the region’s strategic importance in Moorish times, the imposing walls of Silves Castle have looked over the landscape for almost 1,000 years, although the town itself is much older. A trip to the castle is ideal to get a break from the beach and taste the area’s fascinating history.More

Mt Fóia

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Rising to a height of 2,959 feet (902 meters, Mt. Fóia is the highest peak in the Algarve. The views from its summit are staggering: on a clear day, you can see as far as Cape Saint Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente, the wave-battered headland on the Algarve’s southwestern coast that was once believed to be the edge of the world.More

Ferragudo

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Sitting pretty on the far side of the Arade River to Portimão, this former fishing village is a slice of old Algarve. Winding cobbled streets snake uphill from the palm-lined waterfront to the town’s church, whose elevated position affords views over Praia da Angrinha and the 16th-century Castle of Arade (Castelo de São João do Arade.More

Falésia Beach

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Backed by pine-topped ombré cliffs that fade from ochre to beige, Falesia Beach stretches for more than 3.7 miles (6 kilometers, making it one of Portugal’s longest beaches. It’s also one of the Algarve’s most loved strips of sand, with its colored cliffs and clear waters attracting strollers and swimmers alike.More

Monchique

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Dominating the landscape on the border between the Algarve and Alentejo regions is the Sierra de Monchique, a forest-covered mountain range. The small town of Monchique is hidden within the hills, offering visitors a look into rural life in the region.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Algarve

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A good mix of destinations for a well priced half day outing
MrSteve_R, Dec 2022
Minivan tour along the coast to Benagil and Carvoeiro from Albufeira
A great half day outing with Sergio to see some very different aspects of the Algarve.
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Informative overview of the Algarve
marci_g, Oct 2022
Half Day Tour with Jeep Safari in the Algarve Mountains
It was very I formative and a good way to see an overview of the Algarve.
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Beautiful and fun
Christie_M, Aug 2022
Fast Adventure to the Benagil Caves on a Speedboat - Starting at Lagos
This was a great way to see the Benagil caves and the algarve coast.
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Algarve Caves (Benagil and others) Up Close
Lisa_G, Nov 2022
Private Tour - Benagil & Marinha Beach (Max 8PAX)
The caves and rock formations are incredible to see up close and from inside.
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The highlight of our Algarve trip!
Laurie_C, Oct 2022
Half Day Tour with Jeep Safari in the Algarve Mountains
This was our first time to the Algarve and we felt it was the best way to see a lot, and especially journey into the mountains, in just one day.
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The BEST time
Erin_G, Sep 2022
Dolphins and Benagil Caves from Albufeira - Allboat
They made the extra effort for us to see the dolphins and ensured that you stayed entertained the entire time.
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Fabulous
Paula_B, Jun 2022
Dolphin Watching and Cave Boat Cruise from Albufeira
We were able to see lots of dolphins & the caves very impressive.
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A Must See!!!
Abraham_P, Jun 2022
Boat tour Benagil Caves
Amazing ride and a must if you want to see the coastline of The Algarve.
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All about Algarve

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
WET (UTC +1)
Country Code
+351
Language(s)
Portuguese

People Also Ask

What is the Algarve known for?

The Algarve is Portugal’s premier holiday destination. It’s known for sandy beaches that feature a rugged coast of towering cliffs. Vacationers from all over Europe flock to the villages of the Algarve to sunbathe, play golf, enjoy local food, and enjoy a laid-back vacation.

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What should I not miss in the Algarve?

The beaches of the Algarve are a highlight. The western part is home to several smaller, secluded beaches protected by sandstone cliffs. The famous Benagil Caves and the large resort town of Albufeira are in the central part. While the eastern part, home to the capital of Faro, is calmer.

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How many days do you need in the Algarve?

Spend three days for an overview of the Algarve. However, for those who want to simply relax and enjoy the sun, a good week or so is needed to experience the beaches, nightlife, and culture of the region.

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How do you get around the Algarve?

The best way to get around is by car. You can get to bigger towns with public transport, but the beauty of the Algarve is stopping in smaller villages to discover secluded beaches. The area is very relaxed and easy to drive in.

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What is the prettiest town in the Algarve?

Lagos is the prettiest town in the Algarve. The seaside town features a mix of modern and Moorish-style architecture, surrounded by ancient city walls. Visitors can explore the streets of the old town, walk along the modern marina, or head to the city beaches all within minutes.

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Is the Algarve expensive?

No. In the summer, the Algarve can be more expensive than Lisbon, but it is still relatively cheap compared to other European beach destinations. It’s possible to have a budget holiday outside of the summer months. Local meals run at about €10 per person, a pint of beer at €2.

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Algarve information

Number of Attractions

27

Number of Tours

1,210

Number of Reviews

34,413

Currency

USD
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