Welcome to the mesmerizing Algarve region, located along Portugal’s stunning southern coast. Here you’ll find a combination of golden beaches, picturesque towns, rich history, and vibrant culture! If you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday experience, the Algarve is a haven for you. There are many different towns and places to visit in the Algarve, with the perfect spot for any traveller.
Best places to visit in the Algarve region of Portugal
Let’s discover and what you can expect in the Algarve!
Algarve sightseeing tours and experiences
Enhance your time in the Algarve with a tour. You’ll learn about the region, culture, or food, and you’ll see and experience things you couldn’t on your own. Here are a few we recommend:
- Ria Formosa Natural Park and Islands Boat Cruise from Faro
- Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Albufeira
- Small Group Wine Tasting Tour from Albufeira
- Half-Day Lagos Golden Coast Cruise with Lunch
While there are some buses and trains that can get you from place to place, getting around in the Algarve region is definitely easier if you have your own transportation. We highly recommend renting a car, especially if you want the flexibility to visit several towns.
As the region’s capital, Faro serves as the gateway to the Algarve. Start exploring the historic Cidade Velha, or Old Town, enclosed by ancient city walls.
Visit the Sé de Faro, the city’s impressive cathedral, which showcases a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. Or simply wander through the narrow streets, immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere of this coastal gem.
At some point, you’ll stumble upon Arco da Vila and Capela dos Ossos de Faro, a chapel full of skulls! It’s decorated and built with the bones of Carmelite monks, featuring more than 1,000 skulls.
Faro is home to several museums and cultural attractions that provide insights into the region’s history and heritage.
The Municipal Museum of Faro, located in the former Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, exhibits archaeological artifacts, religious art, and historical collections. The Faro Jewish Heritage Center offers a glimpse into the Jewish history of the city and region.
Faro Marina is a newer part of town, offering a picturesque waterfront setting where you can enjoy a lovely dinner. From here, you can also embark on boat trips and tours to explore the Ria Formosa or enjoy a sunset cruise along the coast.
A trip to the Ria Formosa Natural Park is a must for nature enthusiasts! During the tour, you’ll witness the park’s diverse ecosystems, including lagoons, salt marshes, and sand dunes. You might even see flamingos in this stunning landscape!
Tavira is a bit of a hidden gem in the Algarve, located on the banks of the Gilão River. Although more and more people find this ancient town full of churches.
Cross the medieval Roman Bridge (Ponte Romana) and explore the picturesque streets adorned with colorful tiles and charming cafes. Discover the Tavira Municipal Market, a bustling market where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional crafts.
Or look at Casa das Artes, a cultural center hosting art exhibitions, performances, and workshops. Don’t forget to visit the impressive Tavira Castle, offering panoramic views of the town and the surrounding area. The gardens are totally free to visit!
And next to the castle, you’ll also find the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo. Climb up the church tower for an even more impressive view over Tavira and Ria Formosa.
After visiting the sights, you can take the boat to the tranquil Ilha de Tavira, a stunning sandy island accessible by a short ferry ride. Its pristine beaches and clear blue waters make it the perfect spot for a relaxing day in the sun. The beach is long and perfect for a long stroll along the shore.
After a few kilometres, you’ll even come across an anchor graveyard, Cemitério das Âncoras! Additionally, the nearby Ilha de Cabanas is another hidden gem known for its beautiful beaches and unspoiled natural surroundings.
Next on this list is Lagos, a captivating town with a perfect fusion of history, natural beauty, and a vibrant atmosphere. Within the historic walls of the Old Town, you can find architectural gems like the Golden Church of St. Anthony and the ornate Santo Antonio Church.
The center of Lagos is a maze of tiny streets with plenty of cafes and restaurants, but also the Marina is a favorite spot to grab a bit to eat. Discover the 17th-century Bandeira Fort, which now houses the Lagos Cultural Center and offers stunning views of the town and the coastline.
Or visit the Lagos Municipal Museum, located in the former Convento de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, which showcases a collection of artifacts related to the town’s history. The Slave Market Museum delves into the history of the African slave trade and its impact on the world.
Embark on a boat tour from Lagos Marina to discover the mesmerizing Ponta da Piedade, a series of striking rock formations and caves that offer an unforgettable coastal experience. Or enjoy a stunning sunset from the lighthouse.
A boardwalk along the cliffs offers unforgettable views of the rugged coastline. For beach lovers, Meia Praia and Dona Ana Beach are must-visit destinations. Or check out Camilo Beach, Batata Beach, and Porto de Mós Beach.
These are some favorite beaches of locals and tourists alike! Some smaller beaches get pretty busy in summer, though. To enjoy an enormous stretch of beach, Meia Praia will be perfect!
You can also embark on a boat tour from Lagos to the famous Benagil Caves. The most famous feature of the Benagil Caves is the iconic Algar de Benagil, a large dome-shaped chamber with a natural skylight at its apex. The caves were formed over thousands of years by the erosive power of the ocean waves, which carved intricate passageways and chambers into the towering cliffs.
Albufeira is not for everyone, as this coastal town is known for its bustling nightlife, so it’s one of the best towns to visit in the Algarve if you like to party. It’s a vibrant place with pristine beaches and a charming old town.
Start your exploration with a visit to the iconic Fisherman’s Beach (Praia dos Pescadores), a beautiful stretch of golden sand surrounded by cliffs. This Blue Flag beach is a perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. Other stunning beaches in Albufeira include Oura Beach, Santa Eulália Beach, and São Rafael Beach, each with its own unique charm.
Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the breathtaking sunset from Albufeira’s picturesque viewpoints, such as Pau da Bandeira or Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira.
Albufeira’s historic center, known as the Old Town (Cidade Velha), is a charming area characterized by narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, and picturesque squares. Take a look at the quaint shops selling local crafts, and discover a wide range of restaurants and bars offering delicious cuisine and refreshing drinks.
The main square, Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco, is a lively hub where you can enjoy live music, street performances, and bustling outdoor markets. Or head over to the famous Strip, where you can dance all night long. It’s located in the Montechoro area, and the bars and clubs keep the party going until the early hours of the morning.
If you´re seeking a more rugged and adventurous experience, Sagres is the ultimate destination. Known as the “End of the World,” Sagres offers dramatic cliffs, wild landscapes, and some of the best surfing conditions in Europe.
Praia do Tonel, located on the western side of Sagres, is a popular spot for surfers due to its powerful waves. Praia da Mareta, on the other hand, is a more sheltered beach located closer to the town center. It is a perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming.
You’ll find surf-themed cafes, restaurants, and shops where you can immerse yourself in the surfing lifestyle. After a day of exploring or hitting the waves, relax at one of the beach bars or enjoy a meal at a seafood restaurant.
The nightlife in Sagres is more relaxed compared to other towns in the Algarve, but you can still find cozy bars and live music venues where you can unwind and mingle with fellow travelers.
For a cultural day, you can visit the historic Fortaleza de Sagres, a fortress perched on the edge of a cliff, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. This historical landmark played a crucial role in Portugal’s maritime discoveries.
Built during the 15th century, the fortress was a strategic point for navigation and exploration. While much of the original structure was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, the remaining walls and the imposing entrance gate still stand today.
Cape St. Vincent, also known as Cabo de São Vicente, is a prominent landmark in Sagres and the southwestern-most point of mainland Europe. This dramatic headland is characterized by towering cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean, offering awe-inspiring panoramic views.
The cape is also home to a historic lighthouse, which has guided ships along these treacherous waters since the 16th century. Visit Cabo de São Vicente during sunset for an unforgettable experience!
Most beautiful places in Algarve
The Algarve will truly captivate you with its stunning coastal scenery, rich history, and warm hospitality. From the vibrant seaside town of Albufeira to the serene beauty of Tavira, each destination in the Algarve has something unique to offer.
And there is a lot more to discover during our holiday! Visit a fun waterpark, enjoy cities like Silves or Portimão or enjoy the surf beaches on the west coast of southern Portugal. The Algarve also boast many wellness retreats, so aside from activities, there is plenty of time to relax.
The Algarve has everything if you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, immersing yourself in history and culture, or exploring untouched natural landscapes. So pack your bags, embrace the allure of the Algarve, and embark on a journey that promises unforgettable memories.
About the author: Meet Marga, a travel writer and photographer who used to be a flight attendant and travelled extensively for many years. After settling in Portugal, she started the Discover Portugal blog with insightful and engaging travel stories. Check her out on Instagram.
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