Headed to Portugal and searching for the best things to do in the Algarve? The southernmost region in the country, the Algarve is famed for its Atlantic beaches and resort towns. A popular choice for family getaways, its golden beaches and whitewashed fishing villages are the stuff of holiday dreams! So, if you’re planning a trip to the Algarve, you’ll be pleased to know that there are many things to see and do here. From boat tours of coastal caves to historic castles, here is a selection of the best things to do in the Algarve.
Said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, visiting Marinha beach is one of the best things to do in the Algarve. Situated between Armacao de Pera and Ferragudo, this scenic cove is known for its striking limestone rock formations and turquoise water. This wild beach is best reached by car or on a guided tour. Usually, the beach is pretty quiet, perfect for snapping some memorable photos of the scenery. A long staircase leads from the cliffs down to the sand below. A popular way to experience the beauty of this bay is by walking the cliff-top coastal path between Carvoeiro and Praia de Marinha.
One of the best things to do in the Algarve is to explore Benagil Cave. This unique rock formation is situated west of Marinha Beach and is best accessed on a boat tour or paddleboarding excursion. In fact, it is not advisable to swim to the cave from the beach, although the distance is not far. Tides can be unpredictable so always opt for an organised tour or excursion. Shaped over thousands of years by natural erosion, this spectacular wonder of nature is known for its distinctive hole in its roof.
Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do in the Algarve is to visit Sagres. Sitting at the extreme western tip of the region, its barren, windswept landscapes are spectacular. Here, you can visit the Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse and view the Atlantic from the most southwestern point in Europe! Furthermore, Sagres is famed for its challenging surfing beaches. Plus, the area is a hotspot for adventure sports, such as mountain biking and cliff hiking. Add to this a number of spectacular sunbathing beaches and a rustic old town, and Sagres is one of the top sights in the Algarve!
As the largest resort town in the Algarve, Albufeira is a must-see destination. Long stretches of golden sand, vibrant nightlife and a charming old town offer everything you might need for a family holiday in the sun! A stroll along the colourful Albufeira marina followed by a long lunch in a traditional Portuguese restaurant in the old town is the perfect way to soak up the ambience of this popular resort. Furthermore, it’s a great place to base yourself if you’re interested in taking excursions or playing golf. Albufeira is within easy reach of a number of world-class golf courses.
Faro Old Town
If you’re looking for authentic culture, Faro Old Town is one of the best places to visit in the Algarve. Most flights to this region land in Faro, making it a great place to base your holiday to the Algarve. Furthermore, this charming Portuguese city is home to centuries of fascinating history. Its gothic cathedral, neo-classical architecture and original Moorish city wall are just a handful of enchanting sights to explore here. At the heart of the old town is the cobblestoned Largo da Se plaza. Plus, a variety of museums offer further insight into the history and culture of the region. Within easy reach of spectacular beaches and the beautiful landscapes of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Faro Old Town is one of the best places to visit in the Algarve.
The Monchique Mountains are situated around 20 kilometres inland. Exploring this rolling mountain range is one of the best things to do in the Algarve. Home to breathtaking views and charming traditional villages, the pace of life here is much slower. A drive through this quiet region is the chance to get in touch with authentic rural culture in Portugal. Indeed, the best way to discover this less-known region is by car. Furthermore, exploring the forests and hillsides of the Serra de Monchique is ideal during the summer. This mountainous area enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast.