What to see in Portugal
Tourist attractions Algarve
The southernmost region of Portugal, the Algarve is known for its beaches, cheerful vacation resorts and picturesque coastline. The Algarve is the most popular travel destination in Portugal, with a glorious climate, plenty of sun-drenched beaches and charming fishing villages. A vacation to the Algarve is always a good idea, whether you’re looking for a family getaway or a romantic honeymoon.
Albufeira, Lagos, Portimao and Faro are the most popular vacation destinations, the latter of which is home to the regional airport, where international flights to the Algarve arrive and depart. Lagos is one of the best places to stay from which to explore the Algarve region. With its fortified old town and historic sights, it’s great for sightseeing too, although its pristine sandy beaches are the main attraction.
What sets the Algarve apart from other beach destination in Europe is its rugged coastline, brimming with dramatic limestone cliffs and rock formations. Dotted along the coast you’ll also find beautiful sea caves and plenty of tranquil coves to explore where the only footsteps in the sand will be your own.
A vacation to the Algarve is an affordable and laid-back way to experience Portuguese culture, cuisine and landscapes, without the hustle and bustle of the countries major cities. Despite this, the region sees a huge increase in tourism during the peak of summer, so the best time to visit the Algarve to avoid the crowds is in the months of May and September.
Things to do in the Algarve
Although it might be tempting to spend your days sunbathing if you travel to the Algarve, there are plenty of sights to explore and things to do in the region. Take the Moorish Castle of Silves for example, nestled in the village of Silves, not far from the town of Portimao. This captivating fortification is believed to have been constructed by either the Romans or the Visigoths but was fully developed by the Moors during their occupation of the region between the 8th and 13th centuries. One of the best-preserved Moorish castles in Portugal, a visit to this hilltop castle is one of the most fascinating historic sights to see in the Algarve.
One of the most popular things to do in the Algarve is to visit Cape St. Vincent, the most southwestern tip of continental Europe. Not only is it a unique experience to stand at what was once considered ‘the end of the world’, but this spot also holds a mythical significance. Situated in Sagres, Cape St. Vincent is home to Europe’s brightest lighthouse and from here visitors can watch the ships pass by on the busy Atlantic shipping lanes. Many of Portugal’s great explorers based their expeditions from this rugged headland during the Golden Age of Discovery, and a visit to Cape St. Vincent will have your imagination running wild as you contemplate with the power of nature from atop this windswept clifftop.
Situated just south of the regional capital of Faro is Ilha Deserta, or ‘Deserted Island’, one of the most unique places to visit in the Algarve. With 10 kilometers of coastline and home to some of Portugal’s most tranquil beaches, Ilha Deserta is a remote paradise where you can escape everyday life. Easily connected to the mainland by a ferry service, this natural sand bar is a must-visit if you travel to the Algarve.
For something a little different, why not visit the mountainous area of Serra de Monchique to experience rural life in the Algarve region. Away from the sandy beaches of the coast, the interior of the Algarve is full of captivating mountain landscapes and charming rural villages. One of the most interesting things to do in the Algarve is to take a day trip into the hills and discover the incredible pine, oak and eucalyptus forests and hilltop farms that grow an array of local produce such as chestnuts, oranges olives and almonds.