The 10 Best Travel Destinations In The Algarve

The southern Portugal is worldwide famous as a fantastic summer destination. But where to go? Check out the top 10 destinations to stay and visit in the Algarve with this guide made by its residents!

Aaah, Algarve…

Few places in Europe can compete with the beauty of this region, which, in the south of Portugal, has all the Latin heat for a very hot summer. The Algarve is the land of some of the best beaches in the world, with year-round sunshine and much of the local economy focused on tourism.

From Faro, the capital, to Albufeira, Vilamoura, and Lagos, the region offers excellent hotels, quality restaurants with the best fish of Portuguese gastronomy, and varied entertainment options.

Nowadays, the number of English, French, Germans, and Brazilians who find the Algarve is the ideal place to live, not just visit. It is a safe and quiet region, and the Portuguese people are increasingly prepared and accustomed to welcoming tourists with open arms.

Golf courses, fishing trips, parties that last the night, cliffs that kiss the sea on paradisiacal beaches, kayak walks between sea caves, small fishing villages, and houses with the typical Portuguese tiles.

You will love the Algarve.

1. Lagos

ponta da piedade lagos algarve portugal
Ponta da Piedade is a must-see in Portugal!

Lagos is a historic and lively city, situated on the beautiful west coast of the Algarve. As a holiday destination, Lagos offers visitors the most glorious beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a charming historic center that has retained its character and traditional charm. In the region of Lagos, there are varied activities in abundance for the most diverse public.

When it comes to comparing Lagos to other cities in Algarve, we have to say that this is one of the most charming and perhaps our favorite! Lagos has the most fabulous beaches and stunning seascapes but also has the prettiest historic center. Plus is a cheap city to stay in (you will find many hostels) and has a young laid-back public (backpackers and solo travelers).

When in Lagos you must see the incredible cliffs and rock formations of Ponta da Piedade! From land, you can admire the views but nothing can compare to the boat rides or guided kayak tours that take you to visit the sea caves from a close distance! Of course, the Benagil cave (near Carvoeiro) is also an amazing natural attraction, but Ponta da Piedade has a special place in our hearts.

2. Albufeira

albufeira algarve
Albufeira is the most lively town in the Algarve during the summer.

Albufeira is a coastal city in the southern Algarve region of Portugal. It’s a former fishing village that has become a major holiday destination, with sandy beaches and a busy nightlife strip. Local fishermen now use the modern marina, also a base for diving, dolphin-watching, and boat trips. It’s surrounded by candy-colored apartments, with a waterfront promenade.

It is, along with Portimão, one of the most popular destinations in Algarve. The city’s nightlife is without a doubt the most energetic in the region, with the craziest parties and people. Cheap drinks and a young public makes it the right choice for groups of friends traveling together. For these groups, we suggest the summer boat party in Albufeira.

If you are traveling with your family and especially have children with you, then our best suggestion is a dolphin-watching boat tour! These experiences will take you to watch wild dolphins swimming freely in their natural habitat, the ocean! Families love these tours.

3. Portimão

When in Portimão, make sure to spend some time on the beautiful Praia da Rocha.

Traditionally an important commercial and fishing port, Portimão has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Algarve and a modern city offering fabulous beaches, proximity to the natural beauty of the Alvor estuary, and lots of excitement. The attraction of the area lies in the incredible diversity of its countryside and beaches.

It is one of the most important cities for the local economy and its location is great if you wish to get to know the western Algarve, such as Silves, Lagos, Sagres, or Monchique. A great way to get to know these areas is to join a jeep tour to the Algarve mountains, visiting traditional small villages, and tasting the Algarve drink, Medronho.

The most popular activities in Portimão are the family choices: dolphin watching boat tours and the boat tours to the famous Benagil cave. These boat trips usually take 2 hours and show you the most amazing part of the Algarve golden coast! Small boats take you to visit the many sea caves of the region, which are the Algarve’s pride.

4. Vilamoura

The beautiful marina of Vilamoura attracts the most luxurious boats in the region.

Unlike most Algarve towns that started as traditional fishing villages, Vilamoura was built specifically for high-class tourist purposes. Eco-conscious development, attractive landscaping, and tasteful design have created one of the Algarve’s most sought-after holiday destinations.

During summertime, it is very common to see the Marina of Vilamoura full of stunning luxury yachts, sports cars, and beautiful people. The place almost smells like money. Vilamoura’s nightlife is very energetic and holds the most famous parties in the Algarve. For the boldest, there also is a Casino there.

The most recommended experiences for people looking forward to going to Vilamoura are the private yacht trips on the coast. Another top choice is a wine tasting tour, as the Algarve is a wine region of renown. Luxurious experiences for sure!


5. Faro

praia de faro
Far from the city center, Faro’s beach is located on an island between the ocean and the Ria Formosa.

The capital of the Algarve region, Faro is also one of the liveliest cities in Portugal. It receives tourists all year round, both for its attractions and the entire south of the country. From the Faro International Airport, people from all over the world come to know the natural beauties and much more than the Algarve has to offer.

Besides having a charming historic center, Faro is located in front of the stunning Natural Park of Ria Formosa. The Ria Formosa is a top destination for nature lovers and fans of bird watching. Its islands are also very beautiful and hold the traditions of the Algarveans.

Faro is a university city so has life during the entire year. The closest beach is the Faro island beach, accessible by a bridge that connects the mainland to the island on the Ria Formosa.

The best experiences in Faro explore the Ria Formosa and its wonders. Boat tours to the islands are a favorite, as well as bird watching trips.

6. Carvoeiro

algar seco algarve
When visiting Carvoeiro, don’t forget to go to the Algar Seco and explore the rock formations from close.

Carvoeiro is a small village located in the southern region of Portugal, the Algarve. In the past, it was a fishing village and nowadays is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations that every traveler should have on their bucket list. The landscape is of charming white houses that crumble next to calcareous cliffs, bathed by the sea of crystalline turquoise waters.

A fantastic place to visit is the Algar Seco rock formations. A nice beach to enjoy the sun is the Centeanes beach.

Carvoeiro is a heavenly image, close to the best beaches in the Algarve, and according to CNN, one of the best beaches in the world, Praia da Marinha. There are also many well-known restaurants in the area. The residents of Carvoeiro are accustomed to the peaceful life and paradisiacal landscape.

Families tend to love a trip to Carvoeiro, as well as the high-class public. The best experiences from Carvoeiro are the family-friendly ones, such as boat tours to the neighbor Benagil cavejeep excursions in the Algarve mountains, and the unique kombi tours.


7. Tavira

One of the most charming and calmer towns of the Algarve, Tavira will steal your heart!

The history of Tavira is lost in time, and the excavations were done on the site show the presence of the Phoenicians and other ancient peoples. The local architecture has marks of the Muslim occupation and is a Portuguese city from 1520. It has very pleasant temperatures and some of the calmer beaches of the Algarve, besides old monuments and very charming streets.

Tavira is one of the best choices for a slow-paced trip, with the entire family. There is also a proximity to the Ria Formosa and its islands, to Tavira is a great destination for bird-watching fans as well.

8. Olhão


The Olhão market is one of the most traditional in the region, offering the best fresh seafood.

The Algarve’s largest port and a bustling fishing town with a very working place feel to it, Olhão is also the entry gate to one of the most beautiful landscapes in the region and some of Europe’s best beaches. The town itself is a colorful mix of sights and sounds where life is plainly centered on the sea.

If you choose to visit Olhão, you have to try the best local dishes at the Olhão market. Located in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Olhão is a top choice for families.

Our best recommendation for travelers in Olhão is to take a boat tour to the Ria Formosa islands and guarantee a fun day in touch with the local culture.

9. Silves

The city of Silves holds one of the most important and well-preserved castles of the Algarve.

The small town of Silves is known for carrying traces of the Arab presence in the Algarve region, especially in its Castle. The Castle of Silves, the main attraction, indicates that since the 10th century this region was the scene of territorial struggles and cultural mixture, essential for the formation of the identity of the Portuguese people today.

It is one of the best locations in the Algarve to experience authentic Portugal and to immerse in the compelling history of the region. The town has a unique atmosphere, being very different from the hectic coastal resorts, and reflects the Algarve before the modern boom of mass tourism. It really is a great place to visit, especially for history lovers.

The best tours that go to the Silves usually start from Portimão or Albufeira. Its proximity to the traditional vineyards makes Silves a stop for wine tasting tours.

10. Sagres

In Sagres, you will be impressed by the São Vicente cape. It is worth a visit to its fortress!

Sagres is home to the most impressive landscape in the Algarve. The force of Nature is so strong in this south-westerly tip of continental Europe, also known as the São Vicente cape, that visitors will soon understand why ancient settlers deemed it sacred, how it lured 15th Century Portuguese explorers to set sail into the unknown, and how it has managed to retain its original striking beauty.

It also is located near the amazingly beautiful Costa Vicentina, home to stunning beaches and a favorite of Instagrammers. The best way to discover this coast is by joining a jeep excursion.

Due to its great location and great waves, Sagres is the top destination for surfers from all over the world. The surfing community in Sagres is one of the most important in Portugal. The small town has most of its touristic industry towards the surf.


Post written by Letícia Melo.

Hi there, I'm Leticia! Living in Portugal since 2017, I'm a Brazilian writer passionate about traveling, discovering new cultures, beaches and music! Let's share our best experiences!

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