Algarve is the southern coastal region of Portugal and perhaps the best known and most popular beach resort destination of the country. It is a naturally blessed region with amazing sandy beaches surrounded with impressive cliffs and rocky coves, guaranteeing you a memorable sun and sea holiday. The region is also famous for offering some of the best golf courses in the whole of Europe with no less than 14 out of the top 100.
The Algarve region offers great weather, the finest beaches, beautiful natural wonders, and a variety of historical attractions, making it the perfect holiday destination. From all inclusive family deals to self catering and camping sites, the region has are hundreds of resorts and hotels to choose from.
How to get to Algarve?
The most convenient way to get to the Algarve is flying directly to Faro from all the major European destinations. Check out the best flight deal to Faro, Algarve.
Top 5 best rated hotels
The following are the top hotels in Algarve as voted by the users:
- Vila Vita Parc – 134 reviews
- Vilalara Thalassa Resort – 82 reviews
- Herdade da Corte – 55 reviews
- Riu Palace Algarve – 340 reviews
- Velamar Hotel – 222 reviews
Algarve top places
Algarve has a lot of great destinations to be discovered. The following are the top places, including must city cities, best resort towns and amazing natural wonders from the west coast to the eastern border with Spain.
Top 20 Algarve
Sagres is the westernmost town of the Algarve, known for being the place where Prince Henry the Navigator lived and died. It is home to the Sagres Point a windswept shelf-like promontory which is usually taken as the south westernmost tip of Europe. Nearby Vila do Bispo is also worth discovering with its standing menhirs symbolising the area as used for religious purposes since Neolithic times.
Lagos is one of the largest city on the western side of the Algarve as well as one of the most popular destination. It is small enough to walk everywhere, but offers plenty of attractions to be choose from the traditional and colourful centre to the beautiful sandy golden beaches.
The old town enclosed within its 14th century walls have a variety of charming small streets to be discovered. So is the Ponta da Piedade, a beautiful lighthouse and starting point to the various boat tours to explore the natural caves or dolphin populations.
As for the beaches around Lagos, they are said to be one of the most beautiful in the region, offering beautiful sand, transparent waters, various rocks formations and caves. For those more interested in water sports than sun bathing, the region offers a variety of facilities including kayaking, canoeing, surfing and even waterskiing.
Apart from its remarkable old town and beaches, Lagos is also famous for its vibrant nightlife. Indeed, from beach bars to and cocktail lounges to all night clubs playing the latest hits, Lagos has something for everyone.
Monchique is a famous spa town in the heart of the Algarve biggest mountain range, the Serra de Monchique. It has a beautiful centre with various narrow, cobbled streets and is the perfect place to enjoy a body treatment or go for a trek in the nearby mountains trails.
Alvor was once a small fishing village but has become a sought after resort town on the west side of Algarve. Blessed with spectacular views across the Bay of Lagos as well as kilometres long beaches, it is no wonder is has become such a popular destination with tourists of all ages.
There are a variety of beach locations to choose from depending on what you are looking for. The many kilometres long Praia de Alvor is perhaps the most popular spot in Alvor, famous its fine golden sands, but if you are looking for natural beauty then the Praia Dos Tres Iramos is your best bet, remarkably set in against a backdrop of vertical cliffs. Whatever beach you end chosen, you won’t be disappointed, as it will contribute for a great holiday in the south of Portugal.
Alvor is the perfect place to enjoy a calm and peaceful holiday. However if you ever wish to go for a night out, the Praia Da Rocha, known for being the hottest clubbing scene in the Algarve is only a few kilometres away.
Portimao is the second biggest city in the Algarve and famous for being home to one of the best known beaches, the Praia da Rocha, the best place to go out and enjoy yourself. As for the city itself it is an ideal place to go to enjoy the region speciality, grilled sardines in one of their many restaurants. For those looking for souvenir the town centre offers a variety of boutiques with all sorts of jewellery, ornamental objects and clothes.
Praia de Rocha
Praia da Rocha is one of the region’s top beach situated in the southern part of Portimao and best known to be the party capital of the Algarve. Indeed it has a variety of great spots to got out from charming cafes and lounges, to full night disco, passing by a casino featuring a show every night.
One end of the Praia da Rocha beach also offers some spectacular view, from the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar, a now popular site which was originally built to keep the pirates away.
Praia da Rocha is also home the championship golf course of Penina, which will let you play like the pros.
Finally Praia da Rocha, wouldn’t be the same without nearby Guia, one of Algarve biggest shopping centre offering a variety of local products.
Lagoa is one of the biggest cities on the western side of the Algarve. Although not itself on the coast, it is close some of the region’s best beaches with clean waters, great access and numerous facilities.
Silves is an inland town known for having a Moorish castle, one of the biggest fortress of its kind. What was once the capital of Algarve has become a popular tourist destination set within lush green valleys on the banks of the Arade River.
Dating back to 1000 BC, there are plenty of historic sites to be discovered from the Roman remains such as the Ponte Romana stretching over the Arade River to the Moorish architecture. Perhaps Silves most amazing sites are the breathtaking Castelo de Silves and the gothic Cathedral Sé de Silves. All these architectural wonders and many more are fully explained at the Museu Arqueológico.
For the perfect relaxation and a good dose of culture, Silves is the ideal place to say.
Armacao is the perfect resort for youngster and families with a variety of attractions to choose from. Indeed it has some of the longest beaches in the region combined with many theme parks such as the AquaLand water park and the Krazy World.
Armacao beaches are some of the finest in the Algarve with azure blue water perfect for swimming or snorkelling. Extra facilities, such as beach life guards, makes it a pleasant family holiday experience. As for the parents, there are two great golf courses and a number of cultural attractions nearby.
What was once a great fishing port has become the perfect holiday destination, but the quality of the fish and seafood has remained and there are many restaurants around offering delicious sea specialities.
For the perfect family holiday, Armacao is the place to be.
Albufeira is perhaps Algarve’s largest holiday destinations, with number of resorts and hotels to choose from. The five-kilometre beach Praia d’Oura combined with the “strip” a long stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants, makes it the perfect stress free vacation spot. For those looking for a bit culture, Albufeira old town is the perfect place to discover.
Villamoura is a purpose built resort town, known for being the most luxurious in Algarve. If you are looking for a variety of designer boutiques, world class restaurants and elegant lounges, then the Villamoura resort is the place to be.
The marina at Villamoura is one of the primary attraction of the city, which is alive both by day and at night, with a choice of many bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. It is also home to the Villamoura Casino, which offers a show every night.
The quality beaches of the area, are another of Villamoura key attractions, especially the popular Praia da Marina offering sofas and a even DJ to entertain its guests.
For golf lovers, Villamoura is the perfect destination with a large numbers of quality golf courses nearby.
Villamoura is all about glamour and luxury but with an air of tranquillity and it the perfect destination for those who are looking for a bit of the rich and famous lifestyle.
Quarteira is famous for its clean beach, lovely promenade and beautiful marina. The city which dates back to the Roman times is a wonderful place to discover, equipped with excellent seafood, pristine seas, golden beaches and many attractions to choose from. Indeed it is home to many aqua shows, a casino and boat cruises from where you have spectacular view of the city.
If you are looking for great seafood, a relax atmosphere and breathtaking beach, look no further as Quarteira city is the place to be.
Vale De Lobe
Vale do Lobo is known to be one of the nicest as well as the oldest resorts in the Algarve offering a wide range of activities for its guests. From spectacular golf courses such as the Royal and Ocean to saunas, massage and natural therapies facilities, it has everything to guarantee an exciting vacation.
For a more tranquil vacation type, Vale do Lobo offers kilometres long of amazing beaches and azure blue water, making it the ideal place to relax and enjoy the sun with a nice cold glass of sangria. For a luxurious and stress free holiday filled with various activities Vale do Lobo is the place to be.
Loule is one of the biggest city in the Algarve famous for its castle as well as the church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade (Our Lady of Piety) which stands on an hilltop on the west side of the town.
Faro is a the capital city of the Algarve region and a very popular destination with northern European sun-seekers. It is known to be a party destination with many great locations to celebrate, making it the perfect place for a sun and sea all inclusive holiday. Many visitors also tend to choose Faro as the base for the rest of the amazing places in Algarve. The white-washed city has a special charm to it with its mix of Moorish and colonial architecture. It is the perfect place to start your exploration of the beautiful Algarve region.
You may also look at the great deals from Faro Ibis. Book 20 days in advance to get great deals.
The Ria Formosa is Algarve famous lagoon as well as being the most important wildlife sanctuary. It is the perfect place to go for a walk along its 40 miles riverfront with numerous little villages around filled with bars, cafés and restaurants. It is also a great place to observe the various migratory birds species that visit this place each year.
Olhao is perhaps one of Algarve lesser known destination, but offers a remarkable charm along its small streets with a mix of Moorish and catholic architecture The city is home to the region largest port and therefore offers a great variety of fish and seafood restaurants especially around Algarve’s largest fish market. Some of the most important sites include 17th century Our Lady of Solitude church built to protect the local fishermen as well as some examples of baroque architecture such as the Holy Spirit Chapel.
For those lovers of sea specialities or those who want to go a bit off the beaten track Olhao is the ideal town to choose.
Tavira is a beautiful town on the eastern side of the Algarve known for its pristine beaches, surrounded with orange, almond and fig trees as well as a splendid architecture dating back thousands of years. Indeed, it is said the roman were the first to set foot on its coast followed by the Moors, which gives the city a particular charm.
Tavira is also known for its world class golf courses such as the Benamor and Colina Verde, which will contribute for a perfect holiday.
The area most famous beach is Barrill, a long stretch of sand which have a popular section with all the needed facilities as well as a more isolated part if you are looking for a bit of privacy.
Vila Real De Santo Antonio
Vila Real de Santo Antonio is the eastern most city of the Algarve region and sits on the eastern bank of the Guadiana river which forms the border with Spain. Some of the city’s most popular attractions include the Manuel Cabanas Museum and the main square in the heart of the city.
Castro Marim is a lovely border town with typically Portuguese houses and famous for being home to the Castro Marim Castle. It is the perfect laid back town ideal to relax and observe the tranquil local lifestyle. The area surrounding the city quite flat, making it a good place for walks and bike rides.
Algarve, situated on the southernmost region of Portugal is one of Europe’s sunniest destinations, with more than 300 days of sunshine per year. With all year round sunshine and beautiful climate it should be on your top destinations list for you next holiday.
The Algarve, which comes from an Arabic word meaning the West is the southern region of Portugal’s and one of the most popular holiday destination for travellers from all around Europe. Indeed it has an average of 10 million tourist a year including local visitors, and is especially busy during the summer period where the region population triples. It is perhaps not a surprise as it offers more than 200 km of beaches from the popular ones next to the best known resorts to the more reclusive ones next to breathtaking cliffs.
The Algarve has approximately 5412 square kilometres with approximately 155 kilometres of south-facing coastline where all the major resorts are located. This southern coast is world famous for its picture perfect limestone caves and grottoes, especially around the Lagos areas. Some of these natural masterpieces are however only accessible by boat.
The Algarve is rich in culture and diversity with many historical and architectural sites to be discovered from traditional white and blue villages to Moorish castles and Roman ruins.
The Algarve is the perfect destination for natures lovers, from the mountain range of the Monchique where is the region highest peak to the Ria Formosa lagoon, a system of barrier islands. The region has plenty of parks and Nature trails for a perfect day away from the coast as well as being the perfect place for big game fishing or dolphin watching in the Atlantic.
The water is remarkably clean and warm, ideal for swimming, snorkelling or to enjoy various water sports. The region has also a fair number of various water parks and theme parks, guaranteeing you a complete family holiday.
As for golf enthusiast they won’t be deceived with more than 30 top class golf courses, some being praised as one of the best in Europe.
Apart from the Tourism industry, especially strong in the summers period, the Algarve is famous for its Fish, seafood and fruit production which include almonds, figs and oranges.
It is known for its delicious local gastronomy based on fresh ingredients as well as having a great selection of wines to accompany your meals. The delicious food combined with the naturally courteous Portuguese style will make each one of your meal a great experience.
The region offers a variety of vacation spots from those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere around the Praia Da Rocha, to those looking for more luxury with the resorts in Villamoura with plenty of classy bars, restaurants and stylish boutiques to choose from. The region is also perfect for a younger party crowd especially in Albufeira and Lagos.