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Things to do in The Algarve

Things to do in  The Algarve

Welcome to The Algarve

There’s far more to the Algarve than the sun, sand, and sea it's famed for. Although its beaches, which are among the best in Europe, are a worthy draw, Portugal’s Algarve also promises a wealth of delights further inland. Distance yourself from tourist hotspots along the Atlantic coast and you’ll discover historical old towns, rolling vineyards, and top-class cuisine. Popular Algarve launch pads are Faro, Silves, Albufeira, and Portimão, all of which combine local highlights with plentiful day trip opportunities. Snorkel and kayak in the crystal clear lagoons of Lagos; observe dolphins and flamingos during a boat trip to Ria Formosa Natural Park; head inside the surreal Benagil Caves; or escape the modern world in the remote village of Sagres. The glamorous port of Vilamoura brims with million-dollar yachts, and in the Monchique Mountains, Portuguese cuisine and wine reign supreme—take a tour of the vineyards in a sidecar for an alternative sightseeing experience. Just over the border is Spain, making the Algarve a top choice for travelers planning to visit Andalucia. Sightseeing tours of Seville, Gibraltar, and Cordoba are all doable in a day, while full-day excursions to Lisbon, Sintra, and Cascais are a popular choice with travelers short on time.

Top 10 attractions in The Algarve

#1
Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta)

Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta)

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A sandy, uninhabited island off Portugal’s Algarve coast, Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta) is a popular beach destination and wildlife refuge inside Ria Formosa National Park. With freshwater lagoons, salt flats, sand dunes, and more, the park has a diverse range of habitats—each with its own resident population of birds and other species, including chameleons.More
#2
Lagos Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Lagos)

Lagos Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Lagos)

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Home to more than 140 different species from across the world, Lagos Zoo offers a family-friendly alternative to the crowded Algarve coast. Opened in 2000, the zoo has become a world-class conservation facility, and its close proximity to central Lagos makes it a top choice for a day away from the city.More
#3
Praia Gale

Praia Gale

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A favorite among locals due to its golden sands and calm, swimming-friendly waters, Praia Gale should be at the top of any beach-lover’s Albufeira itinerary. Steps away from the resort town of Gale, Praia Gale offers more than just sunbathing opportunities: you can spot marine life in natural pools between the rocks or explore the sandstone caves on either side of the sand.More
#4
Ria Formosa Natural Park

Ria Formosa Natural Park

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Located at the southernmost tip of Portugal’s Algarve, Ria Formosa Natural Park (Parque Natural da Ria Formosa) is a scenic swirl of freshwater lagoons, sandy islands, and lush salt marshlands. The park hugs the coast between Manta Rota and Vale do Lobo, and is best known for its varied topography and diverse bird life.More
#5
Sagres

Sagres

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Twenty-one miles west of Lagos, the whitewashed village of Sagres is popular with families looking for a laidback holiday spot near the Algarve’s famous beaches. Backpackers, surfers, and divers also come to Sagres to holiday. Most of the action takes place around the town square, where there are plenty of lively restaurants and cafes. And on August 15 of every year, a big party is held to celebrate the local saint’s day with fireworks.Sagres is on a headland overlooking the southwesternmost harbor in Europe, and from the village you can see the boat builders and lobster fishermen dragging their haul in each day. This area is also marked by two geomorphological structures: Cape St. Vincent and Sagres Point. Cape St. Vincent (São Vicente Cape) was once known as the “End of the World,” because, being at the extreme west of continental Europe, no one knew what lay beyond the horizon. Historically connected to the Portuguese Age of Discovery, in the 15th century Henry the Navigator established a school of navigation here where some of the world’s most important explorers, including Magellan and Diaz, apprenticed. One of the best views of Cape St. Vincent and Sagres point is from Torre de Aspa—a viewpoint on the western side of Vila do Bispo.More
#6
Armacao de Pera Beach (Praia Armacao de Pera)

Armacao de Pera Beach (Praia Armacao de Pera)

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With its golden sands and sandstone-carved coves, Armacao de Pera Beach (Praia Armacao de Pera) epitomizes the coastal beauty of Portugal’s Algarve. Backed by a fishing village of the same name, the beach is an ideal choice for both families and sun-worshippers: umbrella-shaded sunbeds offer respite from the midday sun while the rocky coves on either side of the beach make for a fun day of exploration.More
#7
Mt Fóia

Mt Fóia

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Looming 902 meters over the colorful spa town of Caldas de Monchique below, Mt Fóia is the Algarve’s highest peak and makes a scenic day trip from nearby Portimão. It’s the spellbinding views that make Fóia so popular, spanning the rugged Serra de Monchique mountain range, the Alvor River, Portimão, and on clear days, the ocean-lapped cliffs along the Atlantic coast.Hiking to the summit is a worthwhile challenge for adventurous travelers, but the mountaintop can also be reached by car, where there are two main viewpoints and a cluster of restaurants offering equally impressive views.More
#8
Praia dos Salgados

Praia dos Salgados

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Backed by ochre cliffs, the seemingly endless shoreline of Praia dos Salgados exemplifies the picture-perfect beauty of The Algarve’s coastline. Steps away from the sand, you’ll find a golf course and reserve that cater to nature lovers and families alike. Meanwhile, the calm waters of the Atlantic Ocean provide a safe place for kids to swim.More
#9
Falésia Beach

Falésia Beach

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Stretching for 6km between the villages of Vilamoura and Olhos do Agua, Falésia Beach is one of Portugal’s longest beaches and it’s a serene spot, with miles of pristine golden sands hemmed in by towering red sea cliffs and crops of pine forests.A firm favorite among both locals and tourists, Falésia is ideal for swimming and water sports, while the cliff top resort is well served with restaurants, hotels, playgrounds and golf courses. Falésia and neighboring Quarteira beach also offer a magnificent backdrop for walking, cycling or Segway tours, with the palm-lined promenades and coastal lanes offering breath-taking views.More
#10
Silves Castle (Castelo de Silves)

Silves Castle (Castelo de Silves)

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Silves’ regional prominence began in the 11th century when the Moors conquered the town. Giving it the name of Xelb, they constructed lavish palaces and created a cultural centre of learning for the whole Iberian Peninsular. Prior to its decline as a port due to silt build-up in its river, Silves was once the capital of the entire Algarve region. It traces its history back to 1,000 BC, and the Romans later found its location and resources much to their liking. During the 11th century, the Moors took and fortified the city, renaming it Xelb and building opulent palaces with the intent of creating a cultural center for the entire Iberian peninsula. Silves castle, a red sandstone fortress of Moorish design and décor is replete with beautiful gardens and statuary.Beyond the Silves Castle(Castelo de Silves), the town has some of the most intact remnants of its Moorish past. Many of the Moors underground water reservoirs are still used today. Much of the town’s culture is related to historical and archeological pursuits, and there is a museum, the Museu Arquelogico (constructed above the largest, Moorish cistern, no less), that displays prehistoric articles found around the region. The Ponte Romana, a Roman bridge over the Rio Arade is a testament to its Roman occupiers, and numerous Christian monuments can be found throughout town, including a granite cross to the northeast of the city.More

Trip ideas

Top Beaches on the Algarve

Top Beaches on the Algarve

How to Spend 3 Days in the Algarve

How to Spend 3 Days in the Algarve

How to Spend 1 Day in Albufeira

How to Spend 1 Day in Albufeira

Top activities in The Algarve

Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Albufeira
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Dolphins and Benagil Caves from Albufeira - Allboat
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Benagil Caves Tour from Portimao
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Lagos and Carvoeiro - Private from Albufeira
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Kayak Trip in Lagos

Kayak Trip in Lagos

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Silves and Monchique - Including WineTasting
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Albufeira Dreamer Boat Trip
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Albufeira Dreamer Boat Trip

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Benagil Cave tour from Faro

Benagil Cave tour from Faro

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Dolphin Watching from Lagos
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Dolphin Watching from Lagos

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Recent reviews from experiences in The Algarve

star-5
Great experience
Viktoria_K, Jun 2021
Albufeira SUP Tour
Perfect to see the beautiful coast and cliffs of the algarve.
star-5
Fantastic experience
Cintia_M, May 2021
Kayak Algarve tour BENAGIL by Diamond tours
We totally recommend it because it is a sustainable way to visit the Algarve gems not harming the environment and having much more fun.
star-5
Beautiful tour with lots to discover
Sina_B, Oct 2020
Wild and Wonderful West Coast Full Day Tour
I can only recommend the tour to anyone who would like to see the amazingly diverse places the Algarve has to offer.
star-5
Great safari trip with Fred
Ian_B, Aug 2019
Half Day Tour with Jeep Safari in the Algarve Mountains
Just don’t expect to see any giraffes or zebras!!
star-5
The guides delivered!
Angie B, Jul 2019
Dolphin-Watching in Marina de Lagos
As an added bonus, you essentially get to see the entire coastline of the Algarve.
star-4
The tour itself is really something...
Harprit_S, Jul 2018
Seville Day Trip from the Algarve
The guide gives you plenty of places of interest to visit and there is sufficient time to do the main attractions and make it back to the Algarve.
star-5
Great way to see a different side of...
Tracy_T, Sep 2017
Full Day Jeep Safari in Algarve
Great way to see a different side of the algarve.
star-5
Fun adventure!!!
Sheree23, Feb 2020
Full Day Jeep Safari in Algarve
I could not have asked for anything more, even had a lovely swim in the natural spring by the waterfall..
star-5
Great tour for seeing the Algrave in a day.
Deborah_P, Dec 2019
ALGARVE from Lisbon PRIVATE Tour - Lagos, Benagil and Marinha beach
David also took us to see the Christ statue afterwards which was awesome and then we tried custard tarts in Belem.
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Four friends traveling to Albufeira from Faro airport
theresawills19, Sep 2019
Lagos Shared Departure Transfer to Faro
He was at the airport waiting for us with sign and he spoke very good English which was great as unfortunately we can’t speak Portuguese very well.
star-5
Absolutely Amazing!
buzowithme5925, May 2019
Caves and Coastline Cruise from Albufeira to Benagil
This was the perfect outing for all ages to get an idea of the Algarve area and to see what beaches and restaurants you may want to visit.
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Great tour! We were a group of 10...
lsavoni, Jul 2016
Premium Wine and Gastronomic Mountain Tour in The Algarve
Hope to see you again soon.
star-5
This was by far the highlight of our...
Derek A, Sep 2017
Private Tour: Algarve Wine and Tapas Tour by Sidecar Motorcycle from Portimao
Very good chilled out way to see more than normal.
star-5
Amazing. Very lucky to see 2...
NEIL C, Jul 2017
Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Albufeira
Very lucky to see 2 different species of dolphin.
star-5
We had a great day on this trip! We...
Sophie M, Aug 2017
Seville Day Trip from the Algarve
Obviously you will not get to see an entire city in one day but Ana gave us great advice on where to visit.
star-5
Brilliant tour. Our driver/guide...
Christabel S, Jun 2016
Private Tour: Algarve Wine and Tapas Tour by Sidecar Motorcycle from Portimao
The stops were scenic and we got to see the real Algarve where residents lived.
star-5
I'm not going to lie to you when...
Cinde Q, Jul 2016
Private Tour Benagil Caves from Portimao
There is no better way to see the beauty of the Algarve coast then to do it by boat.
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Phantastic off road tour!
Hannah T, Nov 2019
Full Day Jeep Safari in Algarve
We stopped twice to visit local farmers where we could taste honey, almonds, figs and of course the famous Medronho, that you could also buy which is a good opportunity to do so.
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