The Algarve in Portugal is the perfect place to escape for a holiday filled with sun, sand, and great food. Here are our top tips for enjoying your first trip, or any trip, to the Algarve.
- Beach Hopping – Experience A New Beach Every Day
If you love to explore beaches, the Algarve may quickly become your favorite summer getaway. Algarve travel guides are filled with beach recommendations since there are so many beaches to enjoy. Each beach is unique, with different sights, advantages, and disadvantages. Do you want a busy beach or one off the beaten path?
You can stay in any of the cities in the Algarve region of Portugal and be within easy reach of multiple beaches. As an example, at Praia da Rocha you can walk seemingly forever on a sandy beach, but a little further down the road, you run into Praia dos Tres Castelos with its dramatic limestone formations and cliffs. Or if you want to escape the city, you can go to Marinha Beach and enjoy the fresh air and freedom.
- Explore the Cities And Beaches On The Same Day
You may have planned your entire holiday around a beach escape, but when you’re ready for a change of pace, the Algarve provides it. You can switch from exploring beaches in the morning to touring the stunning sights in the historic cities of Faros and Lagos. Learn about the history of the region by visiting the Arco da Vila or Cathedral of Faro, or take a walk around Jardim da Constituição at Lagos. You will find an exciting combination of shopping, culture, a fun aquashow and great dining in the cities of the Algarve.
- Castles and Roman Ruins – An Inland Adventure
Did you get a little too much sun on the beach? Head inland and have a new kind of adventure. Travel through the Algarve hinterland and discover beautiful scenic drives and castles you can explore.
Walk up and down the quiet streets of Silves or Loule to discover quaint little shops, their towering castles, or simple cafes. Hop over to the Palace of Estoi and marvel at the intricate tilework showcased on the walls. Slide over to the Roman Ruins and take a look back in time. The Algarve region is filled with history and beauty when you escape the beaches and head inland.
- Reverse Your View And See The Coast From The Sea
You chose the Algarve as your holiday destination because of its amazing beaches and beautiful views. The challenge is many of these sites most dramatic views are hidden from your eyes from the land. The Algarve coastline is highlighted with crumbling limestone cliffs. The amazing cliffs surround you at every turn. You find them at Sagres, at Praia da Rocha, and even as far as Albufeira. You were probably mesmerized by photos of Bengali Cave as you planned your trip or the arches and grottos of Ponta da Piedade, but seeing their majesty by land is challenging.
To fully experience the grandeur of these sites and the Algarve coast is from the sea. You take a risk and do in on your own, but the safest and most common way is to take a boat tour. It may make you feel like a common tourist, but sometimes the best way to see dramatic sites is to follow the crowd. A boat tour lets you experience the majestic sights safely.
A few of the best boat tours around the Algarve include:
- Tour from Lagos: Cruise to Ponta da Piedade – 75 minutes.
- Boat from Albufeira: Caves and Dolphin Watching – 2.5 hours
- Excursion from Portimao: Benagil Cave Tour – 2 hours.
WARNING: Reserve your boat tours in advance. The tours sell out fast during the high season. You do not want to miss the seaside view of the Algarve.
- The Algarve – Bigger Than You Think
You came to the Algarve to explore. You know you are not going to be happy sitting on one beach for your entire holiday, but are you as prepared as you believe? By glancing at a tourist brochure, you may believe the Algarve is small. It is much bigger than you think.
The coastline is nearly 150 kilometers long. You can spend a couple of hours traveling down the coast and not reach your destination. Make sure to plan for enough time to explore the Algarve completely.
- Public Transport – Exploring The Algarve Cheaply
Are you tired of driving, or didn’t bring your car? You could take a tour, or choose the cheap and easy way to explore the area, trains, and buses. Rental cars prices spike during tourist season, but the prices for public buses and trains stay low.
You can jump on the coastal train and ride from Lagos to Faro, with stops in both Portimao and Albufeira. You can see many of the Algarve’s best sights using the train. If you decide to use the train extensively, you can save money by buying a Tourist Travelcard. Do you want to escape these larger cities? Buses can get you where you want to go. The buses travel to smaller towns and places the trains can’t reach.
- Smaller Towns – Unique Settings For Your Stay
Most people choose to stay in the larger coastal cities like Faros and Lagos, but that doesn’t make them your best choice. Smaller towns offer a unique experience for tourists. Towns like Sagres, Tavira, or Carvoeiro give you a more relaxed holiday. You will still see some of the standard ritzy hotels, but you will also find quaint hotels and unique places to stay that are only found in the Algarve region of Portugal.