This beautiful southern coastline of Portugal is blessed with stunning beaches, quaint fishing towns and historic cities. This is a stunning land of contrast which appeals to a vast cross-section of tourists and which allows you to carve out your perfect customised guided tour in the Algarve.
There are more than 150 beaches to choose from, some of which are said to be the best in Europe. Enclosed on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean, the Algarve is a surfers and watersport fans paradise. Though do not worry, there are hundreds of secluded little coves for all of the family to enjoy.
Experience a wonderful world of adventure on an Algarve hiking tour. With nearly 40 per cent of the Algarve’s total area having conservation status, there are amazing trails to be found in the South Coast, the Serra, The Guadiana, the Vicentine Coast and the Barrocal.
In the resorts, you will find waterparks, a buzzing nightlife, great cafes and restaurants and many historic towns to discover on an Algarve cultural tour. You cannot mention the Algarve without referring to the many championship golf courses in the region. With golf tours Algarve experience for yourself these fantastic greens and their superb clubhouses. Read More...
Visit the Best Cities And Towns On An Algarve Sightseeing Tour
The regional capital of the Algarve and with the highest concentration of historical monuments than any other in the region is Faro. Often overlooked, Faro is full of authentic Portuguese charm. Encircled by ancient city walls take a guided walking tour and visit the unique Gothic cathedral, one of many cultural attractions in which to visit. Outside the walls are many pedestrianised shopping areas with great cafes and restaurants.
Lagos is the liveliest town with its outdoor restaurants, trendy bars and narrow streets. Combine your day by visiting historical sites as well as relaxing on the nearby pristine beaches.
One of the true gems to be found is Tavira with its 11-century castle and numerous churches. Here you will find a charming mix of traditional Portuguese culture with heavy Moorish influences. Other significant towns on your bucket-list should be Portimao, Albufeira, Carvoeiro, Silves, and Vilamoura. Each has its own appeal and distinctive style.
Whether you are in the mountains or beaches, the Algarve will not disappoint, which is why more than 50 per cent of visitors to Portugal choose to go there.
Top 10 Things to Do in Algarve
Ponta da Piedade
This spectacular collection of cliffs, rock formations and caves are located at the very southern tip of Lagos. You can visit this unique sight on a private tour or a boat tour. The rock formations are a wonder of nature and for the fittest of you; there are around 182 steps which take you to the bottom. Over the years fishermen have given names to the rocks due to their likeness of a Camel’s head, kissing couple, the elephant, the cathedral and the sphinx.
Faro Bone Chapel
At one time it was not an unusual practice to move bones from cemeteries after a period of ten years. The bones belonged to the monks who served in the chapel and in the 19th century they were removed from the town cemetery to the chapel. This ghoulish little chapel is lined with over a thousand skeletons which decorate the walls in an unusual pattern, and the highlight is the golden skeleton which hangs at the front of the chapel.
The remains of Silves illustrious past can be seen throughout the town. Your Silves tour guide will show you examples of this by taking you to see the imposing red-brick castle, the secure fortified town walls and the Gothic cathedral. Enjoy this scenic town which lies along the Rio Arade and stop at one of the charming cafes during your guided tour.
The Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos
One of the most scenic hiking routes in the Algarve, the Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspension seven hanging valleys is a moderately challenging trail of around 11 kilometres round trip. It follows the dramatic coastline between Vale de Centianes in the west and the Praia da Marinha to the east. Throughout the trail, you will pass some of the most beautiful natural scenery. There are hidden coves, and along the route, you will discover the much-photographed Benagil Cave.
Situated on the western Algarve, Lagos offers excellent tourist facilities. Known for its pristine beaches and lively nightlife you will find there is something for everyone and every budget. Not only do you have the beaches, within the historic city centre you will discover authentic restaurants among the cobbled streets. Explore the beautiful Santo Antonio church, Europe’s first slave market (Mercado dos Escravos) and the 17th-century Banderia Fort. The central point is the charming harbour, which leads to a mod
Faro is not just all about its airport. There are many historic places of interest to visit, such as the Gothic Se cathedral with its panoramic views over the city. On a cultural tour Faro, you can visit the neoclassical Arco da Vila gate, which is set within the city walls. For something completely different you can take a nature trip on an old barge and see sights such as flamingos, razorbills, storks, ospreys and shanks in the large lagoon.
“The Strip” Albufeira
Alburferia’s strip is famous for its nightlife where you will find an abundance of bars and clubs. As soon as the sun sets, the neon lights come on, and the strip is packed with young European tourists who party until sunrise. It is not for everyone, as alcohol consumption is pushed to its absolute limit. The strip is without a doubt where you will find the Algarve’s most energetic and rowdiest nightlife.
Anchor Cemetery and Praia do Barril (Beach)
Once a small fishing community, the remains of this former industry has been transformed into tourist facilities. Not only will you have a great day at the beach, but you can also visit the “Anchor Graveyard”; a memorial to the fishing fleet which comprises of the anchors used for fishing embedded into the sand dunes. The whole family can enjoy the mini train which takes you from the mainland to the beach.
Originally constructed as a golfing centre, Vilamoura now consists of five first-class golf courses. It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve and if you like people-watching, visit the exclusive marina with its million-dollar yachts. This is where the super-rich socializes, and you never know who you may bump into.
For the ultimate beach life and cuisine, Portimao is the place to visit. The sandy beaches are backed by red-rocked cliffs, and there is no shortage of restaurants, bars and even a casino. Not only will you find bustling night-clubs, but there are also many smaller charming bars that are family-friendly. Visit the sardine canning factory and learn about the importance this industry had on the town.
Travel Tips for Algarve
Best Time To Visit Algarve
With long summers and short winters, the Algarve is a year-round destination. June and September tend to be popular months as it is outside of the school holidays. From the beginning of May until the end of September the weather is suitable for beach lovers, and for surfers, September to the end of November. The Algarve is famous for its festivals, and you will be pleased to know that there is a festival occurring somewhere all year round.
Typical Costs in Algarve
Known to be cheaper than most European destinations, the Algarve will cater for all budgets. The average price of a three-course evening meal for two, including a bottle of house wine should cost between 30-40 Euros. The most cost-effective months to travel are January and February, followed by late spring autumn. During the high season, costs will rise, so book your hotels and Faro sightseeing tours early.
Know Before Visiting Algarve
Unfortunately, pick-pockets are a world-wide problem, so keep your personal belongings and cash safe. On guided tours, stay with your group, the same applies on a night out. Finding an Irish pub is easy, so challenge yourself and do not miss out on authentic Portuguese cuisine. Always use a reputable exchange shop and stick to bottled water when on holiday.
Weather in Algarve
All year round The Algarve enjoys pleasant temperatures. It has long hot summers, pleasant springs and autumns and winters that are mild. Temperatures hardly ever drop below 20°C and reach a peak of 28°C in July and August. September enjoys slightly cooler weather with a daily average of 26°C. From December to February the weather is still mild with highs of around 150C.