The Algarve Region is definitively one of the most beautiful in Portugal: scenic beaches, impressive cliffs, intricate coastline, beautiful inland hills. and so much more.. In this article, I help you plan your visit with many of the Algarve things to do. It also include the best beaches in the Algarve and the Must-see according to me.
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Visit Algarve Video
Before we talk maps and Algarve must see, let's start with a short video that will show you what it is like to visit the Algarve region in Portugal: stunning Beaches, strong fortress, impressive cliffs and more... Let's be inspired:
Destination in Algarve Map
Below is a simplified Algarve Map with the main destinations. This will help you get a general idea about the land. I included 2 of the most famous Algarve points of interest : Benagil and Sagres.
More detailed Maps with roads and all places to visit will be available in my Portugal Travel Guides (first one to be published in Q2 2017)
You can settle base really anywhere in the Algarve. The region is not too big, so you can explore from one town, especially if you stick to the West side Faro.
There are accommodations almost everywhere along the coast. You can choose. Below are the main town where you could stay in Algarve:
Small town on the western side of the Algarve (not to be mixed with Lagos Nigeria). It is know of its old historic center, busy nightlife and stunning beaches for scenery. It offers a lot but is not so central.
Good location, nice beaches for enjoying the day at the beach, big resorts.
Albuferia is the most popular Algarve destinations thanks to its central location and all the facilities of a resort town. However it is not for people looking for quiet time. A short distance to some fo the most beautiful beaches in Algarve.
Faro is often overlooked because further from the most scenic beaches. It has a scenic old town and this is where the airport is located.
Tavira is the main town in the Eastern part of the Algarve Portugal. Old fort, cathedral, white sand beaches, islands... Definitively a very different atmosphere than the rest of the Algarve.
You can also head inland in the hills. The most famous town in Monchique. Personally I think it is disappointing compared to the coastline. But if you want to escape the heat and the crowds, it is a good option.
Top Algarve Must See + Best Beaches in Algarve
In terms of Algarve Must see it really differs from one person to the others:
If you like the "most of" or "best of"
- Cape St Vincent is the SouthWesternmost point of mainland Europe
- Praia da Marinha is often listed in the most beautiful beaches in the World
- Benagil is part of all lists about the best sea caves in the world
If you like long white sand flat beachs head to the East and Tavira Island. If you like old structure: Sagres and Silves offer some of the best but this is not so fascinating compared to the beaches.
So here is my personal list of the Top Algarve must see in terms of what I think are the most scenic places to admire:
- Ponta da Piedade
- Boat Tour from Benagil Beach including Benagil Sea Cave
- Praia da Falesia Beach
- Tres Irmaos Beach
- Praia da Marinha Beach
- Odeceixe beach
- Praia dos Tres Castelos
- Praia do Camilo
Things to do in Algarve West Coast
Let's start with the best things to do in the Algarve West Coast:
Stunning Beach and lagoon on the West Coast at the northern limit of the Algarve.
Loved by surfers.
Cabo da Vincente
Southwesternmost point of Mainland Europe.
Beautiful Cliffs and a lighthouse
Promontory with a 16th century sea fort and a famous compass rose on the ground. Stunning views of the cliffs.
Torre de Aspa
Things to do in Lagos Portugal
The first main town now is Lagos Portugal, a vibrant and dynamic place the stay home to some of the best beaches in Algarve. Discover the things to do in Lagos Portugal :
Historic Center of Lagos
Discover the church Santo Antonio, the Castelo dos Governadores and the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira
Praia Dona Ana Beach
The most famous beach in Lagos with cliffs and pinacles.
More photos and info on the Praia Dona Ana Algarve beach Article
Praia do Camilo Beach
A lot of stairs to reach it, but a scenic small cove with arche and man other rock formations.
More photos and info on the Praia do Camilo Beach Article
Ponta da Piedade
A promontory with the most beautiful cliffs in the Algarve coastline: arches: pinacles...
More photos and info on the Ponta da Piedade Article
Praia do Canavial Beach
Large sand beach near the Ponta da Piedade Promontory
Meia Praia Beach
Lagos' long flat sand beach
Things to do in Portimao
And now here is what to do in Algarve in the Portimao area:
Praia do Alvor Beach
Portimao's long flat sand beach
Praia dos Tres Irmaos Beach
One of the best beaches in Algarve with its famous double arche rock formation.
More photos and info on the Tres Irmaos Beach Article
Praia dos Tres Castelos Beach
Stunning pinacles near the high cliffs. In line with Praia da Rocha.
Praia da Rocha Beach
Large flat sand beach and the beginning of a long walk that takes you along Tres Castlelos and further.
Its reputation is to be the most photographed village in the Algarve. Probably because there is a great viewpoints across the water...
Fort of Sao Jao do Arade
Small medieval sea fort between 2 beaches.
Large flat sand beach
Things to do around Benagil
Below are the best places in Algarve around the famous Benagil:
Around the lighthouse, the cliffs are very impressing especially with the big hole over a sea cave!
Praia da Albandeira Beach
A small covers with high cliffs and views over the other side with a stunning arch.
More photos and info on the Praia da Albandeira Beach Article
Praia da Marinha Beach
Considered by many as the most beautiful beach in Portugal. Visit at low tide!
More photos and info on the Praia da Marinha Beach Article
Benagil Sea Cave
From the Benagil Beach you can take a boat to explore the coastline including the magnificent Benagil Sea Cave.
More photos and info on the Algarve Sea Cave Boat Tour Article
Algar Seco Cliffs
Algar Seco is another stunning cliff area with holes, a boardwalk and an impressive pinacle.
More photos and info on the Algar Seco Algarve Article
Praia da Senhora Da Rocha
Easily accesses beach
Senhora Da Rocha
Small white church on a promontory between Praia da Senhora da Rocha and Praia Nova.
Long sand beach with high cliffs
Praia do Carvalho Beach
Secluded Beach access through a cutting in the cliffs and many many steps. Mostly interesting for the access.
Things to do in Albufeira
Now let's discover the beaches and other things to do in Albufeira Portugal and around. Some of the best places in Algarve.
Beach with a very different style and rounded rocks.
More photos and info on the Gale Beach Article
Praia do Evaristo Beach
Not really famous, it is best seen at high tide when the waves crash on the rocks.
More photos and info on the Praia do Evaristo Beach Article
Praia Sao Rafael Beach
Another beautiful beach with pinacles and rock formations... (there are so many!)
Praia dos Arrifes Beach
Great small beach with many huge rock formations.
More photos and info on the Praia dos Arrifes beach Article
Praia de Falesia Beach
My favorite beach in Portugal with this huge colored cliff!
More photos and info on the Praia da Falesia beach Article
Vale do Lobo Beach
Located in a high end resort and living area, Vale do Lobo beach has red rock formations that will make you think you are in the desert.
Things to do in Faro and East Algarve
Now let's head East and discover the things to do in Faro and in East Algarve. This area has a very different atmosphere than the west coast.
Faro and Parque Natural Ria Formosa
Faro has a charming old town and boat tours to discover the protected nature (especially birds) in the Ria Formosa National Park.
Small town with white and colorful town. Visit the cathedral and Fort on top of the hill.
Boat tours and ferries to the Island and more flat white sand beaches...
Praia da Manta Rota Beach
East Algarve is only flat white sand beach such as Manta Rota.
At the border with Spain is Castro Marim and its fortification.
Inland Algarve things to do
Now let's go inland and discover the others things to do in Algarve.
Many dams have been built in the hills of the Algarve creating stunning lakes.
Algarve inland town with the red Silves Castle at the top, first established here in the 8th century. Walls are made of red sandstones.
The main town in the hills of the Algarve region. Old center with narrow alleys. Monchique is also famous for is liqueur: Medronho.
Another lake created by a dam.
And other lakes and hills...
Half day or full day 4WD tours are available for the main towns.
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - The Algarve Portugal
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Want to see more of PORTUGAL?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Portugal Destination Guide.
(to be published)
Which ones don't you want to miss?
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