Sunny Mediterranean climate, gorgeous beaches, picturesque towns, historic sites, fabulous cuisine and affordable costs are just some of the reasons that make the Algarve one of the best places to visit in Portugal. Located in the country’s southernmost region, the Algarve offers a feast for the eyes, from tranquil landscapes of olive groves, traditional whitewashed villages to the wild, windswept coast with its dramatic cliffs dotted with summer resorts. Faro is the region’s capital, and Lagos is the area’s hot spot for nightlife. Looped by orange groves, Silves is best known for its red sandstone castle, while Tavira is an elegant town packed with Renaissance monuments, bridges and castles.
Wherever your travels take you, Algarve is a food-lover’s paradise. Fresh seafood is available daily, and thanks to its temperate climate, field-to-the-table dishes include everything from figs, olives and almonds to oranges, mangoes and pomegranates. Clean, safe and surprisingly affordable, Southern Portugal offers a sun-drenched holiday experience you’ll remember for many years.
Some of the most popular places on the region are:
- 1. Praia da Marinha: Situated between Portimão and Albufeira, Praia da Marinha is widely considered one of its most beautiful beaches. The fact that the beach can only be reached by a set of steps that climb steeply down a limestone cliff makes it less crowded than other beaches in the area as well. The rock formations located on along shoreline are not only visually striking but provide the perfect marine environment for snorkeling adventures too. Exceptionally calm waters make the beach ideal for swimming.
2. Lagos: Situated on Algarve’s breezy southwestern coast, it is an ancient maritime city that today is as famous for its picturesque beaches as it is for its storied past. Sandy coves framed by rock formations make Lagos an idyllic destination for sun-lovers seeking solitude. Large beaches like Meia Praia are perfect for swimming and windsurfing. From the gilded interior of the 18th-century church of Igreja de Santo António to the watchtowers of the baroque Castelo dos Governadores, the city’s historical sights are just as impressive.
- 3. Albufeira: One of the last Moorish towns in Southern Portugal to fall into the hands of Christians in the 13th century, Albufeira nearly faded away into history until it was rediscovered in the 1960s as a great place to spend a beach vacation. Today, it has two popular tourist attractions: its picturesque Old Town quarter and the Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro area. Both districts feature numerous bars, clubs and restaurants, making Albufeira a paradise for party-goers. The town beach, or Praia dos Pescadores, still accommodates fishermen bringing in their catch of the day and serves as a departure point for scuba diving excursions as well
- 4. Sagres: Located at the southwestern tip of Portugal and continental Europe, it is a small harbor town best known as the place where Prince Henry the Navigator lived while establishing his legendary nautical school in the 15th century. Nowadays, it’s the surf schools, impressive cliffs and beautiful beaches that most attract visitors.