Algarve Travel Guide | South of Portugal

Updated: Mar 2

In this article, you will find out the best towns and beaches to visit in Algarve and other useful tips.


The Algarve is one of the most beautiful regions in South Portugal, full of stunning beaches and charming historical towns.


It’s a popular tourist destination for those looking for sun, sand, and adventure! Whether you enjoy exploring historical sites or adventuring along the sandy coastline, there’s something for everyone in the Algarve!


  1. The best towns in Algarve

  2. The best beaches in Algarve

  3. How to travel to Algarve

  4. The world-famous zipline

  5. My 2-day travel itinerary around Algarve

  6. Video


The best towns in Algarve


Many beautiful towns are located in the Algarve, but some stand apart from the rest as must-see destinations.


Vilamoura

Vilamoura is an action-packed resort town perfect for adventure seekers. Located along the pristine water, visitors can enjoy boating, jet skiing, wakeboarding, and dolphin tours. There are also golf courses and spas, making this a perfect destination for fun and relaxation.


Lagos

Lagos boasts spotless beaches, stunning cliffs, and unspoiled nature. The town is excellent for swimming, diving, and snorkelling since the cliffs protect the shores from harsh winds and surf. Headlands along the area include Praia de Dona Ana, Meia Praia, and Praia de Camilo. Those interested in cultural history should check out the lighthouse and Old Town area featuring 16th-century walls, historic churches, and museums.


Tavira

Tavira is a gorgeous small seaside town that combines historic charm with modern amenities. There are many historical sites to visit, making it a must for history buffs of all ages. Make sure to check out the Tavira Castle, Praca da Republica, and River Gilao during your stay.


Portimao

Portimao is the second-largest city in Algarve and is a dock for large cruise ships. There is an eclectic food scene, tons of shopping, and boat tours, along with gardens and arsenic squares. The area also has a ton of cultural history, making it a diverse and exciting town.


Albufeira

Albufeira is the most popular tourist area in the region, making it extremely busy. Although the area is beautiful, I wouldn’t recommend vacationing there as it is more of a tourist trap than the other towns listed above.


The Best Beaches In Algarve


The Algarve is home to many fantastic beaches, making it an excellent summer vacation spot. If you love sand and surf, these beaches are sure to bring a smile to your face.



Praia de Dona Ana

The most picturesque beach in Algarve, Praia de Dona Ana, boasts cliffs and crystal clear waters. The water is calm, thanks to the protection of the cliffs making it an ideal spot for swimming. The only way to access the beach is through a steep wooden staircase, but the views and white sand are worth it!


Praia do Camilo

Smaller and quieter than other beaches in the region, the Praia do Camilo is great for families. The scenic views and calm waters are perfect for relaxation, and the rock tunnel that divides the beach begs to be explored.


Praia da Marinha

Ranked one of the best beaches in Europe, the Praia da Marinha has an underwater tunnel connecting it to a small nearby beach. Rock formations and grottos make this picturesque beach a favourite tourist destination.


Praia da Falesia

One of the longest beaches in Algarve, the Praia da Marinha, has over 6 km of golden sand lined with colourful cliffs. There are many restaurants and hotels nearby, and it’s accessible through public transportation.


Praia da Rocha

Although generally crowded, the Praia da Rocha is ideal for sunbathing and swimming. There are a lot of facilities nearby, and it’s easily accessible for all ages.



How To Travel To Algarve


There are two ways to travel to the Algarve, flying or driving. Both ways are convenient and enjoyable, so it comes down to personal preference.


Flying

The main airport serving the Algarve is Faro, which operates internationally and is only around 4 km outside Faro, the Algarve’s largest city. Faro is the central hub in the area, making it fairly busy but also easily accessible. Visitors can either rent a car, use the shuttles, or take advantage of one of the many airport travel services, including taxis and Uber.


Driving

Many tourists fly into the Seville Airport located in Spain and drive into the Algarve. The drive is beautiful and straightforward; simply take the Spanish A-49 to the A22 motorway. There are no border checkpoints, and the drive only takes around two hours to complete. There are toll roads that visitors should prepare for, but payment is simple, with four choices to best fit your needs.

  • Easy Toll - Designed for tourists, you simply sign up for an Easy Toll account at the border and link your license plate to your credit card. You receive a ticket to serve as your proof of purchase, which is valid for thirty days. To pay, just enter your credit card into the payment terminal, and you’re good to go!

  • Toll Card - Toll cards are prepaid and electronic and work through SMS text messages. You can quickly check your balance and reload your card, making this a popular choice among visitors.

  • Toll Service - With the toll Service, you purchase a ticket for unlimited use during a specific amount of time. The toll price is determined by the vehicle and length of stay within the region. This option is good for those staying for more extended periods.

  • Via Verde Visitors - This option is best for frequent visitors and longer stays and works with electronic and traditional tolls. The length of your stay and vehicle type determines the cost, and you must make a deposit and have a valid international credit card.


The World Famous Zipline


The Algarve is home to the world-famous Limite Zero zipline, which allows you to zoom into Portugal from Spain. It is the only zipline in the world that allows you to cross the border while experiencing breathtaking views. The length of your ride spans 720 meters and crosses over the River Guadiana. Beginning at the Sanlucar de Guadiana Jetty, zipliners travel through another time zone, gaining an hour and landing in Alcoutim, Portugal. There’s no need to worry about a passport since the zipline is located within the Schengen Zone, which has free border travel. You’ll have no time limit for your stay in Alcoutim, and return travel is provided.

My 2-day travel itinerary around Algarve


Here I will break down my weekend in Algrave, so if you only have a few days you can get some ideas for your road trip below.


Day 1

We travelled by car into Portugal and for the first stop we chose Tavira. We stopped for sightseeing and lunch. After that, we head to Portimao to catch some afternoon beach time. Portimao was the town we stayed the night and we went to the beach club 'NoSoloÁgua Portimão' for some party.


Day 2

The next day we drove to the farthest point in Algrave, to Lagos. We checked out 'Farol da Ponta da Piedade', which offers wonderful views from the top and bottom of the cliffs and riffs. Then we tried out 2 beaches: Camilo and Marinha. After catching some sun and trying Portuguese typical Egg Tarts (Pastéis de Nata) we head back home.


My Algarve roadtrip watch here:

If you are thinking of other destinations in Portugal then I can highly recommend Lisbon! Absolutely beautiful city with a lot to see and do! More about Lisbon read HERE or watch this video:


For surfing I highly recommend Ericeira! Ideal for beginners and professionals. More about this lovely surfer paradise read HERE.