From Tavira in the east to Sagres in the west ,we have selected 10 must-see towns and villages in the Algarve.
Explore the most beautiful towns in the Algarve , take photos and boost your « likes » on Facebook or Instagram. Want to know more about it? Read our insider travel guide to visit the Algarve.
Lagos has become the trendiest destination in the Algarve, prized for the beauty of its coast and its lively historic centre. After a nice relaxing day at the beach, take advantage of the many shops and restaurants nestled in the walled town. Ponta de Piedade and its golden cliffs is the site not to be missed when you visit the Algarve :the view from the lighthouse is spectacular.
Park your car in one of the car parks outside the ramparts surrounding the old town: many streets are pedestrian or with reduced traffic. The pretty squares Gil Eanes and Luis de Camoes, the covered market, the door of Sao Gonçalo or the fortress of Lagos are among the inevitables. Do not hesitate to get lost in the small alleys and discover the architecture of the town.
The region also has some nice surprises for you: take the legendary Cape Sao Vicente route to Sagres, stop over in the pretty seaside towns of Praia da Luz, Burgau or Salema, drive again to Aljezur : the wild beaches of the Costa Vicentina are ideal for surfing.
Book our holiday rental in Lagos and make the most of the best town in the Algarve!
Located in the municipality of Lagoa, Carvoeiro is a former fishing village; it is very successful among tourists now.
The centre of the city is not very large, it is concentrated around the main beach of the city,( voted the most beautiful in Europe by European Best Destinations.
What to do and see in Carvoeiro? The town is lovely : enjoy a walk in the town or along the beach.
For the best views of the town, climb up the two streets overlooking the surroundings. Walk on to the small beach of Praia do Paraiso, the secret cove is irresitible. The Mar d'Fora restaurant located above the beach is a good choice for a meal with a view.
Opposite the main beach near the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Encanarçao, a wooden footbridge will take you the magnificent path of the Algar Seco.
Near Carvoeiro do not miss the Benagil cave, the lighthouse of Alfanzina, or even praia da Marinha and its impressive cliffs.
If you like the region we offer the rental of a holiday apartment in Porches, located 15 minutes from Carvoeiro.
You probably noticed while landing in Faro the Ria Formosa natural park that stretches over 60km. This natural area is made up of sandbanks and swamps sheltering birds and protected species.
Nestled in the middle of this natural park, a few kilometres from Faro, the village of Olhao is a place not to be missed. The small alleys of the village are full of charm, so are the houses whose architecture is inspired by North Africa, a total change of scene! Walk through the narrow streets of the village and stop at the market, located by the ocean.
Olhao is the starting point to the Ria Formosa islands : they are all accessible by boat from the village port. Private tours and shuttles regularly connect the islands . All the islands are quite similar but our favourite is Ilha do Farol : its port is small and the beach at the foot of the lighthouse is very nice.
Albufeira is the real tourist capital of the Algarve with the largest number of hotels. If you like crowded and lively towns Albufeira will not disappoint you, if you prefer small authentic villages there are many other vilages and towns to see.
The centre of Albufeira is quite pretty. The main square in the heart of the town is lined with many bars and restaurants: the atmosphere is very lively at night. A little away from the centre is a street called the Albufeira Strip (in reference to the Las Vegas Strip) ; the place is dedicated to revelers( this is the place to be if you want to have fun with friends).
The large Albufeira beach is beautiful and many nautical activities are possible. The beaches of Falésia and Sao Rafael (outside Albufeira) are worth a visit. The Algarve Shopping mall in Guia is ideal for shopping.
Faro is the administrative capital of the Algarve and also the largest town, larger than Portimao. This is where the regional airport is located.
The historic centre of Faro is charming, the rest of the city is very residential. During your visit do not miss the old town and the visit of the cathedral: the view of the whole city is stunning.
Do not expect to find a very large commercial offer in the very centre: there are two large shopping centres nearby and that is where all the shops are concentrated. The new Mar Shopping Loulé shopping centre is really nice.
Tavira is one of the easternmost towns in the region, not far from the border with Spain. The town has a rich and culturally important past. Many events take place there during the year, the religious festivals (end of June) are a good time to visit Tavira: the town is fully decorated.
Do not miss the fortress at the top of the town and enjoy the beautiful view of the old centre, the architecture of the town with its colourful houses and the facades covered with Azulejos. Cross the Roman bridge, the symbol of the town.
The Algarve is a large region, if its coastline is exceptional, the interior also hides some treasures. The village of Monchique overlooks the entire Algarve and its small cobbled streets are worth a visit. Monchique is a spa and an important area for the cultivation of citrus and almonds.
La Serra de Monchique rises to over 900m; the most beautiful view of the regionis on top of Foia. In summer, on hot days, it's nice to cool off in this part of the Algarve: the temperatures can be up to 10 degrees lower than in the plain.
Sagres, where life seems to flow slower than anywhere else, looks more like a village than a town; it is the westernmost town in the Algarve. Surfing is very popular there. Taking a surf or stand-up paddle lesson in addition to a visit of the town can be a funny experience.
Be sure to explore the fortress of Sagres: the view is stunning, then head to the legendary Cap Saint-Vincent, the most south-west point of Portugal.
If you plan to visit Sagres why not drive along the west coast to Aljezur?
Aljezur is a small town on the Costa Vicentina it is part of an important natural park. The little town can be visited fairly quickly, but do not miss the old fortress at the top of the city: the view is great! While walking up to the top enjoy the pretty alleys lined with white and colourful houses. The Aljezur farmers market will invite you to taste their local specialties, such as the famous Aljezur sweet potato.
Head towards Vale da Telha; this area is very well known to surfers: they love Arrifana and Monte Clérigos beaches, which are definitely worth a visit.
As to me Ferragudo is the most beautiful village in the Algarve. Located in the municipality of Lagoa, just opposite Portimao, the small fishing village of Ferragudo is worth a visit.
Park your car at the entrance of the village (motorhomes use to park there) and enjoy the view of the village and its small sheltered port.
The alleys of Ferragudo will take you to the town church: the view to the village is fantastic. Walk on to Praia Grande and relax on the beach in the shadow of the castle.