The Algarve region is ideal for a relaxing holiday with family, friends or lovers. There’s a lot to do on land and at sea, in a beautiful natural surrounding.
Here are the 12 best things to do in the Algarve, that will provide memories for a lifetime.
The most beautiful sea caves and magnificent beaches on the coasts of Lagoa between Ferragudo and Porches can only be reached from a boat.
The Benagil cave is famous and so are the beautiful cliffs . You may be lucky to spot some dolphins on your excursion or swim in the crystal clear waters of a secret beach.
Boats leave from the marinas of many towns in the Algarve (Portimao, Albufeira, Lagos). The closest departure points are Senhora da Rocha Beach in Porches, Carvoeiro Beach and Amarçao de Pera Beach. Fishermen converted to tourism offer tours from these beaches.
If the waters of the south coast of the region are generally calm and ideal for swimming, the west coast of the Algarve is one of the best surf spots in Europe. From Sagres to Aljezur, many beaches are ideal for beginners. Falesia Beach in Albufeira is also a great place to start.
If surfing is not your cup of tea you can also experience stand-up paddle boarding and explore the surroundings (stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water).
Ponta da Piedade in Lagos is THE must see emblematic site of the Algarve. The landscape is incredible and well worth the trip.
The view is stunning from the top of the cliffs but the experience is even better from the sea, on a kayak.
Kayak rental is very near the surrounding beaches or on Lagos marina. Kayaking is safe and fun: you can explore the secret places of the coast on your own. Moreover the site is protected from strong winds.
This exceptional site is very near our holiday apartment in Lagos (less than 3 km). Do not hesitate to check availability.
The Algarve has many surprises for your taste buds : the wines of the region are particularly famous, Lagoa is their capital city . Fruits are also a local specialty, such as citrus from Silves, almonds and delicious figs from the western Algarve.
As in the rest of Portugal you can taste delicious pasteis de nata and traditional Portuguese pastries. Of course fish and seafood cooked in the famous cataplana (cooked at low temperature) are also part of the local specialties,
The beautiful markets of Loulé and Olhao are worth a visit if you want to find a large selection of local products.
To learn more about local gastronomy and to taste many products, we recommend a 3-hour gastronomic tour in Lagos.
The trail of the 7 hanging valleys (percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos in Portuguese) is the most beautiful hiking trail in the Algarve along the coasts of Lagoa, but where to start it from?
There are several starting points for this hike : we recommend you start from the chapel parking lot of Senhora da Rocha in Porches. The path between Porches and Marinha offers the most beautiful panoramas, it is also less frequented and nature is very well preserved.
The path will lead you to the village of Carvoeiro but you can walk on to the beaches of Ferragudo, if you are a sporty person or if you intend to stay overnight.
The hike is fairly easy even to non-athletes Nevertheless we recommend you wear good hiking shoes or sneakers: some paths are steep, especially if you start from Senhora da Rocha in Porches. Bring a cap or a hat with you: the sun on this coast can be very strong, even in winter. The first part of the trail between Porches and Marinha takes about 1h30, maybe more if you decide to stop for a dip in one of the many coves. It takes 2 to 3 hours to get to Carvoeiro from Marinha.
The Atlantic Ocean bathes the Algarve coasts, and is rich in nutrients for fish and dolphin colonies settled in the region. The Algarve is also a crossing point for species in transit between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Dolphins are more numerous in summer when waters get warmer; they can be anywhere in the Algarve but the best places are definetely Portimao and Sagres.
You may not know it, but Portugal is the main cork producer in the world. Cork is produced all over the country, but more particularly in the Alentejo and in some parts of the Algarve.
Cork is of course used to make corks for wine bottles, but also as insulating material or decoration.
Discover the production, processing and use of cork during a visit to a factory located in the Algarve. Another way to discover the region.
Fancy a quiet time on a secret beach? There are many of them along the coast ; some are only reachable from the sea, What about renting a kayak?
Here is a list of 7 secret beaches in the Algarve and magnificent coves where you will feel like Leonardo DiCaprio in the film "The Beach".
Do not miss either Monchique or Silves villages if you are having your holiday in the interior of the region. Silves is known as the capital of the orange; many vendors sell their fruit on both sides of the roads in season; do not hesitate to stop and buy some: they are very tasty!
Silves Castle is the largest castle in the region and one of its main attractions. It was built during the Muslim occupation, its style recalls the magnificent Alcazar of Seville. The view over the entire Arade valley and the Serra de Monchique is breathtaking from the top of the ramparts. The castle is open to visitors all year round, visits are chargeable.
You can get to Silves by car, if you want to discover the Arade river and the whole valley we recommend you book the guided tour from Portimao.
Visiting the zoomarine is usually children’s favourite activity.
At first we were not very keen on suggesting a visit to Zoomarine, but it is a must in the Algarve: there are animals of course but there is also an amusement park with rides, slides and a swimming pool.
Dolphins and sea lions are the main attractions of the park : you can watch them and enjoy their shows. In addition to this, the park has an important role in the care for marine animals thanks to its team of veterinarians who can help animals in distress. A rehabilitation centre is located within the park too.
The other part of the Zoomarine will delight young and old with its giant swimming pool, water slides, a ferris wheel and many rides.
The Zoomarine is located in Guia : it is just 15 minutes from our holiday apartment in Porches. We advise you to book your tickets in advance to avoid queues on busy days.
The whole Algarve region is well worth a visit and not only for its beaches. Stay away from tourist areas and discover a preserved and authentic region. The interior of the Algarve is sparsely populated and geared towards the cultivation of citrus fruits, almonds, figs and cork.
For a good overview of this other Algarve, we invite you to Foia, the summit of the region in the Serra de Monchique, the panorama is stunning and relaxing with its many lakes and hiking trails.
On foot, by bike or Jeep there are many ways to discover the Monchique region
What about a relaxing sunset cruise on the Atlantic? That experience will certainly remain among your most beautiful memories.
If you want to enjoy the sunset other options are available : you can drive a SUV to the top or the extreme west of the region, between Sagres and Aljezur to enjoy the sun until the very last moments of the day.