Visiting Southern Portugal: What to do in the Algarve?
What to do in the Algarve? This region, in the south of Portugal, is famous for its many cliffs that line the Atlantic Ocean. Surf spots, cutevillages, walks, dream beaches, caves… these are all essentials that you can discover in the Algarve!
What to do in the Algarve?
- You will find large beaches easily accessible for families, but also small secret beaches between the cliffs where you can feel alone in the world!
- You will have the opportunity to visit small villages filled with history and culture.
- There is a very lively nightlife in some towns.
You can also enjoy water and other activities (quad or buggy inland).
10 day itinerary in the Algarve
10 days are ideal for visiting the Algarve while taking the time to enjoy it. Practical information (when to go, how to get there, budget) is at the end of the article – those in a hurry can click here.
If you’re looking for what to do in the Algarve, here’s our first tip: EXPLORE! We found a lot of pretty places by chance, while walking around. To find the best beaches, use the Google Maps app. This will allow you to see the clearest waters. This advice is valid here, but also for all destinations in the world: be curious.
✈️To find cheap plane tickets
Find your cheap flight on Skyscanner – this is where you can find the best deals!
Visit Lagos and its magnificent beaches (Days 1-4)
Lagos, located in the western Algarve, is for us the most interesting city in the region. Indeed, the beaches are magnificent, the water is crystal clear, the city is pleasant, lively and has a strong history. The old town is alive with many shops, restaurants, bars and terraces sheltered from traffic.
Take a boat trip
To admire the magnificent cliffs and caves of Lagos, nothing better than a boat trip. It will offer you pretty points of view. Experience to book as soon as possible on this site!
Discover the most beautiful beaches of Lagos (on foot)
🏖 A footpath allows you to visit all the beaches around Lagos.
⏰ Allow 3 hours of walking there and back or 1h30 / 2H for a one-way trip and then you can return to the starting point by Uber for 4 euros.
🚗 We advise you to park near Praia do Canavial, the last beach of the hike. Free parking. You can do the trail in the other direction, but parking to the city center is expensive.
An all-wood path allows you to walk along the side without difficulty and without risk. If you don’t have vertigo, you can choose to take a walk along the cliffs! You will start with Praia do Barranco do Martinho before reaching Ponta da Piedade and its lighthouse. The water here is truly magnificent! This is where you can embark on boat or paddleboard excursions.
After some extra effort you arrive at one of the most famous, Praia do Camilo beach. Does this beach mean nothing to you? But yes ! The one with the long steps down!
Close to the city center, do not miss Praia Dos Estudantes with its small hidden beach, accessible through a small cave about ten meters. It is on this one that you can observe a pretty golden stone bridge.
Tested and approved addresses in Lagos
♡ The Garden – Exceptional value for money. The setting is magnificent, in a garden. Grilled fish and meat on the barbecue.
♡ Beats and Burritos – Trendy little restaurant, more for lunch. Burritos, bowls, tacos to compose yourself.
♡ Baffi Bar – Nice atmosphere, reasonable prices. Italian food. Inside: darts, billiards…
Where to sleep in Lagos?
💤 2 nights at B&B Ocean View, slightly out of the way, correct prices. The service is top notch, the room was very clean even if the decor is not very young. For very small budgets, there are also dormitory beds!
💤 1 night at Casa Do Mar. Good value for money, this is an apartment divided into 3 bedrooms. So you can have the kitchen. 10 minutes walk from the center of Lagos!
What to see, what to do in the Algarve?
Visit the coast between Lagos and Faro
In order to have a fairly central pied-à-terre, we booked a hotel in Portimão. This was the Agua Hotels Riverside hotel – BUT we do not recommend it! It is a 4 star but it is not worth more than 2 which explains the price. Portimão is the largest city in the Western Algarve with almost 60,000 inhabitants, you will have plenty to choose from in terms of restaurants and shops. We did not find it very charming.
We originally wanted to sleep in Carvoeiro but all the hotels within our budget were full. We recommend that you choose accommodation in Carvoeiro instead, which is probably cuter and better placed to visit the points of interest. Click here to book your hotel in Carvoeiro as soon as possible!
What to do between Lagos and Faro? (Days 5-8)
The number one attraction on this part of the coast is probably Benagil Caves! Those who follow us on Instagram, you remember the bad luck we had the day we wanted to go … Indeed, due to its exclusive access by sea, you need fairly mild climatic conditions to get there. get there. So we were able to take pictures only from the top of the cave.
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Visit the Benagil cave: our advice
Go early to be quiet. Avoid low tide so that there is water in the cave and it is more beautiful! The ideal is to get there between two tides. You can find tide times by doing a Google search. 😉
To be able to enter and land on the small beach in the cave, you have to swim or kayak from Benagil beach. Boat trips do not allow disembarkation. I personally did this on a paddle board during a 2.5 hour tour. I loved it, I really recommend you to do this activity! The guide explained many things to us about the coast and took us to visit other caves besides Benagil.
The neighboring beach of Benagil: Praia de Carvalho, a must-see for its unusual access through a tunnel dug by hand by a man in love, for his wife 🤍
⚠️ Be careful, if the currents are strong: we strongly advise against attempting to swim, even if the distance seems short. The waves will always be stronger than you!
Praia da Marinha ☀️
Praia da Marinha is a must-see in the Algarve. It is easily accessible by car. You can also visit it by taking the hike detailed in the next point.
Albufeira, to party 🎉(Days 9-10)
If you are looking for a base with a bustling city center, Albufeira is the place to be. Not only will you have all the bars and restaurants available to entertain you, but you will be well situated for visiting the beautiful surrounding beaches.
Activities in Albufeira
- An all-terrain 4 × 4 safari to discover the interior of the land and Portuguese culture. Duration: half a day. Reservation here
- A cruise with barbecue on a pirate ship to admire the landscapes of the Algarve from the sea. Info & booking
- A tour of Albufeira and its beaches by tuk tuk: book on this site
Where to sleep in Albufeira?
💤We stayed at the Topazio Mar Beach Hotel & Apartments of the Details Hotels group. The rates are very reasonable, everything in our room was perfect and the equipment new. We like apartment hotels because they allow us to cook. Thus, we save a few restaurants and we feel at home! Small bonus: the swimming pool. (the nights were offered to us)
Other accommodation choices on Booking here.
Hike of the 7 hanging valleys
🏖 Along the coast, a hike is possible from Praia de Vale Centianes on the trail of the 7 hanging valleys. The walk is easy and pleasant, you will see several beautiful beaches and cliffs. We stopped at Praia do Cavalho, but the route goes through Benagil and ends at Praia da Marinha, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area just mentioned!
Practical information for hiking
⏰ Allow 5 hours round trip for 11 km of walk (this is not a loop)
🚗 Park in the Praia de Vale Centianes car park (free)
⚠️ Take some water! The trail is not shaded and there are no outlets on the way.
Pego Do Inferno Waterfall 💦
Due to the bad weather caused by Hurricane Leslie, we had to change our schedule. So we missed the Pego Do Inferno waterfall, a 30-minute drive from Faro. We still wanted to present it to you because we find it magnificent. It’s a great walk to do, which changes the beaches of the Algarve. In addition, it will be the opportunity to discover the interior of the land.
⚠️ UPDATE June 2019: A fire recently ravaged the waterfall and its surroundings. Unfortunately, the place is no longer the same … We advise you not to go there because you will be disappointed: (screenshot of a story seen on Instagram on June 26)
Visiting the Algarve: Practical Information
How to get around the Algarve?
✈️ To get to the Algarve by plane, you have 2 options. Either you land in Lisbon and drive for 2.5 hours, or you land directly at Faro airport. In either case, we strongly recommend that you hire a vehicle. Click here to book the best car rental deals! There is undoubtedly public transport to get to the beaches, but it’s still much easier to have your own locomotion.
If you want to visit Lisbon before discovering the Algarve, here is a 3 day itinerary
> For your accommodation in the Algarve, you have many choices on Booking.com
When to go to the Algarve?
☀️ The Algarve is one of the most southerly regions and therefore among the most temperate in Europe. The weather can be temperamental, as it was with us towards the end of our stay in October. However, the weather is generally good from May to October. It is still preferable to avoid the months of July and August for the hot weather, and especially people. Yes, Portugal was voted the best tourist destination in the world at the World Travel Awards 2017, so obviously…
10 days in Algarve: Budget
- Plane : €220
- Car Rental : €100
- Gasoline : €80
- Restaurants : €500
- Hotels : €500
TOTAL = €1 400, i.e €700 per person
We hope we have given you some great ideas on what to do in the Algarve! We fell in love with Portugal. The reception is top notch, the landscapes magnificent, no insecurity, a lower cost of living than in France, the weather is quite favorable. Therefore, this was our first visit but certainly not the last.
📍 Discover our Porto Travel Guide