About: For centuries Sagres believed to be the most western part of the world. Nowadays we know better; however, it still is the most western part of Europe main land. The parish belonging to Vila do Bispo is a place of tranquility and, at the same time, of excitement – wondering what may be behind this vast ocean. Therefore, Sagres was a significant point of departure during the Age of Discoveries.
TopChoice:Praia do Canal (Aljezur) is for sure one of the best beaches in Portugal. It’s mainly a hotspot for surfers with a hardcore path to get down the cliffs. The breathtaking and gasping landscape will leave anyone stunned. It is cCharacterized by dark colored rocks and a long stretch of golden sand.
Best Activities: Sunset on the Fortress, surf for advanced, outdoors activities, freestyle hiking
About: Lagos is one of the most loved towns in Algarve, specially for foreigners who move to this picturesque and idyllic place. Lagos was Algarve’s capital until the 1755 earthquake destroyed the whole town and the administration had to be moved to Faro. However, thanks to rebuilding the town kept its beautiful architecture.
TopChoice:Praia do Camilo is a small beach and always packed during high season. Maybe it is its size that makes this such an appealing beach. Nevertheless, it also features crystalline, greenish waters and a stunning sunset.
Best Activities: Surfing, paddle, cave & grotto Tours, sightseeing in the old town
Known for: Surf, fresh fish, age of discoveries, sailing
About: Portimão is only the second biggest city of Algarve but for sure the most lively one. Having grown facing the ocean and besides the river, it has been in a constant metamorphose and transformation of industry throughout the centuries. Portimão was the first place in Algarve welcoming international tourists in the region’s first hotel. It still works nowadays.
TopChoice:Praia dos Três Irmãos is a long stretch of sandy beach where one has the choice to stay around crowds or stay in a quieter side with less people and noise. It features everything from plenty of water activities to great views.
Best Activities: Visiting the parish of Alvor, boat trips along the river, cultural and tapas safari trips, cave & grotto trips, water activities (e.g. pedal boats, kayak, water sky, rings)
Known for:Festival da Sardinha, nightlife, beach clubs, sardines, fresh fish, buzzy atmosphere, shopping
About: Lagoa is the municipality to Carvoeiro, Estômbar, Parchal, Ferragudo and Porches. The area is well known for its wine production and cellars but it’s on its beaches that the council proudly sits its crown. On the coastline of Lagoa we found the most scenic, natural, breathtaking and best beaches of Algarve. Some of them are not even accessible by car or foot but boat only. If your dream of paradise beach is a completely empty one where you can even walk around like Adam and Eva, then Lagoa is the place!
TopChoice:Praia do Carvalho (Caramujeira) is a small beach where you have to climb down inside a cave. Praia das Fontainhas (Porches) is an almost secret beach, requires parking far and climbing down through rocks. It is well worthy and one of our super favorites.
Best Activities: Ferragudo village visit, Carvoeiro village visit, Grutas de Benagil, Carvoeiro village visit, aquatic parks, natural pools, wine tasting, coast walks
Known for: FATACIL festival, vineyards and wine production, beaches
Algar Seco/ A Boneca (Carvoeiro): A walk along the rock formation will take you to a place called “A Boneca” meaning “The Dool”. Here you can walk along the cliffs and watch probably the best and most romantic spot for sunset in Algarve.
About: Monchique is the highest mountain in Algarve and a pleasant place to run away from the summer crowds or to get some fresh air. The small town and mountain are characterized by its locals, the fauna and the flora. On the way up to the mountain Caldas de Monchique is a “must stop”. This mini hamlet is a perfect place to relax.
Best Activities: Safari, foia (highest point), Caldas de Monchique, sightseeing and relaxing, eating local products, Cascactas do Barbelote
Known for: Feira do Presunto, Medronho (Fire Water), cork handicraft, honey, health resorts and spas
About: Going to Silves is like a travel in time. The city is so well preserved and kept that it will give you the feeling that you have been transported to another era. Once the city stills keeps its (almost) original Arab architecture, we imagined to be in Morocco or part of a movie in one of those iconic Arabian night scenes. The village features steep cobble streets and a beautiful Moorish castle overlooking the city. The Silves municipality consists of Armação de Pêra, Pêra, Alcantarilha and Sao Bartolomeu de Messines.
Best Beaches: Praia grande (Pêra)
Best Activities: Street sightseeing, Silves Castle and Cathedral, Roman Bridge, Capela dos Ossos – Bones Chapel (Alcantarilha), nature exploration on buggies
Known for: Festival do Bacalhau (Alcantarilha), Feira Mediaval (Silves), Arraial do Petisco (Pêra), International Sand Sculpture Festival
River boat trip (trip down the river from Silves to Portimão to admire the landscape and vineyard setting along the journey)
About: Like many other historic towns of the region, Albufeira is a characterized by the fisherman culture. However, it has had a massive transformation over the years and gaining the title of a party hot spot. Especially British and young people come here to celebrate their hen or stag do. The town is split in two: The old town, maintaining the old architecture style and The Strip, a promenade of bars and clubs.
About: Faro is the region’s capital and for many international visitors the main point of arrival or departure. It is usually not the main touristic spot compared to other places in Algarve. However, the city will keep you occupied with its museums, old cobble streets and unique islands characterized by long beaches.
TopChoice:Ilha da Barreta (Praia Deserta) is without any doubts the best beach in Faro. Called the desert beach one can already assume that you may be almost alone there. If the plan is to rest away from the crowds admiring a vast, unspoiled view of the big ocean, this is your place.
Best Activities: Street sightseeing, monuments, Palace of Estoi, fishing
Known for: International airport, region capital, monuments, islands
About: The municipality of Loulé is actually formed by two major cities, Loulé and Quarteira. With 9 parishes attached, this is the biggest municipality of Algarve. It is also the most expensive area of the region as specially the neighborhood of Vilamoura features luxurious mansions of VIPs, exclusive clubs and a Hollywood alike life style. This is the place to be for everybody who can afford and is a fan of posh lifestyle.
About: Tavira is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Algarve. It has kept its traditional and well-maintained architecture dating back to the Roman and Moorish empire. Apart from being a charming and small old town with charming narrow streets, it is also less touristic as the Western Algarve. Olhão is Algarve’s best known fisherman town as well as the main getaway to the islands of Farol, Culatra and Armona.
Best Beaches: Praia do Barril (Tavira) is on our top list of best beaches in Algarve.
About: V. R. S. António is a relatively new town. Built just only after the earthquake in 1755, it follows the same construction patterns that can be observed in Lisbon. This old town was founded and built by the Romans which gave the land the name of “Castrum Marinum” (meaning Castle on the Sea). Later this same castle and land were taken by the the Templars to set their headquarters.Here Portuguese tourists still outnumber foreigners, giving V.R.S. António it a very authentic atmosphere. This is the last municipality before entering Spanish territory. Popular municipalities like Monte Gordo and Castro Marim can be found around V.R.S. António.
TopChoice:Praia da Fábrica – Cacela Velha (V. R. S. António) is one of the most beautiful beaches on the east side of the Algarve. It is part of the ecosystem of Ria Formosa. Tourists find calm waters, gasping landscapes, beautiful sunsets and a great variety of fauna and flora.
Best Activities: Castelo de Castro Marim, kayaking or sailing on the Guadiana
Known for: Birdwatching, nature exploration, Cacela Velha Village, Ria Formosa National Park
Cacela Velha (old fisherman village in the idyllic Ria Formosa landscape -hidden gem for nature and natural landscape lovers)