The region of the Algarve is one of the most sought out areas in Portugal, with tourists from all over the world. The warmest area in Portugal, it is known as the crown jewel of Portugal, where the population heads to in the summer. Along with beautiful beaches along the Algarve coastline, this region features quaint villages, waterparks, caves, delicious cuisine, and a lot more. Let’s take a look at the 5 best things to do in the Algarve.
1. Find the best beaches in Portugal
While the winner of the best beaches in Portugal is up for debate, the general consensus is that the Algarve is up there and perhaps takes first place. The water tends to be a lot warmer than elsewhere in Portugal. However, the Algarve has so many beaches that it can be hard to pick which ones to go to.
Many become hoarded with tourists in the summer, while there are more secluded and less-known ones that might be worth the try.
Keep in mind that while official beaches have lifeguards and facilities such as restaurants and bathrooms, some do not offer these services.
Our favorite beaches in the Algarve are:
- Praia do Alvor: The beach is composed of fine white sand and stretches over 3.5 kilometers, featuring a long boardwalk that guides to gorgeous dunes and the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve.
- Praia do Barril: The beach features a wooden path over golden sand, which provides a gorgeous contrast with the dark blue waters. Due to the large size of the beach, you will rarely feel like it’s too busy, despite its popularity.
- Praia de Odeceixe: Located in the municipality of Aljezur in the region of the Algarve, Praia de Odeceixe is known for its horseshoe pattern, as it is surrounded by the Ribeira de Seixe.
2. Have a water park day
The Algarve is home to popular waterparks. These are usually only open between April and October and are a great activity for people of all ages.
Slide & Splash is located close to Alvor and is one of the largest waterparks. This waterpark opened in 1986 and has an area of 10 hectares, including giant slides, loungers, spaces for animal shows, restaurants, and a shop. There are slides for all ages!
Another favorite is Aquashow, a waterpark that is part of a leisure complex with a 4-star hotel. The waterpark features plenty of slides, pools, a watercoaster, and more attractions for the brave, as well as activities for smaller children.
3. Discover the capital of the Algarve
The capital of the Algarve and one of the largest cities, Faro is a tourist hotspot that is close to nature and beaches but also has a cosmopolitan feel.
Faro is where the Algarve’s international airport is located, as well as the university, shopping malls, and more. You will also find a thriving clubbing scene here.
Moreover, from Faro, you can get to the beautiful islands in the Ria Formosa, such as Culatra. These are smaller communities on islands, a few steps from the beach, that are great to explore for a day.
4. Benagil caves tour
Benagil is a fishing village known for its stunning beaches and sea caves. The Benagil caves are a must-see if you head to the Algarve. We recommend booking a guided tour, many of which start in Albufeira. Here are the best day tours to Benagil Caves.
- Dolphins and Benagil Caves from Albufeira: This boat tour allows you to discover dolphins, marine life, and Benagil caves in an inflatable boat. A stop for a swim is included!
- Caves and Coastline Cruise from Albufeira to Benagil: This catamaran cruise takes you on a scenic route between Albufeira to Benagil. You will get to explore the sea caves and go for a swim.
- Boat Tour to Benagil Caves from Armacao de Pera: A boat cruise from Armacao de Pera that takes you to see the Benagil Caves with a crew that will tell you about the region.
5. Explore Tavira
Tavira was built alongside River Gilão and features some of the best beaches in the Algarve, as well as picturesque narrow streets with traditional houses. Along with the stunning beaches, the town has multiple attractions such as shops and historical buildings.
Our favorite beaches in Tavira are Praia do Barril, Praia de Tavira, and Praia da Terra Estreita if you are feeling like sunbathing. If you want to discover multiple beaches this affordable 4-hour boat tour takes you on an octopus tour and stops at multiple beaches.
You should also explore the quaint town of Tavira. Take a walk through the city and explore the Chapel of Sao Bras, the castle, and the convent. Book this 100% electric 1-hour tuk-tuk tour if you want a guided tour of the city from a local’s perspective.