11 Locations to visit in the Algarve
When it's time to go on holiday to the Algarve, you never know where to go and only realise there are amazing places when you get back home? You will not be the first or last tourist in the Algarve to experience this! Take some notes from this post and plan your future trip to the most wonderful places in the Algarve to prevent a wasted visit.
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The Algarve is more than just a region in southern Portugal. The Algarve is Europe's best-kept gem, made up of moments and memories, ready to be found by those who visit it.
Set out on a journey to discover the Algarve's 11 most incredible locations.
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One of Europe's top surf spots is also one of the best sites to indulge in freshly caught seafood. We recommend Beliche beach for experienced surfers and Aki no Pôr do Sol restaurant for fresh seafood lovers if you want to surf in the morning and relax in the afternoon.
Because you can only see the sea from Cape St Vincent, it is known as "the end of the world." Its lighthouse illuminates the way for boats up to 60 miles away, and at the end of the day, it's the ideal spot to watch the sunset.
The fortress of Sagres is a milestone in the history of Portuguese discoveries that you should not miss. There is an entrance fee, but it is worth every penny. Inside the walls, now painted white, discover the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the compass rose, and the art installation "Voz do Mar" (Voice of the Sea), by architect Pancho Guedes.
Ponta da Piedade:
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We all like to be fascinated by the beauty of a place. Ponta da Piedade is undoubtedly a place that will not only enchant you but also leave you speechless! The contrast between the blue tones of the water and the gold of the rock formations, the towering lighthouse, and the passing birds are all compelling reasons to visit Ponta da Piedade.
It is stated that when viewed from the water, it takes on even more charm and that each cave and rock structure have a story to tell. Between the rugged cliffs are quiet beaches with calm seas and fine sand. After visiting Ponta da Piedade on land, seek the kiosks near the Lagos marina with boat cruise programs to Ponta da Piedade.
Explore Lagos's historical centre:
Lagos is one of the Algarve cities that is well worth a visit. It is youthful, has an exciting history, and attracts travellers from all over the world.
The historic centre is a must-see on a walk because it has kept the Algarve's traditional architecture, including streets with Portuguese cobblestones, buildings covered with tiles, and walls that keep this beauty within. Sit on one of the esplanades, sip on a refreshing drink, and take in the architectural intricacies of the houses around you at your leisure.
Apart from history, monuments, and tourism, Lagos has a vibrant artistic life within its walls. Follow the Lagos urban art circuit and get to know the local and international artists who participate.
Alvor Walking Trails:
These are the largest walking trails in the Algarve, taking you to places as diverse as the beach, the river or the wind-sculpted dunes in this area. Many bird’s species nest here, and others come by just to feed. If you like photography, we recommend that you always have your camera at hand throughout the 6-kilometre trail.
The village of Alvor itself is worth a visit for its typical fisherman's housing. The fish market still has its old charm, and you will find locals there playing cards or just enjoying the hot summer afternoons. The restaurants near the river are famous for offering the freshest fish from the sea. They are grilled outside, so anyone curious can see the size and freshness of the fish.
There is no denying that the Algarve has a deep affinity to the sea. As a result, a museum was established in Portimão in 2008 in the same structure that used to be a canning factory. One of the exhibitions depicts the whole manufacturing process of the old factory, from fish loading to canning. Other shows in the same building focus on the skill of dry farming, or on the famous Portimão resident Manuel Teixeira Gomes.
The riverbank in Portimão is located close to the museum. Take a stroll, stop for ice cream, and then visit the “Rua das Lojas” (Shopping Street), the city's oldest open-air shopping area. Take note of the architecture of the buildings that house the shops, they are authentic relics of Portuguese architecture.
Climb up to Foia in Monchique:
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Climb up to Fóia in Monchique, but on the way, get distracted by the waterfalls, viewpoints, the town itself, or the Caldas de Monchique on the route. There's a lot to see and do in this town, from the water that comes from the mountains and stops at the bottling plant or the thermal baths, to the honey that is produced here and the smoked hams and sausages.
When you arrive at Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve, sit down and enjoy the view over the clouds. Here, silence and peace rule supreme. If you still have room in your stomach, go to Alecrim, a Citroen van converted into a pub with the best view ever.
Take a stroll across the Sete Vales Suspensos:
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Walk and have the Atlantic Ocean as your companion on the Seven Hanging Valleys Route (Sete Vales Suspensos). There are 5.7 kilometres of pure beauty in the municipality of Lagoa. The route takes you from Centeanes beach to Marinha beach, one of the hundred best beaches in the world, where you can take the famous photo of the heart forming on the rocks.
On the road, you will also pass the Alfanzina lighthouse, a lighthouse from the 1920s. Benagil beach is also on the route, and if you follow the signs, you will reach the top of Benagil Cave. If you want to get to know Benagil Cave from the sea, go to the beach and book a tour.
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Do you want to learn more about Portugal's history? Silves is an open-air museum because it was the Algarve's capital and the cradle of Arab-Andalusian poetry. The Moorish high castle is made of red stone, a sandstone found in the area. Take a visit to the tower, which offers spectacular views of the Monchique mountains and surrounding area. In addition to the castle, visitors can visit the Silves Municipal Archaeology Museum, which houses various Moorish and Iron Age artefacts.
In summer, the town hosts one of the most famous events in the region, the Silves Medieval Fair. It takes place in the second half of August in the old town and features concerts, dancing and restaurant areas. Dress up by renting a mediaeval costume and exchange your euros for xilbs (the official currency of the fair) at the entrance to the fair.
A waterfall in Alte:
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Loulé, in the east of the Algarve near the Caldeirão mountain, is one of the most scenic villages in the Algarve. The houses are typical of the region: white, low, and with açoteias (traditional Algarve roof terraces) on the roof, where nowadays you can spend the sunsets, but were once used to dry fruit or palm leaves.
Aside from the beauty seen in the alleys of this village, in the summer, you may cool off in the waters of Fonte Grande or explore Vicar's Fall (Queda do Vigário), a waterfall that, when full, produces a little lake where you can swim and cool down.
Municipal market in Loulé:
Photography by AlgarveOk - Pinterest
This majestic market in Loulé was established in the early twentieth century, in June 1908. Its resemblance to Arab design is striking, and its red colour sticks out among the city's other buildings. On market days, such as Saturday mornings, the building comes alive with colour and people shopping for the best products. They say that the soul of a city may be found in its marketplaces, and this market is vibrant and colourful, just like the people of Loulé.
Explore Cacela Velha:
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From above, the whitewashed houses with the blue bar shine. This is Cacela Velha, a village at the mouth of the Ria Formosa, which belongs to Vila Real de Santo António. Here you can see the fortress that once served as a checkpoint for boats entering the estuary. Today it serves as a GNR station (National Guard), so it is not possible to visit it from the inside. The parish church or the priest's house are also places worth visiting.
The streets of this village are Arabic-inspired and retain the typical features of the Algarve houses, with platibands decorating the houses, and pointed chimneys on the roofs. Take a walk through the streets and bring your camera.
Visit the Algarve and learn about the history and culture of this fascinating region. Book one of our Baía da Luz apartments now and start planning your summer holiday.