8 amazing things to see in Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a region in southern Portugal. This area is characterized by nice towns, beautiful beaches and some beautiful natural areas. It is usually always nice weather, but beware: in summer it can get very hot in the Algarve. If you like a more active vacation, we recommend visiting the Algarve in the early season. The weather in this period is excellent (25+ degrees), but it’s still pleasant enough to make walks. In this blog you will read about 8 amazing things to see in Algarve, Portugal.

#1 Faro

If you travel to the Algarve by plane, you will land at Faro airport. This city has almost 70,000 inhabitants, but the center is rather quiet and lovely. You can find many nice, local stores and there are also plenty of terraces where you can enjoy a nice drink. The nice thing about Faro is that the original city walls with their city gates are still intact. So you can clearly see what the city center of Faro used to be. Fun fact: when we visited this city, there were many storks sitting on and around the city walls.

Faro also has nice stalls where you can buy locally made souvenirs, such as bracelets, necklaces and bags. These stalls can be found near the port, where the Faro letters are also located. At these letters you can take a typical tourist photo (because yes, in the end we all do).

Tip for delicious food: we ate at steakhouse Faaron. They have different meat and fish dishes here that are excellently prepared. More in the mood for tapas? Then you can go across the street from the steakhouse to 100 Montaditos. At this tapas restaurant you can eat various small sandwiches starting at €1 and order half a liter of beer for only €2!

Faro, Algarve, Portugal
Faro, Algarve, Portugal


#2 Albufeira

Out of all the things to see in Algarve, Albufeira might be the most popular. This tourist town has 2 parts: the old center and the new center. In the old center there are some local stores, a nice boulevard and a square with several restaurants and bars. In the new center are mainly the entertainment venues. Especially between June and August many young people can be found here and it can get very busy. We ourselves prefer the old center, because of the cozy atmosphere and the beautiful beach.

Tip for cocktails: at Buddy’s restaurant they have all cocktails for only €6 during Happy Hour.

Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal


#3 Ferragudo

Ferragudo is a tremendously nice town, right next to Portimão. The town is characterized by its small streets with colorful houses and beautiful flowers. You can stroll through it quietly and you will not easily be disturbed by other tourists, as it is very quiet and not (yet) as touristy as in other parts of the Algarve. If you walk up the steep streets, you will eventually end up at a nice little church. From here you can look out over the water and see Portimão on the other side. Visiting these 2 cities is therefore good to combine. You can choose to drive from Ferragudo by car to Portimão, but you can also leave the car and take the water cab to the other side.

Ferragudo, Algarve, Portugal


#4 Lagos

Lagos is one of the nicest towns in the Algarve. There are beautiful churches, cute little streets and squares and nice stores and restaurants. It is a pleasant coastal town, so we definitely recommend taking a look at the beach. There is a nice promenade and a lively harbor with restaurants. In the center there are colorful houses with Portuguese tiles (azulejos). Around the center there are also parts of the old city walls which you can walk over.

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
Lagos, Algarve, Portugal


#5 Parque Natural de Ria Formosa

Besides all the lovely towns, there is also a beautiful natural park in the Algarve. It is one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal. To visit Parque Natural de Ria Formosa, you pay for entrance (in 2024) €3 per person. You can park your car at the site for free. It is a beautiful area where you can walk a 3-kilometer trail. You can walk around the park by yourself, but you can also book a guide and let them tell you more about the flora and fauna of this area. In this nature park you might, with luck, spot one of a hundred chameleons. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do this, but maybe you will!

Ria Formosa is a protected nature reserve of no less than 60 kilometers along the coast of Portugal with several islands and lagoons. This large area is a perfect resting place for birds and other wildlife. There are several bird-watching huts and, with a little luck, you have a chance of spotting flamingos. We saw these while hiking the Ludo Trail. More on that later in another blog. Besides taking several hikes, it is possible to take a boat trip along the islands, spotting the birds (or in summer even dolphins, whales or orcas) or take the ferry to one of the islands with idyllic beaches. Just remember to bring enough food and especially drinks. There are no food and drink stalls in the park.

Ria Formosa, Algarve, Portugal
Ria Formosa, Algarve, Portugal


#6 Cabo de São Vicente

Cabo de São Vicente is the extreme tip of Portugal, but also the most southwestern tip of Europe. On this spot stands a lighthouse, which is the symbol of Cabo de São Vicente. It is an important beacon for many shipping routes. The lighthouse has a range of 60 kilometers, making it one of the most powerful in Europe. From here you have a magnificent view of the high cliffs on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a great place to enjoy a sunset. The wind can be quite strong here and there are no fences, so be careful while walking along the cliffs.

The plaza and lighthouse are freely accessible, but unfortunately they were closed when we were there. It is possible to park for free in the parking lot just in front of the lighthouse. At this spot there is a food truck called ‘Letzte Bratwurst vor Amerika’. Here you can eat the last bratwurst, because across the water is America. After ordering, you not only get a delicious bratwurst, but also a certificate stating that you have been to the most southwestern tip of Europe. Isn’t that a nice souvenir?

Cabo de Sao Vicente, Algarve, Portugal
Cabo de Sao Vicente, Algarve, Portugal


#7 Queda do Vigário

At the edge of the village of Alte you will find a beautiful waterfall of 24 meters high. You can park for free at the cemetery (a little geeky perhaps). Behind the cemetery is a wooden staircase leading up to the waterfall. The waterfall emerges into a pool where you can take a refreshing dip. There is a grassy area where you can then settle down with your towel to dry off in the sun. We highly recommend bringing water shoes because you have to walk over some rocks before you can get into the water.

Also, remember to bring enough food and drink, because there are no eating or drinking establishments at this place. There are mostly locals and few tourists at this place. That makes this waterfall definitely worth a visit! Unfortunately, it is sometimes possible that this waterfall is dry, so we recommend checking carefully in advance if you can expect water there. The town of Alte is mainly known for its springs. Women used to get their water and do their laundry here. In the large spring there is a natural swimming pool. Locals and tourists can cool off here. In addition, picnic tables can be found, so people still gather here.

Alte, Algarve, Portugal


#8 Seven Hanging Valley Trail

Cliffs, Algarve, Portugal
Cliffs, Algarve, Portugal
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