If you know anything about the Algarve, you will know that it’s a large region with a tonne of attractions for tourists to enjoy. Regardless of the type of holiday you are planning – perhaps you are hoping for a relaxing and tranquil trip, or maybe you are looking for something slightly more lively – you won’t be short of things to do in the Algarve. If anything, you might find yourself with too much to do and not enough time to do everything. To help you narrow down your options, we have handpicked seven local attractions every tourist should visit in the Algarve.
7 Places to Visit During Your Algarve Holiday
With so many attractions in the Algarve, narrowing them down is not an easy task. Whether you are there for one week or two, you won’t run out of things to do. The attractions listed below showcase the best of what the region has to offer, including historic towns and large resorts.
- Vila Real de Santo António – Vila Real de Santo António is extremely close to Spain, which gives you a look into another side of Portuguese history and culture. There are a tonne of shops and markets in the area, and the town has a lot of tourist attractions that are worth visiting. Praça Marques de Pombal is the main square, boasting cafes and restaurants. You can also take a ferry from Vila Real de Santo António to Ayamonte in Spain, where you can sample delicious tapas and enjoy local delicatessens. The ferry takes around 20 minutes and crosses the River Guadiana, meaning it can easily be scheduled into a Vila Real de Santo António day trip.
- Lagos – As the tourist capital of the Algarve, Lagos has something for everyone. It’s a modern town, which sets it apart from a lot of the historic towns in the Algarve, and there’s no shortage of things to see and do. It has lots of beautiful beaches, as you would expect from the Algarve, and picturesque views. It’s popular with families, solo travellers and couples. If you are looking for a big and bustling town, Lagos is it.
- Tavira – Tavira is a peaceful and picturesque part of the Algarve, a place with incredible landscape and spectacular sights. The town was founded by the Phoenicans and is steeped in history, and it has an impressive historic centre which can be explored by foot. Tavira consists of narrow streets, local shops and souvenirs. It’s completely different to the busy areas of the Algarve, and has a much more simple feel.
- Portimao – As the second largest city in the Algarve, Portimao is a destination that is definitely worth visiting during your time in the region. It’s a hugely popular tourist spot, drawing in thousands of people every year. It has a range of tourist attractions, such as a beautiful harbour you can walk along and a number of traditional fish restaurants. Portimao also has one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, so you won’t be short of space and room to spread out. Portimao is popular with families, as everything is close by and easy to access.
- Vilamoura – 30 minutes north of Faro and you will find Vilamoura, the capital city of the Algarve region. It’s a popular place for tourists to stay, as it’s a modern and bustling resort. It has a number of large beaches, golden sand and a lot of restaurants. Vilamoura is one of the few places in the Algarve that’s busy throughout the year. Whereas other resorts are their busiest in the summer, Vilamoura is just as busy in the spring and autumn. The resort is home to various hotels, bars, shops and restaurants. There’s even a golf course and a nightclub.
- Cabo de São Vicente – At one point, Cabo de São Vicente was considered to be the end of the world and it’s easy to see why. It’s where you will find rock formations and a lot of wind, as well as incredible views and crashing waves. It’s certainly a dramatic landscape, one that draws huge numbers of tourists throughout the year. It’s also where you will find one of Europe’s brightest lighthouses.
- Parque Natural da Ria Formosa – If you are someone who enjoys exploring the great outdoors, Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is the ideal place to visit. It’s a nature park made up of canalas, islands, sandy beaches and marshlands. There is also a lot of local wildlife, which draws in animal lovers. It’s quiet, tranquil and peaceful.
As well as the seven local attractions listed above, there are a number of other things to do in the Algarve. If you are travelling with children, you might want to consider visiting a water park, a museum or a zoo. These are attractions that children of all ages are sure to love, and they are great regardless of the weather. There are also a lot of smaller villages, secluded beaches and hikes to enjoy. If you are craving city life, head into Faro and enjoy the Old Town. Simply, the Algarve has the perfect tourist attraction for everyone.
Planning Your Algarve Holiday
It’s always a good idea to plan some of your holiday before you arrive in the Algarve, as this will reduce the chances of you missing out on something you desperately want to do. This doesn’t mean planning your entire holiday minute by minute, it means having a rough idea of the attractions you want to see. By deciding which attractions are ‘must visit’ and which are ‘would like to visit’, you will be able to prioritise your time. There are a lot of ways to visit the attractions in the Algarve; you can head there yourself by hiring a car, or by joining an organised group. Regardless of how you plan to see the sights, you are sure to enjoy exploring everything the region has to offer.