The Algarve is a region in the south of Portugal, which offers a lot of things to do and see for both tourists and residents. This area of Portugal is the most popular tourist destination in the country, attracting millions of visitors each and every year. The beautiful beaches, the relaxed lifestyle and the mild climate are just some of the reasons why many people choose to visit this region during the summer months. The Algarve has a mild climate, with temperatures rarely exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. This makes it warm and sunny, without being uncomfortably hot.
In the Algarve, you will find beaches, coves and cliffs to explore. In fact, the region’s beaches are well known for their surfing. You can also visit some of the coastal towns and villages or head inland to explore Portugal’s famous wine regions. Simply, there is no shortage of things to see and do in the Algarve. However, as it’s such a large part of Portugal, you will need to decide where to visit. It’s not simply a case of heading to the Algarve and being close to everything, as the towns are relatively spread out. Therefore, you need to decide on a place to base yourself. Luckily, there are a lot of top places to holiday in the Algarve.
Where Should You Stay in the Algarve?
Just by looking at a map, you will see that the Algarve is a rather large area. This means there are many places to stay, and there is something for everyone. Below, you have curated a list of some of the top places to base yourself when you are in the Algarve.
- Faro – Faro is the capital of the Algarve, and it’s one of the busier areas of the region. It’s where you will find the international airport, making it a popular choice for those who are only in the Algarve for a short amount of time. They can fly in and fly out with ease. Faro’s Old Town is where tourists tend to head, as it has beautiful cobblestone streets, squares and an impressive cathedral. There are endless cafes, restaurants and shops in Faro, as well as a museum and marina.
- Alcoutim – Towards the east of the Algarve, there is a quieter area of the region and that’s where you will find the village of Alcoutim. Alcoutim is a tranquil and picturesque village, and it’s home to a 14th century castle and an archaeological museum. Though there is considerably less to do in Alcoutim, especially when you compare it to the likes of Faro, it’s the ideal place to holiday if you are looking for something off the tourist path. It’s quiet throughout the year, but does see an influx of tourists during the summer.
- Olhão – Olhão is the Algarve’s busiest fishing port and holidaymakers flock to the area for the seafood. Many of the region’s best seafood restaurants are located in Olhão, and the majority of them can be found on Avenida da Republica. There is also a harbour market in Olhão, which is packed with fresh fish, produce, fruits and vegetables. Olhão is also where you will find Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, one of the Algarve’s best nature parks and hope to a tonne of wildlife.
- Albufeira – If you have done any research into the Algarve, you will have heard of Albufeira. It’s one of the most popular destinations for holiday makers and it’s easy to see why. It’s central and allows for easy access to a lot of the region’s top attractions. Albufeira has everything you could want from a holiday destination. It’s where you will find hotels, cafes, restaurants and evening entertainment. There are also a number of leisure activities and things to do as a family. However, the thing that draws the most people to Albufeira is the beaches. They are all located close to the centre of the area and many are ideal for swimming, watersports and sunbathing.
- Portimao – Portimao is the perfect place to stay in the Algarve if you like a more urban and modern location. Yet, it’s still incredibly close to the beautiful beaches of the region. It overlooks the River Arade, has an award winning museum and a theatre. It’s also where you will find a port full of international luxury cruise ships. There is a lot to do in Portimao, and it has everything that most people expect from a Portuguese holiday destination. It’s a good place to base yourself if you plan to travel around.
How to Decide Where to Stay in the Algarve
When you are deciding where to stay in the Algarve, there are a lot of things to consider. Though you cannot go wrong wherever you choose, there are bound to be some locations that are more suitable for you than others. Remember, the ideal holiday destination for someone else may not be the same ideal holiday destination for you.
Before picking an area of the Algarve, think about the type of holiday you are hoping for. If you want a busy holiday full of restaurants and nightlife, you might want to consider Portimao or Albufeira. If you want somewhere quieter and off the beaten track, Alcoutim may be the better option. It’s also a good idea to think about the type of accommodation you would prefer. Whereas some parts of the Algarve have large resorts and hotels, others have private villas and campsites.
If you are travelling with children, you should give some thought as to what they will enjoy on holiday. If they like to spend a lot of time at the pool, you might want to stay at a hotel or a villa, both of which will give them access to a swimming pool at any time of the day. If they are more interested in exploring museums and waterparks, base yourself somewhere with easy access to these. Regardless of where you stay in the Algarve, you will always be close to beautiful beaches.