For a 2018 holiday that’s got gorgeous beaches, party towns, rustic villages and so much more, it has to be the Algarve. Truly a holiday destination that offers something for everyone, this stunning stretch of Portuguese coastline is a playground for all ages to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for superb surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving or seeking out the rural charm that can be found in the Algarves historic towns and villages, you’ll find all that and more in the region. With beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, the Serra de Monchique mountain range is a wildlife wilderness that hikers of all abilities can enjoy. The Algarve’s many marinas are home to beautiful yachts, charming fishing boats and skippers ready to take eager visitors out on boat trips. The region’s famous golf courses see golfers flock to the region for some of the best 18 holes of gameplay in the world and the Algarves infamous 19th hole hospitality.
Visit the Algarve’s capital of Faro for its excellent mix of modern metropolitan cityscape alongside the quirky charm of the cobbled streets of the old town. With artisans creating crafts in their workshops, independent cafes and an excellent museum, it’s a must on a visit to the city. A sightseeing road trip may be the best way to explore the Algarve. Seeking out its hidden treasures, admiring the views and stopping off to relax in one of the Algarve’s many superb hotels would be a holiday to remember.
Most popular hotels in Algarve
Varandas De Albufeira Apartments
Monica Isabel Beach Club
Paraiso de Albufeira Aparthotel
Auramar Beach Resort
Balaia Golf Village
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 0m
When to go
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Taking a holiday in the Algarve rewards you with so many things to see and do. Explore the historic Moorish castle in Silves, surf the swells in Zavial or amble through the cobbled streets of Tavira’s old town. Each and every coastal spot, inland rustic village or cosmopolitan town has something different to offer. The upmarket coastal resort of Vilamoura is home to the expansive harbour, giving shelter to some seriously swish yachts. As well as the championship golf courses, there are designer boutiques and first class restaurants to enjoy on the esplanade. Albufeira is probably the Algarve’s most famous and popular destination and it’s easy to see why when you see its beaches. With some of the best shores in the Algarve and excellent leisure facilities, Albufeira draws in the crowds for a reason. Serra de Monchique’s craggy mountain range is a haven for hikers and visitors looking for a change of landscape. Nature trails take you up the mountain slopes, through shady woodland glades and across wildflower meadows.
Wine and Dine
Restaurants in the Algarve serve up some of the very best of Portugal’s cuisine. With access to some of the freshest fish caught off the southern Portuguese coast, seafood features heavily on menus in the region. Locally grown produce bursts with flavour - helped tremendously by the long hours spent ripening in the Portuguese sunshine. When combined, the result is a sublime repertoire of dishes your taste buds will adore. Away from the many excellent restaurants, foodies will want to try and time their visit with the summer food festivals. Olhão and Faro’s seafood festivals give you the chance to try some of the very best local recipes alongside new dishes being created and explore a new world of flavours and ingredients. For a refreshing drink in the sun, turn down the cocktails - even just once - to try the orange juice. With orange groves abundant in the region, the freshly squeezed juice doesn’t get fresher than this.
With the huge range of activities, attractions and sights to see, a holiday to the Algarve is full of adventure and fun. From long lazy days spent on one of the many beaches to adventurous hikes in the countryside - there’s an activity to keep everyone happy. Petrol heads of all ages will want to speed straight to one of many the go-karting tracks to race to victory. For a slower pace, a boat trip charting the waters of the ancient grottoes or searching for dolphins will delight little ones and fascinate every family member. Famous for its golf courses, the Algarve has beautifully landscaped mini-golf adventures to enjoy too. Inquisitive minds will enjoy the historic Roman ruins and Moorish castles, while active youngsters will want to head straight for the region’s water parks. The Algarve’s famous sand sculpture festival runs from May to October and everyone in the family will marvel at the creations on display, made out of 35,000 tons of sand, the theme for the works of art change every year.
Action and Adventure
The changing landscape across the southern coast of the Algarve makes the region a playground for adventure seekers. Venture deep into the Algarve countryside on off-road tracks and experience breathtaking views on a 4x4 safari. Take to the ocean to spot dolphins playing and breaching in the Portuguese sunshine, or make the most of the coast’s serious surf reputation by riding the waves. Hop aboard a Segway to explore the Ria Formosa Natural Park or kayak your way into the grottoes and ancient caves along the coast of Lagos. Take on the challenge of hiking the Algarve’s highest mountain - Monchique or hop on a mountain bike to peddle your way along the Albufeira coast. For a more laid-back pursuit why not play a round on one of the region’s many excellent golf courses? With horse-riding, quad-biking, hot air balloon rides, rock climbing and sky diving all available too, your only dilemma on an Algarve holiday will be which adventure will you choose first?
From idyllic coves hidden along the east coast, to the rugged beauty of the west, the Algarve’s coastline is full of beautiful surprises. Over 80 beaches on the Algarve coastline were awarded the coveted Blue Flag award in 2018 and the clear waters are ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming. With excellent surfing beaches thrown in for good measure, the Algarve is an ideal holiday destination for beach lovers. With so many stretches of sand to choose from, there’s a place on the beach for every type of holiday maker. To avoid the crowds and enjoy finding secluded caves to explore, head to the sheltered beach at Praia da Rocha. For the ultimate beach escape it has to be Praia da Marinha. Voted as one of Europe’s best beaches, the clear waters, excellent facilities, stunning cliffs and golden sands make this beach a must on any Algarve holiday.
Covering such a large region means the Algarve has a nightlife scene to suit every holidaymaker. Quirky venues for those once-in-a-lifetime moments, chic cocktail bars, independently owned marisqueira’s (seafood restaurants) that serve up local charm and hospitality, alongside delicious dishes and a whole host of bustling bars, cafes and more besides. For a night to remember, head to the Caniço Restaurant in Alvor. After taking a lift down from the cliff tops to a stretch of sand, you’ll notice the bar surrounded by a craggy cove. This scenic bar serves up sumptuous cocktails, alongside delicious dishes while a DJ gets the party started with some buzzing beats. Open until 4am you can dance the night away in a stunning setting. Elsewhere in the region there are mellow evenings in jazz bars to enjoy or wild weekends in the region’s clubs to revel in. However you spend your evenings, there’s always a party happening somewhere in the Algarve.
For a romantic getaway in the sun, Portugal’s Algarve is second to none. Whether you want to spend time together lounging on beaches, take sweeping coastal drives along the coast or explore the cobbled streets of one of the resort’s charming old world towns, there are plenty of opportunities to spend quality time together. Share a bottle of local wine overlooking the Algarve’s famous orange groves, enjoy a sunset picnic on the beach or push the boat out - literally - and take a sunset cruise for two aboard a catamaran. Pamper yourselves at one of the many excellent spas, enjoy first class food in a top-notch restaurant or find a secret spot in the Ria Formosa Natural Park to enjoy the panoramic views of this unspoiled wilderness. The coast of the Algarve was made for exploring - whether it’s ancient sites, little known villages or charming town squares. A holiday to the Algarve will reward couples with magical settings to celebrate those all-important years together as a couple.
A holiday to the Algarve is about much more than the well-manicured golf courses the region is so famous for. Whether you’re looking for the stunning examples of historic architecture in the capital Faro or taking in the naturally formed architecture of the Cape of St. Vincent - there are breathtaking sights to enjoy across the region. Explore a Moorish castle in Silves, wander around Almancil’s baroque church, glimpse into Roman history at the impressive Milreu Ruins or uncover hidden gems in Tavira’s old town. Tavira’s cobbled streets are full of old world charm and the square is the perfect spot to sample Portugal’s infamous coffee culture. For more natural wonders, the Ria Formosa Natural Park’s salt pans are tranquil place to enjoy a walk and spot some of Portugal’s native bird species.