Alvor has a long stretch of golden sands, authentic Portuguese culture and a bustling harbour, making it the ideal choice of Portugal holiday destination in 2017. Unlike many other popular resorts, Alvor has kept much of its authentic identity and still offers a quaint charm, embodied in its winding cobbled streets and traditional boutiques. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe on the sand or explore the hidden coves on the coastline, Alvor has it all when it comes to beach holidays. With scenic surroundings and a number of historic landmarks close by, Alvor is also a good pick for a more cultural holiday, while the nearby theme parks keep your kids entertained on family holidays. All in all, Alvor has the perfect blend of tradition, scenic beauty and world class attractions that guarantee a brilliant holiday for couples, families and groups of friends.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 55m
When to go
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Alvor’s heritage stretches all the way back to the Middles Ages, bringing a cultured vibe to the town. There are plenty of attractions in Alvor and the surrounding area, whether you’re visiting as a family, by yourself or with a group of friends. For a romantic outing with your significant other, try taking a stroll along Alvor Boardwalk for scenic views and spotting coastal birds. Some of the best attractions in Alvor are historic landmarks such as the picturesque Church of Divino Salvador and Church of Misericordia of Alvor, giving you an insight into the rich tapestry of faith here. There are a number of well maintained golf courses across Alvor, so golf fans can tee off in scenic surroundings, while you can drop your kids off at one of the local kids’ clubs if you’re planning a quiet day out with your partner. If you head over to close by Lagos, you’ll find the captivating Igreja de Santo Antonion, a spectacular golden church with incredibly ornate wood carvings and symbolic religious artwork, perfect if you’re a fan of history or photography. A little further away at Seville, you’ll find a number of attractions fitting its alternate title, ‘The Golden City of Culture’.
Wine and Dine
Thanks to its roots as a traditional fishing village, it’s no surprise that Alvor is famous for its delicious seafood dishes. The lagoon is home to a number of scenic waterside cafés and restaurants serving freshly caught fish and seafood dishes. If you’re a keen foodie, you won’t want to miss the famous clams at Fishermen’s Rest, or you can dine at Tropico Beach Bar for sumptuous sea bass meals. Another popular dish in Alvor is peri peri chicken, perfect for spicing up your holiday cuisine. Restaurants here serve peri peri made with authentic red piri-piri peppers, which are found in abundance in the Algarve region and find their way into most dishes and table sauces in Portugal.
If you’re struggling between several choices for family holiday destinations in 2017, you can rest assured that Alvor is a safe bet for holidaying with children of all ages. Of course, Alvor’s main draw is its beaches, whether you’re looking forward to a kickabout on the sand, exploring the jagged rock formations on the coastline, or building sandcastles with your little ones. From Praia de Alvor in Alvor itself, to nearby beaches such as Praia de Joao de Arens, this stunning stretch of coastline has all the clean sands, clear waters and sun drenched weather you’re looking for in a beach holiday destination for your family. Some of the best family friendly attractions in the surrounding area include Lagos Zoo, a great day trip destination, and the Portimao Pedagogical Farm, where kids can go horse riding and learn about their favourite animals. For an exciting day out together, head to the Slide and Splash water park in Lagoa, Albufeira, for a number of slides, rides and hot tubs for frazzled parents to relax in.
Action and Adventure
Alvor’s dramatic landscape and year round pleasant weather make it perfect for all types of outdoor enthusiast, whether hiking or tennis is your cup of tea. At the beach you can enjoy swimming, diving, surfing and playing sports on the sand, such as football and volleyball. Couples will enjoy romantic strolls on the sand at sunrise or sunset, while families with kids will love to search for shells on the sand and play around the jagged rock formations by the sea. Other water based activities include dolphin watching, sailing and canoeing, giving you plenty of reasons to get in the water. If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, there are a number of golf courses dotted around Alvor and several companies offering all-terrain tours in 4x4s. You can also explore the scenic countryside by foot, bicycle, or horseback, giving you plenty of options for getting your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping.
Life's a Beach
Alvor is a stunningly beautiful location with wonderful beaches, giving you no shortage of options when it comes to sun, sea and sand. There are a couple of lovely beaches in Alvor, Praia dos Tres Irmaos and Praia de Alvor. In reality, the two beaches comprise of one long stretch of sand, with a number of sand dunes at the rear of the beach that lead to the lagoon of the Alvor River. This area is great for things to do, such as surfing, kitesurfing and cycling along the sands. Praia de Alvor is situated at the west end of the beach and has a long, open stretch of sand, ideal for outdoor sports such as frisbee and volleyball. Here you’ll find two restaurants, one at the main entrance and another situated a little further along the sand, just in case you’re getting thirsty or hungry as you make your way along the beach. There are plenty of sun loungers and parasols to rent here, keeping you comfortable on the beach, as well as water sports facilities for sailing, windsurfing and pedaloeing. At Praia dos Tres Irmaos, or Three Brothers Beach, you’ll find some spectacular rock formations jutting out of the sand, great for those that prefer to explore the beach and prefer a more shaded area.
If you’re looking to enjoy an active nightlife experience on holiday in Alvor, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the selection of great bars, cafés and restaurants here. Most evenings out in Alvor start early, with a few drinks in the centre and a good meal to prepare you for the busy night ahead. A great place to kick off your night is Michael’s Bar, a popular cocktail bar with great happy hour offerings and daily specials. Here you can enjoy people-watching on the terrace, relax and take in the scenic views of the surrounding countryside with a drink in hand. If you’d prefer to head somewhere with a little more edge, visit Canico. This venue is built into a cliff top and serves traditional Portuguese cuisine during the day and up-to-date beats at night. Throughout the peak period, this venue is very busy and hosts some of the best parties in the area, with the resident DJ getting the crowd jumping with sleek club mixes.
When you step foot in Alvor, you’ll find it has a real sense of old-school romance and tradition, making it a great place for couples to celebrate a special anniversary or make new romantic memories together. Alvor’s warm climate and golden sandy beaches provide the perfect setting for romantic picnics on the sand, sunset drinks, and days out exploring the dramatic rock formations along the coastline. For a couples day out with relaxing surroundings, take a trip to one of Alvor’s vineyards for wine tasting and to take in the scenery. Luckily, this part of the Algarve is ideal for growing succulent grapes and has already earnt a place among the top wine-producing locations in the world. There are many expert wine producers here that can teach you more about the grape growing process, how to taste wine properly and how to choose the best wine for certain dishes, too. Another option for a memorable couples day out is a boat trip. You can opt to travel on a traditional boat for an authentic Portuguese experience, or choose Portugal’s first solar-powered cruiser to explore the coastline while helping to protect the environment.
Portugal loves life, and loves to party. It’s important to remember that while tourism is an ever important part of life in Portugal, it’s also a deeply religious Catholic country that celebrates a number of religious festivals and holidays throughout the year, giving you a number of options when it comes to cultural attractions and events. One of the most popular events in Avor is Carnival, which takes place late in February, at the beginning of Lent. This must-see event features eye-catching costumes, celebrations and dancing in the streets, and lasts a week. During Easter, the Portuguese bake Folar cakes, a type of sweet bread topped with hard boiled eggs. In August, your visit may coincide with the Sardine Festival in close by Portimao, giving you a prime opportunity to enjoy grilled sardines cooked on beach barbeques, live music and a spectacular fireworks display bringing things to a close at midnight.