One might start with the question, why wouldn’t you want to explore the Algarve? Renowned for its spectacular cliffs, golden sandy beaches and scalloped bays, the Algarve has a range of beachside resorts to suit everyone. From party-crowd coastal towns to family-oriented destinations and quiet seaside villages for those looking to get away from it all, the Algarve has a favourite spot for everyone.
And if beaches aren’t a star attraction for you, don’t rule the Algarve out, as inland there are lots of wonderful sightseeing treasures on offer. Here are 4 great reasons to explore the Algarve.
- Stunning beaches and coastal treasures
Quite simply, one of Portugal’s best attractions are the 600 miles of beaches along the Algarve region. And you don’t have to travel far when you arrive in Portugal to find stunning beaches. There are some great beaches near to Faro Airport.
Stretched along the Algarve, there are around 150 beaches to choose from. Frankly, many of the beaches along the Algarve are as beautiful as the next, so it’s hard to whittle down the list to the best ones. But here are a few we think should be on your list to visit.
Ilha da Barreta
Ilha Deserta is one of three sandbank islands flanking the Ria Formosa Natural Park. It’s the only island of the three that is uninhabited. Ilha da Barreta is perhaps the Algarve’s most isolated beach.
This is as good as it gets for a remote and unspoilt landscape. To get there catch a ferry from Faro but be sure to catch the last one back! The only facilities here are the exclusive Estaminé seafood restaurant, but it is expensive and you need to book in advance.
Praia de Galapinhos
Voted best European beach in 2017, this beach has to be on your list of beaches to visit while in the Algarve. A crescent of white sand and clear blue-green waters are set against the stunning backdrop of the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park.
Access to Praia de Galapinhos is via a steep, uneven path, which keeps this little slice of paradise free from crowds. Facilities are limited to a small shack selling drinks and snacks.
Praia da Marinha
Perhaps the Algarve’s most photographed beach in the Algarve, Praia da Marinha is a small cove beach situated between Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro. At low tide adjacent coves are accessible.
There are plenty of rock formations, caves and rock pools to explore. The water clarity here is fabulous, making it popular for snorkelling. Access to the beach is via wide meandering steps from the clifftop car park.
Praia do Telheiro
This wild, rugged and isolated beach is a surfer’s paradise. The beach is about 7km from the town of Sagres, which is set on the Western tip of the Algarve. There’s no public transport to Praia do Telheiro and even in the summer months you’ll only be sharing the beach with a handful of visitors. This beach is a must if you’re a surfing fanatic. The cliffs here are truly spectacular and of special geologic significance.
- Rich history and ancient landmarks
Don’t be put off the Algarve if you aren’t much into beaches. The Algarve isn’t just a beach-lovers paradise. Portugal is full of interesting non-beach places to visit. The country has a rich history and there are some wonderful ancient towns, castles and churches to see. Here are two inland towns worth going to.
If you are in the Eastern Algarve, head inland to Alcoutim (the drive alone is spectacular). Alcoutim is a pretty village on the banks of the Guadiana river (separates Portugal from Spain). This lovely town is a hidden treasure.
If you are staying in the Western Algarve, the Medieval hilltop town of Silves is a must-visit. This is a delightful town steeped in history. During the North African Moor’s rule of the Algarve (700-1200ad), Silves was the capital and defensive stronghold of the entire region.
The charming town is overlooked by its huge Moorish redbrick castle. A great place to explore for history lovers, the old town has remained unchanged for more than 500 years. Silves is easily reachable by public transport from Lagos, Portimão and Albufeira.
- Year-round climate
The Algarve enjoys amazing weather all year round. Even in the winter it is rare for air temperatures to go below 10°C (50°F). Despite being on the Atlantic coast, the Algarve enjoys a mild Mediterranean-like climate with long hot summers and mild winters. Read more about average temperatures and rainfall here.
- Fabulous seafood
If you love fish and seafood, then you will love Portuguese cuisine. Only the Portuguese can make gourmet treats out of humble fish like the sardine. Here are 15 Portuguese seafood dishes you simply must try when you visit the Algarve.
And there you have it. Four simply fabulous reasons why the Algarve should be included on your bucket list of places to visit.