Things to do

Bem-vindos a Portugal!

The Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, and is in fact one of the most popular in all of Europe.  Over 10 million visitors come to the Algarve every year to enjoy the gentle climate and breathtaking beaches.  English-speaking tourists will find travel there to be especially stress-free, because of the many English-language newspapers and publications available to accommodate them.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal, and this location affords travelers access to a number of spectacular beaches.  Every holiday to the Algarve should begin and end with a trek to one of its many natural wonders.

The most famous and iconic beach in the Algarve is the Praia da Marinha, located in Caramujeira.  With its striking natural cliffs and pure, high-quality water, it is no surprise that this pristine wonder is considered among the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. The Portuguese Ministry of the Environment awarded Praia da Marinha the “Golden Beach” award, and special care has even taken to leave the beach in its original unspoiled condition.

Another beach that absolutely has to be experienced is Armação de Pêra, with its unusual natural rock formations and gleaming white sands.  For amenities the site offers many fine hotels and cafes.  As one of the oldest fishing villages in the Algarve, fresh seafood and shellfish are the specialty of local restaurants.

Other popular beaches include Ponta da Piedade, in Lagos, Praia da Falesia, Vilamouros, or Odeceixe Beach, in Aljezur.

If you get tired of the white sands in Armação de Pêra, then why not try the sandy golden shore of Praia da Oura, in Albufeira?  Glamorous vistas and unparalleled views make this the perfect spot to relax.

Albufeira also boasts of Falesia Beach, with a very long beachfront perfect for slow, romantic walks.  Stroll hand in hand with your loved one while surrounded by majestic, brilliantly colored red cliffs rising into the sky. However, the allure of Albufeira extends past the beaches.

Old Town in Albufeira affords a traveler with a great opportunity to get out and do a little shopping and eating. The excursion is a quirky, endearing mix of old and new. There are many shops and restaurants that cater to the seasonal visitor.

For active families, try the Parque Aventura and attempt something a little more…well, adventurous.  This is a fantastic activity for all ages.  Climb trees, slide down a zip line, or take on the challenge of the rope course, all in a safe environment. Also loved by families are several water theme parks, with exhilarating slides and tube chutes.

The focus on family activities continues with a stop at Zoo Marine, a combination aquatic show and zoo.  The highlight has to be the dolphin show, presented several times each day.  There are also shows featuring sea lions, and exhibitions of tropical birds, crocodiles, and giant sea tortoises.

While in Albufeira, a point of interest would include Sagres, lying at the extreme southwest corner of Europe.  This stark spot is also called “The End of the World”, and boasts the strongest light beam on the continent, which extends over 100 km.

The Algarve is much more than beaches and Albufeira. Further up the coast is Tavira, and this a “can’t-miss” destination for anyone who is a fan of history or beautiful architecture.  The high point has to be the Castle, dating back to the 13th century.  The remains overlook a small garden, and are within easy walking distance of the other attractions in Tavira, the many historic chapels.  Bring a camera, and tour the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, the Church of Santiago, or the Church of Miseriacordia, or others.  Some of these churches are over 500 years old, and are among the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in the Algarve.

Before leaving Tavira, one more point of interest should be Ponta do Romana, a fascinating seven arched bridge dating from the 12th century.  Although autos are prohibited, the bridge remains open to foot traffic.

Another popular destination in the Algarve is Lagos.  Not to be outdone by Tavira, Lagos features the Church of Santo Antonio.  Do not be fooled by its plain façade.  The interior is absolutely transcendent, with a rich, gold-covered interior.  Gilded, intricate wood carvings fill every inch of the nave, showing why this church is considered one of the most beautiful in the entire country,

Lagos offers more than a beautiful church. The Fortaleza da Ponta da Bandeira, an important naval fort dating from the 1600’s is available for exhibitions and tours.  The fort was originally built to protect the city’s inhabitants from pirates.

One place in Lagos to stop and reflect is the former Slave Market.  Lagos is the place where the first African slaves first entered Europe.  This former site of slave auctions dates back to the 1400’s.

As a coastal region in one of the most history-rich countries in the world, there are many, many more beaches and historical points of interest throughout the Algarve.  However, the Algarve is more than just places to relax or learn. For the active traveler, there is a plethora of exciting activities available throughout the region, taking advantage of everything it has to offer.

The adventurous can go diving off in the blue waters off the coast of Faro among fascinating natural and man-made reefs.  Whether exploring shipwrecks or swimming among schools of fish, the experienced local guides will provide an experience never to be forgotten.

Explore parts of the Algarve terrain that would be difficult by foot and impossible by car by taking heart-pounding quad trek on a 4 X 4 all-terrain vehicle in Albufeira.

For those who love the links, no trip would be complete without checking out any of the world-class golf courses located throughout the region.  Some favorites are the Old Course in Vilamoura, or either San Lorenzo or Quinto do Lago South, both located in Almancil.

Wherever you go in the vast Algarve, there is sure to be something worthwhile to strike your fancy.  From breathtaking beaches, to incredible natural beauty, to fascinating historical sites, to exhilarating activities, The Algarve truly has something to offer to visitors from every part of the world.

The Algarve is an adventurers playground. Here are just Some of the great Things you can do on your Trip.