What is the Algarve region? 💛
The Algarve region charms countless visitors every year. With a mild climate all year round, very charming fishing villages, miles of deserted beaches and excellent local restaurants, this region has everything to please and attract tourists.
The Algarve forms the coastline of southern Portugal, a region of rare beauty with immense cultural wealth.
I am very happy to have been able to discover this region. I went here during the month of May. The weather was good, even if it was still a bit chilly to swim in the sea (for those who are sensitive to the cold, like me). 😝
In this article, I will take you on my one-week trip through the Algarve. Below, a map of all the locations I’ve been to during my Algarve trip.
How to move around in the Algarve? 🚘
We chose to rent a car. Keep in mind, that there are a lot of electronic tolls along the highway. Portugal has a fully electronic system that records each of your passages and therefore the payments for the use of a toll road.
The car rental company activated (at our request) an automated payment method (using a transponder) for each time we passed a toll. This box cost around 12 EUR for the week.
Where we stayed in the Algarve? 🏠
We rented a nice apartment through the website booking.com located in Albufeira. The reason why we chose that location, is because the town of Albufeira is one of the liveliest of all the resorts in the Algarve. It is also located in the center of the Algarve region, which means that the day trips are shorter from one place to another. Read below more about Albufeira town.
The cities of the Algarve region
The heart of Albufeira, also called “Old Town“, is a charming historic district, while “The Strip“, located 2 km further east, is filled with themed bars and nightclubs. That city is very touristy and therefore not necessarily very authentic. Most of the people go there to party.
Unfortunately, we were not able to soak up the famous atmosphere of Albufeira. Due to the sanitary crisis, many restaurants and bars were closed.
Albufeira also has a nice beachfront. The beach here below on the picture is Praia dos Pescadores. We watched the sunset from the point of view of Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira. I highly recommend going there, the view is amazing!
Lagos is located along a coastline made up of beautiful beaches and incredible cliffs. Personally, I really liked the atmosphere, which is quite relaxed. There are many bars and restaurants as well.
This city is very pleasant, and it is in my opinion one of the most beautiful towns in the Algarve, and is clearly worth a visit.
Faro is the capital of the Algarve. This is where your trip begins, as this is where the airport is located.
Faro is a historic city which I think is more suitable for a day trip than for a seaside holiday. There aren’t a lot of beaches around. In Faro, you can find an old quarter, a pretty fishing port as well as small shopping streets.
From Faro, you can also see the lagoons of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. If you are interested, you can take an excursion there.
Villamoura is perhaps less well known than the other towns. It is also called the Saint-Tropez of the Algarve. This town has a pretty marina with its yachts and many restaurants and bars.
It is nicer going in the evening, as there is much more entertainment by night. We enjoyed spending an evening here and eating along the marina.
Note, that the prices are higher than the average of other resorts in the Algarve.
Ferragudo Is a charming fishing village with a beautiful harbor, pretty shopping streets and restaurants.
I enjoyed strolling through the alleys of the village, most of which are paved. Admire the colorful doors and frames, the flowers on the windows, on the balconies, on the road, in short, a village that exudes a desire to please and seduce.
There are other cities to visit during your stay such as Tavira, Carvoeiro, Portimao, … We haven’t done them all, but if you have the time, they are worth a visit.
The must-see beaches of the Algarve region ⛱
Ponta da Piedade ⛱
Ponta de Piedade is a beach located 2 kilometers from downtown Lagos. The coastal landscape of caves and arches reveals what the natural elements have carved out over thousands of years. We enjoyed walking along the cliffs and taking in various views.
You can do a hike from here, it’s called the Ponta de Piedade Trail. It’s a 1.8 km round trip trail. The trail offers scenic views and its difficulty is rated as moderate.
Praia Do Camilo ⛱
This beach is personally my favorite. It is located not far from Praia Dona Ana, but it is smaller and quieter. When we got there, there was hardly anyone. You can get there by going down the stairs.
Praia Dona Ana ⛱
This beach is located right next to Praia Do Camilo beach. It is also very pleasant to spend an afternoon.
Praia da Marinha ⛱
This beach is often voted as the most beautiful in Europe. It is accessible by stairs, and it’s located not far from the famous Benagil cave.
You will certainly recognize the heart-shaped rocks that you can often see on social media. To get there, you need to hike, and that hike is called ‘Seven Hanging Valleys Trail‘ which start from the praia da Marinha. We walked till the Benagil cave. The landscapes along the way are magnificent! 🤩
The beaches along Albufeira ⛱
Praia dos Pescadores, praia do Túnel and praia de Albufeira are three beaches not far from the city of Albufeira.
These beaches are also very nice for a relaxing day.
A must-do activity in the Algarve 🚣🏽
Kayaking through the Benagil cave 🚣🏽
For your information, to be able to enter and land on the small beach in the cave, you have to swim or kayak from Benagil beach. Boat trips do not allow disembarkation.
I personally did it by kayaking during a 2h30 visit. If you love nature, fresh air and want to have an unforgettable experience during your vacation, you should not miss this activity!
This is a unique experience to visit the breathtaking caves. The guide explained many things to us about the coast and took us to visit other caves besides Benagil.
The agency we booked with is called Secret Algarve, which I recommend. It was a very nice experience!
My Algarve Tip ✔️
A tip I can give you is to taste the local liqueur, which is the Amarguinha.
Amarguinha is a traditional liqueur from the Algarve region, obtained from an old recipe for bitter almond liqueur. It is an excellent digestif which is perfect at the end of the meal, replacing the Porto and Muscatel. Likewise, it can be drunk with a lemon zest, by rubbing the rim of the glass with a citrus fruit or by incorporating 2 small pieces of lemon in it which will contrast with the sugar in the liqueur.
Looking for a Beachclub? ⛱
If you are looking for a beach club, I recommend you NoSoloÁgua Portimão. We spent a lazy afternoon here.
My restaurant and bars recommendations 🍽🍹
Restaurants and bars in Albufeira
- The terrace Trattoria – Italian cuisine by the sea.
- Casa da Fonte – Portuguese restaurant in the center of old Albufeira.
- Sal Rosa – a nice bar in the old Albufeira with good cocktails and a sea view.
- Stews & More – located in the ‘new’ Albufeira, serves Portuguese dishes.
Restaurants in Villamoura
- Mayflower – a nice restaurant by the marina.
I hope that this one-week trip to the Algarve has inspired you for your future trip! Feel free to leave a comment. 😃