The 20 Must-See Places in Algarve Portugal


Algarve is one of the most beautiful and famous regions of Portugal. It has so much to offer from beautiful landscapes, historic monuments to beautiful beaches. We’ve selected 20 places you don’t want to miss while visiting the Algarve Portugal. And yes it will make you fall in love with the country. If you aren’t already 😉

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Lagos – Algarve, Portugal

Lagos is the city in Algarve that has maintained its Portugal authenticity. It was the former capital of the Algarve and is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal. And we understand why. Lagos has fantastic restaurants, nightlife and other great activities to offer and a big plus: you can explore a lot of history in Lagos as well. Back in the day. Lagos dominated the African Trade market, so the city is full of beautiful architecture and monuments that date back to the times of adventurous seas explorers.

Also, the beaches of Lagos are known to be the best in the Algarve region of Portugal. For a beautiful view head towards Ponta da Piedade and for some history go to Fort of Ponta da Bandeira and Chapel of Santa Barbara. Don’t forget to visit the Mercado Municipal which is a lovely city market. And the beautiful beach Praia da Balança nearby Ponta da Piedade.

Algarve Portugal Lagos
Photo credit: Regiao de Turismo do Algarve
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Sagres

Sagres is a southwestern town in Algarve Portugal. It’s well known for its beauty. It’s a place for adventurous travellers who like raw nature and dramatic landscapes. This town feels more remote and doesn’t have the over-developed holiday feel a lot of towns in Algarve have. You should explore Sagres Fortress that was built to protect the Sagres territory. And visit Cape St. Vincent the most south-western point of the mainland of Europe. Because when can you ever do that? You can see a beautiful sunset at what looks like the end of the world.

Cape st Vincent Sagres

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Alvor

On your travels through the Algarve, you should visit the cute town Alvor. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns that you will come across in the Algarve region of Portugal. It has a very low-key vibe to it and not overrun by tourists like other parts of the Algarve. Wander around the narrow streets and visit the Misericordia Church, Ria De Alvor River Mouth or relax on Alvor Beach.

Alvor Bay

Portimao

Next to Alvor is the second largest city in the Algarve, Portimao. This old city of Algarve is now one of the most popular spots in Portugal. The beautiful beaches and the museums of Portimao gravitate a massive number of people each year. It used the be an old-fashioned fishermen’s town and started to blossom through tourism and the canning industry in the 19th and 20th century. Hit to the beautiful beaches of Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau and Alvor. Learn more about the history and culture of Portimao at the Portimao Museum, and Igreja do Colégio. Explore Ribeirinha, Jardim 1º de Dezembro and the liveliest square at night Praça Manuel Teixeira Gomes.

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Portimao Algarve Portugal

Ferragudo

This is a beautiful small town in Algarve which falls under the Lagon Municipality of Portugal. Ferragudo has a unique charm to it, and it’s unspoilt even though it’s right across the famous town of Portimao. Wander around the riverside area, visit the charming main square Praça Rainha Dona Leonor and enjoy the beautiful beach Praia da Angrinha and the Sao Joao De Arade Castle.

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Serra De Monchique – the hidden gem

Serra de Monchique is known as the hidden gem of the Algarve. Monchique is a beautiful town in the Algarve located in the mountain range area known as Serra de Monchique, with the most stunning views and landscapes of Portugal. Situated in the countryside far away from the beaches you can enjoy this hidden treasure of the Algarve. Walk through the picturesque alleys of Monchique and hike up the highest peak of Serra De Monchique to Foia. It is a paradise for nature lovers who love to explore this lesser-travelled part of Algarve, Portugal.

Don’t forget to visit Caldas De Monchique; it is a thermal village that traces back to the Roman occupation. The Romans discovered the healing potential of the 31 degrees Celsius spa water that runs downwards the mountain. People to this day say the water heals the human body. Maybe you want to try it out as well? Let us know if you are magically cured of something!

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Caldas de Monchique
Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique

Carvoeiro – Algarve, Portugal

If you are a beach lover, then Carvoeiro is your stop in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is the most scenic beach town where you will find amazing beaches such as Carvoeiro Beach and Vale Centeanes Beach. To enjoy the landscape, we would suggest you take a walk to the ruins of Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao Fort and from there head to the Algar Seco which is a 600-meter walk. Do not leave Carvoeiro without visiting Algar De Benagil. It’s an oceanic cave, and it is only accessible by sea. Algar De Benagil is one of the most beautiful spots in Algarve, Portugal which we will tell more about later in this blog.

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Carvoeiro Algarve Portugal

Silves – Algarve, Portugal

Silves is one of the oldest cities in Portugal and a must-see area of the Algarve. This fortified town is famous for its castle: Silves Castle. This castle is also known as the Red Fortress and was built between the 8th and 10th century. The town was once the ancient capital of the Algarve during the Arabic occupation. And Silves is probably one of the best places in the Algarve to experience authentic Portugal. You can visit the cathedral . This cathedral used to be a mosque during Arabic times but later transformed into a cathedral. Now it’s one of the most important churches of the Algarve region in Portugal.

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Castello Silves Portugal
Eoin Gardiner from Clarinbridge, Ireland [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Alte – Algarve, Portugal

Alte located in the heart of Algarve, and it is another treasure of Portugal that you should want to explore. It’s the most characteristic town of the Algarve. This charming town is filled with beautiful white painted houses and colourful windows. Visit the Nossa Senhora da Assuncao Church which was built during the 13th century and has a Manueline Style portal and interior décor. Yeah sure, because everyone knows what Manueline Style means….. But hey I just wanted to put this info out there. The postcard surroundings of the church are beautiful. 😉

 

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Hanging Valleys – Algarve, Portugal

If you are a landscape lover like us, then don’t leave Algarve without visiting the seven hanging valleys. It is a 5.7 km walking route amid the cliffs from Marinha Beach to Vale Centeanes Beach. This walking route is very scenic and peaceful and something you don’t want to miss while visiting Algarve, Portugal.foto

Vale Centeanes Beach Algarve Hanging villages
Vale Centeanes Beach – Emmanuel Eragne [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Sao Lourenco De Almancil Church – Algarve, Portugal

You can find the Sao Lourenco De Almancil Church in the town Almancil. It was built in honour of Sao Lourenco. Of course, that doesn’t ring a bell, or maybe it does… But let me tell you a little bit more about this guy. Saint Lawrence was the earliest Christian version of Robin Hood. He became a real legend: he gave money to the poor and got punished and tortured because of that. His life scenes are on the walls and ceiling of the church. You can spot his life scenes on the traditional Portuguese blue and white tiles. From the outside, this church seems to be like any other church in Portugal, but the magnificent interior is what makes this church so beautiful and is considered as one of the greatest artistic treasures in the Algarve.

Church Sao Lourenco Portugal
Marc Ryckaert (MJJR) [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

Ria Formosa National Park – Algarve, Portugal

Ria Formosa is part of three protected areas in the Algarve. It has become a natural reserve since 1978. The wetland Ria Formosa is constantly changing due to the constant movement of winds, currents and tides. This area is a paradise for bird watchers as it is the home to many species. You can hike the national park and witness the different flora and fauna or book a boat tour that leaves from Fago.

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Faro – Algarve, Portugal

Faro is the gateway to the Algarve region of Portugal. If your travelling to the Algarve this town will be your first destination because of the International Airport. This city gets often overlooked. But Faro has a relaxed Portuguese charm to it, and there are great activities to do. Faro is very scenic and has a historic walled city centre with a beautiful cathedral. As I mentioned, it’s close to Ria Formosa, where you can explore a series of saltwater lagoons, mudflats and wildlife. It’s easy to spend half a day wandering around in the centre and exploring the Ria Formosa nature park in the afternoon. A lot of tours and ferries depart from the small harbour in Fago to Ria Formosa and the deserted beaches on the sandbar islands.

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Estoi Palace Faro Portugal

Estoi Palace – Algarve, Portugal

Estoi is the home of the Rococo Style Estoi Palace in the Algarve region of Portugal. It’s only 10km away and is easily accessible because of the regular and inexpensive bus service that connects Faro with Estoi. This pink palace is a top-rated attraction in the Algarve region of Portugal. Built in the 19th century and the beautiful surroundings of the palace are what makes it so popular. Apart from the lush green garden, you will find fountains, lakes, and statues surrounding the palace.

Tavira – Algarve, Portugal

Tavira is a beautiful city in Algarve that date backs to the Roman occupation of Portugal. From the Roman bridge, you will have a beautiful view, and you can get your history fix at the many ruins, old Arab quarters and 21 churches Tavira has to offer. Don’t expect beautiful beaches at walking distance. You have to take the ferry to get to one of the pristine beaches near Tavira. And if you love crazy nightlife during your travels than Tavira is not for you. It’s not that kind of town. But as the popularity of the Algarve grows so can Tavira change as well.

Benagil caves

Benagil Caves – Algarve, Portugal

So as I mentioned in this blog before. The Benagil Caves are one of the most beautiful spots in Algarve, Portugal. It’s a beautiful place in the Algarve, so it’s a must-see while you’re are in Portugal. The Benagil caves are only accessible with boats or kayaks, but if you’re a more an adventurous traveller like me, you can try to swim to Benagil Beach and visit the caves by yourself. It’s quite risky as well, but you will have a fantastic view once you enter the caves.

Note: it’s now forbidden to disembark in the Benagil cave. The boats only stay in the caves for a couple of minutes because it can be hectic. So our advice is to go in the morning as early as possible to visit the caves. And don’t forget to visit Praia da Marinha, one of the most beautiful beaches of Portugal and very close to the Benagil Caves of the Algarve.

Benagil caves algarve portugal

Aljezur – Algarve, Portugal

If you want to spend some quiet time during your travels in the Algarve region of Portugal. Then you should surely visit Aljezur as the beaches in this region are very quiet and occupied by just a handful of people. Make sure to go to the beautiful beaches of Arrifana, Monte Clérigo and Carrapateira. They are all part of the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. A stunning strip of coastline protected from development.

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Aljezur coastline

Alcoutim – Algarve, Portugal

Alcoutim is the most peaceful town in the Algarve with only 3000 inhabitants. You can visit the Castle of Alcoutim. This medieval castle was build in the 13th century. They predominantly built it to protect the city from Spanish Troops and to control the river traffic. Apart from the castle, you can also visit the churches Igreja Matriz de Alcoutim and Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

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Alcoutim Portugal Algarve

By Jose A. – Alcoutim (Portugal), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56807305

Loule – Algarve, Portugal

Loule is the best place if you like to visit lively markets and wander around medieval towns. On Saturday’s there are two different markets: the gipsy market and the more traditional Portuguese market. This weekly market is the largest market in the Algarve region and is one of the biggest attractions of Loule. If you’re visiting Loule in the summer make sure to check out the dates for Festival Med. This annual summer event is in Loulé’s historic centre where you can experience the best of Mediterranean culture.

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Albufeira Portugal

Albufeira – Algarve, Portugal

With a lively nightlife, great restaurants and fabulous beaches Albufeira is the most dynamic city of the Algarve region of Portugal. It’s the number one holiday destination in Portugal, so that’s why Albufeira is on this list of 20 must-see places in the Algarve. Albufeira main focus is on mass-tourism. This famous Algarve city attracts a lot of families, couples and group of friends who like to party. So you can expect a lot of English menu boards and rowdy bars at night. So if you’re into that: Albufeira is your destination in Portugal. With cheap package deals, a lot of tourists from Europe fly into Albufeira for a sunny holiday. If you want to enjoy Albufeira more peacefully, we advise you to book your hotel away from the bar strip of Albufeira.

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Albufeira sunset portugal

 

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Why do you want to travel to the Algarve in Portugal? Let us know below in the comments also if this blog was beneficial for you or if you have any additions to it.

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Léon Kopijn

Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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