The Algarve is by far the most visited region among tourists in all of Portugal. According to 800Zipcodes, the Algarve is located in the south of Portugal along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. What makes the Algarve so special in terms of landscape is the alternation of high rocks and idyllic beaches along the coastal area. The seaside resorts that have been built around it vary from attractive and fairly small-scale to pure mass tourism, where it can be very busy, especially in the summer months. Those who want to discover the beauty of the Algarve do not necessarily have to travel to the Algarve in the summer. Although it is cooler in the spring and autumn than in the summer, the Algarve is just as beautiful. Perhaps even better, because the peak crowds are then absent. The Algarve is not only popular among sun worshipers. The many golf courses that are scattered throughout the Algarve ensure that golf enthusiasts from all over Europe and beyond come to the Algarve to tee off here.
Top 10 sights of the Algarve
#1. Praia da Marinha
This particularly beautiful stretch of beach received the ‘Golden Beach’ award a few years ago. Photos of the robust cliffs on this beautiful beach have been central to the promotion of Portugal in various holiday brochures. Not only the cliffs are special, the beautiful clear water is also of unprecedented class. Because the water is quite calm, it attracts many snorkelers. Keep in mind the many steps down to get to the amazing beach. Several nearby boat trips have excursions to see more of the coast such as the caves.
The main feature of Silves is its castle ‘Castelo dos Mouros’ on top of a mountain top. In the area around this castle, several excavations have been found that show that some buildings date back to the 8th century. The Musueu Municipal de Arquelógia gives you the chance to learn about objects from the Stone Age. The cathedral in the center is from the 13th century. This special city has another museum. Namely the cork museum ‘Fábrica do Inglês’ with a documentation center, archive, beautiful garden, cozy terrace and a children’s park.
#3. Caldas de Monchique (spa)
The Romans already knew it. Bathing in wonderful water calms the mind and brings a lot of peace to the body. In the beautiful valley of the Serra de Monchique mountains you will find spring water of about 33 C˚ at the thermal baths of Caldas de Monchique. The area is very green and quiet. It is very fertile, which can be seen in the banana, orange and olive trees. There are several walking routes through this beautiful piece of nature. The town of Monchique itself is still very traditional.
With its historic center and shipyard, Lagos is a friendly tourist destination. Especially in the summer there is plenty to do in this old maritime city. Well-known natural attractions are Ponta da Piedade, Laguna de Alvor and Mata Nacional de Barão de S. João. Walls of the old city can be found around the old quarters of Santa Maria and São Sebastião. Several fortresses and castles can be visited in this beautiful town of Lagos. The fort at the harbor is particularly worth a visit. This is Forta da Ponta da Bandeira, which today no longer has to protect the harbor, but gives an insight into the maritime history of Lagos.
Due to its ideal location on the coast, the seaside resort of Albufeira is very popular among many tourists. The famous nightlife of Albufeira is mainly located on “the strip”. This is an area with many bars, clubs and other forms of entertainment. The cozy marina has a lot to offer, such as various boat trips along the many beautiful bays of the Algarve. You will find the most beautiful beaches at Praia dos Pescadores, Fischerman’s beach and Praia do Tunel. The latter can be reached in a special way, namely via a tunnel through the rocks. Near Albufeira, about 8 kilometers away, is the Paderne castle with parts of the partly remaining city walls.
#6. Sagres Point
The most outward southwestern point of Europe is Sagres Point. Here is also a 16th century fortress with compass rose and cannons. There are many quiet beaches with high cliffs nearby. In the beautiful nature park ‘Costa Vicentina Natural Park’ you can admire a lot of flora and fauna on approximately 76,000 hectares. At a distance of about 6 kilometers lies Cape Saint Vincent. The only building on this promontory is the 24 meter high lighthouse built on the ruins of an old monastery.
On the southern coast of Portugal lies the city of Portimão. The city of Portimão is particularly well known among sailors. Major and prestigious sailing events are held on a regular basis. The ‘World Match Racing Tour’ attracts many visitors from all over the world. In this sporty city, more sports are competed on the water, including Powerboating. The city itself is mainly characterized by the mix of 19th and 20th century buildings. There are various excursions to be made, such as to the caves, dolphin watching and fishing trips. There are also boat trips to nearby Silves.
#8. Vila Real de Santo António
The lighthouse of the city of Vila Real de Santo António is a good landmark. The area between this town and the coast is the seaside resort of Monte Gordo. The main road of Vila Real de Santo António runs right through these two places. The large central square of Vila Real de Santo António is surrounded by orange trees and low-rise shops and restaurants. Nearby is a museum ‘Museu de Manuel Cabanas’ about the local artist who is known as Portugal’s greatest wood engraver. Not far from here is the picturesque town of Alcoutim.
#9. Praia da Luz
Many holiday villas and resorts make Praia da Luz a small holiday paradise. Many diving schools, surf schools, restaurants, discos and shops can be found along the coastline. A little higher in the mountains are some archaeological excavations, including a Roman bath. Those looking for a little more adventure can go to Praia da Luz. You can take cliff walks with a beautiful view as a treat. But there is more to do. Think of water skiing, horse riding, tennis, sailing, mountain biking and paragliding. The historic town of Lagos is about 10 minutes away.
The place Alcoutim has been an important river port in history. Alcoutim is located on the Guadiana River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean via Vila Real de Santo António. There is a 14th century castle, which includes a small archaeological museum. Alcoutim used to be known for its rich copper and iron mines. Now it is mainly many kinds of handicrafts and agriculture that the inhabitants live on.