Are you heading to Portugal on your next vacation? You don’t want to miss the Algarve Region! We have you covered with all the best things to do in the Algarve. 

Lagos, Sagres, Faro, Carvoeiro

best things to do in algarve Portugal

The Southern Algarve region of Portugal, famous for its dramatic limestone cliffs, pristine turquoise picturesque beaches, and towering archways, is one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations.

If you’re like Michael and me, you’ll spend your days wandering the colorful cobblestone streets, kayaking through hidden caves, indulging in fresh seafood, and unwinding on stunning beaches.

Best Things to Do in the Algarve

1. Unwind on the best beaches in the Algarve

One of the best reasons to visit the Southern Algarve is the endless number of breathtaking beaches (over 100 beaches to be exact)! The best beaches for swimming in the Algarve are located in the town of Lagos.

Here are the Best Algarve Beaches:

Praia de Dona Ana

Praia de Dona Ana is one of the most famous beaches in Lagos, Algarve. This small beach is in a cove surrounded by limestone cliffs, making it one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve. The calm water makes it perfect for snorkeling and swimming, but be aware that the water can be quite cold even in the middle of summer.

things to do in algarve: unwind on sandy beach
algarve portugal aesthetic - man and woman standing on one of the best beaches in the algarve

This beach has a small restaurant and a few beach vendors selling towels and blankets to sit on.

  • You can walk or drive to Praia de Dona Ana. We walked from our accommodation in Old Town Lagos to Praia de Dona Ana (~ a 20-minute walk). There is also a small parking lot you can park in, but be aware that it fills up quickly in the morning. Once you reach the cove, you must walk down 100 wooden steps.
Praia do Carvoeiro

This lively beach is perfect for an afternoon on the beautiful Algarve coast. The calm water, sheltered by towering limestone cliffs, and the proximity to lively restaurants and bars make Carvoeiro one of the best beaches in the Algarve.

Carvoeiro is a great beach in the Algarve to swim, snorkel, or relax on the sand. You can also rent a stand-up paddle board or hop aboard one of the colorful boats on shore to explore the famous Algarve Caves. Day beds are also available to rent.

Hotels: Lagos, Portugal Hotels

portugal aesthetic - touring Algarve rock formations and charming towns by boat
Travel Portugal: boat sitting  on sandy beach in Algarve

For even more beautiful views of the Carvoeiro coastline, you can also walk the Carvoeiro boardwalk from the Nossa Senhora da Encarnação fort (Fortress and Chapel of Our Lady of the Incarnation) to the Algar Seco rock formations. INCREDIBLE!

Parking Information for Praia de Carvoeiro: Parking is limited, so get to the beach early to secure a spot. Park in allocated areas only and check for pay machines and/or permits that may be required. You will get a ticket if you try to park in restricted areas.

Praia do Camilo

The Praia do Camilo is one of the most beautiful beaches in Lagos! Towering limestone cliffs surround the tiny beach, offering views that will take your breath away. You likely have seen photos of this beach on many Portugal blogs and social media accounts, as it is one of the most popular beaches in the Algarve.

Also Read: Your Guide to Nazaré Portugal

This picturesque beach is accessed by a long wooden staircase. A restaurant is located at the top of the cliff, so pack what you need in a cooler or backpack so you don’t have to keep making your way up the staircase. Restrooms and a snack vendor are also at the cliff’s top.

stunning landscapes on Algarve Coast. One of the best algarve beaches is Praia do Camilo which is pictured here.
Ponta da Piedade

Ponta da Piedade (translated to Piety Point) offers insane views to both sides of the Algarve coastline, making it one of the top things to do in the Algarve!

You can soak in the views with a cliff walk or sit and relax with a cold beer from the small cafe at the top of the cliffs. Walk down the steep wooden stairs to the water for even better views. Truly spectacular!

  • To get to Ponta Da Peidade: Ponta da Piedade is a ~25-30 minute walk from Old Town Lagos OR a 10-minute drive. Parking can be limited, so if you are staying in or near Lagos, you can get a taxi for around $5-8 Euro each way. Since there is no beach to sit on, we took a kayak tour that took us right up to the Ponta Da Pediade. In our opinion, a kayak is the best way to see the Ponta Da Pedidade.
best algarve tour: boat trips with Kayak option to tour nearby beaches
benagil cave tours with incredible limestone cliffs towering above

Tip: The beach does not have sand, so the best way to see this point, in our opinion, is to take this Kayak tour! Almost all boat, SUP, and Kayak tours will take you to this point.

On a Kayak or boat tour, you will see many rock formations, including the shapes of elephants, the Titanic, and a camel head.

Jagged rocks that make up Elephant Rock formations shown on the Benagil Cave Tours

 ^ Can you spot the elephant?

Also Read: Best Things To Do in Obidos, Portugal: The Fairytale Village of Portugal

2. Explore the Algarve Caves

The Algarve caves must be added to your bucket list! In fact, the Algarve is home to some of the most beautiful caves in Europe! One of the most famous caves is the Gruta da Benagil or Benagil Cave, but there are so many other caves that should have such notable status.

boat tour algarve to see towering cliffs
algarve cave tour in Southern Portugal

A cave tour of the Algarve allows you to explore the limestone coastline, which includes caves, grottos, and private beaches, from a whole new perspective.

The only way to enter many of these fascinating rock formations is by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddle board.

There are many options for tours in the Algarve, which we linked here: Top Algarve Cave Tours.

However, our two favorite tours were the sunset cave boat tour and our morning kayak cave tour.

Check out the Lagos Kayak Tour and Algarve Cave Tour.

The smaller the boat, the better! Larger boats are too large to enter some of the smaller caves.

rock formations seen on boat tours in the Algarve Region of Portugal
portugal itinerary: stunning coastline by kayak tour

3. Day Trip To Sagres

Sagres is a small village located in mainland Europe’s southwesternmost point. It’s a popular spot for surfers, with beautiful beaches and coastlines. The main attraction is the impressive fortress with Cabo de São Vincent Lighthouse. We explored the fortress and then stayed for an unbelievable sunset.

Sagres is about a ~35-minute drive from Lagos. The Cabo de São Vincent Lighthouse has plenty of parking available to visitors.

algarve tour: day trips to Sagres lighthouse to see the sunsetting over the Algarve breathtaking coastline
sagres light house: day trip from lagos
Portugal travel guide: Girl standing in front of the Sagres Lighhouse poinint to the tip of lighthouse. Beautiful place to watch the sun set along the beautiful Algarve Coast

Tip: If you plan to go for sunset, bring comfortable shoes and a light jacket, as the winds can be quite strong in the evening.

4. Explore Lagos Old Town

Lagos is hands down one of the best towns in the Algarve Region. If you only have a day or 2 to spend in this region, we recommend staying in Lagos’s old town! Lagos’s old town has many coffee shops, delicious restaurants and bars, and local shopping. 

We enjoyed our morning coffee walking along the boardwalk before hitting the beautiful Lagos beaches. 

lagos walking tour: wonder through the narrow cobbled streets on one of Lagos sightseeing Tours
amazing place in Lagos to eat fish stew

Favorite bars & restaurants:

  • Barbosa Tapas- flaming Chorizo
  • Ala Do Castello- cataplana & seafood rice. (some dishes require an advance order, so be sure to call ahead!)
  • Pomo- the best Italian dishes
  • Beer & Co- beer and sports bar
  • Indigo Bar- rooftop & the best bartenders
  • La Focaccia- quick grab & go sandwiches for your beach day
image of flaming chorizo at Barbosa Tapas. Top restaurant lagos worth visiting
woman sitting an espresso drink in a coffee shop in central algarve. She is wearing a blue shirt and holding a small cup up to her mouth.

5. Golf

It would not be a vacation if Michael did not get a round of golf in.

Lucky for him…

The Algarve is home to some of the best golf resorts in Portugal. Who wouldn’t want to stay at a 5-star resort with coastline views sweeping over a pristine golf course? Michael could have spent a month in The Algarve on golf alone.

You’ll Also Love: 11 Amazing Things To Do In Coimbra Portugal

best golf Portugal located in Algarve. Course offers breathtaking views of Algarve Coastline
Views from Portugal golf course in Algarve Region

Tip: Don’t want to pack your clubs and golf shoes? Many of the golf courses offer golf club and shoe rentals. Call ahead to reserve golf club rentals in peak season to guarantee your rental.

Golf Courses to Check Out: Boavista Golf, Palmares Ocean & Golf, or Espiche Golf Course.

How to Visit The Algarve:

The easiest way to get to the Algarve is by plane or car. The international airport in the Algarve is in Faro.

While Uber and taxis operate in the Algarve, we highly recommend renting a car to explore this coast’s many attractions.

Rent a car in Portugal through Sixt Rental Car.

Best Time To Visit The Algarve

Like many places in Europe and the world, the Algarve’s peak tourist season is July and August. This is because it’s the time of year when children are on school breaks, and companies offer holiday time. 

If you are available, we recommend visiting the Algarve in September or October, at the end of the region’s peak tourist season. You will still enjoy warm sunny days, and all the Algarve has to offer without long lines and crowded beaches. 

algarve things to do- walk through narrow cobbled streets to stumble upon Lagos hidden gems
man standing on a beach in Southern Europe on one of the most stunning algarve beaches. He has a black Nike hat on and has Algarve rock formations coming out of the water behind him.

Where To Stay In The Algarve

There are many great places to stay in the Algarve! We’ve explored a few different towns during our time here, and each town has its own unique charm. 

Book Lagos, Portugal Hotels

The best place to stay in the Algarve is Lagos. Lagos’ old town is centrally located and a great base for exploring the rest of the Algarve. Lagos has many great restaurants and nightlife and is walkable to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

This post shows you all of the best things to do in the Algarve.

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