Algarve holidays

It may boast a year-round balmy climate, breathtaking coastline, and some of Europe’s finest beaches, but Algarve holidays in southern Portugal aren’t just about the sea, sun, and sand. Whether you’re after some historic sights, want to try delicious Portuguese food, hit the neon-lit nightlife, or see the underwater marine life at a dive spot, there’s no shortage of things to keep all the family happy on a holiday here. It's famous for the great golf courses that line the coast, and there are plenty of water sports on offer. Kids will love whizzing down the slides at the water parks and paddling in the sea, while grown-ups will enjoy discovering nature reserves, centuries-old castles, and beachfront bars.

Things to do

There’s no shortage of attractions and things to do on your holidays to the Algarve. Whichever part of the region you choose; you’ll find beautiful beaches, historic sights, tasty food and fun-filled family activities nearby.

Incredible beaches

The Algarve is famous for its lovely weather, which you can enjoy on countless beaches. Expect soft pale sands and crystal clear waters as you gaze out across the sparkling Atlantic. If you hire a car, you’ll have the freedom to go and explore as you try to find your own private stretch. Or join your fellow holidaymakers at some of the Algarve’s most popular spots, which are well known for a good reason.

Breathtaking scenery

If you love spectacular scenery, the Algarve’s dramatic coastline won’t fail to impress you. Take boat trips across the waves to look back at stunning rock formations and picture-perfect grottoes. When you need to keep the kids entertained, take your pick from water parks, marine parks and other great family attractions. Whether you want to have a relaxing break or fill your trip with adventure, there are plenty of things to choose from.

Great nightlife

If you’re looking for a good night out, then stay in one of the Algarve’s major resorts. Towns like Albufeira have lots of vibrant bars and clubs where you can enjoy a few drinks and dance until the early hours. Sway your hips to the beat of live fado music, or have a go at traditional Portuguese folk dancing. Whatever style of holiday you want, the Algarve is a wonderful destination.

Places to stay

The most popular destination for Algarve holidays is Albufeira, which is situated at the centre of Portugal’s south coast. Holidaymakers of all ages love it for its sweeping, sandy beaches and huge array of shops, bars and restaurants. Just 15km west of Albufeira is the lively resort of Armacao de Pera. Take a walk down the bustling promenade before stopping in one of its many bars for a long, cool drink. The ancient fishing town of Lagos can be found in the southwest part of the Algarve. Explore its medieval city walls and pick up some handcrafted ceramics to take home.

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations including: Albufeira | Alvor | Carvoeiro | Lagos | Praia da Rocha | Vilamoura

Map of Algarve

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12-24 ℃

With long, hot summers and mild winters, enjoy holidays here all year round. 

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Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, is close to many of the most popular towns and resorts.

Algarve is best for...

Sun-seekers: There are some spectacular stretches of sand on the coast. From family-friendly paddling to water sports and total relaxation, you’ll find a beach in the Algarve to match your needs.

Animal lovers: See all the sea life at the excellent Zoomarine attraction, go wild dolphin spotting on a boat trip, or bird watch on a nature hike.

Families: Build sandcastles on the beach, make a splash at one of the exciting water parks, and visit the children’s petting zoo at Lagos zoo.

Fast facts for Algarve

Language: People in the Algarve speak Portuguese.

Currency: You’ll need Euros (€) for your holiday.

Local time: The Algarve is the same as GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Faro Airport. Transfers to the Algarve take 30 minutes (Vilamoura), 45 minutes (Carvoeiro), 1 hour (Albufiera, Praia da Rocha) and 1.5 hours (Alvor and Lagos). 

Flight time from the UK: The Algarve flight time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at https://www.visitalgarve.pt/default.aspx.

 

Getting around Algarve

By hire car: Explore at your own pace and pick up a rental car as soon as you land at Faro Airport. Take a scenic route along the coastline, or head inland to make brief stops in pretty towns and village filled with whitewashed houses.

By taxi: You’ll be able pre-book or, in some places, hop in a cab at a taxi rank to take you to nearby resorts, towns and attractions. Some taxi fares go up between midnight to 6am, and you’ll be charged extra for any luggage you have.

Events in Algarve

Carnival time: Head to Loulé in February and take in all the spectacular sights at one of the oldest carnivals in Portugal. Colourful floats and dancers in extravagant costumes make up the parade, as it winds its way through the town’s streets. Expect non-stop music, food stalls and plenty of dancing.

For sandcastle lovers: Visit Pêra and see all the hand-sculpted works of sand art at the International Sand Sculpture Festival FIESA. The largest sand sculpture festival in the world, over 30,000 tons of sand is used to create impressive sand creations every year. There’s even a space for kids to create their very own sand masterpieces too.

History buffs: In August, get a glimpse into what life was like in the Middle Ages at Castro Marim’s Medieval Festival. The Medieval Fair in Silves has historical re-enactments, jousting tournaments, and children’s storytelling.

Food festivals: Foodies won’t want to miss the Seafood Festival in Olhão or the Sardine Festival in Portimão, which both take place in August. Most villages along the coast celebrate their own sardine festival, but the best and most famous is in Portimão. Thousands visit the fishing town for the traditional delicacy of sardinhas assadas and there’s even market stalls, fireworks and live music to keep you entertained once you’ve eaten.

Algarve weather

Temperature: During the summer, it can get as hot as 28 (°C) but are normally around 24 (°C). Winters are mild with lows of 12 (°C).

Best time to visit: Algarve holidays are best in the summer, but the warm weather means it’s still worth visiting any time of year.

For the best beach weather, book your holiday for the summer months of July and August. Hit the nearby water parks or relax on the beach as you enjoy high temperatures of 28 (°C). In the evening, the temperature rarely falls below 20 (ºC), so you can try some traditional Portuguese food outside by the seafront or marina. During springtime, the weather’s cooler but still warm and there’s little rain. Autumn and winter may be the wetter seasons, but the weather is still pleasant, with temperatures rarely dropping below (15°C).

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