Thriving fishing villages surrounded by some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, Algarve holidays have put Portugal on the map. This coastal region is one of the sunniest in Europe, which means you can soak up those Mediterranean rays long into autumn, that’s when you’re not surfing its Atlantic waves or teeing off on its top-of-the-range golf courses. From the nightlife haven Albufeira to wildlife sightings in Tavira and a touch of luxury in Vilamoura, the Algarve offers everything you could possibly want from Portugal getaways.
Things to do
Whether you’re looking for waterparks perfect for family day trips, century-old sites you can tick off with your other half, or big nights out spent dancing with your friends, there’s plenty of things to do in the Algarve. Spend a leisurely morning shopping for souvenirs in its beach towns, before hitting the coast for a relaxing afternoon in the sun. And when you want to pick up the pace, you’ve got watersports, golf courses and nature reserves at your fingertips.
Beaches, beaches and more beaches
It won’t be long before you run into a beautiful stretch of golden sand on your trip to the Algarve. This coastal hotspot is often described as one of Europe’s best beach destinations with a variety of shorelines boasting everything from incredible rock formations to limestone cliffs and hidden sea caves. Reached via a wooden staircase, nothing will prepare you for the dramatic beauty of Praia De Marinha. You could spend all day soaking up the sun under its steep cliffs - ideal for breeze-free sunbathing sessions, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for its unique ‘M’ shaped rock.
Or, there’s Ponta da Piedade, which is another must-visit for its natural landscape. With a cluster of rock formations rising for 20 metres, you can’t miss it. And families won’t be able to resist the soft, lengthy sands of Praia da Rocha in Portimao. Thanks to its size it never feels overcrowded, while your little ones can enter the water under the supervision of a lifeguard. But you can’t leave without trying the watersports, with jet-skis, parasails, and kayaks all lined up for you. For more active days on the sand, Praia da Oura has more wet activities than you could squeeze into a week’s holiday.
Visiting the Algarve as a family? You’re in luck! Just 30 minutes from Albufeira, days at Zoomarine should be at the top of your list. The smallest members of the gang will love its mini rides, which include a rollercoaster, drop tower and pirate ship. And that’s before they discover the zoological attractions. See alligators in their compound, visit a garden of butterflies or escape the heat at the 4D cinema. And there’s just as many wildlife sightings outside the park, whether you’re bird-watching in its nature reserves or dolphin-spotting in the Atlantic.
Looking for another alternative to the beach? Luso Aventura Albufeira promises a memorable day for all ages and abilities with three high-rope courses to choose from. You’ll also find a
Jurassic Park-themed mini golf course in Alvor, perfect for some friendly, family competition. But no holiday to the Algarve would be complete without getting soaked at Aquashow Park. Daring teens can head straight for the Watercoaster and Free Fall slide, while less confident swimmers may prefer to catch one of the bird or reptile shows.
A happening nightlife scene
This buzzing region may seem lively during the day, but just wait until the sun sets. Parties are in full swing along Albufeira's iconic street of bars (also known as the Montechoro Strip). Cocktail spots, sports venues are among the after-dark hangouts. Not forgetting the famous Matt’s Bar with its mechanical bull and boat parties. But nightlife in the Algarve doesn’t end with Albufeira.
Don’t let the relaxed pace in Lagos fool you. This laid-back town really gets going in the evening, find cobbled alleyways filled with dive bars, or head down Rua 25 Abril street, where you’ll find Grand Cafe whose doors stay open until 5am. Portimao's beach clubs have a great atmosphere whatever the time, starting with chilled cocktails in the sun and finishing with late-night dancing. Or, there’s always Vilamoura - the Algarve’s answer to Ibiza. Gaze on super yachts from its waterside bars or hit its loung style nightclubs to catch big-name DJs manning the decks.
Places to stay
The Algarve is full of great destinations, but Albufeira is at the heart of its action. Adored by holidaymakers of all ages for its family-friendly Old Town, bar-lined Strip and sweeping sands, everyone’s tastes are catered for. In the southwest of the region is the ancient fishing town of Lagos. History lovers will enjoy getting lost inside its medieval walls, while keen shoppers will love its handcrafted ceramics and marinaside markets.
If you’ve come here to check out the area’s best golf courses, Vilamoura won’t disappoint. Home to six world-class greens, when you’re not teeing off, you could be sampling the high life at its swanky marina. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet away from the main crowds, Carvoeiro in the west has a small village charm with a stunning shoreline at its centre.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations including: Albufeira | Alvor | Carvoeiro | Lagos | Praia da Rocha | Vilamoura