Algarve
 
 
 
 
 

ALGARVE TRAVEL GUIDE

Recommended destinations to discover selected by highly-rated travel experts.

 
 
 

ALGARVE

 

Why travel to the Algarve?


Algarve
is a region located in the south of Portugal known for its natural beauty such as its impressive beaches, it has some of the best cleanest beaches in Europe. Every corner of the Algarve offers a unique experience, explore the historic city of Faro as well as the picturesque coves of Lagos and Albufeira. The Sagres area is quieter and the west coast is somewhat wilder. From Roman times to extensive Muslim influence, from Christian recapture to the exciting achievements of Portuguese explorers, reasons to explore the traces of a historical past that left a deep imprint on this place. An ideal destination to spend an unforgettable vacation with your family, friends or couple, here you will enjoy history, culture, landscapes, beaches, gastronomy and wine.

Immerse yourself in the Flavors of the Best Food and Wine of the Algarve

Discover the gastronomy and wine of the Algarve, this region is ideal for food & wine lovers. It has a rich culinary tradition and excellent wines. From seafood dishes and fresh fish caught in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the surprising variety of local wines.

Some fresh local products that we can find in the Algarve are seafood such as clams, oysters and cockles, the most common way to prepare them is grilled or also in the pan. Let´s not forget the delicious gooseneck barnacles that you can taste in their natural essence at one of the beautiful beaches on the Vicentine coast. Other typical dishes that are worth savoring using these high-quality products from the Atlantic Ocean are Razor Clam Rice, Feijoada de Buzios (Beans with Sea Snails), Açorda (Seafood Soup) and the traditional dish of the region Ameijoas na Cataplana a Algarvia (Portuguese Clams and Sausage) where they serve it on a copper plate, of Arab origin, which retains the flavor and aroma. The grilled fish are a delight, other dishes that you can taste are the Roasted Sardine popular in Portimão, Lemon Horse Mackerel, Sea Bream, Tuna, Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish, the Algarve stands out for its exquisite gastronomy.

Of course, what you cannot ignore in the Algarve are the wines since here it is not only sun and beach tourism that stands out, food and wine tourism is beginning to gain more importance. In this area, the vineyards are exposed to almost 3,000 hours of sun a year and the breezes of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, giving rise to wines with numerous awards and honorary distinctions around the world. In the Algarve wine region Vinhos do Algarve, we can find four protected designations of origin (D.O.P.): Lagoa, Lagos, Portimão and Tavira. The Algarve stands out for having red wines known for their body and complexity, while the whites are fresh, fruity and low acidity. Rosés balance elegance and flavor. Some of the grapes used to grow these types of wines are, red wine, we have Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tinta Negra Mole; white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Alvarinho, Touriga Nacional; for rosé wine, Aragonez, Tinta Negra Mole, Castelao or Roupeiro and for sparkling wine, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Viognier, Verdelho or Antão Vaz, these are some of the most popular grape varieties. Don't forget to pair your wine with local products, figs and Almonds are amazing in the Algarve paired with the local Negra Mole wine!

In the Portimão region, an important event related to Algarve wine takes place from July 22nd to 24th, Portimão Wine Tasting, in the Santa Catarina Fortress, with Praia da Rocha as a backdrop. This festival is an annual celebration that brings together wine lovers, wine producers and gastronomy enthusiasts in a joyful and welcoming atmosphere.

Main Must-See Places for Your Travel Itinerary

Faro is a quite picturesque port city full of history, close to natural wetlands protected by sandy islets that stretch along the coast to Spain. To the west are the famous tourist areas of Quinta do Lago, Vale de Lobo and Vilamoura with their golf courses and excellent sports facilities. To the north are the Roman remains at Estoi and the commercial city of Loulé.

The eastern Algarve begins in Tavira, an ancient Moorish city that extends to Vila Real de San Antonio next to Ayamonte in Spain. Near the border with Spain are the fortresses of Alcoutim and Castro Marim.

In the central Algarve, we find small estuaries, rocky cliffs and grottoes (caves) most appreciated in Albufeira, Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro. There are the large beach resorts in Gale, Praia da Rocha and Alvor or the smaller ones near cove beaches such as Ferragudo, São Rafael and Praia da Marinha.

The Western Algarve focuses on Lagos, a lively and historic town within walking distance of the beaches and continues to the cape at Sagres with its famous fortress. The fishing villages of Luz, Burgau and Salema are worth visiting for their beaches. Along the wild west coast is the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, which is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its coastal route.

Silves is another beautiful town with a quiet atmosphere in the Algarve full of charm and history. Its well-preserved old town and its imposing Moorish castle are recognized as one of the outstanding and most impressive examples of Muslim fortifications in Portugal, and the largest in the Algarve. Silves is a place that transports its visitors through time.

Activities and Exciting Things to Do in this Portuguese Paradise

The Algarve is a tourist destination that offers exciting activities for all tastes. Here are some of the activities we recommend:

  • Hiking Routes: If you like nature, there are numerous hiking routes in the Algarve that will allow you to explore its natural surroundings, including the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Serra de Monchique. Another wonderful route that stands out is the Rota Vizantina which follows the west coast towards the Alentejo region.

  • Taste the Local Food & Wine: Taste delicious Portuguese food at local restaurants and experience the gastronomy of the Algarve. Don´t miss out on the fresh seafood and regional wines.

  • Winery Visits and Tastings: Enjoy a unique opportunity to discover and taste the region´s wines. Four of the most notable wineries that our wine experts selected in the Algarve are Quinta da Penina, a winery located in Portimão that has some of the oldest vineyards in the region and that holds forgotten secrets of the history of wines in the Algarve; Quinta da Malaca is a small winery that dates back to past generations when wine was only grown for personal consumption. In this place where a stream passes, different varieties were planted more than seventy years ago on land that had views of the sea; Morgado do Quintão, this winery located in Lagoa with an olive tree that is more than fifteen hundred years old, has premium award-winning wines that adopt ancient grape varieties and traditional winemaking methods; Villa Alvor, located between the Ría de Alvor and the Sierra de Monchique 4.5 km from the Algarvian coast, this winery has excellent wines grown in balanced soils and a cooler microlimate.

  • Boat Tours: Take boat excursions along the Algarve coast to explore sea caves and grottoes such as Ponta da Piedade or the Benagil Caves. Watch dolphins and enjoy beautiful landscapes from the water.

  • Bird Watching: The Algarve is an important transit point for migratory birds. Bird-watching enthusiasts will enjoy watching birds in their natural habitat.

  • Explore Beautiful Beaches: The beaches of the Algarve are world-famous for their beauty. From the extensive golden sand beaches to the hidden coves. You can enjoy activities such as surfing, diving or simply relaxing in the sun.

Our food, wine and walking experts have chosen the best tours, experiences, hotels, wineries, etc. based on walking, food and wine vacations in the Algarve. You can check our list of the best food tours to the Algarve and recommended historic hotels in the sections of this Algarve travel destination guide.

Capital of Algarve:  Faro
Population:  467,495 (2023)

 
 
 
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Algarve
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