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Algarve

Fresh seafood, iconic beaches

I have to confess, I’m in love with the eastern half of the Algarve. At this end you’ll find quaint fishing towns, cubist architecture, the better type of tourists and excellent little restaurants serving oysters and clams plucked straight from the Ria Formosa, located a stone’s throw away. The mainland here is locked in by this diverse wetland so to reach the beaches, you’ll need to take a short ferry ride. It’s worth it though, because this end both the ocean and the people are warmer.

That said, don’t skip over the western half of the Algarve. It’s here you will find those iconic beaches with the cascading cliffs in every golden hue imaginable. Hop your way from one beach to another, snapping pictures and marvelling at the towering rocks.

If you love to surf or want to learn, turn the corner to the west-facing surf beaches from Sagres until the Alentejo. Here bigger, wilder, quieter beaches await. A word of warning though, Sagres can be incredibly windy and cold.

Best stops in the Algarve

1
Seek out the cliff beaches

There is something like 150+ beaches in the Algarve, so take your pick. Lagos is a great spot to start.

2
Take a ferry to the beach

From Faro, Olhão or Tavira, get a cheap ferry to a sand island.

3
Go to a fish buffet

For the price of a meal, you can eat endless fish coming off the grill.

4
Visit the end of the earth

Sagres is a windy surfer’s haven, and has one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Estoi Palace, Algarve, Portugal

Things to do and places to visit in the Algarve

SUP or kayak into Benagil Cave
Explore old town of Faro
Eat at Cha Cha Cha in Olhão
Admire the Church of São Lourenço
Eat oysters in Tavira
Wander the castle walls in Silves
Go wine tasting at Morgado do Quintão
Walk the Algar Seco cave paths
Visit Praia da Marinha
Taste olive oil at Monterose
Try surfing in Sagres
Eat a cataplana seafood stew

What to eat

Fish. Almonds. Oranges.

How to get around

Personally, I think a car is the best way to explore the Algarve. It makes it easy to bounce between different beaches and towns to soak in as much holiday sun as possible.

If you can’t hire a car, then there is a train line that runs along the coast. It’s not the fastest service in the world, but it will get you where you need to go. You can take a train down from Lisbon to Faro too, or fly into Faro Airport.

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I’m an Australian travel writer and food journalist who has been living in Lisbon since 2018. I started this blog as a place to share and record my love of Portugal.

Comments:

  • Lynn Bruyere

    April 22, 2022

    Hi from Nova Scotia. We are heading to the Algarve next month. I love your website and your recommendations. Thank You.

    reply...

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