Sun-drenched beaches, whitewashed fishing villages and world-class golf courses are just some of the many reasons why the Algarve is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. Between the busy capital of Faro and the walled town of Lagos you’ll find lively coastal resorts while the Algarve’s wild interior remains off-the-beaten-track.
Things to do in Algarve
Whether you want to explore lively coastal towns or escape to peaceful mountain villages, the Algarve offers something for all travellers.
Explore Old Town Faro. Surrounded by defensive walls, the Old Town of Faro is clustered with 18th and 19th-century buildings constructed atop Roman and Moorish foundations. Step through the monumental Arco da Vila to explore its cobblestoned streets, with highlights including the whitewashed Faro Cathedral and the Nossa Senhora Assunção convent.
Discover Tavira. Straddling the Gilão River on the edge of Ria Formosa Natural Park, Tavira is one of the most charming towns in the Algarve. Soak up the coastal views from the medieval Tavira Castle and admire the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo before spotting flamingos in Tavira Island’s salt pans.
Eat seafood in Olhão. As one of the busiest fishing ports in the Algarve, Olhão boasts an abundance of restaurants serving freshly caught seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. You can experience the hustle and bustle of the harbour-front fish market before escaping to the deserted sandbar islands that lie just offshore.
Hike Serra de Monchique. Stretching along the western Algarve, this rugged mountain range lures in hikers and nature lovers alike with its wildflower meadows and woodlands. You can scale the 900-metre-peak of Fóia and shop for traditional handicrafts in Monchique before relaxing in the thermal spa of Caldas de Monchique.
Getting around Algarve
Faro Airport is the main gateway to the Algarve region, with daily train services also connecting Lisbon with Faro. Buses are the main means of getting between towns and villages along the coast, although having your own car will give you greater freedom to access the Algarve’s mountainous interior. Most towns are compact enough to explore on foot.