The Algarve is a wonderful region in Portugal where you can fully enjoy the sun, the sea and the beach. In the Algarve there is sun for 300 days a year and you will find more than 200 km of beaches. But the region has much more to offer than just this, because the hospitality of the Portuguese is great, their nature is incredibly beautiful and the food and wines are so delicious. At the invitation of the ALGARVE Promotion Bureau, I went to the Algarve for a few days in the spring and discovered the other side of this special region. What are the best things to do in the Algarve?
I think these are the 6 best things to do in the Algarve (no sun, sea or beach)
1. Walking at “the 7 Hanging Valleys”
This is one of the most awesome walks I have ever made! This amazing walk starts at Praia da Marinha and I think this is the most beautiful part of the whole coast! The total walk is 6km and takes you along the coast and while you walk you see a varied landscape, the coastline is rugged with the many rocks and the countless bizarre and colorful cliffs. There are several hidden beaches and the water is clear blue.
This walking tour is easy to do for everyone and this can be done with from Portugal4U or without a guide. Just look at the pictures below and see how beautiful this walk is! It’s for sure one of the best things to do in the Algarve!
Faro is a wonderful city to stroll through and absorb the Portuguese culture. This city must be on your list with things to do in the Algarve! The old town is very beautiful and has many hidden squares with cozy terraces where you can drink a delicious local wine and enjoy the divine delicious food. The center of Faro is partially surrounded by cool city walls dating back to the Middle Ages. There are three imposing city gates, of which I think the “Arco da Vila” is the most beautiful!
The Igreja do Carmo church is a beautiful cathedral in baroque style. But I think the most impressive of this church is the Capela dos Ossos. In this chapel there are a thousand skulls and bones of monks.
The Nossa Senhora da Assuncao monastery is also an interesting museum to visit and here you will see archaeological finds. Do not forget to admire the mosaic floor in the monastery, because it still dates from the 4th century. The beautiful monastery garden is a pleasant oasis of peace.
3. Food Tour
Faro is not a big city and you can easily discover it by yourself on foot, but I have chosen to take a tour with Eating Algarve tours. In a five-hour tour I saw the various highlights of the city and heard nice background information from the guide. And every hour I am in an attractive local restaurant to eat delicious snacks combined with a nice wine. The perfect way to get to know the city!
4. Boat trip Ria Formosa
Ria Formosa is the perfect place for a fun boat trip. From Santa Luzia I boarded a boat with a guide and sailed for an hour in this special area. The Ria Formosa is a protected nature area on the Algarve coast and has some of the most interesting flora and fauna in Europe. It contains beaches, various islands, wetlands, lagoons, sandbanks, dunes, fresh water ponds, rivers, forests and agricultural areas. And there is a huge variety of flora and fauna!
There are various mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, octopuses, crustaceans, bivalve molluscs and fish. Ria Formosa has the largest community of seahorses in the world! You can make trips from an hour to trips that last a whole day. Look at the site of Passeios Ria Formosa for more information.
5. Wine tasting
One of the things that you can not skip is to visit a vineyard. I went to “Quinta dos Vales” myself. This vineyard was founded in 2006 and produces 150,000 bottles of wine per year. You can make your own bottle of wine here. How cool, because a nicer souvenir from the Algarve doesn’t exist in my mind! This workshop lasts 3 hours and afterwards you have your own bottle of wine, just the taste you like. They even rent out a piece of the vineyard and then you can make your own wine from start to finish, accompanied by the employees of “Quinta dos Vales”. But this of course takes a number of years.
The town of Tavira consists of two parts and is separated by the river Galâo. Tavira is called the Venice of the Algarve. In the middle of the city there’s an old castle and from here you have a beautiful view over the whole center! The houses in this artists’ town are tiled with old colorful tiles. This is a town where you can still see the beautiful Moorish influences. I advise you to take a terrace or find a small restaurant and taste the local dishes. Personally, I found Camera Obscura very special. In an old water tower they have two lenses and with that you can see the whole city from above. A little tricky to explain, but it is very special and worth a visit!
What is the best travel time for the Algarve
The climate of the Algarve is a Mediterranean climate: in the summer it is warmer than 30 degrees during the daytime, while in winter it is never colder than 10 degrees. The Algarve is a great destination for a beach holiday! Some of the best beaches of Portugal are located in the Algarve. The best travel times are the months of April till October. In July and August it is high season and then there are many tourists in the Algarve. That is why I find the best travel time in the months of April to June and the months of September and October. The advantages are that it is not so busy with tourists and it is not super hot either.
These are my favorite things to do in the Algarve! What are your favorite things to do in the Algarve?
I slept a few nights at the hotel Portobay de Falesia. The location of this hotel is phenomenal, because it is close to a super nice beach. From the hotel you walk down the stairs and onto the beach. The sea view rooms are the best choice!
- Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay in the Algarve!
- Covilha, de capital of street art in Portugal
- Hiking in the north of Portugal & citytrip Porto
- The 3 nicest hotels with swimming pool in Porto
- A road trip through Alentejo! Where do you need to go?
- 25 fun facts about Portugal