First Time in the Algarve? 5 Must See Sites
If you’re planning a trip or simply fancy some time away at a beautiful destination to chill out and get away from the rat race you should consider the Algarve. It has been a favorite destination for golfers, sun-seekers and visitors who yearn for an authentic Portuguese experience. What isn’t there to like about this beautiful destination with its year round warm temperatures, white sandy beaches, and clear blue waters, plus castles and countryside?
The Algarve has so many things to do and see that it’s wise to stay for at least one week. You could easily stay longer while you spend weeks relaxing at the beach and sightseeing.
If you’re lucky enough to get to visit the Algarve then make sure you include the following in your itinerary:
1. Faro. Faro is our top must-see destination in the Algarve. A popular destination for sun-seekers from northern Europe and the UK, Faro has a reputation as being an overrun party beach town for much of the year. Visitors who use it as a base to explore the more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season will experience much more of what southern Portugal has to offer; but those looking for no more than a tan and cocktails won’t be disappointed. From the beaches of Ria Formosa park to the incredible UEFA four-star Estádio Algarve, Faro is the veritable gem of the Algarve.
2. Lagos. For scenery, local cuisine and architecture, Lagos is about as good as it gets in the Algarve. The city center is sculped with traditional architecture and colors from the region. Beaches vary in shape and style from long sandy beaches to almost private ones hidden by cliffs. Ponta da Piedade is a beautiful spot with a nice lighthouse from where you can make boat tours to the natural caves. The harbour in the morning is full of activity, if you like to wake up early don’t miss it. Also the fish market is an interesting spot.
3. Albufeira. The town of Albufeira is, definitely, one of the liveliest destinations in Portugal and one of the best places in the Algarve. Once a small fishing village it has now developed to be a very touristic area. The main attraction of the Albufeira is the extended coast line with its numerous beaches. Especially during the busy summer holidays, you will find the larger beaches filled with beach chairs and parasols and usually one or more places where you can book water sport activities like parasailing and jet-skiing.
Just a short drive away from Albufeira is Zoomarine, a beautiful theme park inspired by marine life.
4. Silves. Silves lies inland, surrounded by valleys of orange groves. The road there is narrow and winds through some rural areas, but it is definitely worth a half day trip if you like castles. One of Portugal’s best preserved castles, Castelo de Silves dates back to the Moorish occupation during the eight century and offers a journey through history as well as commanding views of Silves and the surrounding countryside.
5. Portimao. Portimao is the second biggest city in the Algarve and famous for its fresh fish restaurants. If you are planning on enjoying many water activities like jet-skiing, windsurfing, or charter rental, the city of Portimao is one of the hot spots for water enthusiasts.
One of the most well known beaches in the Algarve – Rocha (“Praia da Rocha“), meaning “Rocky Beach” – is very close to Portimao, and there are numerous others nearby.