9 Amazing Destinations For Your Next Algarve Holiday

With its Mediterranean climate, golden beaches and stunning weathered coastlines, the Algarve has been a popular holiday destination since as far back as the ’60s. If you look beyond the luxury resorts and high-rise villas that make the south coast so popular for Algarve holidays, however, and venture somewhat off the beaten track on the east and west coasts, you’ll uncover a much more natural, rugged side to this part of Portugal than you ever knew existed.

Here are nine great destinations for your next Algarve holiday:

1) Faro

Despite being just minutes from the Algarve’s regional airport, most people who come to the Algarve never end up visiting Faro. This is definitely a mistake as Faro has a lot to offer.
As the capital of the Algarve, and the largest city in the region, it has all the features and attractions that come with big towns and cities: fast internet, public transport access to other towns and cities, good shopping, and plenty of great bars and restaurants. Getting from Faro to Faro Airport takes just 12 minutes, and it’s less than an hour to the Spanish-Portuguese border. All of this makes it an attractive place not just for a short trip, but for living on a medium to long-term basis as well.

Faro itself is incredibly picturesque as well, with quaint fishermen’s cottages, historical city walls, and beautiful churches dotted throughout the small city. The nearby Ria Formosa, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal, is home to a diverse range of wildlife and is easily accessible from Faro Marina. There are also several fantastic beaches nearby – the Ilha Deserta – for example, and few get anywhere near as busy as the beaches on the Central Algarve.

– James, Portugalist

A street in Faro in the Algarve, Portugal

2) Lagos

The little town of Lagos is home to some of the best beaches in the Algarve, including the award-winning Praia Dona Ana – once named the best beach in the world by Condé Nast Traveller. As such, it is probably one of the most popular destinations for an Algarve holiday.

There’s much more to Lagos than sun, sea and sand though. I’ve visited the town three times before now, and I never get tired of eating out in Lagos. There are lots of different restaurants serving a range of cuisines, so in the unlikely event that you tire of scoffing on authentic Portuguese food, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding somewhere else to eat.

When you’re not sunning yourself on the beach or stuffing your face, take a boat tour of Ponta da Piedade (the sandstone cliffs, grottoes, and rock pillars that make up the Lagos coastline), explore Portugal’s maritime past at Forte da Ponta da Bandeira (the Lagos Fortress), or discover the truth behind Lagos’ history of slavery at the Mercado de Escravos (Slave Market). With so many things to do in and around Lagos, there’ll never be a dull moment!

Praia Dona Ana beach in Lagos, Algarve, with golden sand, blue waters and rock formations - one of the best beach destinations for your Algarve holiday.

3) Vila do Bispo

If you love surfing, beautiful beaches and stunning cliffs, the area around Vila do Bispo is the place to be! We’ve travelled a total of four months in the Algarve (spread out over two winters) and we absolutely loved the southwest coast of the Algarve.

You can stay in an apartment or hostel, but you’ll get the best experience if you travel in an RV. The little beaches in that area are perfect for boondocking. You’ll find friendly surfers and cute little self-built vans everywhere, and the laid-back atmosphere is brilliant!

Check out Praia da Boca do Rio, Praia da Ingrina and Praia do Amado. However, our absolute favorite is Praia do Zavial. It has a large sandy white beach and stunning cliffs that you can climb on to get the best view ever. Even our three-year-old was impressed with its beauty!

– Nanouk, Digital Nomad with Kids

Praia do Zavial in the Algarve, Portugal

4) Olhao

Olhao doesn’t have a beach, so it’s less overrun with tourists than a lot of other coastal towns in Southern Portugal. Olhao has the largest fishing port of the Algarve and a nice promenade where you can watch the fishing boats coming and going all day. Still very authentic and raw, it’s definitely a place worth a visit.

Discover the lovely Portuguese tiled houses in the Old Town, visit the lively fish market and enjoy the beautiful beaches of Ilha Armona and Ilha Culatra. The two barrier islands, part of the Ria Formosa nature park, are only a short ferry ride away and very much worth a visit. Especially in the winter months, the islands are practically deserted and we had the huge beach all to ourselves. Fantastic!

– Lisa, Flip Flop Globetrotters

The fishing village of Olhao in the Algarve, Portugal - a great destination for a quiet Algarve holiday.

5) Tavira

Tavira is a small town to the east of the Algarve’s capital, Faro. Situated along the River Gilao, Tavira is a quiet and laid-back historic Moorish town.

The town is home to several historic buildings including castles and churches, which reflect the Portuguese style of architecture. The view from the castle over the town and the Atlantic Ocean is amazing. The cobbled streets along the river and the roadside cafes and restaurants make the old town centre a charming route for an evening stroll. There are lots of places around Tavira town which can be easily explored as a day trip, while the Spanish border is just about 25 km from here.

The fresh local seafood, surrounding small villages and nearby beaches make Tavira a beautiful place to settle during your Algarve holiday.

– Varsha, Varshastravel360.com

River Gilao in Tavira in the Algarve, Portugal

6) Loulé

Visiting Loulé should be very high on everyone’s Algarve bucket list. This typical Portuguese market town lays landward between Faro and Albufeira and is especially known for its covered market. It’s the perfect place for grocery and souvenir shopping, or simply to stock up on piri-piri. The variety of local produce is huge and you surely will be offered a yummy sample here and there!

Make sure, also, not to miss Loulé’s old town. The small cobble-stoned area is crossed by narrow streets and colourful houses, perfect for strolling around and enjoying an off-beach day. As Loulé is located away from the usual tourist crowds, it’s possible that you may even find yourself alone in this part of town.

– Lena, Four on a World Trip

A quaint old house in Loule in the Algarve, Portugal - a lesser known destination for an Algarve holiday

7) Aljezur

Aljezur is a must visit destination in the Algarve; not only because it has some of the most beautiful beaches in this region, but also, for the simple reason that it´s the only place in Portugal where you can find a real tree house! I´ve spent a great amount of time searching for tree houses in Portugal and I´m yet to find a tree house experience like this one in Aljezur.

The farm where this dreamy accommodation is located is only eight minutes from Aljezur, in a secluded valley.  To reach it, you´ll have to face a steep descent, either by car or foot. This tree house is the perfect experience for all lovers of unique and eco-friendly accommodation.

Can you picture yourself crossing wooden bridges surrounded by beautiful flowers and falling asleep to nothing more than the precious sound of nature? If so, you’re getting a little closer to understanding what your stay at this farm will be like. Warning: you can only book this accommodation for your Algarve holiday between June and September!

– Lara and Valter, Heart of Everywhere

Staying in a tree house in Aljezur in the Algarve, Portugal

8) Carvoiero

Carvoiero is one of the most beautiful beach destinations for an Algarve holiday, with white-washed houses sitting atop golden cliffs that surround the small sandy beach. It’s been transformed from a sleepy fishing village into a popular tourist destination with hotels and resorts to match, although many are found inland.

The beach itself is still as stunning as ever and worth a visit. Get in early in the summer if you want a spot, or visit in winter and you’ll still find people swimming in the turquoise waters! From here, you can take trips to the nearby caves or just relax with a cocktail and some food as you people-watch from one of the bars overlooking the ocean!

– Sonja, Migrating Miss

The cliffs at Carvoeiro beach

9) Sagres

Sagres is a great destination to visit for an Algarve holiday. The small village of Sagres feels like the end of Europe with its dramatic cliff faces, beautiful village, and a fortress overlooking the ocean. Compared to places like Lagos, Sagres is very much secluded and an ideal place to enjoy a holiday in Portugal.

It’s got a laid back hippie vibe, and a few cafes and restaurants to enjoy while watching the surfers do their thing. One of the best beaches to visit near Sagres is Praia de Tonel. Praia de Tonel has some of the best surf in the Algarve, but it also gets quite busy in the summertime. My other favorite beach (and my personal favorite to watch sunset) is
Praia do Beliche, located just outside of Sagres town between Cape St. Vincent and Sagres Point. Around sunset, the car park gets quite crowded with onlookers, but there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the view!

– Natasha, The World Pursuit

Sagres - a great destination for an Algarve holiday off the beaten path

Hopefully, this post has given you plenty of inspiration on where to go for your next Algarve holiday – now all that’s left to do is get booking, get packing and get going! Before parting with your hard-earned cash, compare a few different providers based on their Algarve deals to make sure you don’t pay a penny more than you have to!

Have you ever been to the Algarve? Which areas would you prefer to visit for your Algarve holiday?

This is a collaborative post.


  1. Bethany
    February 28, 2018 / 4:25 pm

    Lagos looks incredible, I’d love to visit so bad, it sounds stunning.

    • March 1, 2018 / 11:23 am

      I have been there three times and I never get sick of it 🙂

  2. February 28, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    I’d love to go to Algarve especially now the weather is so cold here I’m thinking about booking our next holiday as I so need some sun.

    • March 1, 2018 / 11:22 am

      I know how you feel – I feel like I am well overdue a holiday too.

  3. March 1, 2018 / 11:58 am

    Ohhh looking at these pictures as the wind howls outside and the snow comes down! H 🙂

    • March 1, 2018 / 1:07 pm

      I know what you mean – it’s torture, isn’t it?!

  4. March 1, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    I’ve been to the algarve lots, one of my favourite places. I’m going to praia da rocha this year but hoping to visit sagres at some point.

    • March 1, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      Sagres sounds lovely – I’d love to go there too.

  5. March 1, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    I’ve never been to the Algarve. In my single days I was about to go on a singles holiday but had to cancel as my mum was admitted to hospital. In all honest it put me off a bit! It looks beautiful though.

    • March 3, 2018 / 3:15 am

      Aww, that’s a shame. I hope you have the chance to go again someday, as it is a beautiful place.

  6. Natasha Mairs - Serenity You
    March 2, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    I have always wanted to visit the Algarve. My favourite sounds like Lagos

    • March 3, 2018 / 2:59 am

      I love Lagos, can’t recommend it enough!

  7. March 3, 2018 / 12:04 pm

    Not a place Ive ever visited before but I think I should!! I really want to check out that treehouse!

    • March 3, 2018 / 6:49 pm

      I love the look of the treehouse too! It would be such a cool place to stay. The Algarve is really affordable – you should certainly look into it!

  8. March 3, 2018 / 2:33 pm

    My parents have a place in Carvoiero so I get to go there pretty own – it’s so beautiful there! x

    • March 3, 2018 / 6:48 pm

      Wow, lucky you. Carvoeiro sounds lovely.

  9. March 3, 2018 / 3:37 pm

    I love the Algarve, such a beautiful part of the world – the colours just pop! Have had many a happy hour looking around Lagos; I’m eager for another visit to try out your other picks!

    • March 3, 2018 / 6:47 pm

      Lagos is lovely, I can’t get enough of it!

  10. March 3, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    We loved Lagos, and you are inspiring me to go back! Lisbon is on my list, but these beauties in the South have lured me in too. Too many choices!

    • March 4, 2018 / 3:11 pm

      Lisbon is definitely a must-do for me. Hopefully this year or next!

  11. March 4, 2018 / 2:06 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Algarve, I think Lagos sounds like the best place for me after reading your post xxx

    • March 4, 2018 / 3:09 pm

      I can’t recommend Lagos enough; it’s so lovely!

  12. March 9, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    I am Portuguese and go every summer to Algarve over the last 50 years and would like to say that IMHO Tavira is even nicer than Lagos with many old marvellous churches and a great Moorish castle and the houses are very interesting. Tavira is a must see town

    • March 10, 2018 / 7:47 pm

      I haven’t been to Tavira but it does sound lovely. Writing this post has really made me want to explore elsewhere in the Algarve. I also want to cross Porto and Lisbon off my bucket list soon!

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