The best beaches in Europe and walls that reflect a centuries-old trajectory await you in the south of Portugal

THE Algarve region is on the south coast of Portugal and, in addition to having some of the most beautiful beaches of the entire European continent, was of extreme importance for the history of Portugal, since the ports here were responsible for the beginning of the country's maritime expansion and arrival in Africa and Europe.

The region was part of the Roman empire and went through Arab domination before returning to the hands of Portuguese kings, and to this day the cities preserve many buildings, such as the 13th century Silves Castle and the Arab Gate (11th century) and the Cathedral. (13th century) of Faro.

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All this is crowned with the beautiful natural landscapes found in the more than 200 km of coastline with cliffs, caves, islands and paradisiacal beaches, and the mountains that surround the cities. This variety offers many options for adventure activities such as surfing, sailing, hiking, diving, hang gliding, abseiling and cycling. In addition, the region has about 40 golf courses, which makes it the best destination in the world for the practice of this sport.

The gateway is usually Faro airport, but the distance between Lisbon and Algarve is 280 km, inviting tourists for a beautiful drive through Portuguese territory.

Cities to visit in the Algarve

Photo: Ekitaura / Wikimedia Commons


The fame of this region comes not only from the beaches surrounded by white houses built on top of the cliffs, tourists who go to Albufeira seek the bars and nightclubs that make this the most exciting point in the Algarve. The highlights here are Praia do Túnel and Gruta do Zorino.


The city has an airport that serves as the main entrance for tourists who want to explore the region. The 1755 earthquake destroyed part of the buildings, but monuments such as the Arab Gate (11th century) and the Cathedral (13th century) can still be seen. The ones that came throughout the 18th century were the Lethes Theater, the Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo and the Church of São Pedro. Faro is also known for its beautiful islands, the main ones being the islands of Faro, Culatra, Farol and Deserta.


a place to be explored calmly, with the narrow streets and full of surprises, tourists have 37 churches to visit, in addition to the castle that has become the best viewpoint in the city, the Jardim do Coreto, the Islamic Nucleus, the Municipal Museum and the Mercy Portal.


Full of sophisticated resorts, high-end hotels and fantastic restaurants, the city of Vilamoura is the Algarve destination chosen by people with high purchasing power. The city is famous for its numerous golf courses, its shops and its vibrant nightlife.


It was the most important city in the period when the region was an Arab kingdom. Here you can visit the largest castle in the Algarve, which was built in the 13th century and has walls, towers and just three gates to access the 12 hectares of the complex. The building is at the top of the Serra de Monchique and had military functions with a privileged location.


It was from here that the Portuguese caravels started the period of maritime expansion and which resulted in the ships moored in Africa and America. In addition to the paradisiacal beaches, there are also historical monuments such as the Castelo dos Governadores, the Church of Santo Antonio and the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, which protected the region from pirates. It was in Lagos that the first slave market on the continent appeared, a place that has now been transformed into a cultural center and handicraft fair.


Aljezur is a small refuge for surfers and backpackers looking for a quiet place in this region. Located in the Costa Vicentina Natural Park. The small village is between the mountains and the sea with cliffs circling the entire edge of the beach. The main attraction is Praia de Odeceixe, which has an incredible strip of sand with a river bath on one side and salt water on the other.

Other cities to visit in the Algarve:

  • Loulé
  • look
  • Sagres
  • lagoon
  • Monchique
  • Alcoutim
  • Vila Real de Santo António
  • Carvoeiro
  • Alvor
  • Almancil

What to do in the Algarve

Photograph; Bethany Ciullo / Wikimedia Commons


Considered one of the best beach destinations in Europe, the Algarve has more than 200 km of coastline with beautiful beaches with many shades of blue in the sea, the white of the sand and the gold of the cliffs that surround the bays. The main destinations are Costa Vicentina, Ria Formosa, Praia do Camilo, Benagil and Marinha.

Cape St. Vincent

Whoever arrives at the iconic Farol de Sagres has an unmissable view of the coast and its cliffs. This is one of the most beautiful regions of the Algarve coast and makes for great photos.

Church of São Lourenço de Almancil

Located in São Lourenço, in the parish of Loulé, the Church of São Lourenço de Almancil was built in the 17th century and has its interior entirely covered with tiles from 1730, which were implanted and signed by Policarpo de Oliveira Bernardes, one of the masters of Portuguese tile work. .

Praia da Marinha

The beach is in the ranking of the 10 most beautiful in Europe and is certainly one of the great postcards of the Algarve. The attraction is located in Lagoa and is famous for its cliffs that meet the region's clear sea.


Zoomarine is considered the best water park in the Algarve and is located in the city of Albufeira. The themed space is the ideal program for those traveling as a family and offers many attractions, including presentations with seals and sea lions, water slides and some leisure and environmental education activities.

Other places to visit in the Algarve:

  • Castro Marim Marsh
  • Vila Real de Santo António
  • Lagos Municipal Museum
  • walls of lakes
  • half beach
  • Potato Beach
  • Pinhão beach
  • Point of Pity
  • Praia da Luz
  • Tavira Island
  • Terra Estreita Beach
  • Barril Beach
  • Naked Man Beach
  • Port of Mós
  • Portimão Museum
  • Chapel of San Jose de Alcalar
  • Church of Our Lady of Conception
  • Manuel Bivar Garden

How to get to the Algarve

Photo: Christiane Jodl / Flickr Wikimedia Commons

The region has an airport in the city of Faro, but if you choose to arrive by car, the main road options are the A-22, for those coming from the West or East, and the A-2 for those coming from the North.

The company EVA transport offers the route from Lisbon to Albufeira 6 times a day and the journey takes from 2h45 to 3h.

Best time to visit the Algarve region

Photo: Alexander Savin / Wikimedia Commons

Rains are rare in this region, which makes the Algarve a sunny destination all year round! During the hottest months the temperature can reach 40°C, while during the winter the thermometers reach 25°C. 

The busiest months are during the summer, between June and September, with August being the busiest month in the destination, and consequently, the most expensive.

» Best beaches to visit in Portugal
» 30 destinations to visit in Portugal
» Best beaches in the Algarve region of Portugal
» 6 ideas for day trips from Lisbon

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