Algarve, located at the southern end of Portugal, has a two-part coastal region, which is ideal for vacationers with different ideas of what the perfect beach holiday is: sandy beaches for relaxing and sunbathing await on the sprawling eastern side, whereas in the west, picturesque bays amidst bizarre rock formations offer the perfect opportunity to explore or do water sports. Time and again, one encounters lonely grottos or tunneled rocks that protrude from the sea. The hotels in Algarve are located in spacious villas hidden behind green palm landscapes. Modern hotels are located either directly on the beach or behind the white-painted facades of Portuguese townhouses. There are numerous cultural and shopping opportunities in Lagos or Portimao, and you can party until the wee hours in Albufeira.
Where to stay in Algarve: Most important regions & places at a glance
Algarve © Suites Alba Resort & Spa
Lagos: Portuguese old town & Dreamy beach
Lagos’ old town consists of narrow, steep streets, countless restaurants, cafés and hotels behind façades painted in turquoise and pink. There are countless great shopping opportunities and street performers on the large squares and the palm-fringed promenade. The beach, Ponta da Piedade, which is lined by high, tunneling rock formations, is impressive and can only be reached on foot by climbing steep paths. Regularly voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the kilometer-long Maia Praia is ideal for families, offering plenty of space to walk and play beach volleyball amid the many golden-yellow, rocky coastal formations.
Portimao & Albufeira: Jet set & Party hotspot
At the busy Praia de Rocha beach in Portimao, is where you will find the jet set and luxury hotels. There is also a fancy harbor for lavish yachts and fishing, and you can enjoy freshly-caught fish at the many restaurants. In addition, there is a long pedestrian zone for shopping. Elegant villa hotels far away from the apartment blocks are located in the fishing village of Carvoeiro. Albufeira is known as a party hotspot boasting tons of bars, clubs and lounges on the party mile, "the Strip." There are also over 20 beaches with bars and beach hotels, water sports and shopping opportunities.
Faro & The East: Roman culture & Quiet sandy beaches
As a former Roman settlement, the capital, Faro has sites dating from the Roman period, such as the Liceaum, which offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. A large harbor with attached garden and the airport are located here, and the many decorative churches stand out. The highlight here is the beach on one of the numerous offshore islands, Ilha de Faro, which can be reached via a narrow bridge from the mainland. Portuguese tradition in the small coastal towns is rife in the east. Especially beautiful are the many hidden villas in which there are spacious holiday homes and hotels. Unlike the rocky shores of the west, the beaches in the east are wide and sandy.
The West: Rest & Surfer coast
Rest, relaxation and secluded coves are abundant in the western part of the island. The beaches are protected areas and may not be developed. Along the rugged gray rock faces are wide forests and bays. This is where surfers, in particular, spend their holidays, where surfing conditions are ideal in summer due to the harsh wind. The Cape de Sao Vicente, with its lighthouse and small snack stations, is located at the most south-westerly point of the Algarve, and in Sagres the imposing fortress Fortaleza de Sagres stands proudly on a rocky peninsula.
Algarve - Good to know
Markets: In most places in Algarve, there is a large market hall offering fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables or fish every day. In addition, so-called "gypsy markets" are organized regularly, where you can buy hand-crafted products such as basketwork or carvings, as well as shoes and clothing.