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What things to do in Algarve? Our must-sees - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

What things to do in Algarve? Our must-sees

Last update : 24 April 2024
Looking for the best things to do in the Algarve? This trip was one of our dreams, and it came true! Our roadtrip in southern Portugal made us want to discover this beautiful country and its culture even more.

Looking for things to do in the Algarve? We’ve put together our must-do list in this blog post. You’ll find our complete itinerary for a week in the Algarve, with all our tips on places to discover, must-see spots, good hotel addresses in Luz and Portimão, and places and beaches not to be missed in Lagos or Sagres. If you’re wondering what to do in the Algarve, this blog post is for you!

Our map of the Algarve on our travel blog

The south of Portugal is quite extensive, and to optimize your trip to the Algarve, it’s best to have your itinerary well planned. In our article, you’ll find a list of our must-sees and favorite spots for 7 days in the Algarve. If you want to know what to do in the Algarve, follow our map and our article! 🙂

carte algarve portugal
 

Road trip in the Algarve, where to sleep?

Luz, Baia da luz, the perfect compromise

We stayed at the Baia da Luz hotel for 5 days and loved it! We almost felt like we were living there. The town of Luz is really charming, medium-sized and full of traditional, affordable bars and restaurants. The beach is incredible, with towering cliffs. It’s the ideal place to spend several days in the Algarve.

The hotel is conveniently located, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. You can rent apartments of all sizes, with terraces, bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens. Ideal for spending several days on your own and cooking one or two meals. You’ll also have access to the huge swimming pools and communal areas. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

As part of your package, you can enjoy buffet breakfasts in the mornings, served at the Estrella da Luz hotel, close to Baia da Luz, all on the terrace overlooking the pool. Our stay at Baia da Luz was brilliant, and we highly recommend this address for your Algarve vacations.

hotel algarve Baia da Luz ou dormir Algarve

Portimão, close to the 7 hanging valleys

We chose to spend two nights in Portimão to be close to the superb beaches (Praia do Vau and Praia Dos Tres Irmaos) and the 7 hanging valleys (a trail that allows you to admire incredible cliffs and caves like Praia da Marinha and Gruta de Benagil).

We chose the Jupiter Marina Hotel for its design and rooftop pool. It’s also well placed in the city. Please note, however, that parking is charged in addition to the nightly rate. You’ll find our favorite addresses in Portimāo below.

Praia da Luz
 

What things to do in Algarve?

1. The town of Luz

Luz was one of our favorite towns! Yet we’d found little information when looking for information on southern Portugal. This medium-sized town is close to Lagos and to well-known landmarks such as Ponte Piedade and Praia do Camilo. For us, it’s the perfect compromise for sleeping in the Algarve, as this charming town is on a human scale yet only a 15-minute drive from Lagos. The beach is superb, with immense cliffs, so we loved it. There are also several good bars and restaurants to discover in Luz.

What to do in the Algarve
 

Where to eat out in Luz?

  • Zazu Beach Club :  a great address for drinks and food in Luz. We loved the menu: a mix of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is located opposite Praia da Luz, the decor is designer and the music excellent. Although the prices aren’t that cheap, we really recommend this restaurant as the food is delicious and the view of the sunset over the beach is worth the detour.
  • Alloro :  an Italian restaurant offering good pizzas and pastas on the spot or to take away. Top for dinner when you’re staying at Baia da Luz, the hotel we recommend at the start of this article. 😋
Zazu Beach Luz
 

2. Burgau, the village and its port

Burgau is a tiny village near Luz and Lagos that’s well worth a visit. Its alleyways are painted white and brightly colored, and there are bougainvilleas, giving the village a Greek feel. Walk down to the beach via the charming little port of Burgau. We couldn’t resist buying some beach snowshoes, a moment we loved on this beautiful white sand beach! A must on your Algarve bucket list.

what to do in algarve village Burgau
 

3. The city of Lagos

The city of Lagos is pleasant to discover, even if it wasn’t a favorite for us. The surrounding area, on the other hand, is incredible, with numerous beaches and landscapes that are a must-see. Follow the guide!

lagos algarve
 

4. Praia dos Estudantes

This beach overlooks a beautiful Roman bridge, making it a good photo spot for those who like it that way! To reach it, you have to pass between the rocks of the cliff via a planned and secure access. We really fell under the spell of this place, feeling very small in the middle of these immense cliffs. If you want to enjoy this spot in complete tranquillity, we encourage you to come early in the morning. As far as we’re concerned, we came to enjoy the sunrise, and we didn’t regret it at all! If you’re looking for something to do in the Algarve, this is it!

Parking where you can park : Mar – Av. dos Descobrimentos, 8600-465 Lagos

Praia dos estudantes praia dos estudantes lagos
 

5. Praia do Camilo

Praia do Camilo was one of our favorites with its large wooden pontoon. Again in very good condition and easy to access. Once down to the beach for breakfast while enjoying the place without any tourists (the joy of traveling out of season 😉 ) we decided to head back up to the parking lot to access the trail to Ponta da Piedade. This trail is accessible on foot along the coast. It takes around 1h30 to reach your destination. We highly recommend taking this path, as the views are breathtaking! Just remember to take water and a cap to protect yourself from the sun.

Parking where you can park : Estr. da Ponta da Piedade, 8600-544 Lagos, Portugal

praia do camilo praia do camilo Praia do camilo Lagos
 

6. Ponta da Piedade

One of the Algarve’s must-see spots, just 3 km from Lagos. You can stop at the lighthouse and walk to the view below. We advise you to come and admire the sunset here, you surely won’t be disappointed!

Parking where you can parkParking Farol da Ponta da Piedade

what to do in the algarve What to do in the Algarve
 

7. The town of Sagres

This corner of the Algarve is truly charming and also clearly worth a detour. If you’re wondering what to do in the Algarve during your stay, definitely come to this corner! The coast is wilder and looks like the end of the world. The beaches are often taken over by surfers, giving them even more charm. We admired and photographed them for hours from the high cliffs. It’s also the perfect spot for sunsets at Cabo de São Vincente or for bargains on Portuguese ceramics… You’ll LOVE it. 😍

Where to eat out in Sagres?

  • Restaurante Raposo Sagres:  a lovely address with its feet in the sand! We chose it for its exceptional location facing the sea. The cuisine is rather traditional and affordable.
restaurante raposo sagres
 

8. Artesanato A Mó

A favorite address not to be missed when visiting Sagres! This ceramics shops, with walls decorated with tableware is not only the perfect place for a souvenir photo but also one to take home a souvenir. We fell for plates, cups and even a vase… Oops 🤫 There’s a huge variety of styles and handcrafted products. We recommend it 100%.

artesanato a mo sagres
 

9. Praia da Tonel

Another incredible spot not to be missed! A huge surfers’ beach, right next to the ceramic store mentioned above. Admire it from the high cliffs for memorable souvenirs and photographs.

Parking where you can park : N268-2, Sagres, Portugal

praia do tonel sagres plage surf sagres
 

10. Cabo de São Vicente

The tip of Cabo de São Vicente lies just 5 km from the town of Sagres. Here you can discover its lighthouse and a small museum. We went there especially for the sunset, which is fantastic! It’s the most south-westerly point in Europe. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic on the cliffs, watching the sun set over the waves. Beware, though, that the weather can be very fickle! Bring something to cover up, as it’s often very windy.

Parking where you can park : A large parking lot is available just in front of the lighthouse. 

cabo de sao vicente sagres
 

11. Praia da Bordeira

This beach impressed us with its grandeur! We hesitated to go there because it’s further away from the other things to do in Algarve. It’s a 25-minute drive from Sagres and 35 minutes from Luz. But we really recommend you go there, as it’s one of the most incredible spots in the Algarve. A huge expanse of sand, 2 km of dunes, incredible viewpoints and wild cliffs. The water is particularly turquoise. It’s also a well-known spot for surfers and vans in the region. A must on your trip to the Algarve! 💙

Parking where you can park: 37°11’50.3 “N 8°54’26.3 “W

What to do in the Algarve praia da bordeira algarve
 

12. Portimão

The town of Portimão is pretty and very well placed for discovering the beautiful beaches of the Algarve. We recommend staying here for 2 or 3 nights so you can explore the surrounding area at your leisure.

Where to eat out in Portimão?

  • PTM DownTown :  a design address specializing in brunches. Absolutely delicious! We went back twice to try out as much of the menu as possible, and to be honest, it’s all good. From the burger to the homemade pastries… LET’S GO!
restaurant portimao
 

13. Praia Dos Três Irmãos

A wonderful beach with huge rocks set in the water, ideal for a late day at the beach and a sunset. There are many caves to discover. For once, we had the spot to ourselves… A privileged moment that will remain forever engraved in our memory!

praia dos tres irmaos praia do vau

Where to eat at the restaurant near Praia Dos Três Irmâos beach?

  • Caniço Restaurante :  we didn’t have the opportunity to try this restaurant but we found its location on the beach ideal! We’d definitely go back for a sunset cocktail.
What to do in the Algarve
 

14. Sentier des 7 Vallées Suspendues

This hike is fairly easy to access, so no particular level is required. It is 11 km long, however, so a little stamina is required. As this trail is not a loop, you’ll have to retrace your steps to get back to your starting point! For our part, we set off from Praia do Carvalho to Praia da Marinha, a round trip that takes around 2 hours. This walk takes you along the cliffs and offers incredible panoramic views! We advise you to get there very early in the morning to enjoy this place without too many people, it’s so much more pleasant. 

Parking where you can park: Estr. da Marinha, Estr. da Caramujeira, 8400-407 Lagoa

sentier des 7 vallees suspendues ponte de piedade
 

15. Praia da Marinha

This pretty beach is accessible for a short swim. We chose to admire it from the hike and photograph its famous heart-shaped (or elephant-shaped, according to the locals) cliffs.

Heart cliff: Heart Rocks, Estr. da Marinha, Estrada da Caramujeira, 8400-407 Lagoa, Portugal

praia da marinha praia do marinha
 

16. Gruta de Benagil

An obligatory stopover at the well-known Grotte de Benagil. We chose to observe its gaping hole from the hike and not descend into it. You can also go inside, but you’ll need to plan a detour and a way to get there.

3 options for getting inside the Grotte de Benagil :

  • swim from the beach, allow 10/15 minutes in good conditions (beware, the current can be violent in this area, so check carefully before choosing this option)
  • rent a kayak: meet on the beach and row a little to access the cave
  • buy a ticket for a tourist boat tour: it will take you straight into the cave with the other passengers
grotte de benagil
 

What to do in the Algarve? Practical information

Car hire in the Algarve: the credit/debit card subtlety

To be able to visit the Algarve, you need a car at all costs! The various places, sights and beaches are easy to get to, and there’s plenty of on-site parking. We rented our car from AVIS, as they are the only ones to accept debit cards.

Please note that most rental companies require a credit card to rent a car in this part of Portugal. Find out before you book, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. We rented a car for 7 days for 150€ (with insurance, you never know 😅 ).

For those who, like us, arrive in Portugal via Faro airport, the car rental companies are located in the airport parking lot – it couldn’t be easier. Despite some bad reviews on the internet (as always with car rental companies), for us everything went very smoothly.

voiture de location algarve
 

When to go on a road trip in southern Portugal?

As with many tourist destinations, we really advise you to go off-season when you can. It’s an opportunity to discover the countryside in peace and quiet, without too many tourists, and to enjoy the sights even more. Prices are also more attractive. This region of southern Portugal has the advantage of very pleasant off-season weather conditions. We left in the first week of October and still had between 23 and 26 degrees depending on the day: a real treat.

So for those who want to give their tans a little boost and get their colleagues back in the office raving, head off in September or October!

praia da bordeira

How many days should you allow to visit the Algarve?

We spent 7 full days in the Algarve to have time to enjoy every place. However, we didn’t have time to do Albufeira, Loulé etc., a good reason to come back! Of course, we had time to relax on the beach or in the pool, but that’s what makes the trip a success. To really enjoy it and see as much as possible, we strongly recommend spending a week there. Another option might be to go for 4 or 5 days and visit only part of the Algarve.

What to do in the Algarve

Budget for 1 week road trip in the Algarve

Portugal is known as a less expensive destination than France, but southern Portugal is more expensive than the rest of the country. Hotels are still very affordable, but restaurant prices are higher, even if they remain reasonable for French people.

For a week in the Algarve, expect to pay €400 for a mid-range hotel. We recommend our favorite hotels in Luz and Portimão above. As for food and drink, you should expect to pay around €15/20 per person for a full meal (starters, main courses, drinks, desserts and coffee) in a restaurant.

In the end, we didn’t do many paying activities on site, because between the dream beaches, the short hikes and the swimming pools, there’s plenty to keep you busy! Expect to pay around 600€ per person all-inclusive for a week in the Algarve.

Burgau Lagos
 

Identifying the best spots and choosing your waterfalls

There are plenty of unmissable spots in the Algarve. The really good thing about southern Portugal is that access to these exceptional spots is very easy. All you have to do is park in the designated parking lot and walk a few minutes to get there. Having already experienced the difficulty of some hikes to access the splendid Calanques de Cassis , here nothing to see, no need to be a great sportsman to enjoy the landscapes of the Algarve.

How to organize your road trip in the Algarve

How to find the best flight to get to the Algarve?

To find the best mode of transport (plane, train, bus) to get to your destination, we advise you to always look on the OMIO comparator. This will give you an overview of all the modes of transport available for your destination, and make it easy to compare prices.

How to rent a car at the best price in the Algarve?

If you’re looking to rent a car during your trip, we recommend you take a look at the RentalCars website. This will enable you to find the best prices and conditions for your rental.

How to find the best hotels to visit the Algarve?

In order to find the best hotels and benefit from the best conditions (security, cancellation…) we go almost exclusively through Booking.com for our trips. We recommend that you take a look at the available hotels and filter them according to their ratings. There are plenty of recent customer reviews, so there are no nasty surprises when you’re traveling!

How to find ideas for activities to do on your holiday

If you want to get ideas for activities to do on your vacation and want to book in advance, we’d also recommend taking a look at the GetYourGuide site. This will give you an overview of the activities on offer in your destination, so you don’t have to wait until you get there to book your places.

The Algarve, our review on our travel blog

This trip was one of the most beautiful we’ve ever been on! We fell in love with the region and its landscapes, the friendliness of the Portuguese, and the accessibility and upkeep of the various sites.  We’ve heard a lot about the crowds at the height of the season, so we can only encourage you to come off-season. We’ll be back in the Algarve very soon to discover the places we haven’t done yet & re-discover our favorites. We hope this blog post will help you get to know the best things to do in the Algarve. Enjoy your trip to southern Portugal!

What to do in the Algarve What to do in the Algarve
Thanks for reading!

We hope that the tips and good addresses on our travel blog will help you know what things to do in the Algarve!

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram 🙂
Clem & Alex

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