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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

The most beautiful places in Algarve Portugal

Updated: Apr 7

Algarve is one of the 7 administrative regions of Portugal and is located in the southern part of the country. This region is known among tourists for its coastal area, with its beaches, both rocky and fine sand, but also for the towns with narrow streets and white houses with colorful details.


Even though this region is much more popular in the summer, I chose November to visit it. The weather was perfect, there were 20 degrees C every day. If you choose this time of the year, the prices are much lower and it is not very crowded, the only disadvantage is that you can not swim in the sea, the water is very cold.


HOW TO GET THERE AND LOCAL TRANSPORTATION:


To get to Algarve region, there are two airports that operate international flights: Faro and Lisbon. We chose ho have our flight on Faro airport, in was easier to get to Algarve from there and also cheaper for car rental.


In order to travel during this vacation, in which we spent 5 days, we rented a car directly from the airport with the OK Rent a Car company. I found a very good price, being the end of the season. I paid around 8 euros/day with full insurance included and no deposit. I leave a small guide about renting a car on vacation. I recommend this transport option, especially if you want to visit a lot and explore the whole region.


If you choose the option of public transport, it will be a bit more difficult to get to remote places, or to remote beaches, but there are connections between the big towns.


Also, if you don't want to rent a car, there is also the possibility of excursions and organized tours. Below, some of the options I found:


- Boat trip to Benagil, at sunset, departing from Portimao, details here;

- Boat trip to Ponta da Piedade, departing from Lagos, details here;

- Boat trip to see dolphins, departing from Albufeira, details here;

- Tour to the salt mines, departing from Faro, details here;

- Off-road buggy tour, details here;

- Tour of vineyards and wineries, with tasting, details here;

- Tour to Salgados Nature Reserve, departing from Albufeira, details here;

- Tourist train ride in Faro, details here;

- One-day trip by bus to the markets of Loule, details here;

- Excursion to the east of the region, details here;


ACCOMODATION AND WHERE TO STAY IN ALGARVE:


Algarve is a very large region, and choosing the location for accommodation can be a bit of a headache. Even more so if you choose not to rent a car and depend on public transport. I would choose accommodation in one of the major resorts: Faro, Lagos or Albufeira. Let's take them one by one: Albufeira is very commercial and touristic and it might be easier to find organized boat trips and more. Lagos has the most beautiful beaches nearby and would be relatively easy to reach, and Faro has several connection points with other cities in Portugal.


I chose the accommodation in Faro. The only reason why we chose this location was the fact that it was near the airport from which we had the flight and it facilitated our transfer, both when we arrived, because we landed in the evening and quickly arrived at the hotel, as well as when we left.


I booked the hotel through Booking and it is part of the Ibis chain. I can't say it was the most comfortable, but at the time of booking it had a very good price, and the photos caught my eye. The room was a bit small, but it was clean. The breakfast was quite poor, I do not recommend it. All in all, the quality-price ratio was great for this accommodation.


Other accommodation options, with very good ratings on Booking:


- Casa do Alto - guesthouse type accommodation unit, with double, twin rooms or apartments. It has an outdoor pool. Parking and internet are included in the reservation price;

- Quinta das Andorinhas - accommodation unit with double, twin or studio rooms. It has an outdoor swimming pool, and parking and internet are included in the price of the reservation.

- Casa Penina - accommodation unit with double rooms and outdoor swimming pool. It has parking and a garden. Internet is included in the price of the reservation.

- Casa da Tita - accommodation unit that has both double rooms and apartments. It has an outdoor pool, parking and internet. It is decorated in traditional style.


THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN ALGARVE:


Lagos, located in the western part of the Algarve region, is known for its nearby rocky beaches. An hour or two is more than enough to explore the old center of this town, and the rest of the day can be reserved to visit the beaches in the area.


The streets of Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Praia do Camilo is one of the smallest beaches in Algarve and also one of the most beautiful, being my favourite beach among the ones I have seen in Portugal. We arrived on this beach very early in the morning, the initial plan being to see the sunrise, but we missed it. The advantage was, as it was such an early hour, I had a beautiful light for photos.


BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN ALGARVE - Praia do Camilo, Portugal

Ponta da Piedade, is a place I would like to return to during the summer and snorkel among the rocks in the water. The landscape is fascinating and the water has a beautiful colour. To get to the water, where you will not find the beach, but only a very small place made of concrete, you have to go down a lot of stairs, but I would say it's worth it.

SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN ALGARVE - Ponta da Piedade, Portugal

Ferragudo is a small town with cobbled and narrow streets. Unlike other cities in the Algarve, this one is a little more colorful and more neat. I don't know if that's the case all year round, but in November it's almost empty, not too many people on the streets. It is not very big, so you don't need a lot of time at your disposal, you can see everything in a maximum of two hours.


Also in Ferragudo, you can find this place, it is right at the entrance to the city, next to a large parking lot. You can leave your car there and walk to explore. I recommend arriving here at sunset for an even more spectacular atmosphere.



Praia do Castelo de Sao Joao do Arade, is a beach in Ferragudo and the star of this beach being the castle, which is in fact a medieval fortification. This is private property and cannot be visited. You will have to be satisfied only admiring the place from the beach.


One of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve, Portugal

Faro should not be missed either. It is the city-municipality of the Algarve region, a port on the Atlantic Ocean and the southernmost city of continental Portugal.


What you can see in Faro: Praia do Faro, a long, simple beach with fine sand. During the summer, it has areas furnished with deckchairs and umbrellas.


Igreja do Carmo is one of the strangest tourist attractions in Faro. In some areas of the church, the walls are decorated with the bones of the monks who lived in this church in the seventeenth century. The purpose of these bones, placed in plain sight, is to emphasize that humans time on this earth is limited and every moment must be cherished.


Arco da Vila represents the entrance to the old quarter of the city, representing a complex of old buildings, built in neo-classical style.


The port of Faro, which is located near Arco da Vila, the only interesting element being the name of the city, located on the sidewalk.


Flamingo birds from Ria Formosa National Park. This place is located between the city of Faro and Praia de Faro, being the natural habitat for many species of birds and can be accessible on foot, there is no need to book a boat, although locals will try to convince you that there is no other option.


Flamingos in Faro, Algarve, Portugal

Where to see the flamingos and how to get there step by step:


Park your car at Parque de Estacionamento da Praia de Faro, then from the roundabout turn right towards Faro. On the left you will notice a walking path, where it says private property, ignore that sign, because it refers to the area next to the path. Follow the path until it intersects with another path on the right. Follow the path on the right and walk until you see flamingos on the right hand side.

flamingo at ria formosa algarve portugal
flamingo at Ria Formosa

Finishing with the city of Faro, we go to Estoi, to the garden of the Estoi Palace. Staying in Faro, we decided to try our luck with this place, which is not very far away. Entrance to the garden is free. The palace is a hotel and can only be visited if you are staying there. The architecture of the terrace and the nearby orange grove are the most interesting places in the town.


Algarve, Portugal - some of the most beautiful places - Estoi Palace

Albufeira is the most touristic city in the Algarve. I say that it is the most touristy because here, everyone approaches you and wants to sell you something, either a boat trip or invites you to eat / drink in their place. Also, enjoying more tourists than any other town in the Algarve, the prices are also somewhat higher, compared to other locations in the region.

Albufeira - one of the most beautiful places in Algarve, Portugal

Marina de Albufeira is by far the most colorful place I have ever visited. The buildings here look like Lego pieces. These colorful buildings are located near the port. Behind these buildings is the port promenade. There are some terraces where you can have a meal. Parking in the area is free.


Marina de Albufeira, one of the most beautiful places of Algarve, Portugal

Praia do Molhe is, in my point of view, the ideal place to enjoy the sunset. The beach itself is beautiful, with fine sand and high rocks that give the impression that it will fall on you. The nearby town complements the sunset atmosphere very well.

Praia do Molhe, Algarve, Portugal at sunset

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN THE ALGARVE:


- Tavira; - Royal Villa of San Antonio; - I drink; - Olhao; - Loule; - Vilamoura; - Silves; - Portimao; - Serra de Monchique; - Sagres; - Benagil Cave; - Praia do Amado; - Praia Bordeira; - Carrapateira;


CONCLUSION ABOUT ALGARVE:


Algarve was a pleasant surprise and I'm glad I chose to visit this area in November. I would definitely go back in the summer to see the places I didn't manage to see, especially the Benagil Cave and to snorkel near the rocks at Ponta da Piedade. And if we take into account that it was one of the cheapest destinations I visited, I would say that it was well worth it. The whole 5-day vacation cost 850 euros for two people, considering that we ate at the restaurants and rented a car. Oh, and I forgot to mention, parking was free everywhere.



Read also about other beautiful locations in Europe: Andalusia, Genoa, Zakynthos or Tenerife.


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Thank you for reading and I wish you more and more beautiful trips.






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