When you think of the Algarve, you probably picture sand-coloured cliffs, brushed by bright blue waters. Well, you may not know it, but what you’re actually imagining is Lagos – or Ponta de Piedade, to be exact. Here, archways and rocks rise out of the sea. You can take photos from the clifftops, or hop in a boat for a closer look. The town of Lagos itself is really picturesque, too – think winding streets, pastel-coloured buildings and bustling squares. You can visit the whitewashed Santa Maria Church, explore the ancient castle walls, and people-watch from an al fresco café. For a true taste of Portugal, buy a freshly made pastel de nata from a bakery and sit in the sunshine.
Find out more about our holidays to Lagos
If you want a slice of traditional Portugal, Olhos d’Agua is the place to stay. This fishing village has a laid back vibe, with restaurants serving the catch of the day, and kids poking around in the rock pools on the beach. Down by the sand, you’ll find fishermen’s huts and a little gem called O Caixote. This rustic restaurant is very casual, but the food is top notch. Dine like a local as you tuck into Portuguese specialities, like piri-piri chicken, seafood cataplana and net-fresh clams.
If you’re a keen golfer, you’ll love this location. There are two excellent courses – Pine Cliffs and Balaia – just a five-minute drive away. Just around the bay, you’ll find Praia Falesia. The bright red cliffs set this six-kilometre beach apart, and it’s a great spot to curl up with a book and catch some rays. Go for a stroll at sunset to see the beach at its finest, as the sinking sun paints the cliffs orange and pink.
Find out more about our holidays to Olhos D’Agua
When Portugal was handing out postcodes, Alvor hit the jackpot. This tranquil town is straight off a postcard, with a sweeping lagoon, sheltered beaches and charming cobbled streets. The river is at the heart of life in Alvor. You can go canoeing, rent bikes, or stroll along the boardwalk to the nearby sand dunes.
To top it all off, Alvor is just a 30-minute drive from Silves. The once-capital of the Algarve wouldn’t look out of place in a Game of Thrones episode. Built on a hill, Silves’ terracotta buildings and ancient fortress are visible for miles. If you’re into history, it’s definitely worth spending a day here. Silves Cathedral dates back to the 13th century, while the red-brick fortress has stood since the 10th century. The Algarve’s famous white storks are all over Silves, too. You’ll see them soaring above the rooftops, or perched on precarious nests – usually on top of a chimney pot.
The Algarve isn’t just famous for its beaches and golf courses – it’s also made a name for itself on the clubbing scene. And Albufeira is the headline act. So, if you’re after a party holiday, this is where you should stay.
By day, Albufeira’s charming Old Town is ripe for exploring, with boutiques, restaurants and beaches galore. In the evening, though, the new part of town comes to life. Montechoro Strip is the star attraction, with two whole kilometres of after-dark hotspots. There’s something for every budget here, from karaoke places and Irish pubs, to cocktail bars and nightclubs.
Find out more about our holidays to Albufeira
Check out our top Portugal holidays. Or, if you’d like to learn more about Portugal’s famous golfing scene, find out why it’s made our list of Europe’s best golfing holidays. And, discover the Algarve’s best under-the-radar attractions.
Pssst. Head to our Discover homepage to see the latest articles.
Enjoy an adults-only escape at the TUI BLUE Falesia in Portugal. This place boasts a secluded clifftop location and à la carte dining options.
Set in a pretty nature reserve, the Robinson Club Quinta da Ria is in the eastern Algarve near Tavira, and even offers guided cycling tours.
The Club Hotel Riu Guarana comes with a swim-up bar and entertainment for the whole family.
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