Visiting the Algarve? You’re in for a treat.
I have said this many times before on my Instagram, the Algarve has one of the best coastlines in Europe. The contrast between the bright orange cliffs and the turquoise waters make it a really unique place to go.
There are so many good spots to see when visiting the Algarve so I’ll break it down as best as I can.
** There are 100’s of beaches and caves to explore that you could spend months on the coast. In this blog post you’ll find the places I have personally been to and loved, but there’s no harm in doing more research 😀 **
Here is a map to help you get your bearings.
Let’s start left to right.
** TIP! Parking on the Algarve is free during the winter months (October-May/June)
First up is one of my favourite places on the Algarve as it is a photographers paradise.
+ Praia da Barriga
If you like to take photos, you’ll understand why this place is so special once you arrive. There are multiple layers of dramatic cliffs which usually have a thin blanket of cloud floating around the bottom of them.
Make sure to go at low tide to be able to access all of the beach.
TIP! You will need to drive down a dirt road for around 10-15 minutes. There is limited parking at the beach.
Pair your trip to this beach with a quick stop at the famous lighthouse.
+ Farol do Cabo de Sao Vicente
This lighthouse is the most southwestern point of Portugal and of mainland Europe. It’s a great place to watch the sunset as it faces West. The views from the lighthouse over the coast are beautiful and I love how the cliffs are different at this part of the Algarve.
I would recommend planning around 20 minutes max to visit this place as there isn’t much to do other than admire the views. I would pair it with a trip to Praia da Barriga, and a stop in Sagres.
+ Ponta da Piedade
One of my favourite viewpoints on the Algarve is Ponta da piedade.
You will have most probably seen many drone shots on Instagram from this spot.
Being only a 3 minute drive from Lagos, it’s definitely worth a pit stop.
There are a set of stairs heading all the way down to the water at the bottom, where you can jump on a small fishing boat and go on a tour.
It is prohibited to swim here.
+ Praia do Camilo
Between Ponta da Piedade and Lagos is the famous beach known as Praia do Camilo. This beach is pretty small so it’s best to go early to grab yourself a spot.
The stairway down to the beach has become a popular instagram spot, especially during sunrise.
The sun comes up in front of this beach causing beautiful shadows to form on the stairs.
This photo was taken in February.
Bear in mind that the location of the sun will move throughout the year.
If you like photography, make sure you add a sunrise mission to Praia do Camilo to your list.
+ Praia dos Estudantes
A few minutes walk away from the town of Lagos, you will find the very popular Praia dos Estudantes beach.
At low tide you can pass through a small passageway to reach a secluded beach.
Here you will find the famous bridge that makes this beach unique.
It is very small and in summer will most likely be overcrowded.
Parking at this beach isn’t free, and costs around 0.50 for 45 minutes.
The parking area is small, so if you can’t find a spot, head to one of the many parking lots in Lagos and make your way here on foot.
Lagos is a town on the Algarve with a really cool vibes. There are tons of outdoor cafes, live music, shops and digital nomads everywhere.
I think Lagos is a great place to stay if you like to be sociable and fancy meeting some like-minded people. Even if you don’t end up booking your accommodation here, you should definitely pay a visit to Lagos.
From here you can take a boat tour and explore the nearby caves from the water which is a great experience.
+ Praia dos Tres Irmãos
This beach was one of my favourite places to watch the sunrise. The reflections on the sand, the shadows created by the morning light, everything about this beach is beautiful during the early hours.
To get to the best part, park your car and head left. You will need to climb up some rocks, and walk through a cave to get to the other side. Try to choose a day with low tide!
+ João de Arens beach
This beach took me by surprise. It’s hands down one of the most beautiful places on the Algarve in my eyes! The viewpoint from the top is incredible😍
There is a stretch of sand underneath the arch and the waves come in from both sides, meeting together at high tide.
It’s a pretty easy climb down to the beach to the left of this spot. If you go at low tide, you’ll be able to walk through the cave to the small stretch of sand that you can see here. You can also get inside the cave to the right.
P.S. This is a nudist beach.
A quaint fishing village close to Portimão that has kept its traditional charm. There is the main square, Praça Rainha Dona Leonor which is lined with cafes.
It is the perfect spot for a bite to eat while you watch the fisherman unload their boats.
There is one street in Ferragudo that is filled with colourful houses and flowers. It’s the perfect ‘photo spot’.
I had to wonder around to find it and couldn’t tell how you to get there if I tried. The town isn’t very big so I’m sure you’ll find it.
One thing I remember is that I had to walk up a few hills to get there 😛
+ Benagil Caves
There are both caves and a beach to visit here. I’m sure you will have seen that this cave is heavily visited by tourists. I believe the first boat load arrive around 9am so if you’re able to hire a kayak for sunrise, you have a better chance of seeing this cave without it being full of people.
A lot of people do have the same plan, so don’t expect to have it to yourself.
The caves are only accessible via water. You can either rent a kayak for around €15 for 1 hour or book onto a boat tour.
I went with Tridente Boat Tours and had a really good time!
Visiting the Algarve: Best Places to Go
+ Praia da Marinha
Yup. It’s my favourite beach on the Algarve.
I don’t know what it is about this place that is so special but I love it.
To the right of the beach you will find the arch that forms a natural love heart shape (see below).
To the left you will find a cliff top to climb up which is one of the best places to watch the sunset.
Then there’s the beach with lots of solo-standing rock formations.
Praia da Marinha is a must-visit!
+ Praia da Pau
To the left of Praia da Marinha, there is a small beach called Praia da Pau. The colour of the water against the cliffs is breathtaking.
+ Praia da Albandeira
Praia de Albandeira is a beautiful, secluded beach in Algarve. It is known for its stunning arch that extends out into the water. The arch was formed as a result of erosion from the wind and waves.
+ Falesia Beach
Falesia beach is an 8km long beach boasting distinctive orange cliffs against the white sand and clear blue water.
It is different to the typical beaches on the Algarve that you see with caves and free standing rock formations. This beach is flat and a great place to spend the day with your friends or family.
There are usually many fisherman with their rods placed on the beach.
+ Ilha da Tavira
Take a boat from Tavira centre for €2.50 return. Alternatively, you can park here: Aparcamiento Público Praia do Barril
Known as the most beautiful town in the Algarve, Tavira is worth a visit. From live outdoor music, to outdoor terraces, local markets, a river running through the middle of the town, it has it all. There are many buildings with the traditional tiles and lots of the streets are cobblestone.
+ Cacela Velha
Cacela Velha is a popular spot to watch the sunset as the sea comes up and leaves beautiful patterns on the sand which light up with colours.
In the winter, the sun also falls into the sea, so you can appreciate the sunset in full swing.
There is a small church here with a lookout point over the beach below.
It is usually full of people admiring the sun go down.