It is not easy to create a list of the most beautiful places in the Algarve in Portugal, because there are simply too many beautiful corners to discover in the south of this beautiful country. From dream beaches, picturesque small towns, mountain villages or even the rocky cliffs, there is something for everyone. The diversity and variety ensures that you can spend a great vacation in the Algarve in any case.
What we think are the most beautiful places in the Algarve, which you should plan on your round trip, you can find out now.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Tips for your Vacation at the Algarve in Portugal
Best Time to visit the Algarve
The Algarve can be visited between May and October. The main travel season is the summer months of July and August, when it can get very hot and of course very crowded in the Algarve.
We would recommend the shoulder season in the months of May/June and September. In these months it is not yet so crowded (and also not so hot) and you can still experience the beauty of the Algarve in Portugal.
Camping in the Algarve in Portugal
Wild camping is unfortunately not welcome in the Algarve. Although it is officially not generally forbidden in Portugal to stand freely in nature, it is neither possible nor allowed to stay overnight near the Algarve coast or beaches. Wild camping is only tolerated inland. But on the coast you will almost certainly get a visit from the police (GNR).
Read more about wild camping in Portugal and the Algarve here: Wildcamping Portugal | 8 important camping tips legal situation
Where to Stay in Algarve in Portugal
The Algarve region is not very big, so it can be sufficient to have only one central accommodation. You will have to drive up to an hour to the distant highlights, but you won’t have to change hotels every few days.
We stayed in the Algarve in a rustic pool villa not far from Benagil Cave. Our stay was really great and we can highly recommend the accommodation.
Pool Villa close to Benagil Cave
This cool pool villa* is super close to the popular Algarve highlights Benagil Cave and Praia Marinha and offers space for up to 6 people.
- only a few minutes by car from many Algarve beaches
- large pool & roof terrace
- Large kitchen and several bedrooms
- Equipped with air conditioning
Algarve in Portugal | The Best Things To Do
The Algarve has many wonderful highlights to offer and you can do much more than just lie on the beach. In our listing we tell you the most beautiful Algarve sights that are not a beach.
#1 Benagil Cave
The Benagil Cave is probably one of the top highlights of the Algarve in Portugal. It is located right next to the rather unspectacular Benagil Beach and consists of a large cathedral-like cave that is open at the top via a narrow hole. Depending on the position of the sun, the sun falls into the cave in such a way as to create a spectacular cone of light.
Benagil Cave has 2 entrances, but they are only accessible from the sea. It is possible to look into the hole of the cave while walking over the cliffs above, but you won’t be able to see much.
If you want to visit Benagil Cave, the best way is to take a guided tour*. Here you go together with a group on kayaks or SUPs into the cave. Alternatively, you can take a boat into the cave. Tours cost about 20-40 Euro and start at any time of day.
Tip: The light cone of the sun looks best at noon, but then the cave is also the most crowded. If you want to see as few other tourists as possible in your photos, then you should leave as early as possible.
On your own into Bangil Cave
If you want to go to Benagil Cave without a tour, it is not that easy. If you have your own kayak or SUP with you, you can easily paddle from Benagil beach to the cave. But be careful, the swell is sometimes very strong here. Alternatively you could swim, but we would not recommend that.
This is because of the swell mentioned earlier. It’s only about 150m from the beach to the cave, but it can be a bit tricky. You can easily be pushed against the cliffs and get injured. It is better to take an organized tour*.
#2 Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedale is a limestone highlight in the Algarve in Portugal and is located on a headland below the large city of Lagos. You can walk here from Lagos or park in the large and free parking lot on site. There are fantastic limestone rocks to see, which can be experienced from numerous hiking trails directly on or off the coast.
Behind every corner there are different views of the rocky landscape and also the sea looks here just wonderful turquoise blue. There are also many small and larger caves in the area and you can go over stairs partly down to the sea.
- You can also take boat tours here* to explore the cliffs up close.
Not far from the small town of Sagres, there are spectacular cliffs to visit. You can drive almost to the top of the headland and park your car there for free. If you want to walk further, you have to walk through the old Fortaleza de Sagres. Here you have to pay an entrance fee of 3 Euro and then you can walk around the cliffs.
If you feel like cooling down after this walk, we can recommend the small beach Prainha das Poças. This beach can only be reached via an extremely steep, unpaved path.
But you will be rewarded with an almost untouched beach, which you only have to share with a few other visitors. If you want to go down to the beach, the way down starts here.
#4 Algar Seco
Algar Seco is truly an impressive sight on the Algarve in Portugal. The typical limestone rocks of the Algarve are the highlight here, which you can admire from close range. The reddish-brown rocks have formed a true labyrinth, which was formed over thousands of years by wind and waves.
By the way, the name comes from the Arabic word for cave and means something like the dry caves. In fact, there are many small and large sinkholes here. These are holes or pools in the limestone rocks created by erosion, which have widened and deepened over the years.
You can walk along the shore on a boardwalk that is more than 600 meters long and you can even climb down to the water in several places. From there you can take a close look at the spectacular natural landscape.
#5 Coastal Town of Tavira
In our opinion, there are very few truly beautiful and authentic towns on the Algarve in Portugal. Neither Albufeira, nor Lagos we found really worth seeing and especially Albufeira much too (mass-) touristy. The complete opposite to this is the small town Tavira east of Faro almost at the border to Spain.
Tavira is really cute and has renovated facades, impressive buildings and a totally relaxed atmosphere. Tavira is located on the river Gilão and has been completely spared from mass tourism. Here there are not rows and rows of souvenir stores, which all sell the same junk and instead authentic Portuguese flair.
In Tavira, in addition to beautiful house facades, there are of course also the ruined houses typical of Portugal, and often right next to each other. Old and new, dilapidated and top renovated. A contrast that you will encounter more often in Portugal.
This really made this small town even more authentic and for us one of the most beautiful towns in the Algarve in Portugal.
You can stroll in Tavira through the old town and walk, for example, through the ruins of an old castle from the 11th century (Castelo de Tavira). The entrance is completely free and the view from the top over the city is really wonderful.
Monchique is a mountainous region off the beaten track and therefore almost belongs to the Algarve insider tips. Most tourists stay at the coast and the beaches of the Algarve in Portugal. However, it is worthwhile to drive towards the mountains to get to know a completely different region of the Algarve. Only an hour’s drive from the Algarve coast is another world.
Here it is very hilly and you will also find the highest mountain of the whole Algarve (Fóia – 902m) and everything is much greener and it blooms much more than on the dry Algarve in Portugal. Monchique is the name of a small town as well as of the surrounding mountains (Serra de Monchique).
Here you can go on well-marked hikes, admire the landscape from vantage points and do a little contrast program to the beach. It is a good place to spend a day. If you like hiking in the mountains, we recommend two days in the region with an overnight stay in the cute village of Monchique.
The Most Beautiful Beaches of the Algarve
Besides the places mentioned above, there are of course plenty of beautiful bays and beaches to discover in the Algarve in the south of Portugal. We have summarized our favorite beaches of the Algarve in the following article.
We hope you enjoyed our article about the most beautiful places in the Algarve in Portugal. If you have any questions or further tips, please leave us a comment.