The 10 Best Things to Do in The Algarve, Portugal
January 3, 2023
1. Explore the Algarve Coast by Boat
Benagil Cave is a unique and otherworldly destination, making it one of the best attractions to visit in the Algarve. Created by natural erosion, it is best explored by one of the many boat tours available from Portimao, Albufeira or Vilamoura. Admire the stunning views, dramatic caves and imposing cliffs along the way and stop for a refreshing dip in the ocean. We love the sunset option as there’s no better way to enjoy the vibrant colours of the sun hitting the horizon than out at sea! We also recommend a fishing trip with our friends at Wish & Fish. Their state of the art, custom built boat is licensed for up to 12 anglers and, depending on the time of year, you can expect to catch marlin, dourada or tuna to mention just a few. You might even be lucky enough to spot a pod of dolphins too!
2. Wine Tasting Tour
Portuguese wine is world renowned so we highly recommend sampling the delicious red, white and rosé offerings, straight from the producers themselves. Visit the wooden barrel lined storerooms and learn about the production process. There are numerous excursions to choose from; some include a delicious meal, traditional Portuguese tapas or cheese tasting. Ask our team when you make your booking and we will point you in the right direction depending on where you are based for your holiday.
3. Visit the Ria Formosa National Park
The Ria Formosa, is a group of islands located in the southernmost tip of the Algarve and is recognised as one of the countries 7 natural wonders. A scenic swirl of freshwater lagoons, sandy beaches, seagrass meadows and lush, salt marshlands with an abundance of marine and bird wildlife including stalks, herons and flamingos. One of the best ways to explore this incredible part of the world is via catamaran but there are also hop-on-hop-off boat services and water taxis allowing you to take in the sights at your own pace. The islands are varied; some with small communities, restaurants, bars and tourist beaches offering family activities, others practically deserted and truly magical.
4. Visit Silves, the Ancient Moorish Capital
Originally the ancient capital of the Algarve, the town of Silves is well-worth a visit with its cobbled streets, open-air cafes, castle, cathedral and market. Away from the hustle and bustle of the coastline, here you can experience typical Portuguese life and explore the daily market selling local produce and crafts – on Saturdays the market doubles in size. You can complete your afternoon with an ice-cream and stroll along the riverbank of the Rio Arade.
5. Parasailing at Albufeira, Vilamoura & Lagos
Enjoy panoramic views and experience adrenaline-pumping thrills as you take off by parachute. After a thorough safety briefing, you’ll board a boat, get kitted out, and take to the skies as you reach heights of up to 120 metres. If you’d prefer to buddy up, you can also choose to do this in tandem to share this wonderful experience with a partner. Relish the tranquillity and privileged birds eye views before returning to sea level. Parasailing is available at Albufeira, Vilamoura, and Lagos.
6.Visit the Monchique Mountains
In the heart of the Serra de Monchique, you will find some of the best home grown produce from local farmers along with stunning views of The Algarve’s south and west coasts. There are several gastronomic tours here allowing you to make bread or simply taste local offerings such as honey, mushrooms, chestnuts, chouriço (chorizo) and a wide variety of pork products. Why not include a Medronho tasting? For many centuries a local firewater has been brewed here, made from the unique Medronho berry. Visit a distillery, meet the producers and taste this very special fruit brandy from Portugal. Hikes for small groups of up to 10 people are also available. Your guide will point out all of the hidden wonders along the way including wildlife and flora as you explore the pine, oak and eucalyptus forests. You may even spot the ruined 17th century monastery of Nossa Senhora do Desterro which is home to one of the largest magnolia trees in Europe.
7. Witness the Heart-Shaped Rock at Praia da Marinha
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, this iconic stretch of coast near Lagoa is the Lonely Planet’s favourite Algarve beach. In real life it’s even prettier than in the pictures. Located between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra, the heart-shaped rock is actually an optical illusion where two rock arches form the top and, combined with the cliff in front, creates a heart shape. The coastal hiking trail is one way to enjoy this famous stretch of shoreline known as the ‘7 hanging valleys’ or, for the less energetic, there is a beach restaurant where you can order a cocktail or something to eat and simply take in the views from the shaded terrace.
8. Jeep Safari in the Algarve Countryside
Get off the beaten track on a fun-filled, four-wheeling adventure. Travel off road in a 4×4 with Algarve Jipe Safaris to see rustic landscapes, dramatic coastal cliffs, babbling streams and mountain vistas. Many tours include a refreshing swim stop, medieval castles, fruit plantations, honey and jam tasting or a stop off at a distillery to sample their famous Medronho drink.
9. A Day Trip to Ferragudo & Carvoeiro
Ferragudo is a charming fishing village that has kept its traditional charm with its whitewashed houses, narrow streets covered with flowers, and harbour filled with fishing boats. Why not book a table at one of our favourite eateries, Restaurante Sueste, where you can enjoy octopus and sardines straight from boat to table via their charcoal grills. The picture perfect and lively town of Carvoeiro is just 10 minutes from Ferragudo, tucked between towering cliffs with a small beach, bars and shops. We have a huge selection of wonderful holiday homes suitable for every budget in this family friendly part of the Algarve and foodies will love it too as there is an abundance of restaurants.
10. Horse Riding in Portimao
Enjoy the beautiful coastline of Portimao on horseback as you follow the trail along the cliffs and down through the forest to where the woods meet the ocean. It is not usually necessary to have horse riding experience on this scenic ride. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, why not visit the State Of Being horse sanctuary in the beautiful area of Barão de São João, just 12kms north east of Lagos where you can enjoy a 2 hour walk with a rescued horse on a lead by your side.
We are always here to help make your villa holiday extra special. Just let us know your personal villa holiday wish list and we will work our magic.
We love holidays, let us take care of yours.
The Villa Agency