10 Wonderful Places You Must Visit in Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve region located at southern Portugal is a paradise for the beach bum at heart. Nonetheless, while it gets most of its allure from its golden sandy beaches, there are arguably other locales in the region that are worth visiting. This list includes an eclectic mixture of them all, crystallizing what Algarve has to offer to sightseers.
A trip to southern Portugal is never complete without visiting its busiest capital city of Faro. You are certainly bound to visit it one time or another if you are a tourist from abroad, since it’s where the international airport is located. Its main attraction is its well-preserved Old Town, with structures that date as far back as the 18th century. Must-see attractions include its cathedral, museum, as well as numerous small cafés and restaurants, all of which are brimming with the culture of the region.
When it comes to Algarve beaches, one can never go wrong with Albufeira. Many tourists in mainland Europe choose this beach as their regular beach destination due to its relative accessibility. Its beaches have every feature the region is known for, and they stretch widely enough to accommodate thousands of tourists that flock to it.
No other town in the Algarve showcases the Moorish influence in the region than Silves. It is nestled between groves of orange and olive trees and across a hill, which provides its residents with a great view of the valley surrounding it. Be sure to check out its museum, fortress, and its world-famous cathedral.
4) Serra de Monchique
The western countryside of the Algarve is replete with fragrant meadows, thanks to the flourishing of eucalyptus and chestnut in the area. It is also where the equally beautiful town of Monchique is located, which is a good place to buy souvenirs consisting of traditional Portuguese handicrafts.
Near Serra de Monchique is Lagos, which is another must-see beach destination in the region. The place is rich in history for it is where the golden age of Portuguese seafaring traces its roots. Nonetheless, its main pull is undoubtedly its very exquisite, azure-colored beaches, which are populated by natural rock formations that only ever serve to wrap up their idyllic beauty.
Vacationers who prefer to relax in familiar clubhouses complete with golf courses and large marinas should consider Vilamoura as their resort of choice. It’s named as such because it houses the biggest marina facility in all Portugal, with more than 800 berths available. Many water activities are offered in this resort as well, making it the ideal place for families.
Another pretty town that could capture any tourist’s attention is Tavira. Much like other towns in the area, it was built by the Romans and improved by the Moors. The architecture of its buildings are noteworthy since it’s unique in the said town. Historic venues you shouldn’t miss include its castle and old bridge. A nearby beach destination worth checking out is Ilha de Tavira.
Tourists who like to stay in an urban area but still want to be well-within walking distance of a beach should find Portimao perfect for their preferences. City sights include its museum and theater, which really underscore the rich culture of the place. It also prides itself in hosting the country’s first artificial reef, which has received favorable feedback from professional divers. Otherwise, you can detour to a more natural beach nearby, the Praia de Rocha.
9) Villa Real de Santo Antonio
Villa Real de Santo Antonio is the place to go if you want a touch of Spain in your visit to Portugal. This beautiful border town is an attraction in and of itself already as evidenced by its tangerine-roofed structures and Hispanic square. The Praca Marques de Pombal is especially recommended, and if you want a good overview of the Algarve’s sardine canning industry, its Arquivo Historico Municipal would provide a great trip down memory lane.
If you want a destination that’s less populous, then Sagres should be right up your alley. Cabo de Sao Vicenta is a must-see for it is where a lone lighthouse stands, affording the visitor an expansive view of deep-blue ocean. Its beaches are a favorite among surfers as well, and if you are one then this is the place for you.