11 Best Destinations for holidays to Algarve

Holidays to Algarve

Looking for the best destination for your holidays to Algarve, in Portugal? From hidden beaches to metropolitan areas, Algarve has it all for your holidays. 

Algarve won the award of the World’s Leading Beach Destination 2020 by the World Travel Awards.

It does not matter exactly where you are going in the Algarve, you will always find a great destination with perfect weather, sandy beaches, and a great environment.

See the best 11 destinations in Algarve to help you choose.

Faro

Faro is the only city in the Algarve with an international airport. If you are flying directly to Algarve, this is where you will be landing.

Although considered to be a busy city because of the airport, the reality is the complete opposite. Faro is very quiet, mainly because the resorts are in other cities.

Faro is filled with history, going back to Roman times, and it still keeps its humble origins of a fishing village. 

But before not considering Faro as your destination, keep in mind that some of the best beaches are located here and due to its location, it is close to everything in the Algarve.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia de Faro:

image 1
Photo used with permission from Ollie Richards at wetravelportugal.com

With an 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) long sand beach, the Praia de Faro is one of the most visited beaches in the Algarve. Filled with wildlife, this beach will make you feel that you are transported to a wildlife resort, accompanied by great weather and waters.

Take a look at this great Faro Beach guide at wetravelportugal.com:

Ilha da Culatra

ilha da culatra

This beach is on a small island that is occupied mainly by fishermen. With an old fortified structure that was to be used in the first world war, this island will provide you with beautiful weather, waters, and sand, and still give you the thrill to explore all the hidden secrets of this small island.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Faro is the only city in the Algarve that has an international airport (FAO). Your accommodation should be a few minutes away.

Consider using a taxi or a Transfer Service.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Sagres

Sagres is still one of the quietest places in the Algarve. Located on the corner of the Algarve, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is a perfect destination for your holidays if you are looking for relaxation in complete communion with mother nature because it is on a National Reserve Park and due to its location, it is a perfect destination also for Surf and Bodyboard lovers.

If you are looking for nature holidays, with great beaches and amazing views, then Sagres is worth it.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia do Tonel:

Praia do Tonel
Praia do Tonel, Sagres, Portugal

Praia do Tonel is a wonderful beach, located on a small bay, surrounded by cliffs. Protected by the wind, you need to be careful because although its perfect waters and weather will make you forget all of your concerns, you will get sunburn easily.

Praia do Beliche:

Praia do Beliche

Praia do Beliche is a normally quiet beach and perfect for surfers. One of the furthest beaches from the continent, this beach is bathed with the Atlantic Ocean and all of its wimps.

Praia do Martinhal:

Praia do Martinhal

One of the least visited beaches in all of the Algarve and probably one of the best. Praia do Martinhal is especially perfect for surfers and windsurfers, as the location of this beach provided almost perfect conditions for these sports. But besides this, the sandy beach is perfect, although it can be a bit windy.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Sagres is a bit far from the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 1hour and a half.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Salema

If you are looking for a quiet place in the Algarve, that is not crowded and filled with tourists, then Salema should be your choice. 

It is still a fishing village and due to its little-known small beaches, you can still enjoy the sun and the water in tranquility.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia da Salema:

Praia da Salema

Praia da Salema is the main beach of Salema. It has all the commodities you may need. From toilets, cafes, restaurants, umbrellas, and all in a relatively quiet beach, surrounded by beautiful cliffs.

Praia da Boca do Rio:

Praia Boca do Rio

A hidden beach where two small rivers meet, the Praia da Boca do Rio is a little paradise. And exploring this beach and its valley, you will find forgotten farming devices and even artifacts, as it used to be a Roman village.

Praia da Figueira:

Praia da Figueira

Praia da Figueira will make you take a nature walk before getting there. The parking of this beach is about 500 meters (0.3 miles), but the walk there is amazing. And when you get there, you will be rewarded with an almost desert beach, right from a movie.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Salema is far from the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 1hour and 15 minutes.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Lagos

One of the most favorite destinations in the Algarve and for good reasons. Lagos has the most beautiful beaches in Portugal and has one of the most lively nightlife of all the Algarve.

The beaches are magnificent, with carved cliffs coming into the water and perfect sand.

The nightlife in Lagos is filled with great options and it is extremely lively.

Lagos also offers a myriad of activities to do, from nature tours, sailing, jet-sky, scuba-diving, etc.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Meia Praia:

Praia da Rocha

Meia Praia is the most complete beach in Lagos. It has full commodities and beautiful water and sand. And it was in front of this beach that reportedly galleons, transporting an Aztec emperor’s treasure shipwrecked in 1522.

Praia do Camilo:

Praia do Camilo

One of the best beaches in Lagos but also one of the smallest is Praia do Camilo. Surrounded by cliffs, this beach looks like a little paradise, with its blue clear waters and perfect sandy beach. The access is done by steep wooden staircases.

Praia de Porto de Mós:

Praia de Porto de Mos

The Praia de Porto de Mós is the most crowded beach in Lagos. With all the commodities you may need, this beach is perfect for families.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Lagos is far from the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 1hour.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Portimão

Portimao is the most complete destination in Algarve. With a beautiful endless coast, magnificent beaches, and a lively town, Portimao has it all.

Filled with resorts and small hotels, mostly very close to the beaches. And there are even many things to see, from beautiful views to ancient Megaliths, this city will make your holidays in Algarve memorable.

The center of Portimao is also filled with shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. 

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia da Rocha:

Pra da Rocha

Praia da Rocha means Rock Beach and when you are there is understandable why. With many rocks between the sand and the Ocean, it is a wonderful sight to behold. But it is one of the crowdest beaches in all of the Algarve.

Praia Grande:

Praia Grande

A perfect little quiet beach right in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the Algarve. Praia Grande has an amazing sandy beach and it has outstanding views, especially because it is right on the end of a river when it touches the ocean.

Praia dos Caneiros:

Praia dos Carneiros

Praia dos Caneiros is a small beach that wants to be big. Here you will find all the commodities of the big beaches and even water sports activities. But this is for a reason, this beach is just beautifully perfect.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Portimao is a bit far from the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 50 minutes.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Albufeira

Albufeira is one of the most visited destinations in the Algarve and because of that is one of the crowdest. But for good reasons.

It used to be a fishing village, but now its main economy is tourism. This can be a good thing, as the locals are focused on making your holidays very entertaining. 

Besides being able to enjoy beautiful beaches with perfect sand, there are so many activities and tours available, to get to know this little part of Portugal.

If Albufeira is your destination, you can’t go there and not explore the caves on the cliffs of the beaches and do some dolphin watching.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia da Marinha:

Praia da Marinha

Considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the Praia da Marinha will stay in your memory forever. With magnificent clear waters and breathtaking scenery, you will feel that you are in some paradisiac heaven.

Praia dos Alemães:

Praia dos Alemaes

Praia dos Alemaes is the most quiet beach in Albufeira. But that does not mean that it is full of beauty and perfect sand.

Praia da Coelha:

Praia da Coelha

Praia da Coelha is the little hidden secret of busy Albufeira. As normally people go to the most known beaches, this beach is little known. But even like this, it will take your breath, with amazing views, clear water, and tracks to hike alongside the ocean.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Albufeira is close to the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around half an hour to get there.

Consider using a taxi, a Transfer Service, or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Cabanas de Tavira

Tavira is a great destination if you are looking for a relaxing town. Built on the sides of a river, Tavira is a picturesque little town.

The colorful houses will make you feel that you are in a little hidden paradise, while the beaches will make you forget everything and just enjoy life.

With amazing locals that love visitors and with great beaches, Tavira is outstanding, especially with families.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia Verde:

Praia Verde

Probably the best beach in Tavira, Praia Verde is just beautiful. Praia Verde, meaning Green Beach, is surrounded by pine trees and it has white sand and clear waters. Besides that, you will find all the commodities needed for endless days on the beach.

Praia da Ilha de Tavira:

Praia da Ilha de Tavira

Right in the middle of a Natural Park, Praia da Ilha de Tavira is an excellent choice if you want to camp in Algarve. With its camping site and with all the commodities and with the beauty of this beach, you will remember this holiday forever. 

Praia de Cabanas:

Praia de Cabanas

Considered to be the best beach in Portugal, the access to Praia de Cabanas is done by boat, as it is on a small island that is included in a National Park, right on the shore of Tavira. But once you are there, you will be amazed by the natural beauty of this beach and it will make you feel that all the world is nothing more but this beach. 

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Tavira is close to the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around half an hour to get there.

Consider using a taxi, a Transfer Service, or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Vilamoura

If you are looking for a resort city that will make you feel that you are in a movie from Miami, then Vilamoura is the place to go. 

It offers luxurious accommodation, experience, and activities, all with top-class service and all under amazing weather.

Vilamoura also has a beautiful and lively marina, complete with luxurious yachts, surrounded by many shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia da Falésia:

Praia da Falesia

Vilamoura doesn’t have a lot of beaches, because its main beach goes straight to the next city. At the bottom of a cliff, Praia da Falésia, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, stretches for kilometers with its magnificent gold sand and in some parts, it becomes red. Combined with blue waters, this beach will give you amazing walks alongside the sea.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Vilamoura is close to the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around half an hour to get there.

Consider using a taxi, a Transfer Service, or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Benagil

You probably have already seen the famous image of the Benagil cave, right beside the main beach.

Although the city of Benagil is little known, the beach is always crowded with tourists, visiting the caves, touring the coast, and enjoying the perfect sand.

It is a great destination if you are looking for accommodation in a quiet area, but enjoy a lively area during the day.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia do Carvalho:

Praia do Carvalho

Protected by cliffs, the Praia do Carvalho will provide natural shade for those hot summer days. With beautiful blue water and the sand is filled with tiny pieces of seashells, this beach has many tracks going to the cliffs, where people usually do cliff jumping into the water.

Praia de Benagil:

Praia de Benagil

The main beach of Benagil is amazing, with blue and green waters, gold sand, and surrounded by gold cliffs. The only downside is that, due to the popularity of the caves, it gets very crowded. If you are staying in Benagil, this is an excellent choice to spend  sundown at the beach, as normally most of the tourists are gone at that time.

Algar de Benagil:

Algar de Benagil:

If you are in love with the images of the Cave of Benagil, there is excellent news. It is possible to go there by boat and spend the day, just be aware that inside the cave there are no commodities and no direct sunlight. But there are priceless memories.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Benagil is a bit far from the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 50 minutes.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Armação de Pêra

Armação de Pera is one of the most favorite places for Portuguese to spend their holidays in the Algarve. 

It is a very modest city, but very lively and with great nightlife. Although the accommodations and restaurants are generally modest, they are cheap.

But Armação de Pera is a lot more than an inexpensive holiday. The beaches are wonderful and the coast allows for beautiful hiking.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia de Armação de Pêra:

Praia de Armacao de Pera

Probably the best beach in Algarve for families. Praia da Armação de Pêra is a no thrill beach. Just beautiful, easy access, full of commodities, restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops. It provides everything a family needs for a long holiday on the beach.

Praia dos Salgados:

Praia dos Salgados

If you are looking for an untouched paradise in the Algarve, then Praia dos Salgados is a perfect candidate. Surrounded by a Natural Park, with perfect dark gold sand, clear and calm waters, this beach will blow your mind.

Praia do Vale do Olival:

Praia do Vale do Olival

Praia do Vale do Olival is where Praia de Armação de Pêra ends. The key difference of this beach is that it has beautiful and naturally carved cliffs, that you can even take walks on most of them.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Armacao de Pera is relatively close to the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 40 minutes.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

Monte Gordo

Monte Gordo is the first city resort in the Algarve, with one of the biggest and best beaches in all of Portugal. It is located almost on the border with Spain, making its waters the furthest from the Atlantic Ocean and closest to the Mediterranean sea.

Although not one of the main destinations in the Algarve, as it used to be, due to the distance of the airport of Faro, Monte Gordo is blessed with amazing weather and warm water.

Best beaches:

Click on the names to open on Google Maps

Praia de Monte Gordo:

Praia de Monte Gordo

Monte Gordo has only one beach. That extends for so many miles, that has several names, depending on which area you are in. With the warmest waters in all of the Algarve and filled with commodities, this city truly is a city resort. You will always feel that the beach is for you and to make you as happy as possible.

Find the best things to do

How far from the airport:

Monte Gordo is relatively close to the international airport of Faro (FAO). It should take you around 45 minutes.

Consider using a Transfer Service or renting a car.

Find the best deals for accommodation

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