A wildly under rated destination, Portugal was once thought to be the westernmost part of the world. It’s a beautiful southern European country with a lot to offer, including the Algarve Coast. You can find a lot of things to do in Algarve! Like so much of southern Europe, it’s a place to enjoy the fine things in life. The best restaurants Algarve and the food is delicious, and deeply ingrained in local culture. In my Algarve travel guide you will find recommendations of best things to do, where to stay in Algarve and best restaurants Algarve.
Portugal is a very special country with the best of different worlds. With its wild sea, rock formations and love of wine, it’s a bit Californian. Kind of like visiting NorCal without leaving Europe!
Culturally, Portugal resembles two other southern Europe countries. The sophistication of the best restaurants Algarve and the food, plus the love of wine, feels very Italian. Meanwhile, the relaxed vibe and friendliness has a Spanish je-ne-sais-quoi. Maybe it was an Iberian peninsula thing all along!
Currently a trending destination, any Algarve travel guide will describe this as a retirement region. Traditionally, the mild climate has made Algarve a favorite retirement place for northern Europeans. But the Algarve Coast offers something for everyone, irrespective of age or interests and there are so many things to do in Algarve.
I really fell in love with Portugal. I hope this Algarve travel guide will make you decide to visit!
Traveling – How to Get to Algarve?
The main airport is located in Faro, the main city in Algarve. The airport receives direct flights from the UK, Ireland and some mainland Europe and Canada cities.
You can also fly to Lisbon and then make a connection to Faro. Road trip lovers can set up their own Algarve travel guide and rent a car! It takes between 2 and 3 hours to arrive by road from the Portuguese capital.
Living – Where to Stay in Algarve?
So, when it comes to the question where to stay in Algarve, the options are many! A region with a long tradition of tourism, you can find all type of accommodations throughout the Algarve Coast. Whether you’re into hotels or AirBnBs, there’s something for you here. With the great climate and beautiful nature, it’s a fantastic destination for big groups! There are many things to do in Algarve for everyone, so family groups will all be entertained.
So, where to stay in Algarve? We stayed at the small town of Guia and rented a lovely house with a very friendly host, Pedro. The agency managing the property was very accommodating and really helpful when it came to logistics. Plus, it was great value for money, as our neighbors were paying twice as much for a less impressive house. You can find our more about our accommodation clicking here, and even book it for yourself! I can truly recommend this property when it comes to where to stay in Algarve.
Eating & Drinking – The Best Restaurants Algarve
The best restaurants Algarve together with the food in Algarve is more than just nourishment: it’s an experience! Trying the different flavors of Portuguese cuisine is a must in any Algarve travel guide and one of the best things to do in Algarve.
While Portugal has its own flavors, and a cuisine that’s very dependent on Atlantic fauna, its Mediterranean influence is undeniable. Salted cod, or bacalhau, is one of the most popular dishes among the best restaurants Algarve and you can’t leave without trying it. Seafood is also very popular here, as it should be on a coastal region. They even have a dish similar to Spanish paella called arroz de marisco, a must for seafood lovers.
As Portugal was once a major empire, with a presence throughout the world, local cuisine heavily uses spices from everywhere. This in turn makes for some really fascinating concoctions: it’s really a paradise for foodies.
You can spend your whole visit trying out dishes and eateries in the country. As we stayed in an AirBnB we did a lot of cooking at home but if you are in the Guia neighborhood I can strongly recommend the two restaurants below.
Bellavita – A Chill Place Among the Best Restaurants Algarve
We found our favorite lunch place in Bellavita, around the corner from our AirBnB. Although serving Italian food, it’s a great testament of the food in Algarve, particularly local ingredients. Plus, their rosé was pretty delicious. Very friendly staff, too! One of the best restaurants Algarve? Maybe not but still a very cool and chill place!
The building is very peculiar: it’s a white and round place resembling a lighthouse, only with many windows. It has a very Mediterranean vibe to it, between the warm climate and the heavy use of white.
Loved the trendy and modern interior design here. Although located in a roundabout, you can still see the ocean from their outdoor terrace.
Pedras Amarelas – The One with the Stunning Location
The perfect location of Pedras Amarelas made it shine among the best restaurants Algarve. A beach eatery and beach club, it’s perfect to soak up the sun. You really feel like you’re part of the ocean here, looking at the wild Atlantic waves as you eat. The view is breathtaking here, whether on the outside terrace or inside, where you can watch through glass doors.
The service was okay, but I loved the food, drinks and relaxed beachy vibe.
5 Top Things to Do in Algarve
1. Enjoy Life at the Beach or the Pool
The necessary recommendation of any Algarve travel guide: have an amazing time! Unwind from all worries in this paradise: sink your toes in the sand, chill by a pool. Try the food in Algarve everywhere you can.
Evenings filled with the scent of barbecues, or a relaxed dinner by the beach, are a must. Really bask in the big and small pleasures of life when you’re visiting this beautiful region. For sure one of the best things to do in Algarve!
Driving along the coast is also a magical experience, thanks to the stunning views along the road. One of the top things to do in Algarve is just getting in your car and driving by the coast. Follow your heart’s desires and find the perfect spot in the Algarve Coast.
We rented a car and went on two day trips during our stay, finding many beautiful places. You can read about my favorites below!
2. Ponta da Piedada – A Must among Things to Do in Algarve
This region is full of lovely places and Ponta da Piedada is one of them. Often called one of the most beautiful places alongside the coast, it offers magical views mixing ocean and rock formations. Walk into the Atlantic blue here through the steps, or just watch the view from the bay.
The only downside here: it’s not exactly secluded! It’s a fairly popular tourist hangout, so be sure to arrive early. That way you’ll have a more personal time with the ocean!
3. Sagres & Cape St. Vincent
A remote village in the extreme west of the Algarve Coast, this was once thought to be the edge of the world! Sagres is the extreme southwest of continental Europe, the end of the world as Europeans knew before Christopher Columbus. A must in any Algarve travel guide!
The village look straight out of an old romantic novel, with its dramatic cliff and white buildings. While it’s a small town, it’s also full of history; it’s been populated since prehistoric times. It was also a major hub for Portugal’s nautical past, and famous English pirate Francis Drake once assaulted its port.
Do not miss a stop at the lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent. The views here are incredible, with many rock formations and the deep blue sea.
4. Silves – The Instagram Gem in the Mountains
A cute little village up the mountains, visiting Silves should be on your list of things to do in Algarve. An extremely cute place seemingly made for Instagram, its colorful houses will take your heart. Tile walls, multiple patterns and Portuguese architecture, the look is totally one-of-a-kind.
There’s also a small castle atop a hill, which isn’t super impressive but offers a magnificent view. While it’s now a peaceful village, Silves has a fairly tumultuous past as the former capital of Algarve. The town was founded during Roman times, although people had lived there from back in the Paleolithic. During the long Moor invasion of the Iberian peninsula, Silves was one of the most important cities of Al-Andalus. Once Sagres was recovered, it became a walled city and stronghold in war!
Now, you’ll find many cute little shops and restaurants here. The mix of flavors from Portuguese and Arabian culture survives in the food of Algarve!
5. Outdoor activities – A Key Part of Any Algarve Travel Guide
After decades as a beloved spot for Europeans, there are many chill and fun activities here. Golfing is for sure one, with many courses throughout the region. Wine tasting is also pretty big here, plus a great outing for foodies from everywhere. Facing the wild Atlantic it is also a hotspot from surfers of all kind!
For the one, more into historical adventures this coast is full of ancient buildings and Medieval cathedrals. Portugal was once a massive empire, one that lasted for six centuries, all the way until 1999. The Algarve coast is where a lot of important politics occurred, as it was an empire sustained on sea exploration. You can find traces of this throughout the region, in fascinating places like Faro.
Algarve has for sure something to offer for everyone and I hope you enjoyed my Algarve travel guide and that you will enjoy your time on the windy South Coast of Portugal!
Did you like this Algarve Travel Guide and want to save it or share it with others? Then see some pins below!