Best Places to Stay in The Algarve 2022

Looking for the Best Places to stay in the Algarve? You may have heard about the beautiful beaches and stunning coastline of the southern region of Portugal. But there are many other reasons to stay in the Algarve. From west to east, you will discover wildlife sanctuaries, historic old towns, bustling cities, and authentic villages in the countryside, where traditions are kept alive by older and younger generations. Come with us! We will take on a fantastic journey through the best places to stay in the Algarve!

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Western Algarve

The massive dark cliffs and rough landscape of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park are a landmark the locals call “The Wild Coast”. This wildlife sanctuary is one of the best birdwatching areas in Portugal and a world-class surf destination.

In the historic cities of Sagres and Lagos, you will find charismatic, traditional Portuguese houses and tales of how the Portuguese sailors discovered half of the globe in the 15th century.

The Wild Seascapes of Costa Vicentina

Travelers looking to stay in Algarve will find quiet scenery along this astonishing coastline. Amado, Arrifana, and Montes Clérigos are well-known beaches among surfers who come to visit all year round. The sunny weather and calm waves welcome both first-time and experienced surfers.

Best places to stay in the Algarve
Montes Clérigos beach

The sea here is called “crystalline” and swells around boulders off the coast.

However, if you prefer hiking, there are plenty of amazing hiking trails along the coast. We recommend exploring the panoramic views at Cordoama Beach or the rural landscape and coastal scenery at Pontal da Carrapateira. These trails are perfect for birdwatching and photography.

Pontal da Carrapateira
Pontal da Carrapateira

At Costa Vicentina, you will feel tempted to camp on the cliffs. However, it is forbidden to stay overnight, so instead, check into the nearest campsite or caravan park.

Sagres: A Land of Sailors

Sagres is the birthplace of the Portuguese nautical expeditions in the Medieval Ages. This was the place to be if you were looking for adventures and glory.

Sagres

Fortaleza de Sagres is an impressive 15th century fortress built on the exact location from where the first Portuguese caravels set sail. Inside this monument, you can discover the local history and admire how magnificent the seascape is. This is the most visited monument in the Algarve.

While you stay in Algarve, we recommend trying goose barnacles. This seafood is a local delicacy you do not want to miss!

Close by, you will find the most south-western point in Europe: the astonishing Cape St. Vincent. Long ago, it was known as the “End of the World”, when the local’s imagination was filled with tales of deep-sea creatures crushing ships and revolving around the Atlantic Ocean.

Over time, locals understood no such creatures existed and built a lighthouse to let passing ships know about the cape. Visitors are welcome to visit the lighthouse, learn about its history, and discover how it works.

Lagos: A Historic City Overlooking the Ocean

Lagos will be your next stop. This historic city dates back to the Neolithic. Later on, Romans and Moorish people occupied the city. Their influences are visible in the traditional architecture and the local cuisine. During your stay in Algarve, we suggest exploring Lagos’ narrow streets and visiting the city’s historical landmarks, such as the Slave Market or Santa Maria church.

Lagos’ city center offers lively nightlife, perfect for a few drinks with friends.

Lagos coastline

Lagos surroundings are a popular holiday destination to stay in the Algarve. We suggest visiting Porto de Mós beach and the former fishing village of Praia da Luz. Since you are close to the sea, why not visit the Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse and the rugged sandstone cliffs? Joining one of the boat trips will allow you to explore the best beaches and caves in this area.

Every year, on the 29th of August, Lagos celebrates an ancient pagan tradition when it was believed a midnight swim would cleanse one’s soul. Nowadays, everyone is invited for a midnight swim at Meia Praia beach, where local DJs play music until sunrise.

Algarve Towns and Coastal Cities

The major cities of the Algarve are found along the southern coastline. Between Portimão and Faro, you will find the busiest cities, bustling nightlife, beach resorts, luxury hotels, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Portimão

Are you looking for some beach time? Praia da Rocha will be the perfect location for you. After spending the day lying down on the golden sand, party through the night at the local bars at Praia da Rocha “Strip”, the Avenida Tomás Cabreira.

Praia da Rocha, Portimao

It is the second-largest city in the Algarve and a popular beach destination. In Portimão’s old town, we recommend visiting the local market; the Igreja do Colégio Church, and the Museum, where you can discover curious facts about the city’s past.

Driving around in Portimão may be difficult for those who don’t know the city. If it happens to you, take the city bus named “Vai e Vem” to get around.

Our Preferred Hotels in Portimão

Carvoeiro

This picturesque seaside town is known for its traditional white-washed houses built along the golden sandstone cliffs and is one of the best places to stay in the Algarve.

The beautiful beach in the town center is the perfect place for a relaxing vacation. However, hiking along the Seven Hanging Valley Trail will allow you to explore the local wildlife and discover one of the most stunning beaches in the world: Praia da Marinha.

Carvoeiro

If you are eager to get on a boat tour, we recommend visiting the Benagil Cave, a natural dome-shaped grotto with a private beach. We also recommend a boat trip for dolphin watching.

Although Benagil Cave is very close to the beach, it’s not safe to swim there. Besides the ocean currents and shifting tides, the large number of boats entering the cave might make it dangerous.

Our Preferred Hotels in Carvoeiro

Albufeira

At a short distance from Faro airport, the resort town of Albufeira is the largest in the Algarve. Besides the rugged cliff beaches, the nightlife attracts most locals and travelers. The Oura street, or the “Albufeira Strip” as some may call it, is the heart of the most spirited nightlife in the Algarve.

Albufeira town and beach

Visitors will find many options available, from karaoke bars and Irish pubs to cocktail bars. If you are looking to party all night long, we recommend visiting “Kiss” or “Le Club”, two of the most popular nightclubs in town.

In the center of the Algarve, Albufeira is a perfect location to stay and plan a day trip to the nearest cities of Loulé and Faro.

Our Preferred Hotels in Albufeira

  • Santa Eulália Hotel & Spa – is a gem among mid-range hotels, where the lovely rooms, outdoor swimming pool and spa facilities will help you unwind and have the most memorable holiday.
  • Jupiter Albufeira Hotel – is a family holiday resort hotel with indoor and outdoor pools. The sandy beaches and Albufeira town center are within walking distance.

Faro

When you land at Faro airport, you will be arriving at the Algarve’s capital and largest city, where the beautiful coastline of Ria Formosa Natural Park offers a breathtaking view. The lively atmosphere makes Faro the ideal location for travelers looking for history, culture, and tradition.

Faro Old Town

We suggest visiting the Museum and the Cathedral, built over an Arabic mosque. The tourist train is also an option to explore the city’s monuments. The nearby islands of Culatra and Faro hold idyllic beaches of crystal-clear waters that are perfect for those looking for a quiet place in the sun.

While staying in Faro, look for the traditional seafood and fish cataplana. Summer is the best season to enjoy grilled sardines. You will taste some of the best food Algarvian cuisine has to offer.

Our Preferred Hotels in Faro

Eastern Algarve

Ria Formosa Nature Park is the main attraction in this region, where the islands and sandbanks protect the shallow water lagoons and natural swimming pools, making this the preferred location for many aquatic birds.

Cacela Velha

This charming village overlooking Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the oldest in the Algarve. Walking along the narrow streets will take you through well-preserved traditional houses of different colors and architectural influences.

Cacela Velha

However, the most important landmarks are the main church and the Cacela fortress, which used to be an Arabic castle built to protect the estuary’s entrance.

At the beach, there aren’t any restaurants, so take your food and drinks if you plan to spend the day.

The sandy beach of Cacela Velha is a favorite among locals and travelers looking for easy access and natural scenery, far away from the summer crowds. Getting to the beach will depend on the tides. At a low tide, you can walk to the beach. If the tide is high, you will need a taxi boat.

Tavira

This peaceful city on the Algarve coast has preserved its authenticity and avoided being overwhelmed by luxury resorts, becoming one of the best places to stay in the Algarve. We suggest day trips from Tavira to Monte Gordo beach and the fishing town of Vila Real de Santo António. These are a great way to explore the area.

Tavira Gilão riverside restaurants

Walking through the historic center is the perfect way to admire the unique architecture presenting Roman, Moorish, and Arabic influences. The city’s Castle and the Santa Maria do Castelo Church are great examples of this fusion.

While staying in Tavira, we recommend trying the traditional “Folhado de Tavira”, a round-shaped puff pastry filled with a special kind of egg custard.

Another landmark not to miss is the Roman bridge over the Gilão river. Until recently, this infrastructure was still in use by the local traffic.

Our Preferred Hotels in Eastern Algarve

The Algarve Countryside

Far away from Algarve hotels and the busiest cities along the coastline, some places remain untouched. The rural areas hide some of the most authentic and charismatic villages to stay in Algarve.

Silves

This ancient city hidden among hills and valleys was the capital of the Algarve during the Moorish occupation. Once you arrive at Silves, you will be stunned by the reddish city walls and medieval castle overlooking the area.

Silves

Walking through the old town will give you the perfect opportunity to admire the medieval influences on the architectural landmarks. We suggest visiting Silves Castle, the Cathedral, and the Museum, which holds an Arab cistern-well from the 12th century.

The cobbled streets in Silves old town are very slippery, even during dry weather. Rubber-soled shoes are the best to avoid any accidents.

In the Summer, the Silves Medieval Fair brings the city back to its former glory, filling the streets with a lively atmosphere where visitors are welcome to join the celebrations and become a king or a warrior for the day.

Monchique

During your stay in Algarve, you must have certainly seen the impressive mountains to the North. It is the Serra de Monchique mountain range. The Romans and Moorish considered Monchique (Mount Foia) a sacred mountain because of the healing properties of its naturally alkaline thermal waters. You can also try its benefits in the thermal resort in Caldas de Monchique.

Forests of Monchique

The village of Monchique lies secluded amongst cork-tree and pine forests, where old traditions are still a big part of people’s lives. We recommend walking through the village to discover cobbled streets and hidden alleys. The old monastery overlooking Monchique and the main church are two landmarks you must visit.

If you enjoy birdwatching, landscape, and nature photography and hiking, the Monchique hiking trails are the best to explore the mountain.

Last, but not least, the mountain peak will take your breath away! At 902 meters, Fóia is the highest place in the Algarve where you can see the coastal cities from Albufeira to Odeceixe on the west coast. Feel the crisp air, take a deep breath and enjoy the view!

Sunset at Fóia
Sunset at Fóia

Our Preferred Hotels in the Algarve Countryside