Algarve Tourist Attractions

The are so many exciting things to enjoy in the Algarve

The Algarve in the south of Portugal has been a popular tourist destination for years and for a reason; the region is ideal for relaxation and recreational activities and has some of Portugal’s best beaches, fantastic weather (The Algarve has more sunshine hours than California) as well as numerous world-class golf courses and endless opportunities for entertainment. And if you want to explore some of Portugal’s history, you will have plenty of options as The Algarve is full of history and heritage with buildings and walls dating back to Roman times.

Dolphins jumping - Algarve Zoomarine

The Algarve coastline stretches for about 160 kilometres and has some of the best beaches in the world as well as some of the most remarkable cliff faces and rock formations in the world. The western end of the coast is almost untouched and has kept its natural, dramatic charm. One of the main attractions of this area is Cape St. Vincent which is the most south-westerly point in Europe from where you have the most amazing views out across the Atlantic Ocean. Another interesting place in western Algarve is Lagos which is one of Portugal’s main ports and historically one of the most interesting cities of the Algarve region and you can still find many historical buildings and also the 17th century church of Santo António. Lagos also offers the unique beach area Praia Dona Ana which is referred to a one of the sunniest spots in Europe. It is a long stretch of beautiful golden sand beach surrounded by fantastic rocky formations. If you drive a bit further into the mainland from Lagos, you will find Monchique; a little town with a charming rural atmosphere located in a saddle formed by the two highest hills of the Algarve, Picota and Foia from where you find fantastic views of the southern and western coast. South of Picota, you can find a hot spring hidden away in the valley called Fonte Santa which is believed to have special healing effects.

Western Algarve also offers Portimão which is the second largest city of the Algarve and situated on the right bank of the Arade River. Portimão is a popular tourist destination and famous for its beaches Praia da Vau and Praia da Rocha; the latter also offering The Sta Catarina fort that gives amazing view over the estuary and the beautiful new marina. Just across the river from Portimao, you will find the beautiful fishing village of Ferragudo and the elegant resort of Carvoeiro. Between Portimao and Monichique, set in the beautiful mountains of the Algarve, you will find the Omega Parque Zoo which has specialised in endangered animals and offers a great, entertaining and educational day out.

Surrounded by the largest orange growing area in Portugal is the little market town of Silves. It was once the capital of the whole region and has a rich historical heritage with, amongst many other things, a castle, a gothic cathedral and the chapel of Joao da Rego that deserves a visit. Not far from Silves, is Lagoa where one of the best water parks in Europe is located. Slide and Splash has entertainment for the whole family and is a great day out.

Algarve Waterpark - Fun for all the Family

Centrally placed along the Algarve coast is Albufeira which is a cosmopolitan city surrounded by beautiful beaches like Praia Oura as well as numerous amusing places for children and adults alike. The Zoo Marine is definitely a main attraction in Albufeira and here you can spend the day with dolphins, seals, sharks and tropical fish amongst many other things. If you are looking for history, you should go for a walk in the narrow charming streets of Albufeira Old Town, and if you are looking for night life entertainment head to “The Strip” in the newer part of the town. A few kilometres to the west of Albufeira you will find a big water park Aqualand in the town of Alcantarilha and another one east of Albufeira in Loule called Parque Atlantico – Both offering lots of fun and entertainment for the whole family. Also to the west of Albufeira is the beautiful nature reserve of Salgados which is a true sanctuary for wild life lovers. It is a striking area of protected land and many rare species of birds.

Going further east you will get to the beautiful resort of Vilamoura where you will find fantastic beaches like Falesia, 7 beautiful luxury golf courses and the beautiful bustling marina from where you will find a big choice of boat trips and water sports as well as numerous restaurants and cafes. Vilamoura also offers a big casino and the exclusive Nikki Beach as well as the interesting Archaeological Museum that sits on the site of a Roman settlement dating from the third century. Very close by is Quarteira; one of the oldest of the Algarve resorts. Some of the main attractions here is the big Wednesday market where you can buy everything from souvenirs to local specialities and the two water parks Atlantic Park and Aquashow. Between Quarteira and the capital of the Algarve Faro are the stunning resorts of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago. Both exclusive golf and residential estates beautifully located bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Ria Formosa Natural Park which is a vast protected lagoon area with many archaeological sites and a rich bird life.

Faro is the capital of the Algarve, and definitely deserves more than just a drive through for the airport. The city has a lot to offer and is definitely worth a visit. When entering the old town area of Faro through the baroque archway Acro da Vila you are in for a historical treat with pretty narrow cobbled streets, numerous historic buildings and interesting architecture. Amongst many others, Faro Cathedral and the nearby Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao with the Municipal museum deserve a visit. Faro also offers great shopping opportunities and a bustling port from where boat trips to the Ria Formosa Natural Park is arranged.

Bird Watching - Ria Formosa

In the Eastern part of the Algarve you will find Tavira; a picturesque and unique town also known as “the little churches town”. Tavira and the surrounding area offer fantastic architecture, wonderful beaches, mountain ranges, windmills, numerous pretty little churches and beautiful houses where many carries the traditional Portuguese azulejos (hand painted tiles) decorations. The town is also full of historic buildings like the Tavira Castle and the Ponte Romana arched bridge across the River Rio Gilao. About 7 kilometres from Tavira there is a hidden treasure; Pego do Inferno, also called “the secret waterfall of Tavira” is an absolutely stunning site and well worth a visit even though it can be hard to find. It is completely off the beaten path for travellers, but most locals know the place and will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Not far from Tavira is the attractive beach resort of Montegordo laying only 3 kilometres from the Spanish border and with its amazing beach and new Montegordo Casino complex where there is entertainment to suit every taste. Close to Montegordo is the pretty historic Vila Real De Santo Antonio and with its characteristic market square, small alleys and great opportunities for river cruises on the River Guadiana – the second largest river in Europe – it is certainly worth a visit.

On the very Far East coast you will find Castro Marim well known for its two giant castles high up on the two hills that surrounds the village. Both the Casto Marim Castle and the Sao Sebastiao fortress offer interesting history and architecture and are well worth a visit. The area around Castro Marim is a protected natural reserve. The Sapal de Catro Marim is one of the oldest nature parks in Portugal, and is a wetland area with salt pans and marches that act as a feeding and breeding ground for many species of water birds including flamingos and storks.

From Castro Marim you should go north about 40 kilometres and you will get to the pretty village of Alcoutim lying on the banks of the Guadiana River. It is a charming town of cobbled streets, small squares and a promenade along the river front. The town is rich on historical sites like Alcoutim’s castle that offer excellent views of the surrounding Serra da Caldeirao hills, ancient copper mines and the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Conceico church with a 16th century Manuline (a traditional Portuguese style) doorway. Even if you are not staying in Alcoutim, it is definitely worth driving there – the town has so much to offer and on the way you will get to enjoy the beautiful unspoilt countryside of the Eastern Algarve.

For more information on Algarve property and on buying Property for sale in Portugal contact the team at Portugal property by sending your emails to: or feel free to call anytime from 8am to 8pm on 0800 014 8201