Here are the best things to do while you’re in the Algarve. I’m sure you could squeeze at least one of these activities into your holiday break. If you live here, why not be a tourist in your own town for a day? It’s the best way to see our amazing Algarve!
A simple walk
You can always walk. Most of us are lucky enough to be able to walk, it’s a part of our everyday life. So why not make your walk in the Algarve one of the most interesting walks you’d ever do? You can walk around Faro on a free walking tour and get to know this incredible city, or you could plan your own day hike along the Seven Hanging Valleys trail. Its a stunning route along the crumbly ochre cliffs suspended above a rich coastline riddled with caves, rough points and stacks of soft sandstone. Look out for random rock arches that manage to creep up on you unawares. Quick info, is head for Praia da Marinha and walk to Praia Vale Centianes and back. Its a total of 12km walking along the cliffs. For more extensive info check out https://www.walkalgarve.com/algarve-walking-sightseeing-birding-routes/seven-hanging-valleys-trail-lagoa-western-algarve
View the magical Algarvian coastal caves
Boat trips, kayaks, stand up paddle tours, jet skis, swimming… It doesn’t matter HOW you get there, you just have to get there. There are three main zones of magical cave infested coastline:
- Albufeira caves. The coastline just west of Albufeira’s old town commences with a super small little beach called Praia dos Arrifes, heads around to São Rafael and then eventually ends up on the sandy stretches of Praia Galé. In amidst the rocky sections, lies one spooky rock tunnel, a hidden beach reminiscent of the movie “The Beach” (with Leo Di Caprio) and a couple of unbelievable rocky jumps. It’s not full of caves but is an interesting section of coastline to traverse. #traveltips: Don’t miss the beautiful little Praia do Coelho.
- Armação de Pêra to Portimão. 15kms of unmatched beauty and adventure. Within the first few kilometres west of Armação de Pêra beach you’ll find a pretty sizeable L shaped cave with it’s own beach. Actually mostly all of the notable caves have their own sandy patches. Some of them depend on the tide as to whether they’re exposed beaches or submerged sandbars. You may have heard of the world famous Benagil Cave (pictured above) but don’t think that is the only cave on offer! Explore the “in and out” cave, deep trenches fissured into the rock, glide under double arches near Praia da Marinha and slip into protected covered coves near Carvoeiro. It just goes on and on and on and to fully explore it in a kayak or stand up paddle board you’ll need more than a day.
- Lagos and down to Sagres. Lagos is a beautiful town and packed with cool, crazy backpackers enjoying the times of their life. Accordingly expect the sea lanes below the town to be chock full of kayaks, fishing boats (doing cave tours), stand up paddleboards and other larger vessels, all vying for a view of the incredible rock formations. Praia das Batatas is where it starts as you exit the rivermouth and head out towards the point (named Ponte Piedade). Head around to the corner towards Porto de Mos and thats it. Heading further west towards Sagres is where it starts to get wild, powerful and many times pretty scary.
Some companies that can provide you with great experiences are the following:
Mountain bike down the Monchique foothills
Monchique is that 1,000m high mountain in the west of the Algarve (actually 902m at Foia, the highest peak). If you don’t know the area so well, check out our podcast all about the lie of the land.
The Algarve Mountain Bike Adventure are definitely some of the best guys in the business. If you need professionals to take you, head out on a mountain bike adventure with them. Jim has been biking for years firstly on the professional circuits in the UK and then out here in Lagos and Monchique. He’s probably broken every bone in his body just so you don’t have to!
Saying that, if you’d like to go for a trundle around some of the more picturesque areas in the Algarve, locate your local bike shop and they will generally let you know where you can hire a bike.
However a quick search will yield you tons of great info. Let me know what you find!
Segway tours through Quinta do Lago
Nelson and his Algarve by Segway company have been one of the number one activities on Tripadvisor (or on the Faro “things to do” list) for years. I went for a tour with him around one of his many locations as he takes Segway tours all over the Algarve. It’s a really fun thing to do and not at all tiring. Let that electric motor do all the work!
Learn to surf
Surfing is without doubt one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. It’s tough to get up and riding but once you do, you won’t look back. Get the stoke and learn to surf in the Algarve.
You wouldn’t want to leap in the wild Atlantic ocean with just anyone, would you? Why not learn to surf with the original surf instructors. These guys started it all down here in Lagos back in the 80’s and have been doing fantastically ever since. Toby One, the legendary leader of “The Surf Experience” relates his colourful story on the Algarve Addicts Podcast.
Other activities in the Algarve
There are tons more super interesting and fun things to do in the Algarve like wine-tasting, jeep safaris, motorized buggy and quad tours, water parks, ziplining and heaps more. Do you have any suggestions that aren’t covered here? Sorry, watching the world draughts championship near Tavira doesn’t count…