Travel to the Algarve, Portugal

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A Summer Dream: Travel to the Algarve, Portugal

Sourced from Portugal Tourism and Visit Algarve. The photos were taken by John Zeus. | The estimated reading time is 10 minutes.

The Algarve, located in Portugal, is a truly magnificent destination that can cater to everyone’s needs. The warm and sunny climate and the stunning beaches with varying shades of blue water are just a few of the attractions that make this place a must-visit. You can enjoy nature walks, immerse yourself in the local culture, and indulge in delicious Portuguese seafood and mountain cuisine. Once you set foot in Algarve, you’ll surely want to visit again.

Travel to the Algarve - Cycling Algarve - Sagres

When you travel to the Algarve, the southernmost region of continental Portugal, you’ll discover a destination famous for its sunny weather, cliffs, and beaches. Cycling through the Algarve is an excellent way to explore this region’s beauty.

Travelling to the Algarve to Witness Natural Beauty by the Sea

The Algarve coast spans about 200 kilometres and boasts extensive beaches that embrace the calm and warm sea beautifully. Split between the Western and Eastern regions, this area is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Europe and even the world. Exploring these beaches is a rich experience full of challenges and pleasures, where you’ll discover caves, cliffs, and trails that showcase why this Portuguese corner is a popular holiday destination for people worldwide. From Aljezur in the southeast to Vila Real de Santo António on the other side, I’ll give you some suggestions to include in your itinerary through the best beaches in Portugal’s Algarve.

Countless beaches still preserve their wild side. Between Odeceixe and Sagres, you’ll find some natural charms hidden among beautiful cliffs, some only accessible through less apparent paths. If you like to discover these authentic treasures, take note of the following suggestions on the Algarve’s Western side: Odeceixe Beach, Amoreira Beach, Monte Clérigo Beach, or Arrifana Beach—all of them perfect for summer days.

Coastline of Ponta da Piedade - Travel to Algarve Portugal

The Huffington Post named the coastline of Ponta da Piedade, near Lagos, the most beautiful in the world due to its towering limestone cliffs, caves, caverns, and arches.

The Most Photographed and the Most Cosmopolitan Beaches

Discovering the best beaches continues on another level in the Algarve. You will find one of the most photographed beaches in Lagos – Dona Ana Beach. The turquoise blue sea that excels among the cliffs has given it the title of one of the most stunning beaches in the region. Nearby stands another wonder – the Ponta da Piedade Beach, which was recently considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by the American newspaper, the Huffington Post. Once you arrive there, you can clearly understand why. Enjoy the surrounding beauty and discover its caves with a lovely ride in a boat.

Carvoeiro Beach is in Lagoa, in a charming small bay surrounded by a lovely fishing village. Despite having a well-developed tourist infrastructure, it still manages to preserve the traditional way of life in the Algarve. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend visiting Marinha Beach, another natural wonder renowned for its cliffs and natural tunnels.

Suppose you prefer more bustling and cosmopolitan travel styles. In that case, your itinerary should include some beaches like Falesia Beach (Vilamoura), Rocha Beach (Portimão), Galé Beach, or Oura Beach (Albufeira) – this is also where the Algarve’s nightlife is buzzing. If you follow the directions to Vila Real de Santo António, stop at Cabanas, Manta Rota, Altura, and Monte Gordo. These beaches are part of the Eastern Algarve, where the warmer waters are.

Read “Experience Portugal with SATA Azores Airlines” to learn more about travel to Portugal.

Algarvian sunset over Sagres Portugal

A stunning Algarvian sunset seen from my balcony at Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort & Hotel in Portugal.

Numerous Experiences

Hiking the Via Algarviana Trail
Hiking the Via Algarviana Trail. It’s a 299 km/185-mile long-distance hiking trail that passes through the spectacular Algarve region of Portugal.
Travel to the Algarve - Fresh Seafood - Fresh oysters and wine
When travelling to the Algarve Ria region, take advantage of savouring the local wine and indulging in fresh seafood.
The Algarve - Fisherman mural on the island of Culatra

A mural of a fisherman on the Island of Culatra.

The Jardim Pescador Olhanense statue. Exploring Olhão’s waterfront.

Monchique picnic lunch. John Zeus and group

After a long hike in Monchique’s mountains, we savour a picnic on a local farm with food and wine, surrounded by stunning views and tranquillity.

Nature Trails and its Labyrinths

The Algarve region is renowned for its diverse landscapes and cultures, ranging from the coast to the mountains, traditional villages to modern towns. There are numerous ways to explore and discover the region’s hidden gems, including hiking and biking trails. One popular route is the Via Algarviana, which spans about 300 kilometres from Alcoutim to Cabo de São Vicente, passing through the mountains. So, whether you prefer adventurous activities or a more relaxed pace, the Algarve has plenty to offer.

How Beautiful is Ria Formosa, Natural Park

The Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the most valuable natural treasures in the Algarve and is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. It is spread across about 20,000 hectares of the protected area along the coast, covering the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, stretching for about 60 kilometres. The park offers many flora and fauna, including dunes, marshes, beaches, and different ecosystems. You can explore the park on foot or by boat and discover its natural beauty. The Marim Environmental Education Centre provides information about the best routes to explore the park, so be sure to check out their resources.

Statue of Floripes in Olhão, the Algarve, Portugal

The statue of Floripes in the city of Olhão, Portugal, holds a legendary tale. It is said that Floripes was a Moorish woman who wandered every night in Olhão. She was sad and lost and a prisoner of an enchantment. She tries to seduce the fishermen, hoping they can break her fate.

The Islands of the Ria Region

The Ria region is known for its beautiful islands and other natural attractions. One way to discover some of the region’s charming and authentic places is by taking small boat trips. The Algarve has a hidden gem in Barreta Beach Island in Faro. The island features fine sand and clear waters, and it’s more isolated, giving visitors plenty of space to enjoy.

Three islands are closer to Olhão: Fuseta Beach, Culatra, and Armona. These extensive islands cater to those who seek excitement and prefer a quieter environment.

Tavira Island is another must-visit destination if you’re exploring the Southern islands. With approximately 11 kilometres of coastline, the island offers peaceful and serene fishermen’s days, fresh air, and sea breeze. It’s a perfect place for a tranquil and relaxing getaway.

The Algarve Tastes Like the Sea and the Mountains

The Algarve region is known for its diverse and delightful cuisine, which results from rich historical influences mixed over time. The cuisine, with a strong Mediterranean influence, varies according to the region’s geography. The food in the Algarve can be divided into two categories: fresh flavours from the coast and substantial flavours from the mountains.

When travelling to the Algarve region, you’ll discover its fame for fresh fish and seafood due to its proximity to the sea. There are several local delicacies here, and one can enjoy the sea’s bounty in many ways. Some of the popular dishes include Sopa de peixe (fish soup), Cataplana (a typical dish with fish, seafood and potatoes), arroz de polvo (rice and octopus), sardinhas (sardines), arroz de marisco (rice and various types of shellfish), cavala (mackerel), feijoada de polvo (octopus and beans), atum (tuna), lulas (squid) or búzios (whelks).

John Zeus and group cooking class Algarvian Cataplana

Travel to the Algarve

Algarve fish and seafood Cataplana recipe
We made the Algarvian Cataplana recipe featured in the above image during our trip. Click the image to view it larger.
Travel to the Algarve - Silvia shucks fresh oysters on Culatra

Silvia Padinha, a community leader with a long service history, is shucking fresh oysters on the island of Culatra.

Travel to the Algarve is a Wonderful Experience, Especially for Seafood Lovers

The Algarve is famous for its seafood cuisine and hosts some of the most important gastronomic events related to the sea. The Seafood Festival takes place in Olhão during August, while the Sardine Festival in Portimão also occurs in August. These festivals attract many people who gather near the bay to enjoy the delicious seafood dishes.

In the countryside (in the Barrocal and Serra Algarvia), traditional dishes are much more rural and influenced by the mountains. You’ll find guisados de carne (meat stews), favas à algarvia (fava beans), or galinha cerejada (chicken) on the table.

During March, Monchique hosts the traditional Sausage Market, famous for its wide range of regional products, from sausages to honey, crafts, and, of course, the famous traditional liquor called medronho (made with the fruit of the arbutus tree that grows in the mountains).

Travel to the Algarve - Taste the Sea and Mountains - Culinary Travel

Consider travelling to the Algarve region to experience the delicious culinary heritage it has to offer.

Made with Almonds, the Algarve Tastes Like Life’s Most Incredible Things

Many of the sweetest traditions in the Algarve are made with almonds and are influenced by the Arab presence in the past. Algarve is known as the land of almond trees, and to truly experience its essence, you should taste the local delicacies made with this dry fruit. I recommend trying the morgadinhos and the royal Dom Rodrigo, which are delicious examples of the Algarve’s culinary heritage.

I can assure you that the Algarve tastes like life’s most incredible things.

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Travel to the Algarve, Portugal – A Summer Dream

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