The southern region of Portugal offers some of the most incredible resort towns in the country, with staggering nature scenes made up of rugged cliffs, giant sea caves, secluded beaches, and unique wildlife.
You can find enough things to do in Algarve Portugal to stay busy even on an extended stay. We’ve gathered the highlights for your Algarve itinerary so you can skip all the research and vacation planning.
Things to Do in Algarve Portugal
Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or like lazy beach days, we have you covered.
1. Kayak to Benagil Cave
One of the best things to do in Portugal is to kayak (or paddleboard if you prefer) to the world-famous Benagil Cave. The giant sea cave boasts an idyllic beach inside. It is only lit up by natural sunlight coming through a large pothole in the cave ceiling.
This is one of the most popular things to do in Algarve Portugal, so it is a good idea to come early or during the week. There are also boat trips taking you to the cave but be aware that boats are not allowed to drop tourists off inside the cave, so you will only get a peek in from the outside. Hence the best way to get inside the cave is by kayak or paddleboard, which are available for rent nearby.
However, suppose you do not have a car and are situated in any beach resorts in the Algarve like Albufeira, Lagos, or Portimao. In that case, beach resorts in Algarve like Albufeira, Lagos, or Portimao, there are daily boat excursions to Benagil Cave. Some tours also offer a boat ride to Benagil and then go by kayak or paddleboard from the boat to the cave to get the whole experience.
2. Gaze at the Rock Formations of Ponta da Piedade
It is hard to imagine a better place than Ponta de Piedade in southern Portugal to soak in breathtaking rock formations. Just a short drive from Lagos, you find one of the most popular things to do in Algarve Portugal for tourists. It is easy to see why.
The cliffs dive into the crystal clear water, dotted with tall pinnacles forming natural caves and tunnels. Numerous boat trips to Lagos take you along the rugged coastline.
It is also an excellent opportunity to rent a kayak or paddleboard so you can discover secluded beaches only reached by water along the way. Many people believe the rock formations resemble local wildlife. Take a look for yourself!
3. Take Surfing Lessons in Lagos
Lagos is a great place to start if you are planning to take surf lessons in the Algarve. The enchanting surf town boasts plenty of surf schools that take you to the appropriate beach to learn how to surf, depending on your level.
The expert instructors ensure they take you to the best beginner waves daily and will adapt the lessons to your skills. So whether you have tried surfing before or are entirely new to the sport, you will learn something new and get the guidance you need.
Solo travelers should also try it, as it can be a great way to meet other travelers.
4. See Flamingos in Faro
One of the things to do in Faro is to walk through Ria Formosa Natural Park and look for flamingos. One of the best trails to see is the Ludo trail, right between the city center and Faro beach – not far from the airport. Despite the low-flying planes, the birds seem to love the area. Between October and March, large groupings of these unique wading birds flock around this easily accessible area.
The trail is 7 kilometers long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete, but you do not need to complete it to see the flamingos. So whether you are traveling with kids or are short of time, you will still be able to get the experience.
5. Soak Up the Sun at Lago’s Beaches
While there are spectacular Algarve beaches along the entire south Portugal coast, the ones around Lagos are lovely. Due to the many rock formations that adorn the water in this area, the beaches are genuinely picturesque.
Don’t forget about Estudantes Beach, the ancient bridge connecting the mainland with a tiny rocky island off the beach. Additionally, Doan Ana and Camilo beaches boast several rock formations dotted in the water, giving them personality.
Climb down 200 steps at Camilo Beach, where you can venture through a small tunnel in the limestone rock wall to get to the next beach.
6. Water Activities in Albufeira
As one of the top resort towns in the Algarve, some of the best things to do in Albufeira include the various water activities. Most tourists like to hang out on one of the town’s many beaches, but the more adventurous ones can be seen hanging off kites high above boats or kayaking along the cliffs.
You can rent jet skis, go on boat trips along the cliffs or have a barbeque at a secluded beach with friends. Or discover the underwater caves by going scuba diving or snorkeling.
7. Check Out the Bone Chapel in Faro
One quirky attraction in the Algarve is the spooky bone chapel in Faro. Decorated with the bones and skulls of more than 1000 monks of the Carmelite order, it was created to pay respect for their service. The chapel is part of the more prominent 18th-century Algarvean Baroque-style church, Nossa Senhora do Carmo, which is a stunning church.
You should at least plan for a 30-minute visit to see the Nossa Senhora do Carmo and the bone chapel. The latter was built after the main church at the beginning of the 1800s. Note that the bone chapel is closed on Sundays, open Monday to Saturday from10:00-13:00 or 15:00 to 17:00.
8. Hit the Hiking Trails
The Algarve is jam-packed with splendid coastal trails lining the top of soaring limestone cliffs looking out on the glittering Atlantic Ocean. It is hard to imagine a more stunning hiking destination. Generally, the trails are easy, and since the Algarve does not have any high mountains, there will not be any steep inclines.
Among the best hiking trails, you find the breathtaking Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, which takes you from Carvoeiro to Marinha beach. This is a 6-hour hike that takes you past some of Algarve’s most spectacular sites like Benagil Cave and Algar Seco. Even if you do not want to hike for that long, you can do parts of the trail. For instance, walk between Marinha beach and Benagil beach, where you will see impressive potholes, natural arches, and staggering rock formations along the route.
9. Head to “The End of the World”
During the time of the discovery, Cape Sao Vicente was considered the end of the known world. The 60-70 meter tall vertical cliffs bordering the raging ocean fit the bill. Combine a stroll along the dramatic cliffs with a visit to the Lighthouse and Sagres Fortress with a relaxing lunch in the quiet village of Sagres.
Enjoy the coastline’s sunset above Tonel beach, where you can see surfers playing in the waves below you in the golden light before the sun paints the sky in pink and orange colors.
There are multiple trails along the cliffs, but be careful and do not get close to the edge, even though it might be tempting to take pictures. The eroded cliffs can break off at the edges and drop to the raging waves below.
10. Go on a boat trip
No matter where you are based, going on a boat trip in the Algarve will give you many opportunities to see staggering cliffs from the seaside and explore hidden caves and beaches. But most of all, it allows you to see wildlife in its natural habitat.
There are several boat excursions for dolphin watching and whale watching in the Algarve to choose from. Some tours include a marine biologist speaker that explains the underwater world.
Note that there is a place to swim with captured dolphins on the Algarve. However, this is a highly unethical activity as it supports individuals who keep the animals caught.
11. Sightseeing in Tavira
Tavira is an enchanting fisherman village in the Algarve. It is a must-visit for anyone that wants some peace yet enough energy in town to find restaurants, attractions, and cafés.
The main attractions include the castle ruins, which are just the walls left but include a cute garden and the possibility to walk on top of the medieval stone walls – for free. Next to it, you can see the city from a new perspective through the Camera Obscura. There are also several museums in town. However, one of the best things to do is to let yourself get lost in the streets and be surprised by flower-covered houses and tiled walls.
The fisherman’s quarter is lovely and shows off their Portuguese tiles houses. Cross the old Roman bridge to wander around the other side of the river, where you will also find various restaurants.
If you want to hit the beach, you can take the ferry to Tavira Island, one of the five barrier islands in Ria Formosa Natural Park. It is also the only one of these islands that you can walk to. Just passed the tiny fisherman’s village of Santa Luzia, you can cross a walking bridge and then take a tourist train or walk for 1.3 kilometers to Barril beach on Tavira Island.
So Many Things to Do in Algarve Portugal – Which Will You Do?
There is no doubt that there are many amazing things to do on Portugal’s impressive Algarve coast, especially for nature lovers. With the spectacular beaches hiding between dramatic cliff formations, massive sea caves, incredible wildlife, and endless water sports activities, it is hard to see why many people flock to this fantastic destination.
With so many things to do in Algarve Portugal, it is a must-do stop for those visiting the country. A destination with more than 300 days of sun in the year, it is still a fantastic winter destination, especially for surfers.
If any of these things to do in Algarve Portugal sound exciting, start making travel bookings and get ready for adventure!
FAQs About Algarve Portugal
Where is the Algarve?
The Algarve region covers the southern part of Portugal from the Spanish border east to the western coast.
What is Algarve known for?
The Algarve is mainly known for great surfing, steep cliffs along the coastline, mesmerizing beaches, and being a party destination.
Is the Algarve worth visiting?
The Algarve is an incredible destination for anyone that loves the sun, beaches, water activities, boat trips, and incredible nature.