Top 10 of the places to visit in Algarve

Ria Formosa Algarve

Algarve is one of the favourite destinations for tourists and the Portuguese people due to its beautiful beaches. But this region is more than some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Join us in our visit to this region and discover some of the most beautiful places in Algarve.

Here is the top 10 of the places to visit in Algarve:

1.  Ponta da Piedade

Located near the port city of Lagos, Ponta da Piedade is an exceptional natural place. Ponta da Piedade offers a stunning view over Cape St. Vincent, with beautiful cliffs, arches and caves. Before you visit this natural beauty you should talk to the local fishermen.

Tip: The place is accessible by land and by sea, however, to really feel the atmosphere, choose the fishing boats. Security is paramount so be careful, especially if you take your kids.

2. Cacela Velha

Located 11 km from Tavira, the picturesque village of Cacela Velha offers its visitors some of the most amazing views over the sea and the islands of Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Apart from the panoramic view of the Ria, you will also find in this village the beautiful church and the fort of Cacela Velha, built in the 17th century.

3. Ria Formosa Natural Park

Ria Formosa Algarve
© normark.pt

Opened since 1987, this park has a considerable biodiversity and comprises 60 kms of length and over 18.000 ha total. The wetland area is composed mainly of isles, swamps and chanels – a spectacle like no other in the world.

Tip: Before you explore the park’s flora and fauna, go to Marim Education Centre to determine the best trail to watch the birds you want.

  • Location: Google Maps
  • Opening hours: from 8h to 20h
  • Tickets: 2,50 euros

4. Tavira

Tavira is definitely the most picturesque city in Algarve. Its origins date back to the Roman occupation but it is during the Moorish occupation that it gains more importance up until the 17th century, when Portugal leaves its North African territories.

When you visit Tavira, you’ll discover a city with 21 churches, an old Arab quarter, ruins of a castle where you can enjoy the most fantastic view over Tavira, a Roman bridge and alleys where you’ll love to lose yourself.

5. Silves Castle

Built between the 8th and the 10th century by the Moorish, its unique architecture is a trace of the Muslim presence there. The castle, also known as “red fortress” because of its colour, is on the top of the hill, facing the city of Silves.

We can also admire from the various and different viewpoints the whole city, from the Serra de Monchique to the orchards. Considered as one of the most important monuments in the Iberian Peninsula, it is a national monument since 1910.

  • Opening hours: from 9h to 19h in the summer and from 9h to 17h30 the rest of the year
  • Tickets: 2,80 euros

6. Faro

The city of Faro is the entry point for those who want to visit Algarve and travel by plane. However, this city is often forgotten by tourists who go directly to the various resorts in the region.

Located just 6 km from the airport, the historic centre of Faro will amaze you with all its alleys frozen in time and its beautiful cathedral where you can enjoy the most magnificent view over the Ria Formosa.

Tip: after your visit to the historic centre, don’t miss the opportunity to go on a boat tour to discover the wonders of Ria Formosa Natural Park. In addition to admire the fauna and flora, you’ll also have the chance to visit 4 islands, some of them inhabited by fishermen.

7.  Cape St. Vincent

Especially for nature lovers, Cape St. Vincent is, not surprisingly, a nature reserve since 1988 given the number of species that make this place their home: sea otters, herons, Bonelli’s eagles, etc.

This part of the coast has its history. Since the Middle Ages that this edge of Europe was considered as “the end of the world”. Along with the beauty of the surrounding landscape you must visit Sagres fortress, the lighthouse and the old monastery.

8. Lagos

Lagos is one of the cities in Algarve tourists love the most and, contrary to the others, this city has maintained its authenticity.

When you visit Lagos, take some time to lose yourself in the alleys of its historic centre and enjoy the air of this city. Afterwards, visit the authentic Mercado Municipal (city market).

After visiting the historic centre, discover the fort of Ponta da Bandeira, built in the 17th century. Here you can admire the small and beautiful chapel of Santa Bárbara, covered with glazed tiles, and the magnificent view over the sea.

9. São Lourenço de Almancil Church

Built in the 18th century in honour of São Lourenço, this church, located in Almancil, may look ordinary on the outside.

Completely white, in baroque style and with a square tower, it is only inside of the church that we discover its secret: the depiction of the life of the saint in glazed tiles and statues dating the time of the construction of the church.

  • Opening hours: from 10h to 13h and 14h30 to 17h (18h in the summer) – closed on Sundays
  • Ticket: 2 euros

10. 7 Hanging Valleys Walk

If, like me, you love beautiful landscapes then know that you can’t leave Algarve without doing the 7 Hanging Valleys Walk.

This 5,7 km walking route (11,4 km both ways) goes hand in hand with the cliffs from Marinha beach to Vale Centeanes beach. If you go on this walk know that you’ll be amazed with the fantastic landscapes and, if you want to, you can also stop at one of 3 beautiful beaches (Marinha, Vale Centeanes and Benagil).

To access the trail map, please click here.

Information: as you may have noticed, we didn’t include any beach in this article. But don’t worry! Check our Top 10 of the best Algarve beaches.

Are you going to visit the Algarve? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!

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About Tiago

Tiago, 29 years old, Parisian since 12, I decided to go on an adventure and make my dream come true: get to know our country from one end to the other. I believe that if we don’t know our origins we don’t truly know ourselves. Read more here