Would you like to discover the region that welcomes more visitors in Portugal? Would you like to visit touristy places and the ones off the beaten track to discover an authentic Algarve?
Then read below my 6-day Algarve itinerary that shows beautiful natural parks, amazing hiking routes, authentic towns and much more!
Algarve itinerary to discover the region in 6 days
One of the first things to do in the Algarve is driving west and visit Aljezur, located in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
This small town was founded by the Moorish in the 10th century and ultimately taken by the Portuguese three centuries later, during D. Afonso III kingship. In the 18th century and after the 1755 earthquake, the town was rebuilt in another place, about 700 metres away.
However, it is in the oldest part of the town that you’ll find traces from the medieval ages, including the ruins from the castle. From here, you can admire the views over the newest part of the town and its surroundings.
Another great location you can’t miss on this Algarve itinerary is definitely the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
When you visit this park, you’ll be immediately in love with some of the most beautiful landscapes in Portugal. Here you can choose to stroll through one of the many hiking trails in Vicentina route, an amazing place you’ll find between Alentejo and Algarve coastline.
One short hiking trail that I recommend you put in your Algarve itinerary is the one that stretches from Bordeira beach and Amado beach. Take this opportunity to enjoy the wonderful landscape and seascape and admire the bluffs, the Atlantic Ocean and the flora along the way.
Apart from Aljezur and the hiking trail, you should take some time to discover wonderful beaches like Odeceixe beach, Monte Clérigo beach and Arrifana beach.
On this second day of your Algarve itinerary I invite you to discover the southwestern point of mainland Europe, Cape Saint Vincent.
Apart from the amazing seascape that you can admire from Cape Saint Vincent, you should also take the opportunity to go to the fortress built during the Age of Discovery and admire the 28-metre high lighthouse, built in 1846.
About 7 km southeast of Cape Saint Vincent, you’ll find another beautiful place: Ponta de Sagres (Sagres Point). Visit this place and be amazed with its surroundings, from the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean to the rugged cliffs and coves and, of course, the fortress.
Built in the 15th century, the Fortress of Sagres underwent several renovations throughout the years, especially after the 1755 earthquake. Here, you’ll find the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça and a wind rose.
30 km northeast of Sagres, you’ll find the beautiful town of Lagos.
Throughout its history, Lagos was occupied by many peoples like the Carthaginian, the Romans and the Moors until the Christian reconquest in the first half of the 13th century. Take the opportunity to stroll around the beautiful historic centre, admire the churches and ramparts and enjoy the wonderful gastronomy.
Another unique experience you can enjoy on this day is a visit to Ponta da Piedade. Located south of Lagos, Ponta da Piedade is a natural monument and one of the places you must visit during your holidays in the Algarve.
Apart from the lighthouse, take the opportunity to admire the numerous cliffs that cut through the landscape and explore this place by climbing down the steps sculpted on the slopes or go on a boat tour to have a different perspective of this wonder.
On this day you can also spend some time exploring the beautiful beaches of Porto de Mós, Dona Ana and Camilo.
On the third day I suggest a visit to the fishing village of Alvor, located just 20 km east of Lagos. Explore this location and admire places like the church Igreja Matriz, the Misericórdia Church and the ruins from the old castle, turned into a playground.
If you want to do something different, I recommend you discover the wonderful hiking trail Ao Sabor da Maré.
This 6-km circular hiking trail is very interesting since it is made along the dunes that enabled the formation of the marsh and even of the Alvor estuary; apart from the beautiful landscape, take some time to admire the birds that nest and feed in this area and remaining fauna and flora, typical of this region.
Another location you must explore on this day is the beautiful town of Silves. Located 23 km northeast of Alvor, Silves is a town you can’t miss during your stay in the Algarve.
Considered one of the oldest towns in Portugal and one of the most beautiful in the Algarve, Silves displays some monuments you can’t miss.
Discover the castle of Silves, also known as the “red fortress” due to the colour of its walls, and, from there, enjoy the views over the town and surrounding area.
Another monument you can’t miss during your visit to this town is the Cathedral of Silves. Its construction began in the late 13th century and only ended in the 18th century; Gothic and Baroque styles are dominant in this beautiful monument.
During your third day of the Algarve itinerary, you should also consider visiting the fishing village of Ferragudo and Portimão beaches (Rocha beach and Três Castelos beach).
On this day I suggest you try another wonderful hiking trail along the Algarve coastline: the Sete Vales Suspensos hiking trail.
This 11,5-km hiking trail will amaze you with its unparalleled beauty, the reason why it is considered one of the best (if not the best) hiking trail in the Algarve.
Begin your hiking early in the morning since it’s more likely to get hot after 11:00 and temperature rises up to 30 ºC, especially from June to September; also take with you a bottle of water to keep hydrated.
This hiking trail has lots of points of interest and, because of that, we recommend you make some stops along the way. Take your time and enjoy the marvellous landscape that stands out in this region and admire places like Cape Carvoeiro, Carvalho beach, Benagil caves and beach and much more.
As an alternative to the hike, you can choose to go for a boat tour, which is also an amazing experience. If you choose the boat tour you won’t regret it since you’ll be able to admire the already mentioned places in a different perspective and you’ll definitely become dazzled with such beauty.
In the afternoon go to Senhora da Rocha and discover another wonderful place in the Algarve that few people know about. Here, you’ll find a fortress and a church built in the 16th century, on top of a cliff, and from this place you can take some amazing photographs of the seascape and surroundings.
Your day won’t be complete until you go to Falésia beach. Before stepping on the fine sand of this beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, take the opportunity to admire everything from its viewpoint.
One of the places that must be on your Algarve itinerary is the city of Faro. Despite being considered just an entry point into this region (because of the international airport), the truth is that you can’t miss the opportunity to visit this location.
When you go to Faro, take some time to visit its historic centre that shows traces of Roman and Moorish influence.
Once at the historic centre, visit the beautiful cathedral of Faro, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, where you can admire the tower and main portal, in Gothic style, and the nave and main chapel, in Mannerism and Baroque styles.
Apart from the cathedral, lose yourself in the narrow streets of the historic centre and admire the city walls, the beautiful Arco da Vila and other points of interest.
On this day you can also get to know the Ria Formosa Natural Park. You can go on a boat tour and admire the fauna and flora of this wonderful place as well as visiting some of its islands, like the Culatra and Tavira islands.
Another town that you must visit during your Algarve itinerary is the town of Tavira. Considered by many as one of the most authentic places in the Algarve, Tavira is a lovely location.
Take the opportunity to visit two Portuguese monuments, the castle and the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, the picturesque streets and houses and discover traces of Roman and Moorish occupation wherever you look.
Some kilometres east of Tavira you can also visit the village of Cabanas de Tavira, a place that offers amazing views over Ria Formosa.
Castro Marim is one of the places you can’t forget to include in your Algarve itinerary.
This town, located close to the border with Spain, has traces from ancient peoples like the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Moors before finally becoming Portuguese in 1242.
There are several points of interest in this Algarve town. You can start with a visit to the castle of Castro Marim, built some time after the conquest of this location from the Moors and from where you can enjoy the views over the town, the Guadiana river and Spain.
We must point out the Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Marshland Natural Reserve. Mainly composed of wetlands, it is on this marsh that you’ll find some of the oldest salt pans in Portugal, dating back to the 8th century BC.
Apart from the castle and the salt pans, take the opportunity to explore the Fort of São Sebastião, the Ravelin of Santo António and the church Igreja Matriz of Castro Marim.
On this last day of your Algarve itinerary take some time at the town of Alcoutim, located 38 km north of Castro Marim and also close to the Guadiana river, natural border with Spain.
Take a stroll through the beautiful streets of this town and, close to the river, admire two statues allusive to the smuggling of goods between Portugal and Spain, especially during the dictatorship.
Among other points of interest, you can also visit the Church of São Salvador, the Castle of Alcoutim, the Museum Centre of Archaeology and the river beach of Pego do Fundo.
Don’t finish your visit to the Algarve without discovering some other points of interest like the Odeleite dam viewpoint, Adão e Eva beach and the beautiful village of Cacela Velha that offers some of the most amazing views over the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
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