If you’re planning a list of things to do in Portugal, then you should know that Algarve is the region that welcomes most of the tourists in this country. Would you like to visit the points of interest and get to know a true and authentic Algarve? Check in this article some of the things to do in Algarve!
In this article I’m going to show you the best itinerary that will allow you to visit the most beautiful places in this region (beaches, unknown villages, amazing walking routes and much more).
To help you plan your holidays in the Algarve, I’ve prepared a 5-day itinerary (not counting with the day of arrival and the day of departure) for you to discover this beautiful region.
What to do in algarve: itinerary to spend 5 days in this beautiful region
Each day of this itinerary was prepared taking into account that Lagos would be my base.
During my stay in Lagos area, I’ve decided to sleep in the hotel Estrela da Luz (affiliate link) and I loved every minute spent there. If this hotel is not what you’re looking for then I suggest you take a minute and check here the 3 best hotels in the Algarve.
Day 1: Lagos, Ponta da Piedade
Start your day by going to the wonderful historic centre of Lagos. Here, you can visit the true and authentic city market; then you should lose yourself through the beautiful streets of this city – definitely one of the things to do in Algarve!
After your visit to the historic centre, discover Ponta da Bandeira fortress (to the right of the street Miguel Bombarda), built in the 17th century. Here, you can admire the small chapel of Santa Bárbara, decorated with glazed tiles, and the astonishing view over the sea.
Just 3 km from the historic centre you will discover one of the most beautiful places in the Algarve, Ponta da Piedade – you just need to go towards the end of the road of Ponta da Piedade.
Prepare yourself to be overwhelmed by the beauty of this place! Definitely one of the things to do in Algarve.
Information: to enjoy a unique perspective on this natural wonder, book a kayak tour in Ponta da Piedade (affiliate link). During this 2h30 activity, you will have the company of an experienced guide and you can take the opportunity to explore the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic along the beautiful rock formations found at this point of interest. Definitely an amazing tour!
In the afternoon, you can take some time off and relax in Dona Ana beach or in Camilo beach (both located next to the road of Ponta da Piedade). If these beaches are crowded, don’t worry! Choose Porto de Mós beach instead, located west of Ponta da Piedade.
Day 2: Sagres and Cape St. Vincent
Of the things to do in Algarve, you should visit Sagres, a village 34 km west of Lagos, and its fortress where Henry the Navigator founded a naval school. Great navigators were trained here and it was also here that the caravel was created – a Portuguese ship with lateen sails designed to enable backwind.
After visiting the fortress, discover Europe’s most southwestern point, Cape St. Vincent.
It is an amazing place where you can admire the beautiful seascape, Sagres Lighthouse and the old monastery.
Information: If you’re going to visit the cape, don’t forget to take your coat as the wind is pretty strong and, even with high temperatures, you’ll be cold!
On your way back, make a stop in Beliche beach – another visit to put in your list of things to do in Algarve. Located just 3 km away from Cape St. Vincent, this beach is not as well-known as other beaches in the Algarve, but it has a unique charm that will pull you in. Do not miss it!
Beliche beach is one of a kind. However, if you want to go there and appreciate its natural beauty, you’ll have to climb down a hundred steps.
After having a picnic or going to the nearest restaurant, facing Beliche beach, you can choose whether to stay and relax at the beach (Beliche, Mareta or Martinhal beaches) or to take the 6 km round walking route (Telheiro Beach Circuit) and discover this amazing landscape (see photo below).
Information: leave from Lagos in a vintage Volkswagen van on a trip to the western Algarve heritage (affiliate link). On this 4-hour guided tour you will have the opportunity to discover some less-known, but no less interesting points of interest such as the menhirs of Padrão and Milrei, the Sagres Promontory, the Cape of São Vicente and the dinosaur footprints at the beach Praia da Salema. Undoubtedly, a unique activity you won’t want to miss!
Day 3: Aljezur, Bordeira, Carrapateira
This day will be dedicated to the discovery of the Vicentine Coast.
Start your day in the picturesque village of Aljezur, founded by the Moors in the 10th century. The village was completely destroyed after the huge earthquake of 1755. Since then, a new village was born 500 metres away, around the main church of Nossa Senhora da Alva.
During your visit lose yourself in the narrow and photogenic streets of the old part of the village (surrounding Aljezur castle).
Next on your list of things to do in Algarve, you should visit Monte Clérigo beach located in the small fishing village with the same name. After that, go down to Arrifana beach to enjoy the marvellous landscape.
After lunch (at the beach or in Aljezur), continue to the beautiful Bordeira beach, where you can stay for the afternoon or go on a 10 km round walking route – 3h30 (Pontal da Carrapateira Circuit) to discover incredible landscapes.
The route crosses the small village of Carrapateira (from one end to the other), Bordeira and Amado beaches and, when returning, you’ll see a completely different landscape.
On your way back to Lagos, don’t miss the opportunity to stop at the small village of Bensafrim to admire its authenticity.
Day 4: Monchique, Alvor
Start your fourth day of holidays in the Algarve by going to the tallest peak – Fóia peak (902 m).
After admiring the amazing view over the Algarve (up to Cape St. Vincent), go to Monchique and lose yourself in the alleys surrounding the church street.
To explore the surrounding area you should take the mills walking route (10 km – 3 hours). Throughout this route you’ll see the Convent of Nossa Senhora do Desterro and the Mill of Poucochinho.
Information: if you don’t want to take the walking route, know that you can still visit the mill, you’ll just have to drive there. (GPS: 37°20’02.4″N 8°34’03.0″W).
After lunch, continue to the small village of Alvor and enjoy its alleys and the main church.
While you’re in Alvor take some time to relax at the beach, located 1 km from the historic centre. Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll through the wooden walkway from Alvor beach to Três Irmãos beach (6 km).
When you get to the west end of the beach, instead of returning through the same walkway, stroll by the Ria de Alvor where you can admire 350 ha of dunes, birds and flora.
Day 5: Silves, Benagil
On the fifth and last day of holidays in the Algarve, start your journey by going to the amazing city of Silves. The places to go are: Al-Hamra Castle, built by the Moors, and the beautiful cathedral.
After visiting these two places, stroll down the cathedral street to Silves City Gates.
When you return to the cathedral (you can leave your car nearby), lose yourself in the narrow streets to feel the atmosphere of Silves.
The best way to finish your day is by going to Carvoeiro beach.
My suggestion is that you take a tour on a small boat (10 people) to discover the amazing caves (Benagil is the most famous one), beaches, such as the Marinha beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and Alfanzina Lighthouse.
The tour from Carvoeiro beach to Marinha beach is 25 € and takes 1h30. If you visit Algarve in July or August, don’t forget to book your tour the day before – you just have to click here.
Information: I would like to thank Lydia, a reader from this blog, for the information and photos about this tour.
Do you want to see all these wonderful places without having to book a boat tour?
Then, you should go on the 7 Hanging Valleys walking route that connects Marinha beach to Vale Centeanes beach (3 km from Carvoeiro beach) – if you like hiking, then this is one of the things to do in Algarve!
The walking route goes along the cliffs for 5.7 km (11.4 km both ways), which will be perfect for you – this way you’re going to see amazing landscapes and, if you want to, you’ll even have the chance to stop and relax in one of these beaches: Marinha, Benagil and Vale Centeanes.
Check here if you want to see the map of the walking route.
Are you going on holidays to the Algarve? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way I’ll be able to continue to give you free tips and travel guides so you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
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