The Algarve is one of the most popular areas of Portugal and people travel there from all over the world to soak up the sun – which shines around 12 hours a day in summer – on its inviting beaches. However, the allure of luxury resorts and laidback lifestyle means much of the Algarve can be rather touristy. Here are some ways to enjoy a memorable holiday in Portugal without falling into the trap of spending all your time on the beach or by the hotel pool.
Learn the history
Find out more about your surroundings by putting on a pair of walking shoes and exploring the Milreu ruins. Set in the countryside, this Roman villa is a window to the past, with intact mosaics, bathing room remains and a courtyard. You can then take a wander to the Old Town, which treats you to the sight of orange groves and gardens. You can also stroll down the Calćadinha de Sào Brás de Alportel, a cobbled road used by the Romans. Keep on discovering the area’s history by visiting the Castelo Castle and Fortaleza de Sagres fortress.
Catch a festival
Time your stay to coincide with one of the Algarve’s vibrant festivals, where locals and tourists get together to have fun times. The Carnival in Loulé takes place every February and has been celebrated for over 100 years. Parades include colourful floats, dancers and samba music. If you’re there in August, partake in the White Night, where the Algarve waves goodbye to summer by asking everyone to wear white. Expect fire eaters and street musicians until the early hours. Foodies will enjoy the Shellfish Festival that also takes place in August.
If you’re a sports fan, you can get competitive with the locals. The F1 Powerboat Grand Prix takes place every May and supporters go along to see international competitors challenge each other on the waters. Golfers will enjoy the Portugal Masters Golf Tournament in October at the Victoria Golf Club. For something a bit different, the Mundialito Beach Soccer Tournament is put on every August, taking the beloved game of football onto sandy pitches.
After a day of culture soaking, make like a local and finish the day perfectly by eating at a recommended restaurant. Taverna do Guedes serves up traditional seafood dishes in a rustic setting and Casinha do Petisco is a tucked away treasure in Lagos that does extremely tasty steamed clams.
Of course, you should definitely put some time aside to hit the beach as well – it would be rude not to.
Images by Pedro Ribeiro Simões, Carole Raddato and Secretaria de Esporte , used under the Creative Commons license.
This article scratches the surface on what’s on offer to visits or the Algarve. The incredible scenery plays a part in all activities and even after visiting the Algarve several times I still go back for more because I enjoy it so much.
Also that first photo is fantastic, such a simple but storytelling image of the locals.
It really great absorbing the way other people grew up. Nice post and pics!
This is a really helpful guide for anyone who would like to visit and experience Algarve. Your pictures look great as well. 2 thumbs up!
I love that second pictured with the ruins and the beautiful mosaics. what a fun thing to see and enjoy. The Algarve sounds amazing!
I m new married and my family plan “international honeymoon travel. So you can suggest me affordable price packages.
what I like in Portugal is the cuisine and stylish manner frentr the sea, and even more that is super affordable buy homes in the region of Algarve
Great post. I love this blog.
This is a really helpful guide for anyone who would like to visit and experience Algarve