When it comes to exploring Portugal, choosing a place to visit can be very challenging, as there are so many breathtaking destinations in just one beautiful country: Lisbon, Porto, Madeira and many more!
But there is one location that you MUST include in your “to do” list, and this place is Portugal’s hidden gem, The Algarve Coast.
Dramatic cliffs, mysterious sea caves, golden beaches, turquoise water, marvellous cuisine and the friendliest locals. What else could you ask for? Oh yeah, it’s a surfer’s paradise as well!
If you haven’t had the pleasure of spending some quality time in this stunning region, we hope that you will after reading our article.
Between three to four days is the ideal time to spend exploring this sunny coast, as there are so many beautiful sights to discover.
This 4-day itinerary through The Sunny Algarve is a day-by-day route that documents our personal experience.
DAY 1: arriving in Faro
Portugal has three international airports, Lisbon, Faro and Porto. The easiest option is to fly straight to Faro and then make your way to your chosen destination in The Algarve Coast. Whatever place you choose will be between 15 minutes to 1 hour away from that airport. We decided to choose Lagos as our home for this adventure as it has many options in terms of accommodation, food and of course beaches nearby.
Our advice to you: take that first day to relax and enjoy some amazing cuisine and get ready to explore on the next day!
DAY 2: Lagos
This popular city is located on the southern coast of The Algarve and features an incredible range of popular beaches to suit all visitors.
First stop: Praia dos Estudiantes, a MUST! Each of the beaches in Lagos has a slightly different vibe but Praia dos Estudantes with its archway and caves is arguably one of the best and worth seeing. There are no stairs down to it from the cliff tops so you need to get there by walking through the caves from one of the adjoining beaches (Praia da Batata or Praia do Pinhao).
Second stop: Praia da Dona Ana, ideal for spending a relaxing day on the beach, as there is a calm ambience and the setting is stunning. The beach is suitable for families, having clean and calm sea waters, while on windy days the high cliffs provide shelter from sea breezes.
Third stop: Praia do Camilo, located between Praia Dona Ana and Ponta da Piedade, it is a picture perfect beach that will leave you with your mouth open.
To get to Praia do Camilo, you have to descend a long wooden stair of about 200 steps that makes for an incredible picture. The only downside is that it is a pretty small beach so it can get very crowded in the summer months.
Fourth and last stop of the day: Ponta da Piedade, simply one of the most extraordinary places in the Algarve. Its rocks carved by the wind and tides for thousands of years and its caves and tunnels make an incredibly beautiful spot. In that corner of Lagos, the sea is incredibly transparent, which, together with the breathtaking cliffs, makes the landscape a true wonder of nature.
Best time to visit: SUNSET. Towards the end of the day, when the sunrays hit in an almost parallel way to the ocean, the sea is covered with shining tones and the caves acquire a golden tone that it’s impossible to describe.
DAY 3: Portimao
Our second day was quite hectic so we decided to have a more relaxed third day and only explore the Portimao region but more precisely, the beautiful Praia dos Tres Irmaos. It is famous for its stunning rock formations and the many hidden caves that can be explored. The sunset from this beach is gorgeous as well. The seawater has a great colour and is almost transparent making this beach great for snorkelling.
DAY 4: Carvoeiro
We decided to spend our last day exploring this beautiful area as it harbours both the incredible Benagil Caves and Praia da Marinha as well.
MUST DO’s: visit Carvoeiro Beach, take a boat trip or paddle board to the stunning Benagil Caves, explore Praia da Marinha and find the beautiful heart shaped rock at the end of the main cliff.
WHEN TO VISIT
The Algarve Coast is one of the sunniest places in southern Europe – even in winter months, so any time is good for a visit.
But if you want to avoid the scorching heat and the tourist crowds our advice is to visit between late April and early June or between mid-September and late October.
WHERE TO STAY
There are plenty of options in terms of accommodation all over the Algarve area, it depends on what type of holiday you are after: villas, luxury hotels, farm stays, you name it!
We wanted to have a more chilled experience and decided to go for a beautiful and cozy Airbnb condo located only 10 minutes away from the beaches in the Lagos area.
GETTING FROM A TO B
There are a handful of ways to get around in the Algarve: by (rental) car, train, bus, taxi, Uber, transfers and hiring a camper. Each of this means of transport can be most suitable to get around in the Algarve, depending on your situation.
We rented a car at the airport, drove around the whole area during our stay and dropped it off at the airport again at the end of the trip. Our car was a standard small to medium car and cost around £30 for 3 days.
For us, visiting The Sunny Algarve has been for sure an unforgettable experience, on of those places that we would go back in a heartbeat. When are you going to visit?