Places of Interest in the Algarve

Information on the main tourist attractions, places of interest and sights to see in the Algarve...

The Algarve is well-known for its beaches and its golf courses. Find out about these and further attractions below.

Beaches

The Algarve's main attraction is its beaches. Among the most famous are the Praia da Dona Ana, Praia de Ilha de Tavira, Praia dos Barcos, Prai do Armado and Praia da Rocha.

There are also many opportunities to practice water sports. The Praia de Figueira, located near to the village of Salema, is popular with windsurfers and divers. Meia Praia in Lagos is the longest beach in the Algarve region. There are facilities for windsurfing, jet skiing and other water sports on site. Praia da Marinha in Benagil is suitable for snorkelling.

There are different beaches to suit different needs, quiet coves, family beaches with activities and games or nudist beaches. As this stretch of coast is so developed the beaches tend to be well maintained and are regularly cleaned with bars and restaurants close by. Most of the big hotels are close to the beaches in the tourist centres.

The blue flag is an internationally recognised award given to beaches and marinas that fulfil certain criteria including; facilities, water quality, environmental issues and public access and safety.

  • From the blue flag website it is possible to search the facilities of the Algarve's beaches: Click here

Along the coastline there are many rock formations and marine caves that can be visited by boat, specifically between Armação de Pêra and Benagil.

Albufeira is the Algarve's largest tourist resort covering 30 kilometres of coastline including the Galé, Albufeira and Falesia beaches.

Faro

The provincial capital and administrative centre of the Algarve has some historical Roman and Moorish monuments and an old town quarter. Ruins dating back to the XIII century are still visible, but most of its buildings date from the second half of the XVIII century. They have been rebuilt following devastating earthquake that hit the town in 1755.

Faro old town is divided into 3 areas – Vila-Adentro, Mouraria and Bairro Ribeirinho - and surrounded by medieval walls. Many visitors visit the old town to see its cathedral and other historical buildings. The 13th century Sé Cathedral combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and also displays woodcarvings, marble and azulejos.

The Ilha de Faro sand dune islands and the Ria Formosa lagoon form part of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. They are a popular location for outdoor sports in summer.

Loulé

Loulé has many souvenir shops selling leather, cane, wood and copper artefacts, and hosts a weekly fair. Rua da Barbaca is a focal point for handicraft in the area as local craftsmen make and sell items made from copper, brass, leather and wood. There is also the museum of dried fruit (Museu dos Frutos Secos) and a municipal museum located in the town.

Loulé Carnival is considered to be one of the best festivals in Portugal.

Golf

The mild climate and coastal scenery of the region has attracted golfers for over 30 years. There are over 29 golf courses located in the Algarve including San Lorenzo and Quinta do Lago south, which hosted the Portugal Open on several occasions. In general golf is played from October to May.