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The Algarve as a tourist destination – Incredible places to visit

1 – Incredible places to visit in Algarve 

Algarve has much more to offer than just its magnificent beaches.

Here are some tips on natural landscapes and several places of historical and cultural interest.

Visit the Estoi Palace

 

About 10 km north of Faro you will find the small village of Estoi, where the Palacio de Estoi stands out. Nowadays transformed into a charming Pousada, the Palace is open to visitors, and it is possible to admire its beautiful tiles, the original architectural details and its garden.

How to get there:

Exploring the historic center of Faro

 

Faro is one of the most interesting cities from a historical and cultural point of view in the region. Visit places like Capela dos Ossos, the Castle and its walls, the Arco do Repouso or Largo da Sé.

How to get there:

Exploring the Ria Formosa Natural Park

 

The Ria Formosa is a unique area in the Algarve. Classified as a Natural Park since 1987, it stretches over 60 km through the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António. Home to countless species of fauna and flora, those who visit the Ria Formosa will find sandbanks, saltpans, freshwater lagoons, agricultural areas, marshes, barrier islands, among other unique natural elements.

How to get there:

Exploring Tavira!

 

The town offers opportunities to stroll between historic buildings, numerous churches and chapels, narrow streets and houses with triangular roofs (the so-called “scissor” roofs of Tavira). A Roman bridge connects the two sides of the town, separated by the river Gilão. Some places not to be missed in Tavira: Roman bridge, Ribeira market, Ruins of Tavira Castle, Praça da República, Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, Jardim do Coreto, Jardim da Alagoa, Salinas, Praia do Barril.

How to get there:

Visit the village of Alte

 

The village of Alte, located in the Serra do Caldeirão, is known as the most typical village in the Algarve. Its two fountains – Fonte pequena and Fonte Grande, invite you to have a picnic in the shade of the trees or take a dip in their cool waters.

Also visit the famous waterfall there, known as Cascata de Alte or Queda do Vigário.

How to get there:

Visit the Loulé Municipal Market

 

Loulé Municipal Market is a historic public building in the city of Loulé. It was inaugurated in June 1908 and is considered one of the main examples of the revivalist style in the Algarve being inspired by Islamic buildings. Inside you can find some of the best traditional Algarve delicacies as well as the freshest fish and vegetables.

How to get there:

Explore Silves

 

A perfect day out from the Algarve coast, Silves is a lovely medieval town amongst orchards and vineyards. Silves was in the hands of the Moors for almost 500 years, and the enduring monument from this period is the castle. To explore, Silves Castle, Silves Cathedral, Silves Municipal Archaeological Museum, Old Town of Silves.

How to get there:

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

 

This 5,7 km route links Praia de Vale Centeanes, in Lagoa, to Praia da Marinha.

This trail climbs up and down ravines that almost always open up above sea level – the hanging valleys. In the distant past, each hanging valley was associated with the mouth of a stream and was created by a rapid retreat of the coastline which was not accompanied by the water’s edge.

On the way, you will have the opportunity to discover the Alfanzina lighthouse, Benagil beach, Carvalho beach.

It is considered of medium difficulty; the Average duration is  3h (6h there and back).

How to get there:

Algar de Benagil, or Benagil Cave

 

Algar de Benagil, or Benagil Cave, is undeniably one of Portugal’s most stunning and famous natural landmarks. It features a remarkable grotto with a hole in the ceiling known as “the eye,” which illuminates the golden sands and turquoise waters with sunlight and provides a glimpse of the blue sky above.

Benagil Sea Cave is located on the beautiful Algarve coastline in the fishing town of Benagil, about 15 minutes away from the town of Lagoa,

25 minutes from Portimao and about 45 minutes from the Faro Airport.

Parking is very limited at Benagil beach, so it is best to leave your car at the top of the cliffs and walk the rest of the way.

When visiting Benagil Sea Cave, you can admire the rock formations from above and explore the rest of the beach on foot, but the inside of the Benagil Cave can only be accessed by sea. As such, you have the choice of either going by boat, kayak, paddleboard, or swimming the distance.

How to get there:

Visiting Ponta da Piedade Caves in Lagos

 

Ponta da Piedade is simply one of the most extraordinary places in the Algarve. Rocks carved by the wind and tides for thousands of years form caves and tunnels in an incredibly beautiful spot. In that corner of Lagos, the sea is incredibly transparent, which, together with the ravishing cliffs, makes the landscape a true wonder of nature.

To get to Ponta da Piedade by car, it is necessary to drive along the road that crosses the beaches of Dona Ana and Camilo, and which leads to the lighthouse of Lagos.

How to get there:

Alvor Boardwalk

 

It connects Praia dos Três Irmãos and Ria de Alvor and is one of the largest walkways in the Algarve – it’s six kilometers long and is perfect to walk or jog.

A program that can be done both in the Summer and in the Winter.

Along the way, the rest points invite us to take a break to enjoy the view while drinking some water, and the eight beach accesses challenge us to walk through the sand or to dive into the sea of the Algarve.

How to get there:

Visiting Serra de Monchique

 

Monchique is a small town in the northern Algarve, the easiest way to visit Monchique is by car. The town is about a 30-minute drive from Portimão, and it takes about a 1-hour drive from Faro airport. Make sure you fill up your gas tank as there are not many petrol stations along the way.  The little town of Monchique is idyllic, picture white houses that tumble down the hills, small, but steep, streets and craft shops that offer unique handmade items such as pottery, soaps, cork handbags, and wicker baskets.

At 902m above sea level, Mountain Fóia is the highest mountain of the Algarve and shouldn’t be missed. You can reach the peak of Fóia on foot, by bike or car. The panoramic view from Fóia is breathtaking.

Cascata do Barbelote (Barbelote Waterfall), located next to an old abandoned village of the same name. Considered one of the greatest treasures of this mountain, it now enjoys car access from the Vale de Largo – Barbelote road. Let yourself be dazzled by the coolness and relax with the sound of the water, but don’t venture too far.

How to get there:

Fortaleza de Sagres

 

The fortress of Sagres is the most south-western point of the European continent, in ancient times it was referred to as Promontorium Sacrum, covering the area from Ponta da Piedade to Cape São Vicente and from the cape to the beach of Arrifana. A buttress fortress was built in the 15th century by Prince Henry the Navigator, who died here in 1460. The presence of this fortress gave Sagres a unique role in the history of Portugal, integrating it in the imaginary universe of the Portuguese discoveries and giving international recognition to the place.

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