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Algarve Coast

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

Faro has its own airport so we flew in and out of Faro. We rented a car at the airport from Guerin (tied to National and Enterprise). At first they tried to tell us there were no automatic cars available, even though we had rented an automatic car. When they learned we truly could not drive a manual, they magically found an automatic so beware of things like this.

Getting Around

Rental Car

It’d be really difficult to get around the Algarve Coast without a rental car so I’d highly recommend renting a car. It gives you the opportunity to access a lot of different towns, beaches and areas.

Uber

If we didn’t feel like driving to places like dinner since we were not right in the Old Town, we would just take Uber

Accommodations

Albufeira – we stayed in an airbnb in Albufeira between the Old Town and Falesia Beach. I wish we had stayed near one or the other rather than between. Albufeira is a large town, with resorts and a lot going on. People usually say to stay here if you want good nightlife

Lagos – this was the other town we considered staying in. We ended up visiting a lot of beaches over here, but it’s further from the airport. It’s a touristy town but also has more nightlife

Carvoeiro – quieter town

Portimao – larger resort town like Albufeira

Things to do and see

Beaches

Praia Dona Ana

160 m long beach

~100 steps down

5 minute drive from Lagos city center

5 min drive to Ponta da Piedade

15 minute walk to Praia do Camilo

Contains facilities

Praia do Camilo

Smaller, coved beach

~225 steps down

Between Praia Dona Ana and Ponta da Piedade

Go here earlier in the day as the rocks create shade on the beach later in the day

Better at low tide or else there is not much beach

Praia da Marinha

Beautiful views, incredible beach

Located Between Portimao and Albufeira (closer to Portimao)

Last 2 km is a single lane road but many places to pass

Free parking, but not marked, just grab a spot where you can

Take a path/stairs down to sea level to access the beach

Praia da Falesia

Red cliffs, you can walk 6km along the cliffs

Probably my favorite beach

Long beach with absolutely incredible scenery around

Popular place to stay as it’s in the middle of the Algarve coast (good base to explore the area by car)

Praia de Rocha

Long beach, rather than cove beach

This was our least favorite of the 5 beaches we saw, but it has a ton of sand area so if you go at a busier time, there’s plenty of space

Located in Portimao

Ponta da Piedade

West of Lagos town

Viewpoint over the ocean and can climb down stairs at one point to be at sea level

No beach/sand area

Cool place to watch the sunset

Wander around to see different views

Sagres

Southernmost point

Cape St. Vincent

Huge cliffs and lighthouse down here

~40 minutes from Lagos

I didn’t make it down here because we didn’t have the time

Benagil Caves

Grand cave that you can only access from the ocean. There are lots of different tour options, both in length and activity. You can take a kayak, stand up paddle board, small boat, larger boat or mix of these. There are tour departures from many different towns too (Albufeira, Lagos, Caroveiro, Portimao, Benagil Beach, etc). Depending on where you depart from will affect the tours you can do. For example, if you leave from Albufeira and want to do a kayak tour, they’ll take you on a larger boat for ~45 minutes and then you’ll kayak once you’re closer to the caves

We unfortunately were unable to do this. The first day we booked the tour, the larger boat was broken and the second day, we started going out on the water and then turned back because it was far to rough to be out on the water in a kayak.

If we were going to try to do it again, I would choose to depart from Portimao or Caroveiro.

Towns

Albufeira

Portimao

Biggest town, after Faro, on the coast

Carvoeiro

Lagos

Tavira

Sagres

Faro

Food and Drink Recommendations

Cabana Fresca

Restaurant in Albufeira’s Old Town

Grocery

We would go to a grocery store and get snacks and food for the day so we could just hang out at the beaches!

Other Notes

We went at the beginning of October, which was perfect. There were manageable crowds, but didn’t feel desolate. I can’t imagine how busy it must get between June and August because it was still decently busy when we were there. The famous beaches must get packed and I’d imagine parking is impossible.