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Visit the Ria Formosa
This is an area of stunning natural beauty, made up of salt water lagoons and sandbanks. Located west of Faro, this nature reserve hosts a whole range of wildlife including flamingos and storks. Walk along the designated boardwalks and footpaths to really get a chance to capture the wildlife in its’ natural habitat. For an added bonus take in the relaxing isolated beach at Ilha Deserta.
Take Lunch in Lagos
This historic town of Lagos is located in the far west of the algarve. The town follows the other areas mentioned in this article, with its Moorish style and architecture. It is well known for beaches, a walled old town and the Ponta de Piedade. The town has a number of bars and local restaurants serving fresh seafood to visit. Don’t miss the local fish market - the variety of fish available is astounding! The town is linked with Portugal’s naval past, as Lagos is the home of many of the ship launches during the Columbus era.
Stroll Around the Walled City of Faro
Unknown to most tourists, Faro is much more than the main airport for the Algarve. A perfect day trip, the peaceful old town walled area has castle ruins, a cathedral and gorgeous city hall. The main area of Faro provides bustling shopping areas and cafes for a taste of Algarvian life. Why not take a trip to the Ria Fomosa from here or the stunning Palacio de Estoi.
Play Golf in the Algarve
Golf’s golden coast of Europe offers some world-class golf courses for golfers of all abilities. If you are looking for relaxing with stunning scenery, or a real golfing challenge then the Algarve is the place to visit. Our recommendations are the Vilamoura Old Course (see Vilamoura below) and the Penina Championship course is a mature tree lined course and a pioneer of the region. We would also recommend San Lorenzo for it’s stunning natural scenery.
Why not combine a trip to the Algarve with a visit to the Portugal Masters generally held in September each year. This year it is at the impressive Dom Pedro Victoria course. Other fantastic resorts include the courses at Amendoeira golf resort and Pestana vila sol. For a more detailed guide to the best golf courses in the Algarve see our guide.
The marina at Vilamoura is the hub of activity in the central Algarve. Boasting a 1,200 berth marina, surrounded by chic cafes, restaurants and bars. People watching and promenading by day is the activity of choice. However, if you are looking for Nightlife the marina offers clubs and a casino. Lots of varied activities are available including watersports, golf and the superb Praia da Falesia beach and beach bars. Our favourite for golf in vilamoura is the Old Course, a stunning course and a good challenge for golfers of all abilities.
Take in History at Tavira
Tavira is a Portuguese town through-and-through, a day trip here really allows you to see how the locals live. The town is steeped in history with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings and chimneys, churches and the ruins of the castelo. The gorgeous Praca da Republica is a very relaxing place for lunch. The town clearly has a rich past, it was once the main fishing port for the Algarve, sadly no longer however the riverside is worth a visit.
Stroll along the pretty old sardine fishing docks of this bustling city to enjoy a piece of the Algarve’s past. The city now boasts tree lined promenades with restaurants and cafes. Couple this with some gorgeous architecture and shopping, Portimao is worth a day trip.
Charming Town of Loule
This quaint and traditional town located just north of Faro is really worth a day trip to capture the real feel of the Algarve. The re is a Moorish covered market with a wide range of food and gifts to choose from , cobbled streets and lovely traditional cafes and restaurants to relax in. After the covered market, don’t miss the castle walls, part of the Loule museum.
Wander Around Silves
This traditional hilltop town is located West of Faro towards Lagos. Silves was once the Moorish capital of the Algarve, the links to this time can be seen at the Moorish castle “Castelo de Silves”. Dating back to the 12th Century, this along with the cathedral are positioned on the hill overlooking the old town. There is a lovely walk along the walls, offering stunning views and along the citadel. Finish with an amble along cobbled streets to the old town and view the town from the Ponte Romano Bridge, our favourite view.
Costa Vincentina National Park
Situated on the rugged atlantic western coast of the Algarve, this stunning natural park has wide sandy beaches framed by imposing cliffs and the blue ocean. The area is a surfer’s paradise, you can learn to surf and relax at one of the cafes on the beach. Nature lovers and fishermen also visit the area for the abundant wildlife.
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