After living in the middle of Algarve for 4 years I have become an advocate for the region. It’s the most misunderstood place in Portugal and let’s face it sometimes, Algarve gets a bad rap. If you’ve been unsure on visiting Algarve, I’m here to change your mind. It is full of one of a kind, off the beaten path experiences that you need to try! Here’s just handful of special ‘things to do’ while holidaying in Algarve.
Best one of a kind experiences in Algarve
Watch a Spectacular Sunrise from the Ocean
Many people love a lie in when they are on holiday. If you’re one of those people I urge you to break that habit for just one day while in Algarve and I promise you won’t regret it. Everyone knows about the famous Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, but not everyone knows how to skip the crowds that come with it. The answer is to get down there for sunrise and you’ll have the place pretty much to yourself. Want to turn it up a notch? Join Nowhere2Far for a sunrise SUP tour. It’s one of the best experiences in Lagos and the Algarve!
Spa Experience at Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique Spa Resort
Annnnnd relax. As Algarve’s highest point, Monchique should already be on your list of places to see in the region. There are some fantastic restaurants (Lua da Fóia, Paraíso Montanha to name a few) on the way up to the point, and the town itself is a quaint place to spend an afternoon. There is some great hiking too! But have you heard of the spa hotel? Villa Termal is located in Serra de Monchique Natural Park and home to a spa with thermal with 9.5ph alkaline water. The perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. The hotel itself is impressive and deserves a night or two of you time in Algarve. Also It’s worth noting that out of the main summer season this hotel has some great deals. I once stayed in November for a very impressive rate!
Wine Tasting and Farm Stay at Morgado do Quintão
When you think of wine in Portugal Algarve probably isn’t the first region that comes to mind but before you dismiss it completely did you know Algarve has some really unique and wine experiences? Morgado do Quintão is a fourth generation family vineyard on a drop dead gorgeous estate. The estate is beautifully serene and completely underrated which makes it a perfect break from an often hectic Algarve. I visited Morgado do Quintão for a wine tasting and wrote about it here.
Beach Hopping on the Wild West Coast
If you’re in Algarve the chances are you’re planning on spending at least some of your time on the beach. Algarve has no shortage of coastline to explore. I spent 4 years beach hopping and I’m not even close to stepping foot on them all. Algarve is a super popular beach destination which means some beaches in summer can get sardine packed. The solution? Head west! Hire a car, drive towards Vila do Bispo and turn right to find some of Portugal’s most atmospheric and remote beaches. Spend a day taking the roads less traveled and explore this wild stretch of coast.
Eat BBQ Fish Lunch at an Authentic Churrasqueira
Incase you weren’t aware, it is a top-level sin to not eat bbq fish when in Algarve, and if you‘re going to do it, you need to do it properly. Chico Zé is a bbq restaurant (churrasqueira) and local favourite in Lagos and surrounding areas. It’s also my favourite restaurant in Algarve. Chico Zé does several dishes but I highly recommend choosing a fish main, try dourada (sea bream) or robalo (sea bass). If you’re lucky enough to be there in summer then sardines are a must – obviously! Worth noting Chico Zé is only open for lunch and is closed on Sundays.
Lunch with a View of Spain – Alcoutim
This little unknown known town is well out the way of the tourist hot spots. Alcoutim is deep into north east Algarve, just a few miles south of Alentejo and only a literal stones-throw from Spain. It sit’s quietly on the Guadiana river, Portugal one side, Spain on the other. A great way to get off the beaten track and see real Portugal (and a glimpse of Spain!).
If you enjoy exploring more remote places definitely take a trip to Portugal’s most undiscovered region – Alentejo.
So there you have it, 6 totally unique experiences to help you discover the real Algarve. Remember there is always something new to find when you come off the beaten path. Happy travels!
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