Where to Stay in Algarve: All You Need to Know
Holidaying in Algarve is wonderful: but let's narrow it down a little
With around 100 scenic beaches and countless cultural highlights, Algarve is one of the main draws for holidayers from Britain and, well, the rest of the world. It has friendly people and all sorts of family-fun activities, so it’s easy to see why it is so popular. Yet, it comprises such a large territory in the southern reaches of Portugal that booking a trip and deciding where to stay in Algarve can be a little overwhelming. That’s where we step in. Here at Plum Guide, we love doing the hard work, so let us go through the trouble of extensively researching each location while you put your feet up. We insist. Some of our best homes in Portugal can be found adorning this appealing coastline, so we'll be taking a look at the different options. We just want to make sure you are in the perfect setting, as you tuck into your Peri Peri chicken, explore the water parks with your family and delve into the museums. And don’t forget those beaches.
As the capital of the region, the city of Faro is home to some of the main historic sights. Wander down the cobbled lanes of the Cidade Velha (Old Town) to admire the Moorish architecture from the 18th century. Don’t worry, there’s far more to the city than its vestiges, beautiful though they are. Faro has some of the best restaurants in the region, and comes alive at night with its strips of bars and clubs. Surrounding the city and its outskirts is the vast Praia de Faro, a huge sandy beach whose large size ensures it is never too crowded.
Just a short drive west along the coast from Faro lies Albufeira, an idyllic option when weighing up where to stay in Algarve. Known for its excellent beaches as well as the great variety of pubs, bars and restaurants, you cannot possibly go wrong with a trip to this fascinating area. Explore the Old Town area for such relics as the 12th-century Moorish Castelo de Almoáda, and enjoy fine dining at A Ruina restaurant, with spectacular ocean views from its rustic edifice.
Continue west towards the southwestern corner of Portugal, and reach Lagos. Amble through the centre of this small town to admire its traditions and colourful architecture. Get a sense of the local culture in the fish market. Among the highlights here are the secluded sandy beaches, the caves and the Chapel of Bones (the Igreja do São Sebastião), which has wonderful views from its bell tower.
It’s official: you’ve reached the end of the world. At least, the European world - the point at which sailors set off to the Americas all those centuries ago. We don’t suggest you follow in their footsteps. Why would you, when Sagres has so much going on. If you want to try paintball, listen to bossa nova and explore the Cape of St. Vincent, this is where to stay in Algarve. Work up a tan on the beaches and forget all your troubles.
So far, we’ve been all about the beaches and coastal fun. But for something a little different, Monchique will take you up into the mountains a little inland. It’s a great opportunity to get some of that fresh mountain air, while discovering the quaint cobbled lanes of the town. Check out the beautiful hand-painted tiles and pots in the Atelier Leonel Telo. After a day of sightseeing, rest those weary legs in one of the spas here.
As the second-largest city in Algarve, Portimão has something to say in the competition for your temporary residence (and it is a competition). What it says exactly is this: ‘Do you like beaches and seafood?’ Because if you do, it’s going to be just right for you. Hang out at the Rocky Beach and enjoy the views from the Praia do Vau. Try the excellent seafood at the Terezinha - the oldest restaurant in the city.