The Algarve is the southernmost part of Portugal, making it the sunniest and the warmest part of the country. It's easy to get there with daily flights from Europe to Faro, the area's capital.
There is so much to do in the Algarve that it's hard to know where to start. Lucky for you, we've put together a guide to some of the best things to do in the Algarve.
1. Explore the Coastline
The coastline of the Algarve is beautiful and diverse. As you move from east to west, the coast changes from long sandy beaches and dunes to dramatic cliffs, interesting caves, and hollowed-out features.
You can even do some amazing fishing here if you are so inclined. Exploring couldn't be easier, and you can access all the beaches by car.
One of the best tours to do is based out of Lagos. Hop on a boat and drive past the stunning cliffs, explore secluded beaches, and see some of the coastline's fantastic features.
If you're into exploring the coast, then the cliffs of Sagres are hugely dramatic, and a drive to Praia Do Castelejo is a must.
You'll cruise down a windy cliff face to find an idyllic beach and a little beachside restaurant with great seafood.
Portugal is world-famous for its waves, and some of the best are found in the Algarve. A choice area for surfing is around the southwestern tip near Sagres and Arrifana.
Here, the Atlantic swell hits the rugged coastline on the west and can create some huge waves, but it will also wrap around to the south, meaning you can find smaller waves, too.
It's perfect for every level of surfer, whether you're learning or a pro.
The coastline is dotted with surf schools where you can book lessons and hire the needed gear. If you have never tried surfing, Portugal is an excellent place to start.
If you enjoy playing golf, then the Algarve is one of the best places in the world to knock a ball around.
Portugal is the most popular destination for golfers in Europe and was named the world's best golfing destination in 2014.
Two of the top five courses in the country are found in the Algarve, San Lorenzo, and Monte Rei.
The courses are beautiful, with the ocean to the south and mountains to the north; you couldn't be playing around with better scenery.
There are over forty courses along the coast, each with its challenges and features.
Most of the courses are found near Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura, and there are more inland if you want to play somewhere more sheltered than by the sea.
4. Go Diving
The Algarve is home to the most extensive artificial reef in the world, aptly named The Ocean Revival Underwater Park.
The site was designed by divers who purposely cut routes and paths through four sunken ships that make up the reef.
This means you can swim through and explore all four ships and see the amazing life that now lives around them.
Conditions in the Algarve provide divers with 300 good days a year, and several dive centers will take you out to the reef.
They also offer courses if you fancy learning or improving your skills. A good one to support is called SubNauta, based in Portimao.
They had much to do with setting up the Ocean Revival Underwater Park.
5. Explore the Islands Around Faro
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is found just outside Faro and is a series of saltwater waterways, lagoons, and islands. The park begins in Faro and extends to Tavira in the east.
The park was designed to protect the small traditional fishing communities and wildlife. It is full of birdlife, and the underwater world is alive too.
The best way to explore the waterways is on a boat tour that departs from Faro and costs around 30 euros for four hours. The tour will take you to all the islands and through the beautiful waters and lagoons.
Some of the highlights are relaxing on the beach of Ilha Deserta, the Algarve's quietest and most isolated beach.
If you like birds, you'll have the opportunity to see egrets, storks, and pochards all year round, and if you are lucky, migratory birds like flamingos, spoonbills, and wigeons can also be seen.
The tour will also take you to the charming fishing village of Ilha da Culatra, where there are no roads or cars, and you can snorkel in the calm lagoons and see the world's highest concentration of seahorses.
6. Visit Lagos
Lagos is the liveliest town in the western Algarve, home to winding streets of whitewashed houses.
There are many great little shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and fun nightlife. It's a great place to enjoy and experience Portuguese life, but it's also full of history and stunning beaches.
The town has many castle walls, old churches, and museums to explore, and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the Algarve.
The waters are blue and crystal clear with caves, colorful cliffs, and some of the most scenic beaches in the Algarve.
7. Go Sailing
From Vilamoura, you can book a sailing cruise that takes you up the coast of the Algarve.
It's a fantastic way to see the coastline, and there is nothing quite like the feeling of sailing out at sea with the wind in your hair. A few options include a half-day sail or a sunset cruise.
All the options will allow you to hop in the sea, relax, and see the famous beaches of Praia da Falésia, Praia de Santa Eulália, and Praia da Oura.
The cruises usually last around three hours, and some include drinks. The prices range from 30-50 euros per person.
8. Visit a Vineyard
If you didn't already know, Portugal is home to some fantastic wines, and some of the best vineyards are found in the Algarve.
Quinta dos Vales is in the western Algarve near Estombar, between Portimao and Lagoa. It is in a stunning rural setting and is an excellent break from the beach.
Quinta dos Vales has an award-winning wine cellar and beautiful gardens with sculptures and a panoramic terrace.
They have fifteen different varieties of grapes growing in the vineyard, which gives rise to a diverse range of red, white, and rosé wines.
A wine tasting tour allows enthusiasts to taste either three of the leading wines from the vineyard or some of the award-winning wines from the Grace Vineyard.
Experts are on hand to provide information about the wines and help anyone new to wine tasting.
Quinta dos Vales also offers excellent accommodation if you would like to stay there with a large outdoor pool, and they also provide fun cycling and hiking tours.