During any trip to Portugal, you should definitely visit Lisbon or maybe even Porto, but if you choose to go anywhere else, the Algarve should be at the top of that list. I knew the Algarve is a beach area but I don’t think I realized how beautiful it was going to be. Before we went, of course I goggled it but you never know if you can trust the professional pictures of a place. But those pictures did not lie. I kept having to pinch myself when I was standing there staring at the ocean.
The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal. The coast is lined with gorgeous white sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs. And at the other end of the ocean is Africa! Well, at least my friend and I thought that was cool.
Of course with a short time period in the Algarve, we didn’t get to see everything, but I do feel like we did get to see some pretty amazing things. I’ve put together my highlights of the Algarve below!
COAST BOAT TOUR
The best way by far to see the coastline is by a boat tour. You could Kayak along the coast, but you really won’t get to see as much as you can with a boat tour.
The tour we went on was pretty awesome. The boat was super unassuming since it literally just looked like a blow up boat, but man that thing could move. I swear we were going at speeds of like 50mph. I have no idea if that’s an accurate guess of how fast we were actually going, but all I know is that the wind was blowing by so quickly. Felt like it a roller coaster and it was awesome.
This is the tour company we went with.
There are three ways to see this cave. You can take a boat, kayak in or swim to the Benagil Cave. We initially tried to rent a kayak to get to the cave, but unfortunately due to choppy waters they weren’t letting anyone rent kayaks. We quickly decided on a boat tour thinking it would be too far to swim. I had read a few blog posts prior to visiting and they all made it seem like the cave was a pretty good distance to swim. Since I’m not a swimmer, the boat tour really was the only option. Only catch is, on the boat tour, the boats do not actually land inside the cave. They just pass by for a minute before heading down the coast.
We later realized the swim is actually really do-able, even for non-swimmers. So swimming would have been a good option. In the picture above, it's literally around that cliff.
PRAIA DO CAMILA
Praia do Camila located in Lagos is probably one of the more well known beaches in the Algarve. I know I had seen a ton of photos of this beach before heading there myself. There is a cool tiered staircase that leads down the cliffs and finally lets you off a the umbrella covered beach.
I’m not sure if this a European thing, but I did not realize how my people flock to the beaches. I mean you end up laying about six inches from the person next to you. Or maybe I thought this beach was larger from the pictures, but I did somewhat feel like a squished sardine. Then I would look up and realize what a beautiful place I was lucky enough to be laying on.
There is a small walkway through the rocks you can use to get another small beach. Thinking about it now, all of the beaches were pretty small in diameter because they were just nestled in between the vast amount of cliffs. There are plenty like this one to be explored, but this one is definitely iconic.
PRAIA DE FARO
If you’ve ever been to California, especially Newport Beach in Southern California, that is what the Faro area reminded me of. To get to this stretch of beach you have to drive across a one way bridge. It’s a super quaint little beach town.
We stayed in an AirBnb in Faro just feet from the sand. It was pretty much the jackpot of all AirBnb’s. For everyone who asked about the place we stayed, here is the link!
I really wish I could have just driven the coast in search of beautiful places in the Algarve which really would have been at every turn. I’m so happy I was able to experience it in the best ways possible, by boat and by laying in the sun crowded up next to other sunbathers. It is definitely a place I want to go back to.
Yours Truly // Shannon