The Best Towns and Places to Stay in the Algarve, Portugal
Are considering a nice trip to a sunny and warm region you haven’t visited before? Such as the many Algarve destinations. Algarve is the place considered Heaven on Earth! With the mesmerizing sights, great weather and popular spots to see, you will not regret packing your luggage for this part of Portugal. The Algarve is on its own a vacation destination but is also a must if you’re looking for inspiration for your two weeks in Portugal itinerary. There are many breathtaking places to visit, however, we have listed the best towns in Algarve that are truly worth your precious vacation time.
First on this list, Faro is maybe the best place to stay in Algarve. Rich history presented through ancient preserved walls and stone-paved small paths. This place has its own charm with many shopping places for all shopaholics and for those seeking some peace and relaxation, there are gorgeous calm plazas where you can play domino and marvel at the sights. You will get the chance to see the stunning Ria Formosa natural park with heavenly wildlife species, along with the islands that unravel flawless beaches.
The cuisine is just as perfect; all sorts of cheeses and olives, main dishes of fresh seafood, cured meat sandwiches and nice local pastries and beers. As far as nightlife goes, you will be even more thrilled! The ‘Columbus Cocktail & Wine Bar’ is magical with its vibrant colours and lighting and exquisite service, not to mention creativeness in cocktails. The ‘Os Aristas’ bar is located in a mystic, non-renovated building which suits its bohemian style and alternative atmosphere of live music and exhibitions. The best part?
Distance from Faro airport to Faro centre: 6.2 km or 11 minutes.
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Of the many places in Algarve, Portimao is one of the largest ones. It faces the gorgeous Arade River, and it has the even more beautiful sight to the beach Praia da Rocha with many resorts, apartments and hotels, not to mention countless bars, coffee shops, shopping streets and even nightclubs. What is unique about this place is the visual & cultural mix of the 19th and 20th century with interesting buildings in several colours all at once, making the blocks in neighbourhoods cheerful and artsy. In the Expo-Trade Center, you can enjoy many sports events or even exhibitions. As you walk through these streets you’ll stop by the many gift shops and also sense the smell of fish restaurants and BBQ bars as well!
Among the best towns in Algarve is Portimao since the foods and drinks are quite flawless; lamb delicacies, spicy sauces and seafood too. ‘Casa da Tocha’ is the best-rated pub for tasty meals and a wide selection of drinks in a pleasant atmosphere. Do not miss out on the ‘Mourisco Cocktail Bar’ (in Alvor fishing town, in Portimao) with stunning indie-décor, unique drinks, dimmed lights and friendly staff. Also, the ‘Bolan Bar’ if you like crowds, art and portraits on the walls, fun and happy people – this is for you. And you can even sign your name on the outside bar walls as well!
Distance from Faro airport to Portimao: 50 minutes or 72 km.
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Among the best towns in Algarve, there is one considered a ‘must-see’, literally. Lagos is probably the best place to stay in Algarve, and there are too many reasons to do so. Its rich history will mesmerize you along the gorgeous sandy beaches and turquoise water. This place blends history and modern culture perfectly, surrounded by Moor-style walls and stunning sights on the harbours. There is everything for everyone’s taste; waterparks for daily fun, hiking treks for nature enthusiasts and many historic monuments for curious travellers. On the Ponta da Piedade area, you’ll marvel at the sea caves and cliffs from above. Lagos takes pride in having the 4 km longest beach in Algarve too.
Check out our where to stay in Lagos area breakdown!
The food is flawless, both in restaurants and street food corners too; bean cakes, puffy doughnuts, roast plantains, kebabs and jerkies and much more. Then, get ready for the night out and head to ‘MJ’s Bar’ for the friendliest staff, delicious cocktails for reasonable prices, and vintage music. Another good one is ‘The Star’ bar with sophisticated, fancy décor, karaoke and quiz games nights – completely worth the ‘5 stars’ rating!
Distance from Faro airport to Lagos: 90 km or 1hr.
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The Algarve destinations are all gorgeous and the Tavira is one of them which must be listed. The history of this town is linked to the Moorish traditions, thus the infrastructure is so unique and Moorish influence is quite noticeable. As you walk through the town you can marvel at the gorgeous Gialo River that blends with the Moorish architecture as well as churches too. The cobbled streets will make walking around town enjoyable as you grasp the beauty of the plazas beside the streets. Such places in Algarve, like Tavira, have heavenly beaches next to the magical Nature Park Ria Formosa.
Tavira is also famous for its local-produced wine of perfect aroma and taste, as well as places that play music until you see the romantic sunrise. The tasty foods are also ‘a must’ here and everything has an affordable price; amazing local Portuguese wines and even ‘green wine’ similar to champagne and served with chicken or fish and local Portuguese dishes. For the most colourful drinks, philanthropic atmosphere and wooden-homely interior, visit the ‘Reillys Irish Bar’. The ‘Hello A&D’ bar leaves everyone gasping due to the ‘galactic-lights’, vintage small interior and unique drinks like tea with gin and tonic!
Distance from Faro airport to Tavira: 40 km or 30 minutes.
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On the list of best towns in Algarve, there has to be Albufeira mentioned as well. It has a lively and incredibly happy atmosphere that bursts with energy, sunshine and gorgeous sights. The sandy beaches leave you breathless and the climate is just perfect to relax and feel vibrant again. This place is never silent or ‘resting’ – many clubs, restaurants and fun nightlife are the proof of it.
Once a fishing village, now Albufeira is one of the best places in Algarve. There is something for everyone, from family activities to nightlife for young people. One thing that makes Albufeira famous is the vivant partying and nightlife with many clubs and bars on ‘The Strip’ street. Apart from that, for families with kids, there are lots of waterparks and theme parks as well – the perfect place for all age groups! In the Old Town, you’ll marvel at the cobbled streets and plazas, small pubs and restaurants, compared to ‘The Strip’ of course.
The local wine is delicious and produced in Albufeira and nearby local places, and the beer ‘Sagres’ is the best known locally-produced beer. The gastronomy here is astonishing – you can try local seafood, Chinese, Indian, Italian, German cuisine and even British food and many roast types! Then, head to ‘Sherry’s Bar’ for great music and drinks and a friendly atmosphere.
Distance from Faro airport to Albufeira: 46 km or 37 minutes.
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Do you need to find the best place to stay in Algarve? It is Carvoeiro probably! A place that looks like a work of art – lively colours, lively atmosphere and a storybook charm! For a relaxing and calm vacation, this glorious place is the perfect choice with its adorable bars and smooth-sandy beaches. There are many hiking trails for those in love with nature, also a lot of water activities like kayaking and sports for daytime fun on the beach. Breathtaking cliffs, grottos and mesmerizing caves and boat tours to see all of this beauty at once. Quite suitable for young people as well as families with children and, it is not overcrowded as other places which makes it perfect for a real resting holiday trip. The Praia Paraiso beach is the real paradise – as the name itself explains it!
There’s plenty of amazing seafood and local wine and beer, but do not miss out on the gorgeous ‘gelato’ ice cream too. The ‘Tropical Helders Bar’ has a homely charm to it, gorgeous seafood, seafood pizzas, pasta in big servings, and meat platters – all while you feel comfortable in such a relaxed, calm atmosphere.
Distance from Faro airport to Carvoeiro: 65 km or 48 minutes.
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To figure out which place to visit out of all the best towns in Algarve, Vilamoura will surely be a good choice. Located in the south of this Portuguese region, there is plenty to see apart from perfect beaches and sunny weather. The surprise comes with the sophisticated golf course ‘The Old Course’, resorts, astonishing nature, water parks, theme parks and a fancy marina with numerous exclusive hotels and exquisite restaurants. It is a place that reflects luxury through gorgeous yachts – suitable for tourists that enjoy luxurious trips. Crystal water, golden sandy beaches and water sports, sounds perfect already? The historic part of the city offers a glimpse of the local culture and traditions.
Gastronomy is just as perfect here; The ‘Braganca Mar’ has the most delicious cheesecakes and desserts, perfectly cooked steaks with a fair price and spicy mushrooms and kebabs – so you will certainly want more of this place! Enjoy the sights of palm trees and sunsets in a fancy, elite setting of the ‘Atlantic Piano Bar’, or maybe you’d prefer the ‘Biddy Jane’s’ bar for live music, dimmed lights, relaxed parties and friendly, creative bartenders. A short trip from the airport and you will arrive at one of the best Algarve destinations! If you need a place to stay, check out Global Guardians for the closest property in your area.
Distance from Faro airport to Vilamoura: 24 km or 28 minutes.
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Other useful resources or check out all our Portugal content here.
Two Weeks in Portugal Itinerary
Things to do in Vila Nova de Milfontes
Things to do in Lisbon
Things to do in Porto
Things to do in Evora
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