7 Days in The Algarve - Best 1 Week Algarve Itinerary
If you are looking for the perfect European Summer vacation spot that has it all, then look no further than the Algarve region in Portugal.
With sunshine almost every day of the year and clear, blue skies and beautiful beaches, spending seven days in the Algarve will be like spending seven days in paradise. With great connections from Faro airport, the roads are waiting for you to plan an Algarve road trip.
While only 7 days in the Algarve might not seem like long enough, you can definitely manage to see all the Algarve highlights in this time.
Best Time to Visit the Algarve
With the majority of countries in Europe having vacation time in the summer months of July and August, this area of Portugal can become extremely busy. However, that overcrowded feeling can be forgiven as you will rarely have a cloudy day during this time, the temperature can reach up to 30 degrees and it’s the best time to enjoy the Algarve nightlife.
If you want your 1 week in The Algarve in a quieter time then May, June and September (which is out of the typical school vacation time for Europe) would be ideal. While it does begin to get cooler in spring, the ocean air temperature is still pleasant for beach walks and to take in the scenery.
After the tourists leave in October and before they come back in April, a lot of “tourist” places are closed, but that leaves the opportunity to live like a local. Algarve highlights like hiking the best trails and visiting the bigger cities like Lagos are ideal activities for that time of year.
Getting Around the Algarve
Hiring a car and driving the Algarve is definitely the best way to see this area. Even though the area has great public transport, it doesn’t give you the opportunity to explore the real hidden gems of the region.
An Algarve road trip is like nothing else with the coastal sights being some of the finest in Europe, and it is the only way to see the best beaches of the Algarve. It is also the perfect option to get around to all the villages and navigate the small and narrow streets.
For the more adventurous, the Algarve region can be seen by bicycle. However, even the most experienced cyclist won’t be able to take in everything with only 7 days in the Algarve.
If you aren’t able to drive, the towns are well connected with buses and trains. Taxis are available and not too expensive. It is recommended though that from the airport you consider a shuttle service if you don’t choose to hire a car for your one-week Algarve itinerary.
1 Week in the Algarve Itinerary
Located just four kilometres from Faro airport is the coastal city you need to see. While most people pass by Faro and don’t give it a second thought, it is a city that cannot be missed.
However, before heading into the historic old town, head to the Ferry and go straight to the magnificent Barreta Island (Ilha Deserta). Within 30 minutes, you will arrive at the uninhabited landmass which separates the national park and the Atlantic Ocean and is home to protected birds. There is nothing but sand and perfect blue water here, so make sure you book an Algarve boat trip from the island or give wind surfing a go.
Head into the Old Town to wander the cobblestone paths in awe of the architecture before selecting one of the many restaurants for your pizza or seafood feast meal.
Just a quick 32-minute drive away is the charming Tavira. This town oozes culture and is rich in Portuguese heritage.
Make sure you visit Tavira Castle. This is a must do in a 1 week Algarve itinerary. Not only does it host one of the most wonderful views in town from the top of its Albarrana Tower, but entry is free. This is a huge plus with so many things to do in the Algarve.
Wander the town square, and enjoy a drink or sample the Algarve food at one of the many bars and restaurants.
Travelling with kids? Or maybe you are a kid at heart? One of the most fun things to do in the Algarve is the Algarve Zoomarine Amusement Park. Featuring stunning marine life and a water park, make sure you stop here or later in your 7 day Algarve Itinerary when you are in Albufeira.
Continue driving the Algarve and make a stop at the gorgeous little fishing port known as Olaho. There is no beach here, but it is found at the edge of the breath-taking Ria Formosa National Park. This park is one of the Algarve Highlights and is perfect for a day of hiking, bird watching or to take a lagoon boat tour.
Get amongst the locals at the town market and enjoy traditional Algarve food or get some fresh fish to cook yourself. This unique town is full of Moorish inspired architecture and has stayed true to its heritage by not making the vibe feel too “touristy”.
Home to a laid-back vibe and only 45 minutes from Olhao, Albufeira needs to be on top of the ‘To Do’ list with only 7 days in the Algarve.
With over 20 beaches in the region, it will be hard to choose as they are all some of the best beaches in the Algarve.
This town is known for its array of restaurants from traditional Portuguese to cosy seafood restaurants. This is also the town known for the Algarve nightlife. Known as
“The Strip”, Vegas meets the sea here with a street full of fast food, bars and nightclubs.
7 days in the Algarve would not be complete without visiting the town of Portimao.
When Spain ruled Portugal, the medieval fort known as Fortaleza de Santa Catarina was built and is now the place of some of the most spectacular views in Portugal.
While you are here, continue your Algarve road trip 12 minutes away to the picturesque Alvor. Formerly a fishing village, this is a perfect spot for lunch with so many international cuisines represented.
Adrenaline junkies can head to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. A chance to race a bike or take a sports car for a spin. Maybe even take a racing lesson during the week. This F1 testing track also has a kart track for children to race or those who are kids at heart.
Check out our full guide to the best things to do in Portimao.
Check out our recommendations for where to stay in Portimao, the best areas and hotels!
A 30-kilometre drive from Portimao is bustling Lagos. With its turquoise waters and breathtaking rock formations, this area will be the highlight of your 1-week Algarve itinerary.
An Algarve highlight is going on a kayak cave tour. Taking you to places you thought you would only see in photos, there is nothing as unique as the coastal landscape here.
For a change of pace, Old Lagos is very rich in history yet vibrant and a popular spot for the best Algarve nightlife, with many bars to choose from.
The Marina here is the hub for many boat tour options and water sport adventures as well as a great spot for some tasty grilled sardines or other scrumptious Algarve food.
Finish your 7 days in the Algarve itinerary in the wonderful seaside town of Carvoeiro. Feel like you are on top of the world and breathe in the Atlantic with a walk on top of the cliffs with the Carvoeiro Boardwalk.
If you happen to be in the area on a Wednesday afternoon, make sure you visit the Alfanzina lighthouse which was built in 1920. Alternatively, (or as well) boat tours to Benagil Cave leave the beach regularly.
This is a great stop to round out your one week Algarve itinerary.
Check out our full guide to the best things to do in Carvoeiro.
There is no doubt that these 7 days in the Algarve could turn into two, maybe even three weeks of sightseeing, good food and relaxation. Whether you are travelling solo, looking for a stress-free vacation with young children or keen to have an adventurous honeymoon, then the Algarve region has something for you.
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