By Darren Griffiths

How To Travel To The Algarve On A Budget

11th April 2023

Algarve is among Europe’s most wanted destinations. It is, in fact, considered as the best valued holiday destination by the UK Post Office for several years already. While the destination is already deemed inexpensive, here are some tips when going to the Algarve on a budget:

The Best Time To Go

The busiest, most expensive months at the Algarve are July and August. This is a time when the airport, restaurants, and hotels are crowded with tourists from different places. If you’re on a budget, you’d want to avoid going at this time.

The months of June and September, are also popular but it’s significantly quieter. If you’re after the sandy beaches, then this is the best time to visit.

However, Algarve isn’t only beautiful in summer. With most days being sunny throughout the year, you can still visit the place anytime. Winter is considered a beautiful time to visit because it’s cheap, quiet, and cool enough to explore and tour. 

Where To Stay

best towns in algarve tavira

To make the most out of your accommodation budget, you can go inland or go during off-peak season. Companies like Haven on Earth can help you find your ideal accommodation during your stay in the Algarve.

Many inland towns in the place are a mere 30 minutes or less away from the coast. If you’re staying inland, you’d also want to consider car rental in your expenses. Although it’s not really required, having a car will let you maximize your stay in the Algarve. This is because the places you’d want to see are spread out. Although it has public transport, most of these wouldn’t always go where you want to. 

The months of October to March or the off-peak season in the Algarve is a time when many hotels will have large discounts on their accommodation. It’s even possible to book an apartment for a quarter of the cost in the summer. Coastal towns are also more accessible by public transport.

Eating On A Budget

best towns in algarve vilamoura

Algarve is known for fresh seafood. Some of the most popular resorts here started out as fishing villages, and today, there are still plenty of these fishing villages. However, seafood dishes are also the most expensive meals on the menu, but this doesn’t mean that you must spend a lot to enjoy Algarve seafood.

The cataplana is a signature dish in the popular destination and a must-try for seafood lovers. This dish is composed of shellfish and fish stew, which takes around 40 minutes to prepare. You can expect the portions to be satisfying and good enough for two. Skip the starters to stay on your budget.

When choosing places to eat, know that dining near the major resorts’ centers, towns, or beaches is expensive. To keep your expenses low, look out for family-run restaurants away from the main tourist hubs. For as low as €6, many of these restaurants will provide a three-course meal, including coffee, dessert, starter and main. Tourist restaurants may also have meal deals, but they’re still not recommended if you’re on a budget.

You can head out for cheap snacks in cafés or pastelarias on the weekend or outside lunch hours. Most of these cafés will serve pregos and bifanas, meat-filled sandwiches usually costing at least €1.50.

If you plan to cook your own food, Algarve’s markets offer good value for your money. You can easily find meat, vegetables, and fish in the markets, where the prices are more affordable than in supermarkets and the quality better.

Algarve Activities On A Budget

algarve hiking

Although the destination is known for its beaches, there are also other things to do in the Algarve while still being able to save on money:

  • Explore the beaches. Because Algarve is popular for its beautiful beaches, this should be on your list of activities. Don’t worry, entrance to these beaches is free. Because of the numerous resorts in Algarve, you can visit one beach each day during your stay.
  • Go for hikes. Algarve is also visited by hikers. The place is great for hiking in spring, winter, and autumn. Algarve offers many walks for hikers, including hill walks in Monchique, beach walks in Central Algarve, and scenic walks around the Ria Formosa.
  • Surf. Because of its vast expanse of beaches, Algarve is also a well-loved surfing destination. There are many surf schools in Aljezur and around Lagos. Most of these schools offer two-hour beginner surf lessons for at least €15 per person.
  • Visit Algarve’s waterfalls. You can find two main waterfalls: the Vigario Falls in Alte in Central Algarve and another one in Pego do Inferno. The locations of these waterfalls can be easily seen online but both are non-touristic. They make a great place for diving, swimming, and having picnics.

Closing Thoughts

Even with little planning, the Algarve can still be an affordable destination. When you are budget-conscious, the time you go makes a significant difference, especially when you plan to stay beside the coast. Choosing where to eat can also significantly affect your expenses, so explore non-tourist places to save more. Go to the beaches, walk, learn to surf, and make a stopover in waterfalls when visiting the Algarve and still stay within your budget.

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Algarve is among Europe’s most wanted destinations. While it's already deemed inexpensive, here are some tips when going to the Algarve on a budget.