By Darren Griffiths

15 Best Things to do in Algarve - Boat Tours & More!

6th February 2023

The Algarve is the dazzling southern coastline of Portugal that spans nearly 2,000 miles, is filled with beautiful beaches, and enjoys almost 3,000 hours of sunshine a year.

If the numbers aren’t enough to draw you in, how about dining on fresh seafood while lying on the fine white sands?

If that’s not your jam, you’re going to love the gorgeous aquamarine blue, exceptionally calm waters that are perfect for swimming, kayaking, and exploring by boat!

Thirsty for more? Let’s run down the list of the 15 best things to do in Algarve!

Related articles:
The Best Towns and Places to Stay in the Algarve
10 Stunning Best Resorts in The Algarve
7 Days in The Algarve Itinerary & Algarve Weekend Itinerary
Top Party Towns for the Best Algarve Nightlife

The Best Things to do in Algarve

1. Boat Cruise to the Benagil Caves

This tour is one of the best-selling Algarve boat tours and a crowd-favorite, as you spend three enormously relaxing hours on a luxurious vessel that offers not just comfort, but bar service as well.

Get up close and personal with the incredible rock formations of the Benagil Caves, and snap those signature souvenir photos as you cruise by.

Along the coastline, you’ll also stop for a swim at one of the best beaches for a dip. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins as you cruise through the crystal blue waters.


2. Guided Algarve Wine Tour with Lunch

Seven minutes in heaven just got a super-sized upgrade to seven hours in heaven, when touring two gorgeous wine estates and learning about the ins and outs of the winemaking process.

Portugal is home to nearly 350 indigenous varieties of grapes, so sampling the day away is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Algarve.

And lunch isn’t just lunch; it’s going to be on Monchique Mountain at an acclaimed restaurant, where you can enjoy delicious cuisine with spectacular views! If you’re eager for a day in the vineyards, click below.


3. Ria Formosa Sightseeing Boat Tour

One of the truly special Algarve boat tours that takes you right past oyster plantations and seafood farms, and includes a nature and bird-watching tour.

It’s an eye-opening ride through the channels of the Ria Formosa, which just happens to be one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal so is one of the essential things to do in Algarve.

At times, the Ria Formosa provides sanctuary to 20,000 birds, as it is an important part of the migration route between Europe and Africa. Depending on the time of year, you can see colorful flamingos or rare purple swamphens. It’s also exciting to spot the Portuguese water dogs or maybe even chameleons!

You can look forward to stopping on Culatra Island for a quick guided tour. Is less than $20 the right price? We think so, too.


4. Kayak Through The Caves

Looking for adventurous things to do in Algarve? Or maybe free things to do in Algarve? Or maybe you’re a couch potato who wants to indulge in a little physical activity? Kayaking through the caves ticks all those boxes is a once in a lifetime experience.

The calm waters on the coastline have essentially no current to battle, so a day of smooth sailing is almost guaranteed. You won’t be huffing and puffing, but basking in the abundant sunshine as you paddle down the coastline and through the caves.

You’ll navigate some narrow channels that will give you a thrill as you bob and weave through the waterways. Pat yourself on the back for giving yourself your own Algarve boat tour.

5. 75 Minute Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade

This is one of the perfect Algarve boat tours for discovering hidden gems. This quick boat tour is easily added to any traveler’s busy schedule; we recommend inserting it between relaxing and relaxing.

On the ride, you will cruise from Lagos towards the Ponta de Bandeira fort. Enjoy views of strangely shaped cliff rocks that have playful names like “Kitchen” and “Living Room.” Along the way, you’ll pass a nudist beach and other special beaches all, while sitting in comfortable, cushioned seats.

Enjoy those au natural views!


6. Parasail in Albufeira

Experience weightlessness high above the water by parasailing in Albufeira. This is a bucket-list, not-to-miss of the things to do in Algarve. You are welcome to set sail and fly high all by yourself, or you can do it with a friend or two to hold your hand.

From 80 meters up in the air, feel the wind in your hair and take in a truly unique view of the coastline and sea. And never fear, safety is truly a priority with the boat drivers and guides.


7. Dolphin Watching

I would say get out your preferred field glasses, but that’s definitely not the case in Algarve!

One of the best things to do in Algarve is a dolphin watching boat tour. With the crystal clear waters and little current, it’s the perfect recipe for seeing some of the most playful water creatures. It is very likely you’ll see dolphins, given the number of dolphins off the coastline.

Most Algarve boat tours will even give you a free trip for another day if you don’t see any. It’s also possible that you’ll catch a glimpse of orcas, sharks, or sea turtles. Tours vary between one to three hours. Also, on most boat tours, the guide is a professional marine biologist.


Or as an alternative to a boat tour, check out the Dolphin Emotions Experience!

8. A Full Day Tour of Silves and Monchique

Spend a day being chauffeured from Silves to Monchique. Each location offers something different – and something for everyone. The day begins in the historic village of Silves, with a grand castle.

You’ll head to the Silves Cathedral and then the  Archeology Museum of Silves. If not everyone is a history enthusiast, ease weary feet with a wine tasting. After a break for lunch, the tour will take you to Monchique mountain, stopping along the way at a natural thermal spa for a bit of relaxation.

Once you reach Fóia, the highest point in Algarve, breathe deep and take in a stunning 360º view. From castles to thermal spas, this tour offers some of the best things to do in Algarve, all in one day!


9. Enjoy a Perfect Sunset in Style

With tropical weather and hundreds of miles of coastline, it’s hard to deny the potential for beautiful sunsets. But take one evening to make your sunset extra magical with one of the Ria Formosa Algarve boat tours.

Take a 90-minute sunset cruise on a catamaran around the natural park, through channels and the barrier islands. The catamarans usually have room for just 12 people, so expect an intimate experience.

Our favorite sunset cruise embarks from Faro and we’d say it’s one of the more romantic things to do in Algarve at night.


10. Check out the Cork Factory

Cork isn’t just for coasters and wine bottles; it’s a dynamic natural material that has recently been transformed into a plethora of new products.

From tote bags to yoga mats, you’re sure to be surprised at the cork factory boutique. Cork actually comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is plentiful in the Algarve region. Take a tour of the cork factory and learn more about the process – from harvesting to the creation of eco-friendly products.

You never know when your next trivia night will feature a cork question! Check one of the most unusual things to do in Algarve off your list for less than $12.


11. Jeep Safari Tour

If you want to take a little break from the water activities and many amazing Algarve boat tours, there’s no cooler way than by jeep!

Enjoy a six-hour ride across the region with a guide and chauffeur. This tour is four-wheel drive total action with activities – from Arab castles to waterfalls. The visit to the Moorish farm to sample local liquors and honey is also extra special.

At the end of the ride, you’ll be driven to a mountain top to enjoy gorgeous sunset views! Reserve your jeep safari tour here.


12. Nighttime Professional Photoshoot

Alright, we all can admit how much we drool over those professional nighttime photos we see on Instagram and Facebook. You know the ones with gorgeous light painting, where streaks of light form hearts or words in the air?

One of the most fabulous things to do in Algarve has to be a nighttime photo shoot with a professional photographer who specializes in astrophotography and light painting.

You’ll be picked up from your accommodation in a funky, hippie VS van packed with wine and snacks for you and your friends. You’ll then be brought to the beach to pick out your photo spots. Your Christmas card just stepped it’s game up.


13. Stand Up Paddle Board in the Benagil Caves

Ever dreamed of walking on water? Learn the fastest growing water sport in an unforgettable location – the renowned and revered Benagil caves.

You’ll be in good hands with a certified instructor, who can teach SUP first timers the tricks of the trade. For the nervous nellies or for those of us who like to stay as warm as possible on our tropical vacations, wetsuits are provided as well as buoyancy aids.

When you’re on a stand-up paddleboard, you’ll get to check out the caves from unrivalled angles while feeling like a SUP water warrior.

14. Jeep and Boat Combo Tour

If you’re struggling to decide if you’d rather do one of the Algarve boat tours or jeep tours, why not just throw in the towel and settle for both. It’s not often you can have your cake and eat it too, so best take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves, right?

Check out over 30 caves and rock formations, including the Benagil caves, of course. You’ll also visit a fishing village and stop at the lovely beach of Praia da Marinha.

Want to be ferried around in comfort and style on land and in the water?


15. Rock Climb the Algarve Coast

For those adventure junkies who just don’t feel like skydiving two days in a row, rock climbing some cliffs has to be the next best thing to do in Algarve.

Okay, it doesn’t have to be quite so intense, as there are multiple climbing routes with varying degrees of difficulty. And, of course, you get to choose your level and route.

An experienced guide will have your back, and provide all the necessary equipment. The limestone cliffs are waiting for you!

Also, check out our guide to the best Algarve hiking trails!

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There's no shortage of things to do in Algarve, Portugal. From Algarve boat tours to jeep safaris, this is the best list of sights, tours and day trips!

There's no shortage of things to do in Algarve, Portugal. From Algarve boat tours to jeep safaris, this is the best list of sights, tours and day trips!