Last month, my boyfriend and I rented a car and explored the beautiful country of Portugal. This country is truly so magnificent and has everything a traveler would love to experience in Europe. Beautiful coastlines, cute cobblestone streets, great wine, history and architecture. Castles, gelato and great seafood.
We landed in Faro and made our way west and up. So from our roadtrip through the area of the Algarve Coast, here are the top places you must explore during your time in Portugal.
Faro is such a cute pit stop to spend a day on the algarve. This little fishermens town is right on a bay area on the algarve. It has some beautiful architecture and an old town built inside an old stone wall that once protected the town from pirates. I recommend simply walking throughout the town and the marina area. Although I would say one full day would be a good amount of time spent in this small town.
Albufeira is right outside of Faro, about a 40 minute drive and has plenty of scenic viewpoints of the Algarve coast. I recommend visiting the beaches such as Praia de Manuel Lourenco, Praia de Falesia and you definitely must visit Marinha Beach, about a 30 minute drive outside Albufeira ( a great pitstop while on your way to the next destination). Be prepared for a long walk here though, as you are able to hike along the coastline where there are caves and grottos underneath you, including the famous Benagil cave.
I would recommend about 1-2 days in this area.
Next up, the famous Lagos, you could say the hotspot of the Algarve. Lagos was one of my favorite cities in Portugal. It has cute cobblestone streets with lots of shops, restaurants, pop up markets and if you’re lucky (as we were) some live music. You must spend a day just wandering around the town as well as visiting any beach within your reach.
But most of all, you must visit the viewpoints in the area. We stayed at a hotel called Villa D. Dini’s, which I highly recommend because it is so close to many of the most gorgeous viewpoints. We were only a 10-15 minute walk from the 3 most popular spots, such as Ponta de Piedade, Miradouro da Ponta de PIedade and Praia de Balanca. It was a great way to end our evening with a sunset on the Atlantic. It was also a good deal!
While in Lagos, you must do a caves and grottos tour by boat! This way you can see the gorgeous lanscape from both angles and get on the bright blue water. You can also book dolphin watching tours depending on how much time you have.
I’d say you could spend 2-3 days in Lagos easily.
Oh my goodness, Sagres. On our way north we were trying to decide to go out of our way another 40 minutes to visit Sagres, as someone in Lagos had recommended it to us. We decided to do so on our way out and we were not disappointed. Sagres is a fast 30 minute drive west from Lagos and is a very small, tranquil town on some of the best beaches I’ve ever laid eyes on.
We started our time in Sagres at a cafe we stumbled upon called Caffee Espresso Sagres, which started off great cause they have amazing pastries and fresh pressed juice! It was also right next to an incredible beach, Praia de Mareta. We could have spent the entire day here but we had to hit the road, but we definitely spent an hour or so just walking, looking for shells and going for a little skinny dip in the gorgeous, clear blue water.
Afterwards we checked out a lighthouse that was recommended to us called Farol de Sagres and the views were absolutely incredible. Cliffsides that you see from pictures of Ireland and bright blue waters. Anywhere we stopped along the way was beautiful, any cape I would recommend you stop at. There was also a 15th century fortress that you pass along the way.
We wish we would have spent a full day and night here, so I would recommend that you do.
After these stops, we headed north towards Lisbon, Sintra and Evora. Stay tuned for information on what to see in those cities. 🙂