With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the Algarve is kissed with Atlantic sunsets like nowhere else in Europe.
The southern Algarve region is the jewel of Portugal, boasting a breathtaking coastline, epic caves and archways, year-round great weather, and waves that make it a surfers paradise. The surrounding nature will steal your heart, and the charming whitewashed villages are no exception. Spend your days hiking, at the countless beaches, and wandering the cobbled streets in the balmy afternoon sun. Discover our bucket list of things to do in the Algarve.
Choose your own festival adventure
Find the best festivals in the Algarve, whether it's a hot list of music festivals, black and white nights, beach concerts, food fairs and great festivals from the traditional to edgy modern, there's something for everybody.
Afro Nation Portugal is back! The party hits the Algarve from 1st to 3rd July 2021.
Afro Nation is said to be the biggest beach festival dedicated to urban music in Europe and covers music styles from afrobeat, hip hop, R&B to dancehall & bashment.
Afro Nation 2021 is going to be HUGE! Bringing together some of the most exciting names in the music world, expect world-class programming of live performances and DJ sets over the three day event. Boat and beach parties will take place alongside the main festival programme, while those with VIP tickets will have access to dedicated areas and a private bar. The festival will take place on the beautiful sands at Praia da Rocha, Portimão.
Start the day with a coffee and Pastel de Nata
We don't start the day in Portugal without coffee and a Pastel de Nata, or Portugals' custard tart! You can find the Pastel de Nata, not only in every cafe, bakery, and supermarket all over Portugal this little pastry is now widespread around the world.
Invented by Monks, today the recipe is top secret, all the bakers have to sign a secret agreement, its a serious affair of the custard tart!
Find your summer cocktail
Portugal’s most famous drink might be port, and its wine industry quite well known, but this article isn’t really about those drinks. Portugal actually has a thriving drinks industry with many many other types available. Lots of them traditional, made with local ingredients, and not actually well known outside of Portugal. The great thing is they’re widely available in Portugal if you know where to look, and they make great gifts for fans of drinks inside and outside of Portugal. For cocktail connoisseurs they make a great addition, or twists to many traditional recipes. Read on to discover 11 Portuguese drinks you need to try!
Hit the Algarve International circuit
The Algarve International Circuit, commonly referred to as Portimão Circuit, is a 4.653 km (2.891 mi) race circuit located in Portimão, Portugal.
Hosting the Portuguese Grand Prix in 2021, as well as MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix again in 2021 from 16 April to 18 April.
In January 2021 it was announced that the circuit would host the FIA World Endurance Championship 8 Hours of Portimão However, on 5 March 2021; the round was postponed into the original date of 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, 13 June in order to increase the possibility of fans being able to attend the race.
This year the Algarve International Circuit will once again host a stage of the MotoGP World Championship, on 7 November.
Go Bar-Hopping in Albufueira
The Strip in Albufeira is known for its hardcore partying with places like Matts Bar pumping out the sounds and the drinks. There's a huge choice of bars along the strip and it gets pretty lively there as the night goes on. For great cocktails and shots there's Havana meets Jamaica bar, for something pretty try Piccadilly cocktail bar. If you would prefer pitchers of sangria and dancing, there’s Sal Rosa in the old town.
If you really want to get your dancing shoes on then try Club Heaven, Club Vida or Le Club at Santa Eulalia.
The nightclub scene in the Algarve only heats up well after midnight and then it parties hard until dawn. The hottest clubs are:
Kiss - one of the oldest and most popular clubs, Kiss is in Albufeira and is home to great parties and entertaiment over three floors.
Lick- a huge club with different areas - indoor club, lounge bars, VIP areas. LICK is located between Vilamoura and Albufeira.
Dice - right by the casino in Vilamoura, Dice is a great urban club with guest DJs and great sounds.
Le Club - a club with a sea-view. Set by Santa Eulalia beach, just outside Albufeira, this is a stylish club.
Katedral - another beachside nightclub, Katedral is in Praia da Rocha. Laid back yet lively, its a great mix of tourists and visitors, with a relaxed dress-code.
For a more easy pace to start the night, you can kick back at The Beach Bar or sip on cocktails at The Deck, both at the Praça in Vale do Lobo. There is live music on the open air stage every evening during the summer.
Praia da Rocha is another lively nightlife spot, with bars and clubs concentrated in a relatively small space, making bar hopping very easy. As an added bonus, many of the bars overlook the beach.
Vilamoura marina is another good place to start the night with bars interspersed among the restaurants overlooking the yachts.
Make a friend with a boat
The Vilamoura International Boat Show returns on the 5-13 June 2021.
Founded in 1999 the event attracts visitors to the show to find out about the superyacht and boating industry and all that it has to offer. Vilamoura marina is the biggest and most important marina in Portugal with 825 moorings.
The event, which is free to attend, will feature a selection of boats, both new and used, as well as agents of accessories, equipment and services brands. This type of exhibition allows the visitor to directly experience the equipment, in a realistic and comfortable way.
In 2021, the Vilamoura Marina International Boat Show will also have an area dedicated especially to lifestyle – Mercado da Vila – where fashion, décor, and design will be showcased. Together with the boats exhibit and Mercado da Vila, the Vilamoura Marina International Boat Show will also present a space dedicated to nautical sports and activities, such as diving, surf, sail, among others.
For more information please visit www.vilamouraboatshow.fil.pt.
Visit a secret waterfall
As well as beaches, the Algarve has a couple of waterfalls that are perfect for a refreshing dip. Although plenty of locals know about these waterfalls, not a lot of tourists do and this makes the experience even more special. The best waterfall to visit is Pego do Inferno.This enchanting place is a literal hidden gem and is located in Santo Estêvão, in Tavira.
This was once maintained by the local council, but since that’s no longer the case they’ve removed all of the signposts. In terms of getting to the waterfall, it is well hidden and not the easiest to get to as the paths are unmarked but for adventurers it makes for an interesting route to follow but one to take with caution. The beautiful cascade is fed by the Asseca River and runs through limestone cliffs that form a charming lagoon. The calcium carbonate extracted from the rock accumulates in the lagoon and makes the water shimmer a majestic green colour. The Pego do Inferno waterfall is the largest in the sequence of three waterfalls, Cascade da Torre and Cascade of Pomarinho.
Good luck finding the waterfall as part of the adventure of your holiday!
Treat yourself to a spa day
Vila Vita Spa by Sisely - The spa offers you a multiple choice of treatments, renowned for combining an advanced scientific approach with the finest natural ingredients, including plant extracts and essential oils, rigorously selected for their biological properties and according to their affinity with the skin, such as Sisley’s Phyto-Aromatic facial and body treatments.
The spa comprises 14 elegant treatment rooms, all equipped with the latest Gharieni treatment beds, a bright and spacious fitness studio with floor to ceiling windows, offering both group and private sessions - including aerial yoga, power yoga, and chakra meditation- as well as the existing HYPOXI® Studio.
Conrad Algarve Spa and Health Club Discover a fresh approach with services designed to return you to your optimum state of wellbeing. The luxurious treatments at Conrad Algarve Spa combine familiarity with an innovative approach to restore and revitalize at every level. In this atmosphere of caring and consideration, indulge in therapies from head to toe that meet your specific needs while renewing mind and body.
Select facial treatments that smooth and moisturize the skin. Massages, wraps and oxygen therapy return the body to a state of equilibrium and balance. Relish the warmth of the sauna infused with natural daylight, then refresh in the cold plunge pool. Feel stress and tension escape in the vitality pool. Indulge in a new hair style, manicure and pedicure in the full-service hair salon.
Vale de lobo Royal Spa is inspired by the salt mines of Loulé in the Algarve, a place of absolute calm and the local source of rock salt, renowned for its health-giving properties.
From the moment you enter the Royal Spa, water caresses the senses. You see it and hear it in the crystal glass walls and cascades. You experience it in our various hydrotherapies, including the Vichy shower, salt baths, hydro-massage and steam therapies.
Take an extra-long bike ride
During the winter, spring and autumn months From March until June and then from September until November are pretty good times of the year to plan your bike rides in the Algarve, to avoid the blistering heat.
There is a huge wealth of incredible riding to be found here, especially if you turn your back to the coast and head into the Serra de Monchique.
This 32-kilometre mountain range runs down the south-west coast of the country, delivering some jaw-dropping views out across the Atlantic ocean, as well as back across the country to the east as well. We’ve placed the start at Monchique but – depending on where your accommodation is – you can pick up the 80km circuit from any direction. The best places to stop for rest and resupply, however, are in the central square of Monchique, or a cafe in Marmelete.
Lisbon is enjoying a real boom and actually has a lot to offer bikers who also appreciate a bit of culture and a pastel de nata at the end of their ride too and you can escape the warmer months of the Algarve.
There are no massive mountains to go and conquer, so if you’re looking for a place to really smash yourself to pieces, other parts of Portugal may hold greater appeal. If, however, you fancy a decent leg-stretcher, followed by an afternoon or art galleries, Aperol Spritzes and maybe even a snooze… this will definitely be your bag.
Shop your local farmers market
About Loulé Saturday Markets
The historical Loulé indoor market is open everyday day except Sunday but it really comes to life on Saturday when the farmers’ and gypsy markets are held. It really is worth visiting Loulé on a Saturday morning, the indoor markets is one of the top markets in the Algarve attracting tourists and visitors from all over the region.
Locals visit the 29 shops and 90 stalls to purchase fresh fish, seafood, vegetables and other regional produce. The neo-arab architecture and location make this a very popular venue and a ‘must-see’ for tourists visiting the town.
There are 3 distinct markets on Saturdays in Loulé:
- Indoor or Municipal Market (town centre): Everyday except Sunday – The Loulé Municipal Market is an authentic Portuguese market where locals shop everyday and one of the most beautiful indoor markets in the Algarve. The market has significant historical value and is an important landmark in Loulé. The Farmers Market is held on the adjacent roads on Saturdays
- Farmers´ Market (just outside the municipal market): Saturdays only
- Gypsy Market (west Loulé 15 min walk from indoor market): Saturdays only – The Loulé Gypsy Market is a short walk from the indoor market, traditional cobbled streets of Loulé and castle. It is a typical Algarve outdoor fleamarket where you can buy linen, shoes, handbags, leather goods and cork items. If you love to haggle and are looking for some cheap knock offs you will probably love it. If you’re looking for a cultural experience we suggest giving the gypsy market a miss and going straight to the Loulé Indoor Market.
- Loulé Municipal Market is located in the center of town, not to be confused with the weekly Loulé Gypsy Market (different location). This beautiful historical building is 112 years old and houses the charming indoor market, opens everyday except Sunday and some public holidays.
The best Piri Piri chicken in Portugal
Guia is generally considered to be the birth place of Piri Piri chicken in Portugal. So much so that you will regularly hear the dish referred to as 'Frango da Guia'. Restaurante o Teodósio is about as famous as it gets for serving up 2,000 Piri Piri chickens per week.
The recipe has been kicking around since the 15 Century after Portuguese colonists first stumbled upon the chili pepper whilst voyaging oversees. Grinding up the picante pepper and mixing it with European ingredients such as garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, bay leaves and lemon juices this creates a basic version of the sauce that we douse our chickens in today.
Visit a chili farm in Albufeira, Quinta do Piri Piri .
Make sure you visit Villa Cascata's favourite Piri Piri chicken place which is Piri Piri in Almancil, looked after by the wonderful Haifa, Carolina and David.