The Algarve has long been one of our favourite holiday destinations. Stunning beaches, gorgeous whitewashed towns, delicious food and plenty to see and do – what’s not to love? And, as a bonus, it’s also one of the cheapest places to get away for a break. Why not grab yourself a bargain with one of our last minute holidays? And we’ll help you make your holiday budget stretch even further with these handy tips on what to do in the Algarve on a budget!
The stunning beaches of the Algarve are the heart of any holiday to this gorgeous stretch of coastline. Take a dip in the Atlantic or watch the sun set over the ocean – all without spending a penny! Avoid the beach bars, which are handy but have inflated prices, and bring your own picnic and cold drinks.
Low season deals
This one is a no-brainer: if you can travel outside the peak season (which is July and August), you’ll be able to bag yourself a really cheap deal. Late spring – May and June – is ideal, because temperatures average a balmy 25 degrees, the resorts aren’t crowded and the hills are wonderfully green. If you’re looking for plenty of buzz and great nightlife, then stick to July and August – yes, the prices are higher than the rest of the year, but you’ll still find a decent bargain on the Algarve because competition is high. Just check out our great selection of cheap holidays and see for yourself!
Algarve holidays aren’t all about the beaches! There are several fascinating museums to visit and most of them are free on Sundays. One of our favourites is the excellent Museo de Faro, which has wonderful exhibitions on the Portuguese explorers who ‘discovered’ the New World.
Forget about renting a car, which can be pricey. Public transport in the Algarve is cheap and, usually, very good. The rail line that runs along most of the Algarve from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo Antonio is reliable and efficient, and you’ll have fantastic sea views for much of the journey.
Eating on the cheap
The greatest Portuguese gift to the budget travellers is the prato do dia. This is the ‘dish of the day’, and is usually whatever was freshest at the market that day. If you can’t see it on the menu, ask for it: it’s the best way to eat on the cheap. You’ll get a heaped plate of meat or fish, which come served with potatoes or rice and plenty of vegetables for the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich in the UK. Look for family run restaurants outside the main tourist areas to get the best bargains.
Also, watch out if your server brings bread, pâté and assorted appetizers to the table: this happens in most Portuguese restaurants, but, unlike in the UK, these are NOT free. They are usually inexpensive but it’s worth to bear it in mind. If you choose not to eat them, no one will mind and you won’t be charged.