Portugal’s sunny southern region is always welcoming travellers from near and far. The Algarve is large, beautiful and a solid holiday destination for those who love a well-rounded experience. But if you’re wondering where in the Algarve you should stay, we’re here to help you out!
You want… a large resort town
You’ll love… Albufeira, Lagos and Vilamoura
If you love to be in on all the action during your holidays, you’ll no doubt appreciate staying in a large resort town. Luckily, the Algarve has a great variety for you to choose from.
Albufeira is the largest and it no doubt earns the title of being the liveliest too. It’s filled with golden beaches, a fantastic strip brimming with bars and clubs and loads of all inclusive resorts and self-catered apartments. You’ll also find shops nearby and a range of fun activities and excursions available. Albufeira isn’t just for party-goers though, in fact, couples and families love the Old Town area, making the resort one of the Algarve’s most diverse spots.
Lagos is very much the same, boasting beautiful beaches complemented by a unique coastline, buzzing nightlife and loads of activities. However, Lagos also offers visitors a traditional Portuguese vibe. Expect charming cobbled streets, restaurants serving authentic dishes which will transform your taste buds, and a touch of history and culture to top it off.
Vilamoura is yet another large town resort, although it boasts a more upmarket and exclusive feel. The distinctive marina complex is where all the action kicks off with stunning views, great-tasting restaurants and glamorous bars to boot. Not forgetting, Vilamoura also has some of the best golf courses in the Algarve and beaches to match.
You want… a smaller, quieter resort
You’ll love… Carvoeiro, Praia da Luz and Alvor
If you’re looking for a typical picturesque Portuguese village, Carvoeiro doesn’t disappoint. You’ll get everything you want out of a relaxing holiday in the Algarve. Think gorgeous coastline views with sandy beaches, lovely hiking trails and cosy historic towns. Perfect for families and couples, Carvoeiro is one of the best spots in the Algarve to get some much-deserved rest and relaxation.
If beach holidays in small resorts are right up your street, then don’t miss Vila da Luz. This fishing village is full of typical Algarvean charm and there’s plenty of peace and quiet to go around. Families with young kids love to stay here due to the sleepy nature of the town. Plus, the large Praia da Luz beach is a hit with the youngsters and beachside cafes are a lovely retreat on a hot, sunny day.
Another great addition to any relaxing Algarve holiday is the town of Alvor. Here, you’ll find a distinctive Portuguese town with narrow cobblestone streets, white-washed houses and little fishing boats docked by the shore. If you’re looking to escape the usual hustle and bustle, Alvor is perfect for you. You’ll have a calm, laid-back atmosphere and the beach… What more do you need?
You want… to party
You’ll love… Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos
If a lively holiday is what you want, a resort filled with bars and clubs is just what you’ll get in the Algarve. Top spots like Albufeira, Praia da Rocha in Portimão and Lagos will have the energetic atmosphere you’re looking for.
Searching for the Algarve’s ultimate party place? Well, look no further than Albufeira. Head to The Strip located in the New Town for a variety of themed bars, pumping nightclubs and the crowds and booze that come with it. At the base of The Strip, you’ll find Praia da Oura beach which is perfect for some daytime relaxation and recuperation.
Praia da Rocha in Portimão is yet another of the Algarve’s lively spots. A holiday here is all about the beach and nightlife. The sandy beach is the perfect place to spend your days in Praia da Rocha. In fact, it’s one of the largest beaches in the Algarve, so you can choose to either lay back and relax or try out some of the watersports on offer. When the evening comes, you’ll enjoy the vast selection of restaurants and bars, especially down Tomás Cabreira Street.
Lagos also offers you an exciting nightlife experience. Mainly in the form of bars, restaurants and a lively atmosphere.
You want… an exclusive holiday
You’ll love… Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo
Algarve sophistication at its finest… that’s Vilamoura for you. If you enjoy holidays with an exclusive feel and upmarket look, Vilamoura provides just that. The resort’s marina is the heart and soul, where all the buzz is happening. Scope out the expensive yachts which fill the marina views and enjoy fine dining at one of the popular restaurants. The romance doesn’t end there though. The stunning Praia da Falesia beach is perfect for sunny days and you’ll love the posh bars and lounges during the night. Plus, if you’re an avid golfer, don’t miss out on some of the best golf courses to be found in the Algarve, right in Vilamoura!
Quinta do Lago is also another favourite for luxury Algarve holidays. It often welcomes the rich and famous and is well-known as being a top golf resort. A trip here feels private and exclusive with stunning residences and beautiful views. Plus, there’s a great selection of things to do. Ria Formosa Natural Park shows off the resort’s beauty, three golf courses will keep you active, whilst shopping outlets and high-end restaurants will have you holidaying in style. Vale do Lobo is very similar where holidays are all about an even combination of golf and beaches!
You want… a touch of history and culture
You’ll love… Lagos, Tavira, Silves and Vila Real de Santo António
Aside from the beaches and nightlife, Lagos has a lot more to offer. Especially when it comes to history and culture. Walk the Old Town for that traditional feel and stumble upon some of Lagos’ historical and cultural gems like the Castle of Lagos and the national monument of Igreja de Santo Antonio.
Or you might enjoy a trip to the ever-alluring Tavira. Think a mixture of Moorish influences and a deep-rooted Portuguese heritage. Explore the network of cobbled streets and discover Moorish highlights along the way. Check out the Tavira Castle and enjoy relaxing strolls along the Gilão River.
Mix history and beauty with a trip to Silves… It’s known for its major sights including the Gothic style Sé de Silves cathedral, the famous red brick Castle of Silves and the gorgeous Old Town, home to great restaurants and bars. Don’t forget to visit Armação de Pêra beach during your stay in Silves either!
Vila Real de Santo António is yet another peaceful town in the Algarve, even resembling the Portuguese capital of Lisbon rather than other Algarvean towns. Explore the fascinating Praça Marquis of Pombal plaza and walk alongside the Rio Guadiana towards the lovely beaches.
You want… an active, sporty holiday
You’ll love… Vilamoura, Quarteira and Sagres
The Algarve is one of the top golfing destinations in Europe, so it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, especially if you’re hoping for an active holiday in the Algarve. If golf is what you enjoy, resorts like Vilamoura and Quarteira are just what you’re looking for. Quarteira is the quietest of the two, offering you a chilled out destination where you can focus on golf and relaxation. Vilamoura on the other hand is a bit more exciting during the evenings, adding a touch of spice to your golfing holiday.
If you prefer water sports and are a bit of an adventure seeker, you’ll no doubt want to visit Sagres. Located on the western tip of the Algarve, Sagres has the perfect conditions for surfing. On top of that, hiking and cycling are also very popular here too. But aside from the hub of outdoor activity that can be found here, Sagres has an air of cool about it, as well as a peaceful vibe, making it an ideal place to stay for a quiet break filled with fun in the waves!