Joana here - Farah Trading Co's content writer based in Leiria, Portugal. The Farah team is currently expanding its imports to the wines, olive oils and textiles of southern Portugal, which is super exciting for me as the Algarve is close to my heart.
I’ve been traveling to the Algarve at least 2 to 3 times a year ever since I was born – as a Portuguese native, I know it like the palm of my hand and it is one of my absolute favorite regions in the country. I love the tiny fishing villages, the white sandy beaches, the high shore cliffs, the fantastic wines and the irresistible food.
To give you some perspective – the Algarve is basically Europe’s most wanted retiring spot as the weather is amazing all year round and is fairly cheap when compared to other European regions. This blog series is an ode to the one and only Algarve, the exciting south region of Portugal.
Marinha's Beach, Lagoa
There is more to Portugal's Algarve than just beautiful beaches, golf courses and fantastic resorts. I'm talking about small towns, a slower pace of living, fantastic fresh food, delicious wines and stunning natural parks. The landscape changes drastically from the beaches on the coast to the inland hills and from east to west which means that if you have the time you’ll have a lot to do and plenty to discover.
How much time do I need in the Algarve?
Bordeira's Beach, Sagres
The Algarve is a wide region with its landscape changing dramatically from east to west and from north to south. Many people ask me how many days I would suggest in the Algarve; ideally, you would spend 3 to 5 days, rent a car and explore every corner of it. If you want to really enjoy the remote beaches and get a full taste for the city and nightlife you should stay for at least a week. In this series I’m also sharing day trips from Faro, so you can make the most of your trip to the Algarve.
How to get there? Do I need a car in the Algarve?
View of Faro City
You can fly directly to the Algarve from Faro but in case you're flying to Lisbon, you can either rent a car, get a train or take a bus. If you’re driving, you’ll get to Faro in little over two and a half hours. The train or the bus will take around three to three and a half hours. Once you’re there, it’s recommended to rent a car in the Algarve as there is little public transportation and the roads are easy to drive in.
When to visit the Algarve?
If I had to choose a season to visit the Algarve it would probably be spring as there are fewer tourists and the weather is already amazing. My personal favorite times are May-June and then September-October but honestly the weather is great all year round (with August being the hottest and December-January the coldest).
Where to stay in the Algarve?
My advice would be to stay at the center of the Algarve, to be able to explore all sides of the region and be closer to everything. The biggest and most important city is Faro and from there you can drive any direction and discover all of Algarve's best places.
WHAT TO DO IN THE ALGARVE?
The Algarve is best known for its beaches and nightlife - you can spend a whole week just discovering stunning hidden beaches and enjoying amazing restaurants. It’s honestly hard for me to choose a handful of activities because I just love it all and if I start naming all the different things this blog post won’t end.
Beaches are obviously one of the main attractions as you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and it’s not just me saying. You can check the Huff Post saying that “Ponta Da Piedade Could Very Well Be The Most Beautiful Shoreline On Earth”, or how you can golf at some of the best courts in Europe with views to the ocean – if you want proof just check Forbes’ article on how “It's Tee Time At Portugal's Algarve Golf Resorts”.
You can go in the summer to enjoy places like Albufeira, Vilamoura or Lagos and really experience the night life. Go East for the fresh fish and delicious food towards Olhão and Tavira. Discover lesser known areas like the tiny islands on the coast like the Deserted Island (in Faro), Ilha da Fuseta, Ilha da Culatra or Ilha de Tavira.
Explore the Algarve's West Coast to feel closer to Nature and discover one of the best surf spots in the country. If you’re looking for a slower pace in a small fishing village go to places like Alvor or Burgau.
In sum, you can't go wrong in Portugal's Algarve. It is beautiful, rich with culture. and history and filled with incredible food wine... and sandy beaches.
Enjoy! - Joana