20x What to do in the Algarve, Portugal

Tip #1 Hike the Algarve’s most beautiful trail

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail or ‘Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos’ is by far the number one most beautiful hiking trail in the Algarve. It has even been named the most beautiful hiking trail in Europe by Europe Best Destinations. This 6-kilometer hike takes you past the most beautiful rock formations and beaches.

The starting point is Praia da Marinha and the ending point is Praia do Vale de Centianes, or vice versa. If you don’t feel like walking another 6 kilometers back afterwards, you can take a cab or Uber. Or as we did, split the hike into 2 days.

The hike is not difficult, but you will find little shade here. So bring plenty of sunscreen, headgear and water, and avoid the hottest hours of the day. You don’t need mountain boots, but some grip is helpful to avoid slipping.

If you want to relax on one of the beaches along the way, bring a beach towel as well. At the beginning of the trail, the beaches are very crowded, but further on they become increasingly quiet.

Tip #2 Visit the Benagil cave

Praia de Benagil looks idyllic thanks to its beautiful cave with hole in the “roof. But that also makes the beach very popular, and during the summer months everyone sits here hut to hut. You can only reach the Benagil cave by water, so you have to rely on a boat or kayak.

I really wanted to see the cave, but didn’t want to share it with a lot of other people. So we booked a sunrise kayak tour that took us to this special cave. We got there well before the crowds. The tour is highly recommended, you also kayak to other caves that you are not allowed to enter without a guide.

👉 Book the sunrise kayak tour here

👉 Prefer to go to Benagil on your own? Then you can rent a kayak here.

Tip #3 Hike on Ponta da Piedade

The walk you can take on Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, is also one not to miss. The rock formations never cease to amaze you and look different from The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, but again beautiful.

You have a boardwalk / plank path / boardwalk here that was recently constructed, but if you stray from this path, you will find many more trails that lead to beautiful spots.

If you do this, we do really recommend downloading the Maps.me app and making the map available offline as well. On this app you can see all the hiking trails and can sometimes be handy to find your way around. Also, don’t go too close to the cliffs!

Mountain or hiking boots are not necessary on Ponta da Piedade either, but some grip is useful because the sand makes it easy to slip.

Staying on the decking path, even flip-flops are okay.

Tip #4 Enjoy the tranquility at Praia do Canavial in Lagos

The beaches in Lagos itself are often crowded, so when we found this beach it was really a relief.

This beach is also the ideal ending for those who have done the hike on Ponta da Piedade. I saw the beach from the path (see photo) and then decided to walk to the beach. That was still quite a search, because at first I did not find the entrance.

The “entrance” to the Canavial beach was also not indicated on Google Maps, but fortunately the on app Maps.me. The photos below show the location of the entrance circled. The steps that take you to Praia do Canavial are somewhat hidden under the tall grass.

At Praia do Canavial, nudism is allowed. Swimming is not recommended here because there is a very strong current.

Tip #5 Go picnicking during sunset on Ponta da Piedade

Do as the locals do: bring some snacks, a bottle of wine and glasses and find a quiet spot on Ponta da Piedade where you can watch the sun go down.

Relax and enjoy the sunset in this beautiful piece of nature!

Tip #6 Explore Ponta da Piedade by boat, kayak or SUP

Ponta da Piedade is just really beautiful. Therefore, you really must have seen this from on the water with a boat, kayak or sup.

From above, the view is very different from sailing by boat between or under the rocks. I chose this cruise where we wandered through the beautiful Ponta da Piedade with a small group in 1.5 hours.

We also visited some sea caves and received explanations in English.

👉 Book a boat trip here

👉 Book your SUP paddle here

Tip #7 Take a photo at Ponte Romana de Lagos

You’ve probably seen this little bridge pass by on Instagram!

If you visit the Praia dos Estudantes beach in Lagos, near the city center, you will see a rock with a passageway. If you go through there, you will come out on a stretch of beach where you will have a view of the little bridge called Ponte Romana de Lagos.

If you want to walk the over the bridge; save yourself the trouble. It is private property and really gated.

Praia dos Estudantes, by the way, is also a fine beach to spend some hours. It can get a little crowded in the summer months. Because the beach is so close to the center of Lagos, it is very popular.


Tip #8 Admire the Algarve from the air

The Algarve coast is beautiful, even from the air. Anyone who throws a drone up here will agree(check out our drone video). But even more fun is to see it with your own eyes!

Paratriking, paragliding and para sailing are popular activities here for good reason. If you don’t suffer from vertigo (or want to overcome it), the Algarve is a cool place to do this.

We would love to tell you how much fun it was, but unfortunately our paratrike flight was canceled because too much wind was predicted. Super unfortunate, but nice that they take safety so seriously. If we come back again, we will gladly make a second attempt.

👉 Book the para trike flight from Albufeira here

👉 Book the parasailing tour from Vilamoura here

👉 Book the parasailing tour from Albufeira here

Tip #9 Go jet skiing

Adrenaline junkie? Then jet skiing is probably for you. And in the Algarve, you get the stunning views of the cliffs all for free.

👉 You can rent a jet ski here

Tip #10 Visit the lunar landscape of Sagres

If you like rugged landscapes, Sagres is your place. This stretch of coast looks very different from what you saw earlier in the Algarve. The light rocks here change to a dark rock that feels and looks like a lunar landscape.

What you can do here? Enjoy the beautiful views, hike and visit the Fortaleza de Sagres fortress. Next to the fort you will also find the beautiful surf beach Praia do Tonel.

Fun detail: this is the southwesternmost point in Europe.

Tip #11 Eat the last hot dog before America

As I mentioned in the previous point, Sagres is the most southwestern part of Europe. Entering the water here, America is the first piece of mainland you encounter.

That gave a German a nice idea, he opened a stall there called: Letzte Bratwurst vor Amerika. And you even get a certificate with it.

We like to reward this kind of creative concept with a visit, but unfortunately the stall in question was not there. But there were several other stalls selling hot dogs as well. So the German idea was copied multiple times 😉

We ate the hot dog without certification, but the idea is nice! Combine this one with the next tip as well!


Tip #12 Watch the sunset at Farol do Cabo de São Vicente

Near Sagres is the lighthouse Farol do Cabo de São Vicente. With us it was unfortunately in scaffolding, but in the meantime you can admire this beautiful lighthouse in its entirety again!

This is also the ideal place to watch the sunset.

So buy a hot dog (see previous point), something to drink and find a nice spot on the rocks where you can watch the beautiful sunset.


Tip #13 Take a tuktuk

When you think of a tuktuk, do you think of Southeast Asia? We also looked strangely when we saw several tuktuks tearing through Albufeira.

These tuktuks drive you around the city, making them a good alternative to a cab or Uber.

Don’t have a rental car? Then it can also be fun to explore the area via a sightseeing tour in a tuktuk.

👉 Book a tuktuk tour of Albufeira and its beaches

Tip #14 Go cliff jumping

With its countless cliffs, the Algarve coast is, of course, the perfect destination for cliff jumping. But it is not recommended to do this on your own, in a lot of places it is unsafe because of the rocks that are underwater.

If you want to safely jump off rocks, consider doing so with a guided tour. You’ll get safety gear such as a helmet, gloves for the sharp cliffs and a wetsuit to handle the cold water.

You may jump off 4 or 5 different cliffs in this tour.

👉 Book the guided cliff jump excursion

Tip #15 Visit Praia da Falésia

What I like most about the Algarve is that the rock formations are constantly changing. And not only in shape and texture, but also in color.

When we arrived at Praia da Falésia, this didn’t feel like Portugal at all. Here you imagine yourself in some national park in the United States. The rocks here take distinct shapes and range from white to orange and red.

There can be quite a breeze here so it is the ideal beach to get a breath of fresh air on a walk. The beach is no less than 6 kilometers long so you can always find a spot all to yourself.


Tip #16 Take surf lessons

Falésia beach is one of the best beaches in the Algarve for surfing. Is learning to surf still on your bucket list? Then this beach could be a great place to tick off your bucket list!

👉 Take surfing lessons at Falesia beach

Tip #17 Visit The Ria Formosa Natural Park

Ria Formosa is a 60-kilometer-long natural park and is among the seven wonders of Portugal. You will find a great diversity of flora and fauna.

Bird lovers can spot here, among other things, the purple coot, which is also the symbol of the national park. But you will also find flamingos, water turtles and even dolphins.

Take to that the beautiful beaches and islets, and you realize that Ria Formosa is truly a gem. You can take a long walk here, bike or take a boat island hopping or cruising around.

👉 Watch the sunset in a catamaran

👉 A 4-hour island tour on a larger boat

Tip #18 Visit the fishing village of Olhão

Olhão is also called the capital of Ria Formosa. If you plan to visit the nature reserve, also make an immediate stop in the nearby fishing village for a tasty, local lunch or wine.

The village is characterized by a Moorish architectural style and unusual murals of old photographs. You can read more about Olhão here.

Tip #19 Go offroading

Did you know that offroading is very good in the Algarve? Here you drive away from the coast and instead enter the countryside where you will enjoy a very different view on the narrow roads.

👉 Book an off road baby carriage here

Tip #20 Taste Portuguese wine

Portuguese wine? Yes, heartily delicious! And the Algarve also has its own grape growing. For genuine, traditional wine from the Algarve, choose the grape varieties Negra Mole, Castelao, Siria, Malvasia Fina and Manteudo.

Try a new type of wine at one of the wine bars, or opt for a wine tasting tour. If you want, you can even combine it with off-roading. A tour that is already on our to-do list for when we return!

👉 Book a wine tour from Lagoa here

👉 Combine wine tasting with a 4×4 off-road safari

What about transportation in the Algarve?

We recommend renting a car if you want to see something in the Algarve. Public transportation is unfortunately not super good, so a rental car gives much more freedom. It is wise to book through Sunnycars so that you are fully insured, including against collision damage. We picked up our car immediately when we arrived at Faro airport and returned it there at the end of the vacation as well. Super easy!

👉 Book your rental car through Sunnycars here.

In the city, you can easily use an Uber. An Uber costs significantly less in Portugal than it does here. At night, for example, we paid €7.50 for a 10-minute ride (5 kilometers) and €3.30 for a 5-minute ride (2 kilometers).

Where to stay in the Algarve?

We chose to stay 3 nights in Albufeira and 4 nights in Lagos. This allowed us to easily explore the area without having to drive much.


In Albufeira, we stayed at the Velamar Boutique Hotel. This is a nice hotel with pool and outside the busy center of Albufeira.

In Lagos, we chose the Ancora Park. This resort has bungalows with private parking and rooftop terrace. It is also within walking distance of downtown and has a large swimming pool.

Have fun in the Algarve!