Algarve travel guide: discover the beauty of the Portuguese coast with our handy guide to the must-see places in the region.
Red cliffs, long beaches, 300 days of sunshine per year and the most beautiful golf courses of Europe – that‘s the Algarve coast in a nutshell. Still, this coastline of about 160 km offers the visitor much more than this. Here some tips and recommendations for your Algarve holiday.
Faro Faro, the most important airport of this region, is located slightly to the east of the coast and is the capital of the Algarve. An important sightseeing spot is the Cathedral, originally from the 13th century, which was twice nearly completely destroyed, once through a fire and once in the big earthquake of 1711. Since then continuously under renovation, it is testimony to different architects and styles, with a Moorish chapel, a baroque organ and a gothic portal.
The city is also a good choice for shopping and a museum visit.
Cabo San Vicente Cabo San Vicente is Portugal’s southwestern most point (the western most being Cabo da Roca cloase to Sintra). The lighthouse (built in 1846 on the ruins of a franciscan monastery) shows the way to ships around this cape and is one of the most powerful lights in Europe, visible as far as 60km. You can get an especially nice view of the lighthouse when at Point Sagres.
Silves The small town of Silves, located at Arade River, is about 20km inland from the coastline. Once famous during the Moorish reigns for its orange plantations, much of the old history and influence is still visible today. The famous Silves Castle, or Moorish Castle, dates in parts back to the 8th century and hosts an archeological museum. Another sight worth visiting is the gothic cathedral.
Lagos Lagos, meaning Lakes in English, is an important port in the western part of the Algarve coast and famous for its beaches and vibrant summer nightlife. However, this city has a long and important history as it once was the center of the Portuguese era of discovery. Henry the Navigator resided in a magnificent palace in this port and although the palace was destroyed in the big earthquake in 1711 there is still a historic shipyard open for interested visitors.
Sagres Point Another important site of Portugal, and again much influenced by the Age of Discovery, Sagres Point holds a massive fortress built by Henry the Navigator. It is also believed to have been the place where he had introduced a Nautical School, or Observatory, where his captains were introduced to the latest cartography and nautical materials. Stunning views of Atlantic and the rough coast are the reward for coming out this far.