Portugal's rugged and cliff-edged Algarve region features some of the most picturesque coastal scenery in Europe.
The Algarve stretches for 155km (96mi) along the southern coast of Portugal, from the border with Spain at Vila Real de Santo Antonio to the westernmost point at Cape St. Vincent. Inland, it continues a further 50km (31mi) to the north.
The region is also blessed with natural treasures, including rolling countryside, historic castle towns, scenic whitewashed villages and the bird-filled lagoons and islands of the protected Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. Hiking trails crisscross the entire region.
Amid this scenic beauty lie more than 25 diverse resort towns that range from quiet, picture-perfect hideaways to bustling resort towns providing non-stop holiday entertainment from splashy water parks to vibrant nightlife nightclubs.
The Algarve's most popular towns and resorts, include…
Albufeira – the busiest and arguably most enjoyable resort on the Algarve – is the perfect spot for a honeymoon in Portugal.
With its mild climate, scenic setting, Moorish-style old town, great choice of easy-to-reach beaches, fine-dining seafood restaurants, numerous bars, nearby theme parks and wide range of accommodation options, Albufeira is a perfect honeymoon destination at any time of the year.
Unwind on the town’s main beach or follow a coastal path over rocky ochre-red bluffs and through naturally sculpted rock tunnels to a string of beaches that stretch from nearby Praia da Oura to Santa Eulalia.
More about Albufeira…
The vibrant resort of Alvor fronts a wide, 2km-long expanse of pale golden sand shelving into the turquoise coloured waters of the Bay of Lagos – perfect for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Spend the day on the gorgeous Praia do Alvor where there’s always a secluded spot to sunbathe and numerous water sport activities to keep adults and children entertained, including pedalos, banana boats, sea kayaks and catamarans.
Wander along the soft golden sands to the picture-perfect Praia dos Tres Iramos, which marks the start of a string of small beaches.
Here, separated by dramatic cliffs and towering rock formations indented with caves and tunnels, discover shallow turquoise water perfect for snorkelling and diving adventures. A cliff-top path leads to Praia do Vau – well worth the walk.
More about Alvor…
Faro offers newlyweds a peaceful ambience and traditional charm centred around the scenic, walled Old Town (photo) as well as one of the least developed beaches in the Algarve.
Walk around the historic Old Quarter (or Cidade Velha), encircled by medieval walls and overlooking the Ria Formosa.
Discover a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with inviting cafés, shops and a treasure trove of buildings dating back to the 13th century.
Pop into the 13th century Sé (cathedral) – a delightful blend of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles – and discover gilded and lacquered woodcarvings, inlaid marble and polished azulejos (glazed, blue tiles) surrounding the Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres.
Unwind on Praia de Faro, a 5km stretch of golden sand that extends along the seaward side of the Ilha de Faro.
More about Faro…
Consider a honeymoon or romantic getaway holiday in Lagos, an ancient maritime town steeped in history and now transformed into a lively beach resort.
Discover a great selection of golden-sand beaches, fine dining restaurants and countless bars.
Relax on the pale golden sand of Praia de Dona Ana (photo), a 300m-long beach that nestles beneath towering sandstone cliffs framing a sheltered cove dotted with rocky outcrops.
Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town (most of which was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake) and admire the remains of the old Roman fortifications and 17th century Fortaleza da Ponta da Bandeira.
Then the pop into the 18th century Igreja de Santo Anthonio, home to a display of fine baroque gilt carvings.
More about Lagos…
Although Portimao is best known for the gorgeous beaches of nearby Praia da Rocha (photo) and Praia dos Tres Irmaos, the town also offers several attractions for couples making in a great destination for a honeymoon in Portugal.
Wander colourful gardens and stroll the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Quarter around Largo da Barca.
Don't miss the impressive Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição (church), with its interior covered in stunning 17th century azulejos (tiles).
Admire the impressive 17th century Fort of São João do Arade, which sits on the sand banks of the Arade River opposite Portimão, separating the golden beaches of Praia da Angrinha and Praia Grande. Browse friendly shops selling lace, ceramics and pottery.
Savour a range of fine dining seafood restaurants and relax at a choice of outdoor cafes serving excellent Portuguese wine – especially those along the riverfront quays and the adjacent squares surrounding pretty fountains.
Hire a boat for a sea trip to explore coastal grottos or head up the Rio Arade to the beautiful town of Silves.
More about Portimao…
Rub shoulders with movie stars, and European presidents and prime ministers at the Algarve’s most elegant and upmarket resort, a sprawling 800ha beachfront estate overlooking the Ria Formosa estuary and the Atlantic Ocean.
Tee-off from the 27-hole golf course, go horseback riding from the equestrian centre, sunbathe on the several-kilometre long golden-sand beach and be pampered at the luxurious Hotel Quinta do Lago (photo).
Explore the extensive wetlands of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa that stretches along the coastline between Manta Rota and Vale do Lobo. Follow the 3.2km-long São Lourenço nature trail or the Quinta do Lago pathway to get close to the salt marshes and freshwater lagoons.
In this undulating region of shimmering freshwater lakes, sand dune islands, marshland and umbrella pines, look out for an assortment of flora and fauna including the unique web-footed Portuguese water dog.
More about Quinta do Lago…
It was in Sagres that Prince Henry the Navigator established his school of navigation – from here the great sailors and navigators such as Magellan, Diaz, Cabral and Vasco da Gama set sail on their voyages of discovery.
Sunbathe or swim from the golden sands of Praia do Tonel and Praia do Mareta, or go windsurfing at Praia de Baleeira and Praia de Martinhal.
For magnificent coastal panoramas, follow the sign-posted Ponta de Sagres pathway.
Admire several sights along the way, such as the crumbling wall and arch of Fortaleza da Baleeira – about all that remains of the ancient harbour fortification.
Peer up at the enormous walls of the 18th century Fortaleza de Sagres, which houses a small museum displaying interesting historical artefacts.
Don't miss the so-called o fim do mundo (the end of the world) – a long, craggy peninsula terminating in the Atlantic Ocean at the southwestern tip of Europe.
More about Sagres…
Stroll from the river up a steep and twisting warren of narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses to the magnificent red-sandstone ramparts of the Moorish Castelo dos Mouros, dating from the 9th century and built on the site of 4th century Roman fortifications.
The biggest castle in the Algarve, its walls offer panoramic views over the medieval town and surrounding countryside. Inside, wander underground tunnels to see dungeon chambers and a huge sandstone cistern.
Visit the 13th century Gothic Sé (cathedral), home to stunning aisles, naves and Crusader tombs believed to be of those who seized the town from the Moors in 1244.
Later, at the Museu Arqueologia, examine artefacts found around Silves – once the centre of Muslim culture in southern Portugal.
More about Silves…
Explore the timeless elegance of this charming riverside town crammed with 16th to 18th century buildings.
Visit the remains of a hilltop Moorish castle and the Ponta Romana, a low arched bridge spanning the Rio Gilão, which flows through the centre of historical Tavira.
Discover more than 35 churches including the landmark Igreja se Santa Maria do Castelo and the pretty Igreja do São Paulo.
Spend a morning exploring the Old Town then unwind on the unspoilt beaches of Ilha de Tavira, just a short ferry ride away.
Explore the extensive wetlands of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa that stretches along 60km of coastline between Manta Rota and Vale do Lobo.
More about Tavira…
Discover this picture-perfect village set in the forested 458m-high Serra de Monchique, just 24km (15mi) north of Portimão and 55km (34mi) northeast of Albufeira.
Wander the cobblestoned streets and visit several 16th and 17th century churches including the Igreja Matriz and the Igre de Sao Sebastiao.
Unwind on the golden-sand beaches of Vilamoura, a purpose-built resort that stretches for 20km along a sun-kissed coastline.
Sunbathe on the main beach of Praia da Vilamoura, metres from a choice of hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Choose from a range of water sport activities such as parasailing, jet skiing, banana boating, sailing and boating excursions.
Or head to the more secluded Praia da Falésia, a stunning long and narrow beach that sits beneath towering russet-coloured cliffs topped with pine trees. To the east lies the beautiful Praia de Lobo.
On land, go horseback riding, play golf and tennis and head to the Aqualand water park.
After dark, check out the resort’s numerous bars and nightclubs or enjoy cabaret and gambling at Vilamoura's Casino.
More about Vilamoura…
Anytime is good to visit the Algarve – the coast sees little rain and lots of sunny days throughout the year including winter – but for the best weather, visit the Algarve between June and October.
The peak holiday season on the Algarve is July and August; these are also the hottest months of the year, with the temperature averaging 28°C (82°F) and but often reaching the high 30°Cs.
The months of spring (March to May) and autumn (October and November) are typically warm and – while perhaps too chilly for swimming – are excellent for sailing and land-based activities such as golf.
More information about Algarve weather…
The most convenient route to the Algarve is by air to Faro International Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, located 4km (2.5 mi) west of Faro.
Faro – the provincial capital of the Algarve and the largest city in southern Portugal – is located 45km (28mi) east of Albufeira and 309km (192mi) southeast of Lisbon.
Taxis and buses run frequently between the airport and Faro city centre, taking around 7 minutes.
Taxis and hire cars are available at the airport. A bus service operates every 30 minutes from the airport to Faro train station at Largo da Estação for connections to Albufeira and other destinations on the Algarve.
More information about how to get to the Algarve…
Latest update: Algarve Honeymoon Guide: 22 December, 2019
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