For this first trip in the south of Portugal, we decided to rent a car and go on a road trip through Algarve. We spent the first day in Faro and drove straight to Sagres. From the we slowly drove back through Barlavento. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to explore the South East part of Algarve, the Sotavento region.
Algarve road trip itinerary
Day 1 – Faro
Our first stop in this Algarve road trip was Faro. We stayed for a morning strolling around the old town (Vila Adentro). You can probably plan more time if you want to visit some sights but we prefered going toward the nature and not stay in a city.
Tip : Try a cataplana at Aqui del rey
Or if you want to spend the afternoon at the beach, plan a lunch at Gigi Praia, for the best fresh fish in the area before enjoying the beautiful nearby beach.
Day 2 – Sagres and Cabo Sao Vicente
Sagres is the perfect place for surfers. The town has a really cool laid back flair and there is a beach for everyone. For sunbathing head out to Praia de Mareta, surfers will love Praia do Beliche and Wind surfers will love Praia do Martinhal. The crowd, therefore, is particularly young in this area.
Beside enjoying the beach and have some drinks a must-see is the fish market and the auction going on there from Monday to Friday.
As an evening program, plan to watch the sunset at Cabo Sao Vicente. It is quite touristic but the view is really nice. It is so famous because it is Europe mainland southern part.
If you want a quiet night, plan to stay in Vila do Bispo. You have some nice restaurants in this cute village or if you are looking for fun stay in Sagres or drive straight to Lagos!
Day 3 – Lagos, fishing villages and the most beautiful beaches
Many people discuss whether they like Faro or Lagos the most. In my opinion, Lagos was more lively. It has charming old streets but there is also a lot going on, with many bars and restaurants, and it is also the perfect location to visit the nearby area.
The city walls are a must-see as well and do not miss the Fish market in Lagos where you can ask the fishermen to grill them for you!
Another restaurant tip in Lagos: A Petisqueira, for some Portuguese tapas and an excellent wine list and Bahia beach bar on Sunday evening for the live music directly on the beach! You need a reservation for dinner but can always go to grab a drink. The restaurant is situated on the large white sand beach that is Meia Praia. It is much less famous than the nearby beaches that lay between cliffs in the area but it is definitely much less crowded.
Ponto de Piedade
The Ponta da Piedade (which in Portuguese means point of compassion) is an area surrounded by cliffs that are up to 19 meters high.
You can visit Ponto de Piedade by foot or by boat from Lagos or directly from Ponto de Piedade.
We visited on foot, the view was incredible and decided to not go by boat as it seemed really touristic, but I guess the view from the sea is incredible.
Praia do Camillo and Algarve’s most beautiful beaches
From Ponto de Piedade, you can go to one of the most famous beach in the Algarve reagion : Praia do Camillo.
It is absolutely beautiful but also very crowded if you go in the high season.
Around Lagos you will find some of the most beautiful beaches of the region. I will name also Praia dos Estudantes that looks spectacular because of its Roman style bridge and Praia do Pinhão if you are looking for a more quiet and wild beach.
There are of course plenty of other beaches around the coast, but those are my favorites.
Along the coast there are plenty of cute fishing villages. Of course we didn’t have the tim eto visit them all, but I really liked Burgau for it’s laid back atmosphere and Ferragudo for the cute and living streets and the main square with many bars and restaurants.
Day 5 – Silves and Monchique aka Algarve hinterland
Silves is a town in the hinterland and was one of my favorite discoveries in the area. We had an Airbnb not too far from there and decided to visit it one morning. It is the old capital of Algarve. The town is very pretty, especially the area around the church, and has this authentic Portuguese vibe. If you are in Silves don’t miss stopping at “Valdemar” for some chicken Piri Piri or some grilled fish. It is not a glamorous place but totally authentic, you can see many Portuguese gatherings happening!
We added Monchique to our Algarve Road Trip itinerary that same day in order to see a different kind of landscape than only the beaches, but we didn’t like it that much. The village is cute with some nice restaurants, but you have seen it really fast and there aren’t many things to do around.
Day 6 to 8 Vila Vita Parc
After our few days on the road, we decided to spend a few relaxing days at Vila Vita Parc in Porches, a town also known for its pottery!
Fazit – Algarve Road trip
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to visit Albufeira and Loulé which I have heard are some of the most beautiful destinations in Algarve. I loved discovering the cute fish town and the many beaches between the cliffs. We will need to go back to enjoy the west coast as well as Sotavento and the two destinations I mentioned above. It was a short but nice introduction to Algarve. We definitely will plan more time next time!