We want to start by stating that Portugal was the first country on this trip that absolutely stole our hearts. The Algarve, in particular, left us speechless.
We began our adventure through the Algarve in Lagos. This is where we decided we would base ourselves to visit the rest of the coastline and it ended up being a great decision! It has everything you could need; beautiful beaches at a walking distance, plenty of accommodation options and a cute town full of restaurants and bars. We highly recommend finding a place to stay in Lagos and visiting other areas from there.
Our favorite beaches that are walking distance are Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo.
Praia Dona Ana is long, so even at its busiest, it doesn’t feel overcrowded. There is a restaurant and a bar on the beach, which we definitely enjoyed.
Praia do Camilo is one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve. It is famous for its stairs that guide you right to the ocean. While it truly is beautiful, we recommend going early because by 11, every inch of the beach is occupied.
After spending 2 days relaxing and enjoying the town, we rented a car for 3 days and made a plan to see as much of the Algarve as we could. We rented our car from Luzcar in Lagos and they were great. Their rates are awesome and they have the best car insurance we have ever seen. You are so well covered that they don’t even check the car when you return it. We also appreciated how quick they were to answer our inquiries! 2 days before we got to the Algarve, we realized we made a big mistake in renting a manual car (mistake= we don’t really know how to drive manual, oops), and emailed them to see if they could switch it to an automatic car and they were very understanding and helpful.
Another thing to note about renting a car in Lagos; there is no parking anywhere. Luckily we found an indoor parking lot in a little street inside the town that only charged 6 euros per night. If you write Garagem Gil Vincente on google maps, you should be able to find it.
On the first day of our roadtrip, we headed west towards the Sagres region. This area is difficult to get to without a car, which makes it much less crowded than the rest of the coastline. We visited 3 beaches that day.
Praia do Tonel is a pretty long beach, with good surf conditions and an incredible cliffside. There was also a really nice resto-bar with outdoor seating right on the beach where we enjoyed a drink while watching the surfers catch some waves.
Praia do Amado is a massive beach! It is long and wide and there was almost no one there when we went! We absolutely loved the feeling of having a beach like that nearly all to ourselves.
Praia do Beliche is still to this day one of the most stunning beaches we have ever seen. It is situated in a bay surrounded by very high cliffs. When you park your car at the top of the cliffside and get the first glance of the view it really does take your breath away. You then have to go down many many stairs to get to the bottom but it is very worth it.
On the second and third days we ventured east and visited 5 other beaches.
Praia da Marinha was a beach we were very excited to experience for ourselves after seeing it on countless pictures. The view from the top was definitely one of my favorites of the trip. Due to its popularity, you end up rubbing shoulders with everyone around you by noon. We definitely recommend going as early as possible to enjoy its beauty without the crowds.
Praia do Carvoeiro was a complete surprise to us. We knew nothing about it before heading over there and it blew us away! The beautiful white town contrasts perfectly with the turquoise water and it certainly is a must-see.
Praia da Rocha is the longest stretch of sand we saw in Portugal. It is very developed and entirely lined with restaurants and bars. Because of how large it is, you can always find a tranquil spot.
Praia Sao Rafael is a well-known beach near Albufeira town. It is beautiful but can get quite crowded.
Praia de Benagil is a beach we only stopped at because we wanted to rent kayaks to visit the famous Benagil caves. The kayak rental is definitely expensive (30 euros for 45 minutes) but worth it! Experiencing the caves from the inside is entirely different than seeing them from the top and we recommend it to everyone.
And that ends our guide to exploring the incredible Algarve region. We hope it was helpful and that you will love this destination as much as we did!
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Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca