Spanning the entire southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve has long been a magnet for travelers seeking a slice of paradise.

With its rugged coastline, golden beaches, and charming towns, it's no wonder that it’s emerged as one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations. 

In this article, we'll explore the allure of the Algarve and help you discover the best places to stay, ensuring your vacation is nothing short of unforgettable.

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the Algarve offers the perfect climate for those seeking to escape the everyday hustle and embrace a more laid-back lifestyle. From the dramatic cliffs of Sagres to the pristine sands of Praia da Marinha, the Algarve's diverse landscapes provide endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation.

In addition to its natural wonders, the region is steeped in history, with numerous sites dating back to the Roman and Moorish eras. The Algarve's picturesque towns, like Lagos, Faro, and Tavira, offer a fascinating glimpse into the past while also serving as gateways to some of the best beaches in the area.

Whether you're a sun worshipper, history buff, or adventure seeker, the Algarve caters to all tastes. As we delve deeper into where to stay in the Algarve, you'll be one step closer to planning the perfect holiday in this enchanting corner of Portugal.

Main Towns to Stay in the Algarve

1. Praia Da Luz

Praia Da Luz

Ideal for families, Praia da Luz offers a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere with its beautiful beach, child-friendly amenities, and a range of activities to keep everyone entertained.

Its calm, shallow waters make it perfect for young swimmers, while its picturesque setting ensures a memorable holiday for all ages. There’s a tonne of places to eat out, a few small supermarkets, and pretty much the whole town is accessible on foot. 

2. Burgau

Burgau Portugal

Ok, I may be biased because I live just outside of Burgau, but I think this is one of the best places for your next Portuguese holiday. Often compared to the enchanting beauty of Santorini, Burgau is a hidden gem nestled along the Algarve's breathtaking coastline.

This picturesque village is known for its pristine beach, framed by dramatic cliffs and azure waters. The charming whitewashed buildings and narrow streets create an atmosphere reminiscent of a Mediterranean island paradise, making Burgau a must-visit destination for those seeking a tranquil retreat with stunning scenery. The unspoiled beach, coupled with the village's laid-back charm, offers a serene escape from the busier tourist hubs in the region, inviting visitors to unwind and revel in the Algarve's natural splendor.

3. Vilamoura

Vilamoura Algarve

A golfer's dream destination, Vilamoura boasts some of the finest golf courses in the Algarve, attracting enthusiasts from around the world. The bustling marina, lined with sleek yachts and stylish boutiques, serves as the focal point of the town, where visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll or indulge in exquisite dining at one of the many fine restaurants.

Beyond the marina, the pristine beaches, of Praia da Falésia, with their golden sands and crystal-clear waters, are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Other activities include all manner of watersports, a few tennis clubs as well as horse riding. 

4. Aljezur

Aljezur on the Algarve

Renowned for its laid-back, hippie vibe, Aljezur is a haven for those seeking tranquility and a connection with nature. Surrounded by unspoiled landscapes, it's a fantastic destination for surfers, hikers, and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

A popular spot with unbelievable natural beauty, the beach of Arrifana is just a short drive away from the town. One of the best beaches in the Algarve, especially for surfing, there are almost always some waves to surf at Arifana – You can easily rent a board or take a lesson at the beach.

5. Lagos

A vibrant town known for its historic charm, stunning beaches, and bustling nightlife, Lagos offers a lively atmosphere that attracts visitors looking to enjoy a mix of culture, relaxation, and entertainment. The lively bars and clubs make it a perfect destination for those seeking a fun night out.

For daytime activities, mooch around the cafes and shops or opt for a boat ride to explore the stunning coastline. The smaller caves and grotto’s around Ponta Da Piedade are well worth a visit, but the jewel of the coast is the famous Benagil Cave – try to get there early in the morning if you want an uncrowded selfie! 

6. Olhão

Olhão Portugal

A lesser-known gem in the Algarve, Olhão is a traditional fishing town boasting a picturesque waterfront, fresh seafood, and a charming, authentic atmosphere.

Its off-the-beaten-path appeal allows visitors to experience a more genuine side of the Algarve, away from the tourist crowds. Located very near the international airport in Faro, the short transit time makes Olhão a great place to check out. 

7. Silves

Silves Portugal

Brimming with history, Silves is home to a well-preserved Moorish castle and an ancient cathedral, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into the region's past.

Its' charming streets and relaxed ambiance make it a delightful place to wander and soak up the Algarve's rich cultural heritage. Tour the castle and check out the incredible views of the surrounding landscape before stopping off at one of the local restaurants for dinner – always bustling during the warm summer evenings. 

8. Sagres

Sagres Portugal

Steeped in history and home to some of the Algarve's most spectacular beaches, Sagres offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and fascinating cultural heritage. From its dramatic cliffs and historic fort to the pristine sands of Martinhal Beach, Sagres is an explorer's paradise.

A great place to be based if surfing is your thing – Praia Do Tonel picks up any swell the Atlantic has on offer, or head for the tubes of Beliche just a short ride out of town. 

Top tip: My favorite place for ice cream is the Italian gelateria – Alice’s, located in town. Be sure to give it a try, you will NOT be disappointed!  

9. Tavira

With its laid-back vibe and picturesque setting, Tavira is particularly appealing to older visitors seeking a tranquil retreat. Its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and serene riverside location make it a charming destination for those looking to unwind and soak up the region's beauty at a leisurely pace.

Where to Stay in the Algarve – Final Words

To sum up, the Algarve is a fantastic place to visit and offers a huge variety of areas to stay in to suit every traveler's needs.

From the vibrant nightlife of Lagos to the serene, lesser-known charm of Olhão, and the laid-back hippie vibes of Aljezur, there's a perfect getaway waiting for everyone. Each destination outlined above boasts its own unique character and attractions, ensuring that your holiday in this enchanting region of Portugal will be a memorable one.

About the author

Matt Hapgood is a father, surfer, and entrepreneur. He has worn many hats in his career, from being a removal guy in Vancouver to teaching elementary kids in the UK, as well as a parking valet in the French Alps. He’s the founder and main contributor to and is currently living in the Algarve, Portugal.

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