Must-see attractions in The Algarve

  • Benagil Caves

    Carvoeiro

    One of the Algarve's – and Portugal's – most emblematic sights, this huge natural seaside cave has a hole in its ceiling through which streaming sunlit…

  • Ria Formosa, Quinta do Lago

    Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

    Faro

    Encompassing 18,000 hectares, this sizeable system of lagoons and islands stretches for 60km along the Algarve coastline from west of Faro to Cacela Velha…

  • Faro

    The centrepiece of the Cidade Velha, the sé was completed in 1251 but heavily damaged in the 1755 earthquake. What you see now is a variety of Renaissance…

  • Castelo

    Silves

    This russet-coloured, Lego-like castle – originally occupied in the Visigothic period – has great views over the town and surrounding countryside. What…

  • Igreja de São Lourenço de Matos

    The Algarve

    This baroque masterpiece was built on the site of a ruined chapel after locals, while digging a well, implored Saint Lawrence for help and then struck…

  • Algarve coastline

    Ponta da Piedade

    Lagos

    Protruding 2.5km south of Lagos, Ponta da Piedade is a dramatic wedge of headland with contorted, polychrome sandstone cliffs and towers, complete with a…

  • Silves

    Just below the castle is the sé, built in 1189 on the site of an earlier mosque, then rebuilt after the 1249 Reconquista and subsequently restored several…

  • Museu de Portimão

    Portimão

    Housed in a 19th-century fish cannery, the ultramodern, award-winning Museu de Portimão is the city's number-one draw. The museum focuses on three areas:…

  • Museu do Traje

    The Algarve

    Encased in azulejos, this beautifully maintained museum occupies a former cork magnate’s mansion, which retains its original kitchen. It displays an ever…

  • Beach on the Ilhe de Tavira in the morning light, Tavira, Algarve, Portugal

    Praia da Ilha de Tavira

    The Algarve

    This huge white-sand beach at the island's eastern end, opposite Tavira, has operators for water sports (such as windsurfing and kitesurfing), beach bars…

  • Monterosa Olive Oil

    Olhão

    Hour-long tours at this gold medal–winning olive oil producer take you around part of the 20-hectare estate showing you the five different varieties of…

  • Nova Cortiça

    The Algarve

    On these fascinating behind-the-scenes cork factory tours, you'll learn about the tree's life cycle, harvesting and the manufacturing process, from drying…

  • Fiesa

    Albufeira

    Fiesa is the world's biggest sand-sculpture contest. Artists are given 45,000 tonnes of sand to sculpt, and their truly amazing creations (up to 12m high…

  • Praia da Falésia

    Albufeira

    One of the Algarve's most impressive beaches is this 6km-long strip of sand backed by stunning cliffs in several shades of ochre. Starting 8.5km east of…

  • Portugal, Milreu - Sanctuary with fish mosaic

    Milreu Ruins

    The Algarve

    Situated 900m west of Estói, these Roman villa ruins are so large and grand they were originally thought to have been a town. The villa, inhabited from…

  • Cabo de São Vicente. Cape St.Vincent- 'corner" of Europe.Portugal

    Cabo de São Vicente

    Sagres

    Europe’s southwesternmost point is a barren headland 6km northwest of Sagres' town centre that was the last piece of home that Portuguese sailors once saw…

  • Fortaleza de Sagres

    Sagres

    Blank, hulking and forbidding, Sagres’ fortress offers breathtaking views over the sheer cliffs, and all along the coast to Cabo de São Vicente. Legend…

  • Portugal, Algarve, Ilha de Faro, footprints on sandy beach

    Praia de Faro

    Faro

    On the Ilha de Faro, 9km west of the centre, the town's beach has sweeping sand, windsurfing and kitesurfing operators, and a handful of cafes. It's…

  • Castelo

    The Algarve

    Castro Marim's huge castle has an intriguing borderland history. Much of the area was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, but the ruins of the main fort are…

  • Castelo

    The Algarve

    Alcoutim's flower-ringed, 13th-century castelo has sweeping views over the village rooftops and river. Inside the grounds is the Núcleo Museológico de…

  • Museu Municipal de Arqueologia

    Silves

    Built tight against the defensive walls, this archaeological museum has a mix of interesting finds from the town and around. The modern building was…

  • Museu Municipal

    Faro

    Faro’s domed 16th-century Renaissance Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, in what was once the Jewish quarter, houses the town's local history museum…

  • Museu Municipal

    The Algarve

    Loulé's restored castle is the setting for its municipal museum. The archaeology section's homo erectus kicks things off, and via dusty collections of…

  • Ruínas Fenícias de Tavira

    Tavira

    Astonishing archaeological remains found on this site just below the castelo date from the 8th century BC through to the 18th century AD. Digs have…

  • Museu Municipal

    Lagos

    The town museum holds a bit of everything: swords and pistols, landscapes and portraits, minerals and crystals, coins, Moorish pottery, miniature…

  • Museu Municipal

    Aljezur

    This small but likeable museum has three rooms. Downstairs is an archaeological collection displaying everything from Stone Age axes to a 16th-century…

  • Fábrica de Brinquedos

    The Algarve

    The hamlet of Torre's school fell into disuse when there weren't enough children. There wasn't much work around, either, so three local women decided to…

  • Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo

    Tavira

    Built in Gothic style over a mosque, then rebuilt by an Italian neoclassicist following earthquake damage 500 years later, this church by the castle…

  • Igreja da Misericórdia

    Tavira

    Built between 1541 and 1551, this church is the Algarve's most important Renaissance monument, with a magnificent carved, arched doorway. Inside, the…

  • Centro Ciênia Viva de Lagos

    Lagos

    Young adventurers will especially love this science museum devoted to Portuguese seafaring in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its main exhibit covers the age…

  • Quinta de Marim

    Olhão

    Situated 2.5km east of Olhão is the beautiful 60-hectare Centro Educação Ambiental de Marim (commonly known as Quinta de Marim). A 3km trail takes you…

  • Museu do Mar e da Terra da Carrapateira

    Carrapateira

    The Carrapateira Land & Sea Museum is a must for visitors – surfers or otherwise. Up a steep hill 200m east of the town square, its contemporary design…

  • Núcleo Islâmico

    Tavira

    Built around the remains of an Islamic-era structure, this small 21st-century museum exhibits impressive Islamic pieces discovered in various excavations…

  • Calçadinha de São Brás de Alportel

    The Algarve

    Constructed during Roman times, this ancient road is thought to have linked Faro (Ossonoba) with Beja (Pax Julia). It was used by mules and shepherds…

  • Igreja de São Francisco

    Faro

    The foundations of this monastery's church were laid in 1679 and it was enlarged during the 18th and 19th centuries. Behind its blinding white facade are…

  • Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos

    Lagos

    Unlike typical celebrity-filled wax museums, this one has 22 historic wax figures representing 16 different points in time during Portugal's Age of…

  • Castelo

    Tavira

    Tavira's ruined castle rises high and mighty above the town. Possibly dating back to Neolithic times, the structure was rebuilt by Phoenicians and later…

  • Nossa Senhora da Conceição

    The Algarve

    Situated opposite Loulé's castle, the mid-17th century chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição possesses three impressive elements: a heavily gilded baroque…