The Algarve attractions

Top Choice Cave in Carvoeiro

Benagil Caves

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 illuminates the sandstone and beach below. The only way to acce…
Top Choice Cathedral in 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, Gothic and baroque features. Climb the tower for lovely vie…
Top Choice Museum in São Brás De Alportel

Museu do Traje

This beautifully maintained museum, 300m east of the town square, is a labour of love for the curator and Friends of the Museum. It’s housed in a former cork magnate’s mansion (stunning in itself – note the original…
Top Choice Nature Reserve in Faro

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

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. It encloses a vast area of sapal (marsh), salinas (salt pan…
Top Choice Church in Faro

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo & Capela dos Ossos

One of the Algarve's most dazzling churches, this twin-towered baroque masterpiece was completed in 1719 under João V. After the 1755 earthquake, its spectacular facade was paid for with Brazilian gold, and the inte…
Top Choice Castle in Silves

Castelo

This russet-coloured, Lego-like castle – originally occupied in the Visigothic period – has great views over the town and surrounding countryside. What you see today dates mostly from the Moorish era, though the cas…
Top Choice Cathedral in Silves

Just below the castle is the sé (cathedral), built in 1189 on the site of an earlier mosque, then rebuilt after the 1249 Reconquista and subsequently restored several times following earthquake damage. In many ways,…
Top Choice Museum in Portimão

Museu de Portimão

The ultra-modern, award-winning Museu de Portimão, housed in a 19th-century fish cannery, is one excellent reason to visit Portimão. The museum focuses on three areas: archaeology, underwater finds and, the most fas…
Top Choice Viewpoint in Lagos

Ponta da Piedade

Protruding south from Lagos, Ponta da Piedade is a dramatic wedge of headland. Three windswept kilometres out of town, the point is well worth visiting for its contorted, polychrome sandstone cliffs and towers, comp…
Top Choice Church in Loulé

Igreja de São Lourenço de Matos

It's well worth stopping here, just off the N125 south of Loulé, to witness a marvellous feat of tile work. A baroque masterpiece, the church is wall-to-wall blue-and-white azulejos (hand-painted tiles) inside, with…