Portugal’s Algarve region is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, and for good reason. From the stunning weather to the breathtaking scenery and swathes of great resorts, there’s lots to experience along this sunny stretch of coast. One of the most popular activities that the Algarve offers is surfing, and there are some great spots to catch some waves in and between the popular towns of Faro and Lagos.
Fun times in Faro
Faro is the capital of the Algarve region, and packed with Portuguese culture. Go for a wander through the charming streets of the old town before sitting down for a drink overlooking the marina. Spend some time at the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa with its beautiful lagoons and beaches, or take a ferry over to the large Ilha da Culatra sand bar. The Algarve is renowned for its majestic golf courses, and you’ll find the Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo courses in the Faro area.
If that gives you a taste for golfing, Vilamoura is another spot that should be on your list. As well as the picture-perfect Dom Pedro Golf courses, Vilamoura has a range of gorgeous sandy beaches, a large marina and some great attractions. Go hiking in the local nature reserve, or treat the kids to an action-packed day out at Aquashow Park in neighbouring Quarteira. Get the adrenaline flowing on rides like Free Fall with its 30-metre drop, before sitting down for dinner overlooking the marina’s yachts, and playing a few tables at the casino if that’s your thing.
All kinds of attractions in Albufeira
Heading west from Vilamoura along the coast you’ll come to Albufeira. A buzzing resort that’s known for its array of beaches and eclectic nightlife, it’s one of the Algarve’s most popular locations. With local attractions like the Zoomarine Algarve park, it’s little wonder too. A short drive out of town, the park has all kinds of slides and rides, as well as a 4D cinema, museum, wave pool and wildlife rehabilitation centre. After a fun-filled family day out, head to the Cerro de Vila area for an authentic evening meal.
Pick a praia en route to Portimao
Leaving Vilamoura, you’ll get to the spectacular Praia de Marinha beach around 20 kilometres before you reach Portimao. Step onto the soft pale sand and gaze up at the striking limestone cliffs, before going for a dip in the crystal clear sea. Then continue along the coast to Portimao, which is the second biggest city in the Algarve. The city’s beach is called Praia da Rocha, and there’s lots of open-air cafes and shops to complement your lazy days in the golden sunshine.
Living the life in Lagos
The western part of the Algarve serves up the region’s best surfing, and Lagos is a great place to base yourself. Full of life and awash with culture, the most consistent surf beaches are within a half hour drive of town. It’s a good idea to speak to the locals if you’re after the best surf spots, as knowing when to go is often as important as knowing where to go. If you’re looking to do some sightseeing while you’re in the area, don’t miss Ponta da Piedade. Just a few kilometres south of Lagos Marina, you’ll take in dazzling scenery along this remarkable stretch of coastline.
Surf’s up in Sagres
If you don’t mind heading a little further along the coast towards the southwest tip of Portugal, Sagres is another great surf spot. With some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere in the Algarve, the area’s quieter than Lagos and feels like it’s closer to its fishing port roots. There’s a decent variety of beach breaks to catch, while Beliche is protected in big swells and throws up some of the Algarve’s best waves.