Enclosed by soaring ochre cliffs, powdery golden beaches, and turquoise water, Algarve is a sight for the sore eyes!

Its natural beauty draws millions of tourists to its shores every year.

There’s so much in the area to admire that it is easy to miss on the most beautiful towns.

Therefore, here is a well-curated list of best towns in the Algarve region.

If you are not sure where to start your dreamy beach vacation, then here is a clue to that.

These towns are more than just natural, coastal paradises.

They are also a haven for surfers and golfers.

Towns welcome tourists into splashy water parks, ancient hidden coves, and offer so much variety that every day will be memorable.

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The best towns in the Algarve

Topping the list of best towns in Algarve are the following:

Albufeira beach sunset Algarve Portugal

Albufeira beach draws many sunseekers in Summer. It’s one of the best towns in Algarve to visit.

Albufeira

Albufeira is a stunning fusion of energetic nightlife and a wide choice of beach activities.

No wonder the sought-after town tops the list of best towns in Algarve.

It’s even one of the best beach towns in Portugal. 

Between Albufeira and Vilamoura, you will find the 6km-long award-winning beach of Praia da Falésia. Watchful cliffs with red and yellow limestones add eye-popping colors to the landscape.

The entry to the beach is through steep stairways along these cliffs.

Take a long walk on its soft sand, collect shells, build sandcastles, and drink its secluded, untouched quality.

The town also boasts another, equally stunning beach, Praia de São Rafael.

Dotted with scattered cliffs, funnels, and boulders, it has a spotless rugged quality. Looking for a place even more secluded? Head to the Praia dos Salgados.

Between the beaches is a coastline strewn with hidden caves.

The only way to enter these fascinating rock formations is by kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding.

The town itself is teeming with historic sites like Museu Municipal De Arqueologia De Albufeira and outdoor activities like quad-biking, ziplining, rope bridging, and more.

How to get there: 

Albufeira lies 257 km from Lisbon. The nearest airport is Faro. From here it’s 26 km to Albufeira.

Vilamoura Yacht Harbor Algarve Portugal

The chic yacht harbor of Vilamoura in the Algarve

Vilamoura

Vilamoura is the action-packed town in Algarve.

If you were looking for an effervescent resort town in the region, then Vilamoura is the way to go.

From high-speed jet boating to massage and foot reflexology, the town offers it all to its guests.

The emerald waters brimming the coast of Vilamoura are perfect for SUP rides, jet skiing, paragliding, dolphin safaris, water skiing, and wakeboarding.

Looking more experiences to splurge on? Hire and ride a private yacht.

Sprinkled across the entire town are also multiple greensward golf-courses. If you will be swinging for the first time, you learn the basics and play at the Golf Integrated Academy.

This perfect mélange of adrenaline-pumping activities makes Vilamoura one of the best towns in the Algarve region.

If you are looking for a great place to stay in Vilamoura, we definitely recommend the Hilton Vilamoura. You can read our complete review here. 

How to get there: 

Vilamoura lies 263 km from Lisbon and 23 km from Faro. Faro is also where you can find the closest airport. 

Praia Do Camilo Lagos Algarve Portugal

Praia Do Camilo is one of the prettiest beaches near Lagos

Lagos

An Algarve travel blog list is never complete without Lagos.

It is, hands down, one of the best cities in the Algarve region.

What makes Lagos so busy and popular among tourists is its spotless beaches with photogenic cliffs and boulders.

The gorgeous headlands that stretch across Lagos’ coast include Ponta da Piedade, Praia do Camilo, Praia de Dona Ana, and Meia Praia.

Most of these beaches are bordered by soaring cliffs that protect them from gushing winds and scorching sunlight.

Guarded against the wind, the waves are also calmer in these beaches, thus making excellent spots to go swimming, deep diving, and snorkeling.

Rocky coves, huge arcs, grottos, cliff-hugging stairways, forts, and unspoiled nature await you on the sandy beaches of Lagos.

In addition to being a stunning coastal paradise, Lagos also boasts several cultural venues, especially in the Old Town.

Stroll the streets to admire elegant 16th-century walls, a slave market, a diverse zoo, historic churches, and museums.

How to get there: 

Lagos lies 300km from Lisbon and 90 km from Faro. Faro is also where you can find the closest airport. 

Tavira PortugalTavira is one of the best towns in the Algarve

Tavira

The prettiest of all, Tavira is among the best places to go in Algarve and one of the best small towns in Portugal.

This seaside gateway has taken the modern tourist in its stride while maintaining its old charm.

Enveloped by Praia do Barril and Praia da Ilha de Tavira, the town flexes its coastal beauty.

At the same time, it also takes pride in its old-world character with numerous historic places to explore.

Wayfarers should begin their walking tours at the Praça da República. The elegant buildings here are sure to impress you.

Lording the town is its eponymous, Tavira Castle that is fortified in walls dating back to the Almoravid dynasty in the 1000s. Inside the town, you will also find classic Renaissance-style church, Igreja da Misericordia. Walk over to the River Gilão to admire the 12th-century bridge called Ponte Antiga Sobre o Rio Gilão.

If you are a curious explorer, take a long walk through the city and you will be surprised to see a beautiful cultural landmark every few steps.

How to get there: 

Tavira lies 302 km from Lisbon and 39km from Faro. Faro is also where you can find the closest airport. 

Silves Algarve Portugal

The impressive fort towers above the town of Silves.

Silves

Yet another one of the nicest towns in Algarve, Silves is a treasured medieval municipality in Portugal.

Wedged between citrus groves and vineyards, it exudes quintessential European beauty.

Accenting the coast of this pretty town are the golden strips of Praia de Armação de Pêra and Praia Grande de Pêra. While on one beach you find amenities like kiosks and beach bars, on the other you find Salgados Lagoon and sand dunes.

Away from these powdery patches is the Slide & Splash Waterpark that offers a variety of rides for all ages. Although the pools are lined with inviting restaurants, the park allows its guests to bring their own food as well! Slide, splash, lay back on a sun lounger, and enjoy a snack or two.

A perfect recipe for an unforgettable vacation!

Tired of beaches and pools? Why not get some equestrian action by riding a horse down low hills, go wine tasting, sample local seafood, or explore the Old Town!

If you are traveling to Silves in mid-August, do miss to attend the 10-day Silves Medieval Fair. It is the time when the town is filled with music, smells, and sounds from 1000 years ago.

How to get there: 

Faro lies 253 km from Lisbon and 63 km from Faro. Faro is also where you can find the closest airport. 

Praia Grande Ferragudo Lagos Algarve Portugal

The castle of São João de Orade watches over the entrance of the port of Portimão.

Portimão

The second-largest city in Algarve, Portimão, is a sprawling ground with lots to explore and experience even during winter.

Beyond its beautiful Praia da Rocha and eclectic food scene, the place is also known for its cruise ships that sail to-and-fro from its international port.

The city’s vibrant waterfront is also strewn with verdant gardens and scenic squares lined with al-fresco cafés. It has the modern European charm you expect from a cosmopolitan.

Gourmets rush to the northern tip of the promenade where several boutique restaurants are.

Portimão also offers satiating shopping experiences with rows of lively pedestrianized streets. Meanwhile, culturally-curious can head to the Museu de Portimão, Nossa Senhora da Conceição, and Alcalar.

If you are traveling Portugal with an ambition to explore more than one town, then Portimão can serve as a great place to stopover.

Here you will find many guided boat tours take will take you on an excursion to the Algarve Coastline and the famous Benagil cave or read our full guide on the best Benagil cave tours. 

You can also take day trips to nearby villages and other towns like Silves.

How to get there: 

Portimão lies 282 km from Lisbon and 70 km from Faro. Faro is also where you can find the closest airport. 

Carvoeiro Beach Algarve Portugal

Carvoeiro’s untouched beach during our visit in Winter.

Carvoeiro

Once a small fishing village, Carvoeiro is today a bustling tourist spot in Portugal.

With picturesque villages, blissful beaches, and an abundance of natural beauty, it has made it to our list of best places to go in the Algarve.

The town teems with thrilling water activities.

You can take a boat to explore rocky caves, ride a kayak in Atlantic, paddle a SUP, or surf over the foamy waves.

Feeling to spend a swanky day on the waterfront? Head to the lush and challenging faraway of the Vale da Pinta or Gramacho golf courses. Later ride to the award-winning Quinta dos Vales wine estate to taste delicious wines.

It is recommended you spend a day visiting the ancient landmark of Alfanzina Lighthouse and the Carvoeiro boardwalk.

Both overlook the ocean while sitting on a high cliff and offer wonderful views.

How to get there:

Carvoeiro lies 275 km from Lisbon and 65 km from Faro airport.

Murals Street art Olhão Algarve Portugal

Olhão also counts dozens of beautiful murals.

Olhão

Not too touristy but a sight like no other, Olhão undoubtedly deserves to be a part of this list.

Nestled on the Ria Formosa lagoon, it impresses with its ocean and shellfish beds. But its real beauty is its non-commercial appeal, Moorish riverfront houses, and local fish market.

Isolated from the world, the town has a Natural Park that traces 60 km of the coast and inhabits exotic birds like storks, shanks, flamingos, and osprey.

It is possible to take a guided tour for terrapin spotting.

There are plenty of sightseeing attractions that dot the town. Some are found in the bustling center like the City Museum, while others sit on the edge of the island and are only accessed by nature trails, like Quinta de Marim.

However, it is not just the tourist attractions that impress. The town will also charm you with its bustling main avenue, the Avenida da Republica.

How to get there:

Olhão lies 286 km from Lisbon and 15 km from Faro airport.

Armação de Pêra beach Algarve Portugal

The lovely beach of Armação de Pêra.

Armação de Pêra

Armação de Pêra is an old fisherman’s village that nestled in the Silves area.

Being an old Portuguese parish, it carries typical Algarvian essence. Yet, there are many fine hotels, inviting cafés, and restaurants lining the town, turning it into a lively beachfront resort. A juxtaposition of two very different imagery!

Lording its beachfront is a 17th-century fort that was built to guard the village against pirates and corsairs. Housed inside it is a chapel dedicated to Santo António. The views from this fort are panoramic. You can watch the entire stretch of golden sand with rocks and caves, wedged between the Senhora da Rocha and Praia de Galé.

You can visit the caves and coastline on a boat tour, or try exhilarating water sports such as jet skis, water skiing or flyboarding!

Walk towards the town and you will come across the Largo da Igreja or Church Square. Nearby you will also find Zoo marine, Krazy World Zoo, and Aqualand water park.

In short, when in Armação de Pêra, you will never run out of things to do.

How to get there: 

Armação de Pêra lies 263 km from Lisbon and 54 km from Faro airport.

Loulé Algarve Portugal

The Arabesque-inspired marketplace of Loulé

Loulé

Perched atop a hill along the coast, Loulé is a quaint town in Portugal. Making it one of the best towns in Algarve is its monuments and folk festivities.

Its distinguished landscape is nothing you can find elsewhere in the region. There are grasslands, cliff-less beaches, and nature walks.

Pegged in the distinct town is a grand fortress, reminiscent of the fortresses in Scotland. Inside the walled edifice is a whitewashed castle that works as a viewpoint to admire a bird-eye view of the town.

When talking about ancient whitewashed monuments, one can’t miss mentioning the gorgeous Igreja de São Lourenço de Almancil. Get a little more taste of the medieval times by strolling through the Old Center and its main site, a 17th-century chapel called Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

It is obvious, the town is a haven for history buffs!

How to get there: 

Loulé lies 265 km from Lisbon and 18 km from Faro airport. 

Faro bone chapel, Portugal

A bone chapel in Faro.

Faro

The capital city of Algarve lacks nothing.

It has gorgeous beaches, eternal sunshine, delicious seafood, tippler’s bars, and historic architecture.

With its classic Portuguese feel, the city offers a fitting intro to the region. Inside Faro, you will find well-tended gardens, lively plazas, and parks.

Located in the heart of the city is its cobbled Old Town, ringed with medieval walls.

The labyrinthine streets of the Old Town are lined with museums, churches, cathedrals, al-fresco cafés, and even an intriguing bone chapel.

A farther stroll will take you to ruins of beautiful architectures such as the Milreu Roman Remains.

Do not forget to visit the golden-hued, cliff-flanked Praia de Faro.

 

How to get there: 

Faro lies 278 km from Lisbon. 

Conclusion

The secret is out now!

Portugal’s nicest towns are in Algarve.

Fringed with refreshing powdery beaches and flanked with rugged cliffs, every inch of these towns reiterates natural beauty.

Whether you are a holidaymaker, a traveler, an explorer, or a surfer, there will be something interesting in stock for you.

You can climb the cliffs and watch the golden sunset behind the horizon, run into the waves and surf to heights, and even head to the nearest water park for splashing fun.

These towns are the best places to go in Algarve that the couples will find romantic, solo traveler will find fascinating, and a family will find full of enjoyment.

So, pack your flip-flops, a mason jar for all the seaside treasures, and a fully-charged camera!

Your beach vacation this year is going to be unforgettable and scrapbook worthy.

The Best time to visit Algarve is between late April to early June, and then from mid-September through late October.

Categories: Portugal