24 Hours In Algarve, Portugal
There is no such thing as an all year round perfect holiday destination, but the Algarve come as close as possible. The area is enchanting in the summer months, when all you want to do is lie on the beach, take in the gorgeous views and go surfing.
And it’s an amazing option even in the winter, because it is so much warmer than the rest of Europe. The temperatures get as high as nearly 20 degrees (Celsius) in the middle of December, which will easily make you forget the snow storm at home.
Whether you’re just passing through or planning a day trip, here are the best ways to spend 24 magical hours in Algarve!
A Day In Lagos…
There are two major cities in the region – Lagos and Faro. Guest bloggers The Adventurists walk you through the perfect day in each of them, starting with Lagos. This gorgeous city is one of the hottest summer vacation destinations in Europe and you will soon see why!
Hit The Beaches
You can’t spend 24 hours in the Algarve without at least walking around the beach barefoot. This entire region is famous for the long stretches of sand beaches and crystal-clear sea, which is exactly why it’s such a popular summer destination.
And Lagos is known for having some amazing beaches just 10 minutes outside the city center. Praia da Batata, Praia do Pinhão, Praia dos Estudantes and Praia Dona Ana are all extremely close to city center, and can be easily reached on foot. We recommend Praia Dona Ana for the most magical Lagos experience. This beach cove is popular for the colorful cliffs, clear turquoise sea and beautiful nature.
If you have a car, there’s no reason you can’t drive a bit further and get to see some of the most breathtaking beaches in the entire region. Praia de Porto de Mós is a 10-minute drive away from the heart of Lagos, and it’s a wonderful place. The sandy beach is several miles long and incredibly beautiful. And if you’re into surfing, you’ll be glad to know that this is a very popular surfing spot in the area.
Explore Lagos Old Town
Lagos old town is quite charming, so walking around the narrow streets is a must. We recommend that you park your car outside the city, because it is really hard to find a parking spot in Lagos, what with the narrow streets and cobblestone alleys.
The city is very well known for the medieval seaside castle, so that’s definitely a place you should go see. The Lagos castle is in the heart of the old town, so it’s not an attraction you can miss. Walk around the city walls and admire the amazing view.
Just a few minutes away from the castle is Igreja de Santo António; a historic church known for the baroque interior. It is believed to be the birthplace of Saint Anthony of Lisbon, and it’s definitely worth it to pay the 2 Euros and go inside.
There’s another gorgeous church in Lagos, but it’s on the other side of the old town. Church of St. Sebastian is a 14th century hermitage turned Roman catholic church, famous for the gold carvings. Its exterior is a bit run down, but the interior is as grand as it gets.
Sagres is a quaint little village in the extreme western tip of Algarve. It’s commonly referred to as the end of the world, and it’s a great destination for adventurous people and outdoor lovers, especially for surfers. The village of Sagres has several long beaches that are facing different directions, so there’s always a beach with the perfect surfing conditions.
That’s actually one of the main reasons why so many people visit Sagres. Others come for the quiet cycling roads and challenging hiking trails with exquisite views. If it’s an adventure you’re looking for in the Algarve, Sagres is where you’re going to find it.
The village is also known for the Sagres Fortress, a 15th century seaside fort surrounded by natural cliffs. And it’s just 4-5km away from the southwestern most tip of Europe, Cape of St. Vincent. It offers a spectacular view, and witnessing the sunset here would be the perfect end to your 24 hours in Algarve.
Book A Wine Tasting
Algarve is one of Portugal’s many wine regions, so you have to try out some local wines. There are plenty of wineries and vineyards throughout the region, so it should be easy to find one that is close to where you’re staying.
In case you’re wondering what we’re recommending, it’s the Quinta Do Frances Winery. It is northeast of Lagos, and you can reach it in about a half an hour from the city center (if you drive). It produces red, rosé and white wines, and it is open all year round.
The winery offers generous wine tastings, a tour of the vineyards and a wine shop with very attractive price tags. You can try out six different wines, and then buy any you loved.
This is a thing that you can do no matter where in Algarve you’re staying, and it’s not limited to just one area. There’s also an amazing winery near Faro – Quinta da Tôr. It is an idyllic place that lets you taste wine, eat tapas and swim in an infinity pool.
A Day In Faro…
Faro is the capital city of the Algarve region, so there’s quite a lot to see and do there as well. It’s a stunning city, which features some of the most magical beaches you’ve seen in your life.
It is possible to visit both Faro and Lagos in one day – the drive from one city to another is only about an hour long. But, we don’t recommend that, since you won’t have sufficient time to truly enjoy both places.
Walk Around The Town
Faro is a gorgeous city, so really take your time exploring it. Definitely visit Igreja do Carmo; the 18th century church features a chapel made entirely of human bones (that used to belong to monks), which is certainly a unique sight.
At one point you will have to pass through Arco da Vila, the neoclassical archway which marks the entrance into the old town. It’s on your way to the Faro Cathedral, which is another attraction worth seeing. The 13th century Catholic church features stunning interior, as well as a small museum with all kinds of religious objects and relics.
You will find the building of a former beer factory nearby, so head there if you want to take some really cool photos. Here you can also see some sculptures of dinosaurs and enjoy the scenic views of the waterfront.
If this is your first time in Algarve, we recommend stopping by the Museu Regional Do Algarve. The Ethnography museum has multiple exhibitions on the region, including paintings, furniture and various artefacts. It’s a great way to learn more about the Algarve, and it will give you plenty of reasons to want to come back to this stunning part of Portugal.
Sail Through Ria Formosa
Ria Formosa is a system of barrier islands in Algarve. It’s actually a national park near Faro, and definitely worth your time if you have a day there. The park was recently named one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, and we absolutely agree with that characterization!
You can go sailing through Ria Formosa, and really get to explore the national park. The cruises start in Faro and include stops on some of the islands that are part of this park. It’s a wonderful experience, and something we definitely recommend if you’re fine with being on a boat.
But, there are also other ways to explore this Portugueese wonder. Ria Formosa is a very popular spot for birdwatching, as it hosts more than 20,000 birds in the winter period.
This area is also known for great cycling routes and hiking trails. If you love being outdoors, then you will definitely enjoy your time in this wonderful lagoon outside Faro.
Enjoy Portugueese Cuisine
Faro is full of family run restaurants, where tradition is brought to life in the most delicious forms. So, an authentic Portuguese meal is definitely on the menu!
And we’re not thinking about just any Portuguese dish. We’re thinking that this is the perfect opportunity to try out the dishes that actually originated from the Algarve region. So, head to your Portuguese restaurant of choice – we recommend Restaurant Chefe Branco or Portas de São Pedro, as these are the two highest rated restaurants in the city.
If you’re a fan of seafood, order cataplana de marisco. It’s a seafood fest that comes from Algarve, and which gets its name from cataplana – the copper pan it is cooked in. The pan has two rounded sides that are connected with a hinge, and it opens up and closes just like a clam. Which is more than appropriate, since clams are cooked in it. Along with garlic, tomatoes, oniones, prawns and chorizo.
In case you’re not a fan of seafood, go for a feijoada (bean stew with beef or pork) or posta mirandesa (Portuguese steak), for a delicious dinner! And you have to have to try a Portuguese Tart!!
Author Bio : Mike is addicted to both adventure and travel, so decided to combine the two to form TheAdventourist. There he shares his journey from one adrenaline rush to another, always exploring new places as he goes. You can find him sharing his travels on Facebook
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