In July 2020, I had the chance to visit the Algarve and I was totally fascinated by its beauty! That's why I want to share my favorite things to see/do in and around Faro/Albufeira.
1. Visit Olhão
Olhão is a charming little fishing village close to Faro (approx. 10 min by train).
Things to do in Olhão:
- Visit the food market
- Souvenir shopping
- Walk through the cute streets and get enchanted by the beautiful Portuguese Azulejos
- Rent a bike and visit the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
- Visit the Salinas do Grelha (Pink salt lakes)
- Take a boat/ferry and visit one of the islands close-by
2. Take a ferry/shuttle to 'Ilha Deserta', the desert island
Ilha Deserta is a beautiful little island close to Faro. You can reach it easily by Ferry or Shuttle (fast boat). Departure from Faro: Each 30mins. I took the shuttle to go to
the island and the ferry to return to Faro. Note that the ferry is slower but also cheaper.
Another tip: Bring enough water with you (it is hot on the island). There is a little restaurant on the island but we all know that water costs a lot in restaurants.
Things to do:
- Take a walk around the island
- Go find the spot with all those country signs - Please note: The place is actually quite dirty and doesn't look like on the pictures. I was a little bit disappointed to be honest.
- Collect shells on the beach
- Enjoy a relaxing and calm beach day
3. Eat yourself into a 'Food Coma'
There are a lot of very nice Restaurants especially in Faro. Albufeira is more touristic and therefore it is a bit more difficult to find the good restaurants. But you can find literally every kind of food; from Indian food to Italian and Portuguese.
Portas de São Pedro (Faro)
They have the most delicious Tapas and the cutest courtyard
Very delicious Italian food; not cheap though
Sweeter than sweet! Crêpes, waffles etc. - You can see my Crêpe on the left
The best Indian food I ate so far. But make sure you don't order too spicy meals! Mine was medium; but in reality it was really really hot :-P !
4. Explore Faro
Faro itself is a cute little city with a very beautiful old town in the city center. Take your time to walk around and get lost a little.
Some ideas what to do in Faro:
- Go to the harbor where you can find the Faro sign (picture on the left)
- Enjoy sunset close to the Faro Lagoon system
- Watch the airplanes landing (the airport is very close to the city center)
- Take a walk in the old town
- Souvenir shopping
- Go to Comur Conserveira for some fancy (fish) cans - They also have canned vegetables for those who are Veggie :-)
5. Book a dolphin tour
When I planned my trip to the Algarve, I realized that it is a very good places to see dolphins. I've never seen wild dolphins before but it was always on my bucket list so I
booked a dolphin tour from the Marina de Albufeira. At the beginning I was very skeptical because
a) I'm usually not the 'tour-booking'-kind of a person
b) because the tour wasn't cheap
c) nature doesn't care about people who want to see dolphins, so there was a chance that I wouldn't see dolphins on the tour.
However, I decided to go on this tour anyways and it was absolutely worth the money!
Firstly, the speed boat (and by speed boat I really mean speed boat ^^) drove out into the Atlantic Ocean. After a while, there were around a dozen of dolphins very close to the
speed boat! It was a dream. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. They looked so happy and it seemed like they had a lot of fun swimming around the speed boat. Unfortunately, we didn't stay there
for a very long time; or maybe it just seemed shorter than it actually was.
After seeing the dolphins, the tour wasn't over. The boat drives along the coast to some of the famous caves and then after some time it returns to the Marina de Albufeira.
The company I booked the tour with is called Seacret Tours.
By the way: The Marina of Albufeira with its colorful buildings is a very nice place to take some fancy pictures.
6. Visit the famous Benagil cave
First of all, let me say that even though this cave is veery touristic, it is still worth a visit. The most important thing, if you'd like to be (almost) alone in there: Go as early in the morning as possible!
You can't reach the cave by walking, but there are several ways to reach the cave
- You can swim from Praia de Benagil (approx. 100 meters)
- You can rent a SUP or a Kayak on Praia de Benagil
- You can book a tour
Make sure that you check the tides first and go there only during low tide.
I like it a bit more adventurous and special, that's why I decided to spontaneously book a sunrise Kayak tour which I found on Airbnb. This private tour, called 'The Ultimate
Tour to Benagil' started early in the morning (5.30 a.m.) and was a real highlight. On the way to the Benagil cave, we first watched the impressive sunrise and then continued the journey by
visiting some other nice caves before reaching the Benagil cave. However, we reached it still earlier than most of the other tourists (there were around 4 to 6 other people inside of the
A private tour of course is a more expensive way to visit the cave. If you travel on a low budget, I'd recommend you to swim or rent a SUP/Kayak.
7. Go hiking along the Algarve's unique cliffs
I totally recommend you this impressive hike which is called 'Seven Hanging Valleys Walk'! You'll be amazed by the beauty of those cliffs, I promise.
The walk starts at Praia de Centianes and actually ends at Praia da Marinha. I decided to do it the opposite way around and started at Praia da Marinha. And I also didn't walk the last approx. 1.5 kms to Praia de Centianes and finished the hike by reaching the Alfanzia Lighthouse.
During the hike, you'll pass
- Rock formations which build a cute heart when photographed from the right corner
- The hole of the Benagil cave (which means you can look down into the cave)
- The Benagil Beach
- Some other beaches and nice rock formations
- The Alfanzia Lighthouse
Some advices for the hike:
- Stay hydrated! --> Bring enough water with you
- Don't forget to put on sunscreen
- Take your swimwear with you
- Wear good shoes (sneakers or hiking shoes)
- Watch the sunset at the Alfanzia Lighthouse
- I took a Uber from Albufeira to Praia da Marinha and then from Alfanzia Lighthouse back to Albufeira (like this you don't need to end your hike where you started)
- Please take your litter with you
Have you ever visited the Algarve or is it on your bucket list? If you've already been there, what did you like the most?
If you like my blogpost about the Algarve, you'd make me very happy by leaving a comment :-)
Sending you lots of love and please stay safe!