The Algarve, in the south of Portugal, was the second area that we visited on our recent holiday, and it is known for its stunning beaches and sea cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In this post, we outline just a few things you can do when in the Algarve!
1. Take a boat tour to see Benagil Cave
Benagil Cave is the most popular cave in the Algarve due to the top of the cave having caved in, creating a hole at the top. The cave sits to the east of the port city of Portimao. You can peer down through the hole from the top but to really see the cave, it needs to be seen from the water.
A boat tour is the most popular way to see Benagil Cave as well as surrounding caves. However, on a boat tour, you’re not allowed to disembark onto the wee beach at Benagil Cave. Only kayakers are allowed to disembark (and if you swim there, but it’s not recommended!). After reviewing our options, we ultimately decided to go with a boat tour as we wanted to see more than just Benagil Cave.
Taruga Benagil Tours came recommended to us by our host and we can highly recommend it as well! We chose the Express Tour, which lasts 30 minutes and costs €15.00 per adult. The guide/driver was very laid-back and informative, and finished the tour off with a big donut on the water!
Of course, there are tons of other boat tour companies that go to Benagil Cave from many different spots along the Algarve, such as Lagos. Your decision of course may depend on where you’re staying in the Algarve. Because we had a car, it was convenient for us to drive right to Praia de Benagil, the closest beach and departure point to see Benagil Cave.
2. Lay on the beach at Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha is often stated as the most beautiful beach in the Algarve. It sits a tad bit east of Praia de Benagil. While we didn’t visit every beach in the Algarve, Praia da Marinha was definitely stunning.
As long as the waves are not too harsh, you can walk along past some jutting cliffs to other areas of the beach and it’s not overly crowded!
3. Explore the rock formations at Algar Seco
In the area of Carvoeiro, a bit west of Praia de Benagil, there is a place called Algar Seco where you can get up close and personal to the sides of the cliffs. Near the car park is a walking path on top of the cliffs, and one part allows you to walk down and then “through” the cliffs as stairs have been etched in to the rock.
Obviously, be careful of your footing, and give a wave to the boats that pass by! They’re probably wondering how on earth you got there!
4. Watch the sunset in Sagres
On the southwestern tip of Portugal is a civil parish called Sagres. The lighthouse in the area is known as Cabo de Sao Vicente, and offers a great background to watch the sunset from.
Do beware that it is incredibly windy due to the Atlantic Ocean being right there!
5. Explore Portugal’s Arabian history in Aljezur
If you didn’t know, Portugal has a big Arabian influence. It’s definitely not contained in Aljezur, which sits in the northwest area of the Algarve, but it is where the Castle of Aljezur, a ruined Moorish castle, is.
Many of Portugal’s city and town names begin with “Al”, which is taken from Arabic. The area with the biggest Arabic influence is the Algarve, with its name taken from the Arabic al-gharb (the west). Our host at our accommodation in the Algarve also told us that many Portuguese words are very similar to Arabic words, and this rang true for her when she visited Morocco!
We also have some videos on YouTube on our experience in Lisbon and the Algarve! Be sure to check it out and subscribe for future videos!
We hope this post gave you some ideas for things to do when in the Algarve! Where have you been? Where would you like to visit the most? Let us know in the comments!