21 Beautiful Algarve Towns Worth The Visit (2024)

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Looking for the most beautiful Algarve towns? Look no further!

Thanks to its 300 annual days of sunshine and unique, ochre-colored coastline, the Algarve is like nothing you’ll find anywhere else in the world. This sun-kissed region is full of picturesque villages that offer a glimpse into traditional Portuguese life with their whitewashed houses, cobblestone streets, and delicious seafood restaurants.

But some of the most unforgettable small towns can be hard to find. Missing out on these breathtaking sandy beaches, charming fishing villages, and history-filled coastal cities would be a major mistake.

Luckily, this guide will help you decide which Algarve towns are right for your trip as well as exactly where to find them. Keep reading for a look at some of the most beautiful cities and villages in Southern Portugal!


Most Family Friendly | Most Beautiful | Best Beach Towns

Best for Hiking: Carvoeira
Best for Surfing: Sagres | Alezjur
Best Resort Town: Albufeira

Best for Nature: Olhao
Best for History: Silves
Most Central: Faro

white buildings on portugues coast

Most Beautiful Towns in Algarve


ponta da piedade
praia da marina

While Lagos is definitely one of the region’s best beach towns, it also deserves a spot at the top of the list of most beautiful Algarve towns! Here, you’ll find the best of Southern Portugal’s famous rocky coastline.

An essential stop on any trip to the Algarve, Ponta da Piedade is a breathtaking headland filled with golden yellow rock formations and picturesque arches that jut out of the sea.

Lagos is also where you’ll find some of the region’s most famous beaches like Praia Camilo with its picturesque staircases, the arched bridge of Praia Estudantes and the heart-shaped rock at Praia da Marinha.

This town is chock-full of the most Instagrammable places in the Algarve!


tavira street

Located near the Gilão River, Tavira is considered by many to be the most beautiful town in the Algarve. With its charming churches, old whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets, and fishing boats floating in the water, it’s easy to see why!

Here, you can hop on a boat to Tavira Island, or check out Tavira Castle. Be sure to climb the Tower of Tavira for panoramic views and to check out the Camera Obscura exhibit where you’ll be sent on an interactive 360-degree journey to discover the town’s heritage.


ferragundo marina

Located near Portimão, Ferragudo is a charming fishermen’s village and an undeniably stunning place to visit. The whole place feels like a timeless postcard!

With its narrow streets, whitewashed houses, blooming bougainvillea, and colorful flower pots, Ferragundo is irresistibly photogenic.

Don’t forget to cross the bridge to capture the fishing boats against the picturesque backdrop of Ferragudo’s iconic white houses.


burgau village in algarve

White houses with blue doors and bougainvillea spilling over the walls, it’s easy to see why this coastal town is referred to as the ‘Santorini of Portugal.’

When I visited on my solo trip to the Algarve, I instantly fell in love with the colorful boats, clear turquoise waters, and a quaint vibe.

Despite its popularity, Burgau remains a traditional fishing village. When you visit, you’ll get to see local fishermen heading out to sea and returning with the day’s catch, which often end up in Burgau’s charming seafood restaurants!

READ NEXT: 23 Beautiful Places In Madeira That Belong On Your Bucket List

Best Beach Towns in Algarve


rocky faro coastline

Albufeira, a premier resort town in the Central Algarve, is known for its beautiful, golden beaches and lively nightlife. Explore all the hidden corners of the enchanting Old Town, bask in the sun at the famous Praia dos Pescadores, or enjoy a thrilling boat ride to nearby sea caves.

For those who love nightlife, the Albufeira Strip is the place to be. This bustling area is lined with a fun mix of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, offering everything from live music to themed parties.



Carvoeiro is a picturesque beach town in the heart of the Algarve. Its breathtaking landscapes and unique attractions like the Algar Seco and Seven Hanging Valleys Trail make it an ideal day trip from Faro.

The Algar Seco is an absolute must-see place! Formed over thousands of years by the relentless force of the Atlantic waves, this network of caves and captivating rock formations includes natural pools and sea caves. Don’t miss the Boneca, a series of tunnels and caves that lead to dramatic cliffs with spectacular views.

If you like to hike, a Carvoeiro day trip should definitely be on your Portugal bucket list so you can explore one of the most iconic trails in Portugal, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.


Sunlight coming in through the opening in Benagil Cave, with tourists on kayaks below it.

Benagil Cave is one of the most popular spots in the Algarve. This mesmerizing sea cave is a natural wonder that was relatively unknown until a photo of it went viral on Instagram.

Known for its natural skylight and the spacious golden beach inside the cave itself, it’s a pretty surreal spot. In fact, the only way to reach Benagil Cave is by swimming, kayaking, or boating to the openings.

Getting to admire the sunlight filtering through the cave opening makes it worth putting up with high season crowds.


A kayak tour is by far the best way to see Benagil Cave and its sandy inner beach. I went on a boat tour and don’t recommend that since we basically popped in and out, spending less than 5 minutes there.


Sagres lighthouse

Sagres is an exciting town in the Algarve to visit, especially for anyone looking to surf some of the best waves in the world. (Or simply watch other people surf them!) Not only is Sagres one of the best beach towns in Portugal, it’s one of the top spots for surfing in Algarve.

If you’re looking for the best waves, Praia do Tonel is one of the most highly regarded beaches, sheltered by large cliffs and complete with a beach bar.

You can also explore the westernmost point of mainland Europe at Cabo São Vicente, historically considered the end of the world. You also won’t want to miss the impressive Fortaleza de Sagres, perched on a rugged headland south of Praia da Mareta, originally built to defend against pirate attacks from North Africa.


boat on portimao shore

Portimão, a picturesque city in Western Algarve, is known for its beautiful beaches and marina. There’s no shortage of activities here – you can wander through the historic Old Town, check out the Portimão Museum, or savor local dishes like grilled sardines and polvo à lagareiro at a restaurant by the water.

The city’s historic center is home to the Igreja Matriz, a 15th-century church featuring a blend of Gothic and Manueline styles. Not far away, you’ll find the Fort of Santa Catarina, a historic fortification that offers breathtaking views over Portimão and the Atlantic Ocean.

For steadfast adventurers, check out the water sports at Praia da Rocha, one of the Algarve’s most famous beaches.

READ NEXT: The 17 Best Beaches in Cascais, Portugal


alejur beach
Praia Arrifana

Aljezur is another great Algarve surf town. A highly prized location for beginners, intermediates and even advanced surf is Praia da Arrifana and Praia da Amoreira. This is where it’s at for surf in the Algarve.

Praia da Luz

ilha de tavira beach

Just an hour’s drive from the Faro airport, Praia da Luz is a laidback coastal town. Situated between the bustling city of Lagos and the quaint village of Burgau, Praia da Luz boasts an impressive blue flag beach with soft, golden sands that slope gently into the clear ocean, making it a perfect spot for a family getaway.

PS: Wondering when to visit to Portugal? While you can’t exactly swim in the Algarve in winter, you can still enjoy the stunning beaches and amazing monuments.

More Algarve Towns To Visit


arco da vila
church of bones in faro

Faro’s is known as the gateway to the Algarve. As the home to the region’s primary international airport, it’s both convenient and affordable.

It makes a great base where you can visit as many towns and cities as possible on a ton of different Faro day trips.

Some of the best things to do in Faro are to start with a stroll through the medieval walls and cobblestone streets of historic Old Town. Don’t miss the Arco Da Vila and the Bone Church, where the walls are adorned with human bones. Plus, make a stop at the Faro Municipal Museum to explore the region’s rich history through its extensive collection of artifacts and art from the 16th century.

PS: Still wondering if Faro is really worth visiting? This list of pros and cons will help you decide!


faro day trip to olhao

Olhão is a quaint Algarve village with a picturesque old town, lined with traditional white-washed houses and narrow streets, exuding the charm and history you’ve come to expect from Portugal.

A stop by the bustling fish market is a fun, albeit smelly, thing to do in Olhao. Many of the top restaurants in the Algarve head here to purchase the evening’s dinner. Say hello to tonight’s special!

Olhão is also the gateway to the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park, one of Portugal’s natural wonders. Great for nature lovers and bird waters, you’ll love exploring the lush lagoons on a boat tour.


silves moorish castle

Famous for its well-preserved Moorish castle with red sandstone walls, Silves is a must-visit for fans of history.

Meander through the narrow, cobbled streets, soak in the town’s medieval ambiance, or visit the Silves Cathedral, a former mosque, current national monument, and stunning example of Gothic architecture. A ticket for the Silves Castle only costs about three euros.

With its interesting past, beautiful setting, and relaxing pace of life, a Silves day trip is perfect for history buffs and anyone needing to escape the bustling resort towns and tourist hotspots.

READ NEXT: Lisbon Itinerary: 4 Dreamy Days in the City of 7 Hills


caldas da monchique

If you’re a fan of wellness retreats or just need a little rest and relaxation, the spa town of Caldas de Monchique is the place to be, with its rejuvenating spring baths providing the ultimate relaxation experience. There’s also plenty of hiking and biking through the lush landscapes nearby. Don’t miss the climb up Mount Foia or Picota for breathtaking views of the town below.

Cacela Velha


Located in the eastern part of the Algarve, Cacela Velha is a charming, picturesque village that will give you a fascinating glimpse into Portugal’s storied past. Known for its whitewashed houses and stunning views of the Ria Formosa lagoon, this hidden gem is perfect for anyone who wants to get off the beaten path and away from busy tourist hotspots. The village’s 13th-century fortress and ancient church are its must-see landmarks!

Vila Real de Santo António

Vitor Oliveira from Torres Vedras, PORTUGAL, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Vila Real de Santo António is an off-the-beaten path destination with the Algarve’s only grid-patterned street layout. Located along the Guadiana River, it serves as a natural border between Portugal and Spain. You can even see the neighboring Spanish town of Ayamonte across the water!

There are tons of outdoor activities here, like a beautiful trail that goes towards Monte Gorde and through the Mata Nacional das Dunas de Vila Real de Santo António pine forest.

Castro Marim

Steven Fruitsmaak, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

With two significant historical sites, Castro Marim is a real treat for history buffs. First, the town’s medieval castle was built during the 13th and 14th centuries. Perched on a hill, the castle offered strategic views extending beyond the Spanish border, which was crucial in ancient times.

Opposite the castle sits the Fort of São Sebastião, constructed in 1641 on the orders of King D. João IV during the Portuguese Restoration War. This fortification transformed Castro Marim into the Algarve’s premier military base.

Today, this site remains remarkably well-preserved and holds the distinction of being a national monument.

Best Towns in Algarve For Families

If you’re planning a family vacation to the Algarve region of Portugal, you might be wondering which towns are best suited for families with children. Luckily, there are plenty of options! One popular choice is Albufeira, known for its pristine beaches and family-friendly activities like the Zoomarine theme park.

Another great option is Lagos, with its charming historic center and calm beaches perfect for little ones. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, consider staying in Tavira or Sagres where you can enjoy nature walks and boat tours. No matter which town you choose, your family will surely have an unforgettable time.

Algarve Towns Map

towns in algarve portugal
algarve towns



Sydney is a solo travel expert who’s extensively explored Spain, Portugal, Morocco, California, and more! She creates travel guides and itineraries to share everything she's learned about the Iberian peninsula through personal experience and exploration.

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