On an Algarve vacation, you’ll experience Portugal’s sun-drenched south coast, a region of seafarers and sunshine. Feel the sand between your toes as you walk the sandy beaches of Albufeira, Lagos, and Faro, before cooling off in the crisp waters, warmed by the Mediterrannean meeting the Atlantic. End a day back on the harbor, enjoying succulent grilled sea bass and a glass of zesty Portuguese Vinho Verde wine—an Algarve vacation is all about enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
During your Algarve vacation, be sure to experience the sandy beaches of Albufeira. But first, start your day exploring the cute whitewashed buildings of the town itself, where churches and plazas emerge from shaded alleyways. Explore the ramparts of the enormous Castle of Paderne, which passed between the Romans, Berbers, and Christian conquerors—a reminder of the Algarve’s rich history, before ending the day on the beach.
Sat on one of Europe’s most southwesterly points, Sagres is a small fortress town and was one of the centers of the Portuguese Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s also home to Portugal’s favorite beer, Sagres. Look out to sea with a refreshing brew in hand—it’s not surprising that the Phonecians, Greeks, and Romans thought this was a meeting place for the gods.
Start your Faro vacation at the ancient cathedral, dating back to the 13th century, before heading through the grand Arco de Vila, which has greeted seafarers into the city for over 1000 years, although the current sculptures only date back to 1821. In the marina, jump aboard a boat and head to one of the secluded beaches that dot Faro’s lagoon, the perfect places to escape the bustle of this lively city.
Lagos is one of Portugal’s oldest seafaring centers, home to Henry the Explorer, who kicked off the Portuguese Age of Exploration. Walk around the old city walls, pausing to gaze down on the white baroque towers of the Church of St Anthony. Head out of the city and explore the peaceful coves east of the town, the perfect idyllic spot to round off your incredible Algarve vacation. Less
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