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1 Week Tour of the Algarve
The Algarve is a fantastic holiday destination as it provides glorious weather, charming towns, and a stunning 150km coastline of some of Europe’s finest beaches. This suggested one-week tour of the Algarve visits the most popular destinations of the region and combines idyllic beaches, historic sights and interesting towns.
The Algarve has an extensive and inexpensive public transport and the whole of this suggested route can be completed using train or bus. During the summer season, always book accommodation well in advance as the hotels fill up quickly. For an overview of the major towns of the Algarve, Algarve please click here. This suggested route heads west from Faro to Lagos and the itinerary is as follows:
• Faro - 1 night
• Vilamoura - 1 night
• Albufeira - 2 nights
• Silves - 1 night
• Lagos - 2 nights
7 day tour of the Algarve
Faro 1 Night
Faro is the pretty and historic administrative centre for the Algarve and makes for a pleasant introduction to southern Portugal. The city is close to the main international airport, and is a great place to begin a tour especially if arriving on late flights, as public transport from Faro airport is very limited. To read how to travel from the airport to Faro please click here.
Faro over looking the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
Faro has a scenic old town that is encircled by Moorish city walls, while at the heart of the old town is the ancient Se cathedral. Faro is situated on the edge of the salt water lagoons and waterways of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa and guided tours depart from the small marina.
The old city wall of Faro
Of all of the destinations visited during the tour, Faro is the least altered by tourism. The pleasant pedestrianised shopping streets are designed for Portuguese customers, while the restaurants in Faro serve great value, traditional cuisine. Faro is often overlooked by most tourists but there is a lot to enjoy in a short visit to the city.
Vilamoura is the Algarve’s most exclusive resort town and was purpose built for foreign investment and high-end tourism. The town is where the rich and elite of Europe come to play, with fine restaurants, six championship-grade golf courses and multi-million dollar yachts moored in the marina. It is suggested to spend one night in Vilamoura to experience the glamorous side of the Algarve.
The exclusive marina of Vilamoura
The central focus of Vilamoura is the large marina, which is surrounded by boutique shops, trendy bars and swanky hotels. The town has a very different appearance and atmosphere to the rest of the Algarve, with a general sense of wealth - but this comes at the expense of Portuguese charm. Vilamoura is great for a golf holiday as it has some of Portugal’s best golf courses, and golf equipment can be rented from the shops in the town.
Albufeira 2 nights
Albufeira is southern Portugal’s largest resort town and the huge influx of tourist development has only enhanced this enjoyable holiday destination. Albufeira boasts a wonderful beach, a charming old town and the largest assortment of restaurants and bars found in the Algarve. Every style of tourist is catered for in Albufeira; be that families, couples or party goers, and it is no wonder that the town is the most popular holiday destination in Portugal.
The massive beach of Albufeira
The pretty Old Town is crammed with restaurants and bars that stretch from the beach up the hill to the small fort. For those who wish to over-indulge in themed bars and party all night in late-night clubs should head to “The Strip,” 2km from the Old Town, which is just far enough away not to annoy other tourists.
The bars and restaurants of Albufeira
The two nights in Albufeira allows for one relaxing day on the beach and one day to visit a popular tourist destination, such as Zoomarine or Slide and Splash water park. Albufeira is also the best town during the tour for a big night out, either with a sunset and romantic meal, or karaoke and too many beers in an Irish bar.
Silves - One Night or as a day Trip
Silves was the ancient Moorish capital of the Algarve and was also a major port, using the slow-flowing Arade River as a connection to the sea. Today, Silves is the most picturesque town of the northern Algarve and is a highly recommended place to visit.
The Pretty town of Silves and the imposing castle
Silves has a quaint lower town, close to the river front, with cobbled streets and open air cafes. Further into the town are the remains of the solid fortifications and the traditional white painted cathedral. The distinctive red brick castle, which underwent a major restoration project during the 1940s, dominates the skyline of Silves.
Silves is a small town and the major sights can be seen within a few hours, and could be visited as a day trip from Albufeira or Lagos. But the town has a pleasant, relaxed ambience far removed from the hectic pace of the coastal towns. Silves is a great place to unwind and take it slowly, just as the locals do. For a guide to Silves please click here.
Lagos - Two Nights
The final destination is the historic town of Lagos, which is set along some of the most stunning coastline found in the Algarve. Lagos had a varied history and this is reflected in the range of historic monuments, which include a fort, important churches and even a slave market. .
The fort and beach of Lagos
Close to Lagos is the Don Ana beach, which is regarded as the finest beach of the Algarve. Further along the coast are the highly weathered cliffs of the Ponte da Piedade, a series of grottos, sea caves and rock formations which are best explored by tour boat. For a guide to Lagos please click here.
The Ponte da Piedade is best explored by boat
Lagos is a convenient place to finish a tour of the Algarve, as the regional railway terminates in Lagos and it is a direct train ride all the way back to Faro and the airport. For an alternative one-week tour of the east of the Algarve please click here.