Top 7: Must-See Places in the Algarve RegionBy Angelica Malin
Portugal itself is a really fun country and is on its way on becoming every traveller’s favourite destination to visit. While the historically rich country is great to explore, one of the most popular places to visit here is the Algarve Region. Located in Southern Portugal, it is easily the most visited place in Portugal. From beautiful beaches to cool historical sites, this place has something for everyone.
My own trip to Portugal
I didn’t think it would turn out to be that fun if I’m being honest but hey, one of the best trips of my life. Okay, I wasn’t really planning to visit here but when I came across the cheapest flights for Portugal, I just had to make use of the opportunity. I’m not much of a party person but I was surprised to explore all the historical places here and generally loved lazing around on gorgeous beaches.
Ponta da Piedade
It is located near the lively port city of Lagos, and it may be one of the most spectacular places around. The erosion has caused a number of sea caves, cliffs, and arches. Just viewing this place is wonderful but the best part is the spectacular view it offers of coastlines in both directions. In fact, it’s an ideal spot to take excellent sunset pictures. You can also see Cape St. Vincent so, over all, it offers a great view. To visit this place you should talk to the local fishermen and ask them to take you there for visit on their fishing boats. Of course, you can take another boat to visit here too but a fishing boat really sets the atmosphere right. One thing to be careful about is that there isn’t much security here so it may not be suitable for kids or even for you if you don’t know how to swim.
Believe it or not, Algarve is home to many medieval castles and historical sites. One of such sites is the Moorish Castle on the Silves. It is said to have been established back in the Roman or Visigoth period but became the stronghold we see today in the Moorish era. There is a history of conflict behind it and the whole period is said to have gone from the 8th century to the 12th or 13th century. This well-preserved Moorish castle offers a quite excursion where you learn about the Portuguese history as well as great view of the surrounding areas.
Ria Formosa Natural Park
Even though beaches are the most iconic places in Algarve, it also has a spectacular natural reserve full of wildlife and greenery in the Ria Formosa Natural Park. These collections of islands have traditional fisherman houses as well. But I suggest that before you start exploring you should research it a bit. When I visited here, I started exploring from the Environmental Educational Center of Marim and went onto other trails from there. This park has been around since 1987 and is considered one of the 7 wonders of Portugal and is something you should definitely visit on your vacation here.
Perhaps the most picturesque city located in Algarve, it has its origins going back to the Roman era but it was in the Moorish era that it gained more importance. It really started developing and becoming popular back in the 17th century, when Portugal said goodbye to its North African roots. When you visit this chalk-white city with sloping rooftops, you’ll come to discover the 21 beautiful and historic churches here and an old Arab Quarter. It is also home to the ruins of an old castle which can give you a spectacular view of Tavira. There is even an old Roman style bridge here and many alleyways where you can lose yourself in the charm of this city.
It is perhaps one of the most popular caves in Algarve you can visit. Of course, there are fake photos of it roaming about where they show the dome being sculpted but this wonder doesn’t need any artistic skills as it is naturally beautiful as it is. The reason it exists is because the whole coast has been eroded over time, creating many caves, one of which is this natural beauty. In fact, if you were to go on a boat trip from Benagil Beach, you’ll see around 30 caves just like that! Of course, some are more open to the sea, looking like corners but some like the Benagil cave has a small entrance giving more cave-y vibe. The giant circular dome with a hole on top, which has sunlight come in quite beautifully, is a sight to behold.
This city is the entry point to Algarve and is quite close to the airport, around 6km far. However, it is its closeness to the airport that makes it so obscure, as tourists move on to other places and resorts without exploring the charming historic city of Faro. The beautiful cobbled streets and quaint alleyways are like frozen in time. It also has a beautiful cathedral from where you can have a really cool view of the natural islands of Ria Formosa. This city has a nice historic and Portuguese charm. I really liked the neoclassical waterside gateway that is said to have been established back in 1812. Interestingly, it’s a great place for waterside bird-watching since it protects an extensive lagoon being a Natural Reserve along with being a historic city.
7 Hanging Valleys Walk
If you’re more into adventurous exploring then this is a must when you visit Algarve. The 5.7km walking route connects with the cliffs from Marinha beach and to Vale Centeanes beach. Just taking a walk here will gift you with a beautiful view of the marvelous landscape. And if the weather is nice, I say it is basically perfection. And if you feel like taking a break, feel free to stop at any one of the three beautiful beaches in the way, namely Marinha, Vale Centeanes and Benagil. In fact, if you start your walk early, you can catch a boat from Benagil beach and see those famous caves mentioned above. I personally think that the view of beautiful beaches and the relaxing environment really lets you immerse yourself in the Algarve charm.