Top 7 Holiday Villages in the Algarve

holiday village Algarve
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The Algarve region of Portugal is what is sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean of western Europe. It has some of the best year round weather in the region, with mild winters and warm, sunny summers. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, there is no question why the Algarve is one of the most visited places in Portugal. If you are looking for a great holiday village in the Algarve, here is a breakdown of your best options.

Top 7 Holiday Villages in the Algarve

1. Sagres

Sagres is at the very southwestern tip of Portugal, and for centuries was thought to be the end of the world. This small village is home to only about 2,000 people and has historical roots dating back the Age of Discovery. Peering out over the jagged cliffs that top the Atlantic, you will see the ocean blue going on for what seems like an eternity. This charming little holiday village in the Algarve offers the quiet and calm side of the sea life, without mass tourism. It is best known for its outdoor activities that include:

  • Hiking;
  • Cycling;
  • Surfing; and
  • Swimming.

The quaint town and white sandy beaches are perfect for a day away from the crowds.

Things to do in Sagres

Head over to the Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente for some history and some tasty treats. Mareta’s Beach is calm, quiet and easy to find a spot in the sand to read or take a nap. Visit the Sagres Fortress (“Fortaleza de Sagres”), the fort that protected the coastline since the 15th century.

Getting to Sagres

A car is the best way around the Algarve and will give you the freedom to explore the many seaside villages and beautiful beaches. From Lisbon’s Sete Rios bus station, buses leave three times a week and takes four and a half hours to get there.

Praia da Mareta Sagres Portugal
Praia da Mareta, Sagres, Portugal.

2. Faro

The capital of Portugal’s Algarve region is the bustling town of Faro, another top holiday village in the Algarve. It is most well known for its historic castles and cathedrals that date back centuries. Faro has a lot to offer visitors. Enter the old town through the city’s monumental archway and explore cobblestone streets and historic landmarks. With a 16th century convent, affordable accommodation, fresh seafood on menus everywhere and a lively nightlife, this coastal city offers something for everyone.

Things to do in Faro

The popular Tavira island’s white sand beaches are one of the biggest draw cards in the area. Igreja do Carmo’s twin bell towers showcase the best of Rococo style architecture in a church. Wander through the old town’s array of handicraft shops and local restaurants.

Tavira island Portugal
Tavira island, Portugal.

You might also like: Visiting The Algarve Islands.

Getting to Faro

Trains leave multiple times a day from the capital city of Lisbon and take about three hours. Fly into Faro’s international airport, just 15 minutes from the old town.

3. Portimão

Although Faro takes the crown for the capital of the region, Portimão wins the title for the largest town in the western part of the Algarve by population. Originally the centre of the fishing industry in the area, Portimão has transformed into a shopper’s paradise. Split between the main city of Portimão and it’s neighbouring Praia da Rocha, the number of shops, stalls, and buildings are in excess. There is more to see than just the stores you may have at home, however. A picturesque tree-lined promenade leads from the sea to the old town and it’s beautiful plazas.

Things to do in Portimão

Aqua Portimão Shopping Centre (website is in Portuguese) is the place to get all of your retail therapy done. Walk along the marina and snap pics of the beautiful boats with their colourful high-rise backdrops. Get your splash on at the Zoomarine water park.

Getting to Portimão

By train it will take about four hours or five hours by bus from Lisbon to the centre. Trains are convenient and affordable throughout the Algarve.

Aqua Portimao shopping Portugal
Aqua Portimão Shopping Centre.

4. Albufeira

If you are looking for a holiday village in the Algarve that is vibrant and lively, then Albufeira is the one to choose. Not only are there gorgeous beaches with crystal blue water, but you will also find beautiful plazas with manicured landscaping and an array of bars and restaurants. Feeling like staying up late, enjoying the midnight (or early morning) ocean breezes? The Albufeira Strip has a dynamic nightlife and the bartenders pour drinks well into the early morning hours. This once peaceful fishing village is now at the heart of the Algarve’s tourist scene.

Things to do in Albufeira

Golfers will find love Albufeira with world-class golf courses and some of the best weather in Portugal. Pescadores beach is great for a stroll or eating at one of the many stalls that line the overlook onto the sand. Book one of the many boat tours that take you through the Benagil caves and to hidden beaches. I can recommend this tour from Get Your Guide here which is only €28 per person at the moment.

Benagil caves Portugal
Benagil caves, Portugal.

Getting to Albufeira

From Faro, the train takes only 40 minutes and bus just one hour, for a few euros each. If you are coming from Lisbon, you have the choice of train or bus, with at least a daily option.

5. Quarteira

The holiday village in the Algarve that retains the most Portuguese feel is that of Quarteira. Many residents of the small country flock to the town in the warm summer months. At the western end of the village, fishermen can still be seen bringing in their daily catch, which are for sale every day except Sunday in the morning fish market. The nearly 2km (1.2 miles) beach is a main attraction in the town, as well as the palm tree-lined promenade that takes you along the sea which is filled with restaurants and bars.

Things to do in Quarteira

Visit the local Gypsy market every Wednesday to pick up some local handicrafts. Stroll the Avenida Infante de Sagres promenade and take in the waves of the Atlantic. Rent an umbrella in the sand and relax with a good book and the sunshine.

Getting to Quarteira

Trains from Lisbon will get you to Quarteira in less than four hours. Hop over from any of the neighbouring villages with the region’s quick and convenient public transport system.

Gypsy market Quarteira Portugal
Gypsy market, Quarteira, Portugal.

6. Tavira

This holiday village in the Algarve is a true gem. Straddling the Gilão River, Tavira’s history is clearly visible and includes a Roman bridge, an 11th century castle, and in one of the town’s 35+ churches and the graves of seven Knights killed by the Moors. For the nature lover, this holiday village in the Algarve offers the Ria Formosa Natural Park and its many islands and inlets. Among more common marine life, you might also catch a glimpse of flamingos, spoonbills and other wading birds that have made the salt pans their home.

Things to do in Tavira

Wander through the wonders of the medieval Chapel of São Brás. Fill your Instagram feed with the Baroque style church: Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Learn about the history of the town at the Tuna Fishing Museum.

Getting to Tavira

Buses and trains run frequently throughout the Algarve, and Tavira can be a nice day trip from any of the surrounding villages.

Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo Tavira
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Tavira.

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7. Lagos

At the mouth of the Bensafrim River lies Lagos, one of the most popular and well known holiday villages in the Algarve. The ancient town has roots dated back to 2000 BC and was the starting point for many of the seafaring voyages during the Age of Discoveries. These days, the old blends with the new as hotels, shops, and restaurants offer a modern-day lifestyle with an old-world feel. Opportunities are endless in Lagos, and wandering the streets and plazas in the old town can keep you busy for hours if not days.

Things to do in Lagos

There are a plethora of beach options, but the Praia Dona Ana (main image) is the most scenic and is surrounded by jagged rocks and turquoise water. Stroll the historic centre and stop at one of the many street-side restaurants or bars. Ponta da Piedade lighthouse is worth a stop and offers some of the best views over the cliffs and beyond.

Getting to Lagos

Lagos is one of the main resort areas of the region and therefore offers regular connections with larger cities and towns throughout Portugal. Buses to and from the neighbouring villages are quick, easy and affordable.

Ponta da Piedade lighthouse Lagos
Ponta da Piedade lighthouse, Lagos.

You might also like my other article on 7 Holiday Villages in Portugal Worth Visiting.

Why not go to a holiday village in the Algarve?

There’s certainly no shortage of options for holiday villages in the Algarve. With all of this information, we hope to make your choice a bit easier! Have you been to one of these holiday villages in the Algarve? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.

about the author
My love of travel has taken me around the world, visiting over 35 countries and counting, but Portugal has always felt like home. Writing helps me keep track of all my adventures and hopefully serves as an inspiration to others. I enjoy learning about other cultures and history, and am passionate about yoga, personal development and making a positive impact in the world.

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