Things to do in the Algarve in the Winter

Things to do in the Algarve in the Winter

What do you think when you hear “Algarve”? Probably sun, summer, sea and lots of fun in the warm weather right? But did you know that there are also some very good reasons to visit the Algarve during winter? In this post, we’ll show you the best things to do in the Algarve in the winter!

The Algarve is a quite decent destination for everybody who wishes to escape the cold and wet winters in Northern Europe and enjoy some sunshine and rather mild temperatures! The average days with rainfall from December to March are around 10-15 per month, which isn’t so bad right? The average temperature in these months is around 15-20°C, which is great if you come from a country where it’s snowing and always around 0°C!

The Algarve during winter is great for nature lovers

The Algarve during winter is great for nature lovers

In general, I personally love the Algarve during winter. And if you do any of the following things to do in the Algarve in the winter you will surely enjoy your holidays in the winter in the Algarve as well!

Here are our top five things to do in the Algarve in the Winter

OK, you might not be able to walk around in the cave in your bikini, but you can still enjoy it from the boat

OK, you might not be able to walk around in the cave in your bikini, but you can still enjoy it from the boat

  1. Visit the Benagil Cave

Yes, this one was to be expected, given that the Benagil cave is our all-time favourite activity! Luckily, there are quite some tours still running through winter, like the tour from Lagos, Carvoeiro or Portimão! And the best thing is, that you will have the cave that is usually swamped with people a lot more to yourselves!

So visiting the Benagil cave is definitely one of the top things to do in the Algarve in the winter, as this is when you actually get to enjoy it the most! Without the masses of tourists, you will be able to take even more impressive photos! And it’s somewhat romantic, isn’t it? Spending a cosy winter day on board of a boat visiting a rather empty cave! We love it, and that’s why it’s one of the things to do in the Algarve in the winter!

Doing the Costa Vicentina is a must for hike lovers

Doing the Costa Vicentina is a must for hike lovers

  1. Hike the Rota Vicentina or Via Algarviana

If you come to the Algarve in the winter, you can actually do some hiking and explore the nature of the Algarve. Something, that isn’t really a great thing to do during summer, as it’s simply too hot. Also in the winter, everything is back to green and alive after the dry summer heat! The perfect time to go hiking in the Algarve!

Hiking the Roca Vicentina or Via Algarviana is, therefore, one of our top things to do in the Algarve in the winter. The Rota Vicentina is along the beautiful and wild Costa Vicentina. You can start from the Western point of the Algarve, at Cabo de St. Vicente. From here the Rota Vicentina goes up along the coast, that actually is already part of Alentejo, the next region after the Algarve. It passes the famous beaches of Carrapateira, Arrifana, Odeceixe, and go all the way up to Porto Covo. Here you can see the whole map.

The Via Algarviana actually crosses almost the whole inland of the Algarve, so that’s definitely also a beautiful thing to do in the Algarve in the winter. Here you can see the entire route. You can also start this from Cabo de St. Vicente and go East! The Via Algarviana takes you through the magic mountains of Monchique, across Silves, past Alte, Barranco do Velho and all the way to Alcoutim. On this route, you get to see very different landscapes from your typical Algarve brochure. That’s why it’s one of the best things to do in the Algarve in the winter, as you get to discover a whole new side of the Algarve!

Surfing in the Algarve is best during winter!

Surfing in the Algarve is best during winter!

  1. Go surfing in the Algarve

Even though most people visit the Algarve during summer to go surfing, the surf is actually much better in the winter! There’s less wind and you get more south-swells, which means there are waves all along the south coast of the Algarve and much closer to your favourite coastal towns!

Of course, it’s not as warm as during summer. But the water temperature is actually not so cold, that you can’t handle it! If you have a good wetsuit, you should be fine! Since most of the surf schools are closed during winter, you already have a lot less crowd! So bring your surfboard, or buy a cheap one and go surfing in the Algarve in the winter. Enjoy clean waves with only a handful of people around you! Definitely one of our favourite things to do in the Algarve in the winter!

The Ria Formosa is an amazing surrounding for boat tours

The Ria Formosa is an amazing surrounding for boat tours

  1. Visit Ria Formosa 

The Ria Formosa is a beautiful place to visit all year around. This natural reserve is blessed with unique flora! And during winter, you also have the advantage to be able to admire this little paradise without a lot of people around you! That way it will look it even more idyllic, for sure! Our boat tours depart from Fuseta and Olhão during the winter to take you to the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Reserve!

Join us on one of our tours to Ria Formosa to explore the beautiful deserted islands of the reserve, like Ilha Deserta, Ilha do Farol, Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona. If you enjoy nature you will love Ria Formosa. There are even some bird species that can only be found in Ria Formosa. If you’re lucky, you will even be able to see some flamingos! So visiting Ria Formosa is definitely a great thing to do in the Algarve in the winter!

Empty beaches are ideal for beach walks

Empty beaches are ideal for beach walks

  1. Enjoy long walks on empty beaches

The beaches in the Algarve are beautiful all year round, no matter the season. So you can imagine that during winter, the beaches that are usually so packed with people that you can barely find a spot for your towel, are completely empty during the winter months! But not any less amazing! So that’s why going for walks on empty beautiful beaches in the Algarve is truly one of the awesome things to do in the Algarve in the winter!

Praia da Marinha, Praia da Rocha in Portimão, Meia Praia in Lagos – just some of the amazingly beautiful beaches in the Algarve. And during winter you have them practically to yourself. Taking long beach walks clears the mind and will make you feel so good! You wouldn’t even recognise the beaches if you came back in Summer, and you’ll be so grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy these beaches by yourself in the winter! So grab your coat, go for a walk and enjoy!

After breathing some fresh winter air on the beach, why not enjoy a meal at a cosy restaurant?

We hope we could convince you that there are lots of fun things to do in the Algarve in the winter! Even though it’s not as warm as during summer, you have the advantage of not having masses of tourists everywhere. So if you like travelling in more peace and quiet, the Algarve is the perfect winter destination for you!

grotto tours lagos, things to do in lagos,

Discover Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Portugal

5 ways to discover Ponta da Piedade – Lagos

Tours Lagos Portugal

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Portugal

If you’ve heard about Lagos, Portugal, before, you’ve probably also heard about Ponta da Piedade and it’s famous golden coastline.

When visiting Lagos, you should go to Ponta da Piedade. Ponta de Piedade is not actually a beach in the sense that there’s no sand to lay on. It’s a place where the high cliffs tops– 20m – almost touch the blue, blue sky, while reaching out the blue, blue ocean.

Ponta de Piedade is an idyllic setting of brown shaded rock formations that meet the greenish blue waters of the Atlantic below, being one of the main attractions of Lagos.

Here there are lots of caves, grottoes and arches to go into, as you enjoy a one of the boat trips, row in your kayak or paddle on your stand up paddle surfboard over the crystal-clear water.

he combination of the light brown mysterious cliffs and several shades of green and blue from the ocean and the sky truly enchant the eyes.

Located 2km from the city center of Lagos, Ponta de Piedade provides a magnificent view of the Atlantic and the shapes of cliffs carved by the ocean and wind.

There are several ways to explore this mecca of grottos, unknown bays and quiet beaches. You can reach the spot by car, foot or by sea – by boat, kayak or SUP. In our opinion, Ponta de Piedade is particularly captivating when viewed from the sea.

Ponta de Piedade

boat trips can be done all year round

Near the car park on the cliff tops, you will find long, narrow stairs leading you down to a small cove where you will see cute small fisher boats.

Along time, local fishermen have named some of these misshapen rocks. The most popular ones are the General De Gaulle, Chaminé (chimney), Catedral (cathedral), Belas-Artes (fine arts), Museu (museum), Submarino (submarine), Camelo (camel), Cozinha (kitchen) and Gruta do Amor (grotto of love). For the nature lovers, this natural paradise is also interesting due to the many bird species that make it their habitat.

A few meters away from the coastline, there are several rock formatios on  which it is common to see nests of migrating falcons, jackdaws, alpine swifts, pallid swifts and ravens, as well as groups of egrets and cattle egrets.

Ponta de Piedade is a must place to go for nature lovers and also photographers since the beautiful colours of the setting make a perfect postcard portrait.

For the most sporty ones and if you dare climbing up 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you’ll will have a view over the amazing city and coastline, which marks the limit between land and sea. This lighthouse can also be reached by car or foot.

Discover by car

Ponta de Piedade is located out of the city center. If, for some reason, you prefer not to walk 20minutes and if you have a car, the best way is to park your car near the lighthouse. Parking here is for free.

From the parking lot, you can appreciate the views over the Atlantic or if you prefer and dare, you can go down the stairs (bear in mind it are over 180 steps) closer to the Ocean.

In our opinion, to go by car to Ponta da Piedade should be your last choice since there are more creative ways that allow a deeper enjoyment of this amazing creation of Nature.

Ponta da Piedade Lagos

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos

Discover Ponta da Piedade by foot

From the city center of Lagos to the lighthouse (farol) of Ponta da Piedade it’s a 2km walk, but a beautiful one. You’ll pass along the coastline of Lagos and come along some very nice beaches.

First you’ll pass by Praia da Batata – Lagos’ city beach, very popular under the youth.  After Praia da Batata, you’ll pass by some very pretty beached hidden in between the amazing rock formations: Praia dos Estudantes, Praia do Pinhão, Praia D. Ana and Praia do Camilo. At Praia do Camilo, the nearest to Ponta de Piedade, you can have great meals of freshly caught fish, grilled at the moment and a special selection of Portuguese wines.

Ponta da Piedade

We love this region of the Algarve

Amazing views over the colorful cliffs of Ponta da Piedade are guaranteed, but be aware that, especially after raining the cliffs might be instable, so respect the signs and do not approach the end of the cliffs too much. Another thing to bear in mind is that this 2km walk is quite hard, because it has got some hill and can become hot, so bring some water, sunscreen and a hat.

Once you arrived at the lighthouse of Ponta da Piedade, and if you’ve still got some energy left, you can go down the stairs (bear in mind it are over 180 steps) closer to the Ocean.

Boat trips

The boat trips are probably the most popular way to visit Ponta de Piedade in Lagos. The cave tours are the most popular tours in Lagos and depart from several places, from some beaches and the Marina of Lagos.

The boat trips are an inexpensive and nice way to enjoy the amazing caves and coastline of Lagos with your family and friends. Prices per person start at only 20€.

Ponta de Pedade boat trips

Ponta de Piedade boat trips

On these cave boat trips, experienced fishermen wind their way through the colossal rock sculptures whilst telling their names and secrets.

Along time, local fishermen have named some of these rock formations. The most popular ones are Chaminé (chimney), Catedral (cathedral), and Gruta dos Amores (grotto of love). The fishermen on your boat, will be happy to tell you all of them.

On SeaBookings.com, you can find the best online prices and several options:

  • One hour tour – with departure from the Marina of Lagos, this tour is best if you’re travelling on a tight budget or time frame. There is no need to change boat, you’ll stay on the same boat from the beginning until the end of the tour. This tour is perfect for any age.
  • Two hour tour – this tour is a more complete experience. It also starts from the Marina in Lagos and involves two boats. Firstly, you will sail along the coastline on a very pretty typical sailboat and will then anchor and step over to a smaller boat to enter the caves. It’s up to you which Ponta de Piedade boat trips you prefer.

From Lagos, there are many diferente boat tours, including dolphin watching, BBQ cruises, Private charters and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lptLdD5o-qo/youtube]

Discover by kayak

kayak tours lagos - kayaktour

Kayak tours to Ponta da Piedade

For the most sporty couples or families, kayaking is the ideal way to explore the magical setting of Ponta da Piedade. The Lagos kayak tours to Ponta da Piedade depart from Praia da Batata, the “urban” beach of Lagos, only a five minutes walk from the city center.

Kayaking to Ponta da Piedade has several advantages when compared to the traditional boats:

  • You’ll be working out while enjoying the beautiful coastline of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos;
  • You’ll not be polluting using an engine;
  • You’ll not be disturbed by the noisy engine of a boat;
  • You’ll be more flexible and agile to be able to enter the smallest caves of Ponta da Piedade and access the most inaccessible beaches.

Snorkel equipment will also be provided on the kayak tours, so if you’re up to explore the underwater world of Ponta da Piedade too, you’re welcome to do so.

You won’t regret it as Ponta da Piedade is one of the best places in the Algarve to go snorkeling.

SUP tours to the caves

SUP lessons Lagos

SUP in Lagos

An alternative for the sportiest travelers is Stand Up Paddle (SUP). This is the ideal way to discover the famous grottoes for board lovers. SUP consists of standing on a large surfboard and moving forward using a specially designed paddle. This sport is easy to learn.

We’re sure this is the most amazing and fun activity to do while exploring the caves. In fact, SUP has the same advantages as kayaking, mentioned before.

Learn the ancient Polynesian art of Paddle boarding. SUP is the world’s fastest growing sport that anyone can partake in. In fact, SUP is suitable for all ages and levels of experience.

SUP

SUP in Lagos, Portugal

If you’ve got other ideas or suggestions to explore Ponta da Piedade, feel free to contact us. In case of any doubts or if you’d like to book any of the ocean activities mentioned, we’re happy to assist you. Enjoy Ponta da Piedade in Lagos in your way!

dolphins in Lagos

We went searching for wild dolphins in Lagos

Nathalie, content and translations at SeaBookings, shares her unforgettable experience searching for wild dolphins in Lagos:

Even though I live close to Lagos and have seen a couple of wild dolphins from the coast, I still wanted to try out the tours to search for dolphins in Lagos! And when my mum came to visit me in the beautiful Algarve, it was the perfect opportunity to take her out and go on this adventure in the search of wild dolphins in Lagos.

Best thing to do in Lagos with your mum: dolphin watching!

Best thing to do in Lagos with your mum: dolphin watching!

The day we wanted to do it started not very promising – early in the morning the sky was very grey and it didn’t look like it was going to be a good idea to go out on the sea. Luckily though, it opened up so that we were able to do the dolphin watching tour with a little bit of sun and a very calm ocean.

At the Marina in Lagos, we were welcomed by the two very friendly ladies at the check-in counter. Here we were also given some waterproof jackets, that they recommended we wear during the tour as it would get rather windy. Happily, we accepted the offer, and thank god we did so, as during the tour it was perfect to wear the jackets and be protected against the wind!

On the dolphin watching Lagos tour, you'll also enjoy the coastline

On the dolphin watching Lagos tour, you’ll also enjoy the coastline

Once the boat had arrived in the Marina from the last tour, it was our turn get aboard! The boat was a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) with seats in the front, middle and the back. So everybody could choose what they prefer – the skipper explained to us that in the front it would get bumpier, and people who prefer a more calm experience should stay in the back, as there the boat didn’t get much movement! Of course, we wanted to sit further in the front, so we sat down in the second row!

Once everybody was on board, the skipper gave us some general information about what to expect during the tour and how they work to find dolphins! He made sure everybody understood English and understood what he said. And then, it was time to go out and see if we could spot some wild dolphins in Lagos!

Some of the dolphins came very close!

Some of the dolphins came very close!

After leaving the Marina, the skipper increased the speed and we raced outside into the big blue! The ride on the speedboat alone was already a lot of fun, and everybody was excited about what we were going to find! About 20 km from the coast we found a big fishing boat. The boat stopped, and the skipper informed us that around here there was a lot of fish and that we should keep our eyes open since the chances were high the there were some dolphins very close to us!

We cruised a little further, and after some exciting minutes, the boat slowed down again. And there we saw the first splashes of water – dolphins!!! Everybody on board got excited, and as the boat came slowly closer to the dolphins, we all were able to stand up and admire the dolphins from up close!

dolphins in Lagos

Bring your camera for the challenge to catch these quick and playful creatures on a photo!

It was a group of about 10 dolphins, and there were even some mothers with small calves jumping around our boat. The dolphins seemed to be very playful, jumping out very close to the boat and even swimming underneath our boat. It was truly a magical experience, watching these wild animals in their natural habitat.

After some unique moments watching the dolphins and moving around the water with them, it was time to return to the Marina. The skipper took the “scenic route” along the coastline of Lagos, so we were able to also admire the beautiful caves of Ponta da Piedade and the surrounding beaches, which was the perfect way to end this unique experience!

Seeing dolphins in the middle of the Atlantic is a unique experience

Seeing dolphins in the middle of the Atlantic is a unique experience

Seeing the wild dolphins in the middle of the blue ocean was a very magical encounter, and we loved every minute of it! We highly recommend this tour!

Wave is the Algarve. By João Coelho

What to do when there are waves in the Algarve

The Algarve is one of our favourite destinations in Portugal, and also one where we have a lot of different awesome boat tours for you! The caves and grottos around Ponta da Piedade in Lagos are very impressive and definitely worth a visit, as well as the most famous and beautiful caves of Benagil.

However, every now and then all these amazing tours become the victim of a higher force – the sea! Usually, the Algarvian coast in the South of Portugal is blessed with calm waters, allowing all our amazing boat tours to take you along for a relaxed and calm ride. But from time to time we get a South swell, the so-called “Levante” or “Sueste, that brings a lot of waves in the Algarve.

Private sunset tour to Benagil

Even the smallest waves can be enough to cancel the tours, especially the kayak and SUP ones.

With waves in the Algarve, crashing on the cliffs and caves, it’s neither safe nor a lot of fun to go for a boat tour. So when that happens, unfortunately, there is not much we can do to be able to still provide you with the fun boat tours we all love so much. But that’s no reason to get upset, as there are still many things you can do in the Algarve even when there are waves! In this post, we want to give you just some ideas about what to do instead of boat tours when there are waves in the Algarve!

Things to do when there are waves in the Algarve

Our surf lessons are a lot of fun!

Our surf lessons are a lot of fun!

  1. Go surfing in the Algarve!

While all the skippers and boat tour operators start panicking and get annoyed by the South swell, all the surf schools around the Algarve are more than happy! Why? Because south swell means waves in Lagos and the surrounding beaches! Also, Armação de Pêra is good for surfing! This means that you don’t have to drive much more than 10 minutes to find great waves to go surfing. And it gets better – since the swell comes from the south, the water around Lagos gets much warmer!

So if you see that the boat tours are all cancelled due to the waves in the Algarve, just go ahead and try out surfing! These days are the best days, as the waves around Lagos are usually very easy to learn surfing. And a lot of times you can even go surfing only in a bikini or with your boardshorts! This is heaven, don’t you think!? Use those waves and have the most fun surfing in Lagos! Kitesurfing can also be a great idea with the Southern winds and waves! Check out the piture of this post by João Coelho.

We admit we prefer the sea, but this lake is also great if you want to do some SUP ;)

We admit we prefer the sea, but this lake is also great if you want to do some SUP 😉

  1. Go for a SUP tour on the lake

Our SUP tour in Lagos usually goes to the impressive caves and grottos around Ponta da Piedade. However, when there are waves in the Algarve, this just gets too dangerous (and too difficult to stay on the board!). But again this is no need to worry, only an opportunity to visit yet another amazing place in the Algarve!

On wavy days, our instructors will take you out to a lake about 20 minutes away from Lagos, called Barragem da Bravura. This lake is in the middle of a forest, with nothing around you but nature. Even in high season, you will see almost no people around this hidden gem of the Algarve. A SUP tour on the lake is great because of the warm and sweet water. Since the water there is super calm, you are assured to have a lot of fun, even without any previous experience SUPping.

In the Algarve. there are even mountains for hiking lovers

In the Algarve. there are even mountains for hiking lovers

  1. Go on a Jeep Safari

If you just decide to stay away from the water during the wavy days, there’s still some stuff you can do! Have you already heard of Monchique? This area not far away from Lagos is very beautiful and almost magical with the dense forest. Here you can even find some waterfalls!

From Lagos you have the option to go for Jeep Safaris in Monchique or other places like Sagres or Praia do Amado! The west end of the Algarve is very different and definitely worth a visit to admire the wild and untouched nature!

The Ria Formosa is an amazing surrounding for boat tours

The Ria Formosa is an amazing surrounding for boat tours

  1. Go on a boat tour in Ria Formosa

If you’re staying further east, closer to Faro, you should definitely use those wavy days to go on a boat tour in Ria Formosa. This natural reserve is blessed with unique flora and fauna and is a very special place in the Algarve! And since it’s a river mouth, it does not get affected by the waves!

Join us on one of our tours to Ria Formosa to explore the beautiful islands of the reserve, like Ilha Deserta, Ilha do Farol, Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona. If you enjoy nature you will love Ria Formosa. There are even some bird species that can only be found in Ria Formosa, and you can also go for a seahorse observation here!

Best things to do in Lagos, city center lagos

Wandering around Lagos is always nice!

  1. Stroll around the town of Lagos

For all those who just want to take it slow, why don’t just enjoy and explore the cute town of Lagos a little bit more? Lagos has so much to offer, and even just walking through the little streets and admiring the colorful houses is already quite a lot of fun! And it makes for some pretty good photographs as well.

Also, there are more and more great coffee shops popping up all around Lagos. Take Café Goldig for example – here you get everything from delicious Banana Bread over daily changing lunch menus and really good coffee and juices!

As you can see, even when there are waves in the Algarve you still have loads of options to enjoy your holidays in the Algarve to the fullest. So don’t miss out on the fun options of things to do when there are waves in the Algarve!

Dolphin watching tour in Portimão

We went on a dolphin watching tour in Portimão

By Lianne, responsible for the Spanish market and content/translations at SeaBookings.

Fully equipped with wind jackets and life vests!

Fully equipped with wind jackets and life vests!

During our stay in Lagos in the Algarve, we wanted to do something fun. That’s why we decided to visit another place and go on a dolphin watching tour in Portimão. At the marina of Portimão, you see many different boats departing and arriving (sailing boats, motor boats, catamarans, etc.). The dolphin watching in Portimão is done on a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) and this was my first experience on a boat like this. Because we were going to search for dolphins in the wild, we needed to go far into the sea. With a boat like this, you can go very fast and reach these beautiful animals in a short time. My boyfriend and I were sitting in the front and the crew told us that it was important that everyone helped to look out for the dolphins.

Our super fast RIB

Our super fast RIB

Sit back and relax…. Oh no! Hold on tight! Because the boat reaches speeds of 40km/h and on the open sea it feels like you go really fast! This is really amazing because it gives you an adrenaline-kick and you have the feeling that you fly over water.

Before getting on board we were all provided with wind and life-jackets. I thought it would be too hot, but in the middle of the sea, it can be pretty cold. We were told that during this dolphin watching tour in Portimão deals with wild animals. The dolphins live in the wild and they are not fed, which is a good thing I think, because we could really encounter these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat!

The RIB takes 12 passengers and to skippers

The RIB takes 12 passengers and to skippers

I think after 20 minutes we found another boat and the people on board were already waving to us that we could see dolphins close to their boat. We slowed down and carefully we came closer to the other boat. There we saw already a couple of dolphins swimming. It didn’t take long before we saw dolphins everywhere around our boat. It was really amazing because we could come very close to the animals because we were sitting in a small boat. Even when they were swimming underwater and close to the boat we could see them!

From the boat you can clearly see the dolphins underwater too

From the boat, you can clearly see the dolphins underwater too

After admiring the dolphins for a while, it was time to go back. Different from the ride to the dolphins we were now heading back to the coast of course, which is also a nice experience. You see the nice colorful cliffs and different boats sailing along the coast.

dolphin watching in Portimão

Enjoying the colorful coastline of the Algarve on the way back

The sea was getting rougher and although I really like this adrenaline-kick, I can understand that other people would like the sea to be calmer. Usually, it is better to go early in the morning because the sea is calmer at that time of the day (especially if you usually get seasick it is recommendable to go in the morning).

After this amazing experience, we got back to the marina. It was very nice to see some dolphins in the wild! We highly recommend this dolphin watching tour in Portimão if you like nature and adventure!

Coasteering in the Algarve!

We went Coasteering in the Algarve!

SeaBookings’s team is fully distributed, which means that we all work remotely, from wherever we want. At the moment, we’re basically in between Portugal (from North to South) and the Netherlands. For the first time, we had our whole team together for what we call a “SeaBookings Summit”. The goal of these summits is simply to spend time together and also to brainstorm about the future of SeaBookings.

Team building is very important to have a close team, especially for remote teams. We thought coasteering in the Algarve would be a great thing to do as a team building event. Our partner who provides coasteering in the Algarve was very happy to have us on one of their excursions. And we were too! We had a great time!

Never heard of coasteering? Well, if you like adrenaline and the ocean, you should really give it a try! Coasteering in the Algarve is a true boost of adrenaline while you’re progressing in between the coastline and the ocean. Coasteering involves swimming, walking, jumping from cliffs and a lot of fun!

Coasteering is great for team building because you encourage each other on moments of fear and adrenaline. You push each other to jump from the higher cliff and respect each other if the jump is already high enough.

Here are our thoughts on our experience coasteering in the Algarve:

Lianne and Bo agree this is one of the best sea experiences

Lianne and Bo agree this is one of the best sea experiences

Lianne, customer support and responsible for the Spanish market:  

“Wow! I never did something so scary and at the same time so fun in my life! Coasteering in Bordeira was such a nice experience. It was super fun to do this with my colleagues because we were all supporting each other and had a lot of fun. I have to say I was a bit scared of jumping from very high, but I did some nice jumps and for the rest I enjoyed supporting and seeing other people jump. The instructors helped us to look for our boundaries and they also did some nice backflips themselves. Between all the adrenaline I took my time to enjoy the view and waaaauw, this was amazing! After 4 hours of climbing, swimming and jumping I was super tired, but I was feeling satisfied. I did it, coasteering in the Algarve!”

It's not only cliff jumping, also swimming and climbing!

It’s not only cliff jumping, also swimming and climbing!

Lawrence, front-end developer:

“It was a crazy experience to dive off the cliffs! All of it is quite cool, from having to swim a bit to a lonely island where you start with smaller jumps, to looking at the rocks underwater and their wildlife, to climbing back up to jump all over again. The instructors were very friendly and fun to be with during the activity. Would go again!”

Even before ending the excursion, we knew we wanted to repeat soon!

Even before ending the excursion, we knew we wanted to repeat soon!

Fábio, CTO, or the one who’s in charge of all the geeky stuff:

“In one word: Amazing. In a few words: I want to thank the opportunity of trying out this new type of adventure. Adrenaline is still pumping through my veins. Definitely something to repeat.”

We even swam into a very dark cave!

We even swam into a very dark cave!

Bo, co-founder and all over the place:

“Coasteering is the best team building activity ever, if your team is adventurous, loves the sea and adrenaline, like ours at SeaBookings. I highly recommend it for true ocean lovers as being closer to the ocean and nature in general, is impossible! The nice thing also is that it’s suitable for several levels of “craziness” – some jumped from 12 meter cliffs while for others 5 meters was enough.”

 

Think coasteering is something for you (and your team)? Book online or email us for further questions you may have!

 

20 things to do in Albufeira, Algarve

We’ve been writing a lot about things to do in Albufeira because it’s one of the Algarve’s most popular holiday destintions, both for families and groups.

Also, we like Albufeira ourselves and are happy to be able to share some inside tips.  🙂

Albufeira has long been one of Portugal’s most popular resorts because it combines an interesting cultural heritage, stunning beaches and there are many options. 

Albufeira things to do

going to the beach, of course!

The old centre is like a picturesque village with typical Moorish white buildings atop low sandstone cliffs facing a beautiful town beach.

This idyllic city centre is surrounded by modern buildings. Albufeira is undeniably fun, attracting a varied mix of holiday-makers.

Albufeira is a preferred sunny holiday destination for families and groups of party animals who seek for a resort with many things to do.

Albufeira things to do

walk around the city center

The Marina of Albufeira is almost like a second city center. It is part of a luxury tourist complex which includes shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, a nautical club, apartments and villas.

It is now ten years since the Albufeira marina opened its waters to boat owners providing high-quality support services to all sailors and their boats.

The Marina of Albufeira enjoys an ideal geographical location, in the Algarve, right at the end of the motorway from Lisbon and only 45 minutes away from Faro airport.

The Marina is a great spot to wander around or go for a romantic dinner, it’s also a favourite place to visit for families..

Check out our Top Things to do in Albufeira:

Albufeira things to do

wander around the Marina de Albufeira

Sunset cruise

Albufeira things to do

Albufeira things to do: sunset cruise from Albufeira

Sail along enchanting rock formations, caves and beaches of the Algarve at sunset, and sip on a glass of Champagne while admiring the coastal sights.

The 2,5-hour cruise on this comfortable catamaran includes sights of the typical coastline of the Algarve and dramatic views of the Atlantic — all bathed in a smooth sunset glow.

We’ll smoothly cruise along the coast up to the area of Galé and Benagil famous for its breathtaking rock formations to enjoy the ever changing light at the end of the day.

From about 5 to 6 PM until sunset, the skies of the Algarve become magical, and even more magical when viewed from the ocean.

Simply sit back, relax and stare at the sights as the crew sail. During the trip, we can stop for a refreshing dive in the ocean if you wish to do so.

Captain Hook Cruise

The pirate boat in Albufeira is a lot of fun for the whole family

pirate boat in Albufeira

Kids love pirates and parents love boat tours, right? Well, this is the best thing to do during your holidays in Albufeira with your family.

Please remember to book in advance because as this pirate boat trip is on top of the must things to do in Albufeira with kids, it gets easily fully booked during the summer months. Book your boat tours in advance to avoid disappointment and to better plan your stay.

On the Captain Hook boat tour, one thing is for sure: your kids will have the best day of their holiday. This 2-hour boat tour is a pleasant sailing trip for a nice price, ideal for groups and families.

We’ll cruise along the stunning coast of the Algarve to observe the rock formations and beaches of Albufeira, São Rafael, Castelo and Galé. If you’re getting too hot, you can even go for a dive in the refreshing ocean.

Caves & dolphin watching – The Dreamer

This unique boat trip combines the two most popular excursions in the Algarve, the dolphin watching trip and cave visits. There are several tours that do this, what differs is the length of the tour and the type of boat.

This particular trip takes 2 hours and you will be welcomed on “Dreamer” the newest acquisition of this tour operator, a very stable and fast speed boat that carries 30 people.

This boat is suitable for all ages, for kids and also for older people because it’s very stable and safe. On this tour, we’ll first cruise along the Algarve coast, from the Albufeira Marina to Carvoeiro beach. During this cruise you will have the opportunity to explore the beautiful caves and rock formations typical from the Algarve and a stop for a quick ocean swim.

On the return, the boat distances from the coast to start our search for wild dolphins. We manage to find these beautiful creatures on almost all of our trips but as they’re wild animals in their natural habitat and we don’t feed them, it’s a true adventure and we can’t guarantee anything.

Caves & dolphin watching– Rigid Inflatable Boat

Albufeira things to do: caves and dolphin watching tour

caves and dolphin watching tour – Insonia

This is our favorite of the things to do in Albufeira. Like the previous one, also this boat trip combines the two most popular excursions in the Algarve, cave visits and the dolphin watching trip.

As there are several tours that do this, you can basically choose what you prefer according to the different durations of the tour and the types of boat.

This particular trip takes 2 hours and you will be welcomed on Insonia” a rigid Inflatable Passenger Boat, especially designed for the purpose of taking you to enjoy the ocean.

These kind of boats are very fast and agile and carry 12 people. We recommend this boat for the most adventurous travelers as you’ll feel the adrenaline rush while speeding over the ocean and once we find the dolphins, be very close to them.

Regarding age, Rigid Inflatable Boats are suitable for all ages, but please bear in mind they’re a bit bumpier than boats like “Dreamer”.

On this tour, we’ll first cruise along the beautiful coast of the Algarve coast, departing from the Marina of Albufeira in direction to Carvoeiro beach, along the stunning caves and rock formations typical from the Algarve.

We manage to find these beautiful creatures on almost all of our trips and sometimes we also encounter other creatures like whales or turtles.

BBQ Cruise

Albufeira things to do: BBQ Cruise

BBQ Cruise

This BBQ trip is ideal if you’re looking for something that fits in your tight budget. The BBQ cruise will take you to discover the most beautiful spots of the Algarvian coast and enjoying a BBQ on a private beach on the same day.

This activity is one of the best family options. We invite you to come a board on our catamaran, a very safe and stable boat.

This boat offers you and your friends or family the best way to explore the enchanting caves, typical rock formations and beaches of the Algarve.

This is a full day cruise, departing from the Marina of Albufeira to cruise along the coast up to the area of rock formations and caves of Galé, Benagil and Carvoeiro.

A BBQ beach lunch will be served on a private beach where you will also have time to relax, swim or play beach games.

Half day sailing

Albufeira things to do: sailing tour

sailing tour

If you have always dreamed of sailing on your own sailing boat, this experience may be interesting for you. On the boat you can feel like you’re the owner and skipper and have the best day of your holiday.

The trip departs from the Marina of Albufeira to go sailing along the coast of the Algarve with its stunning rock formations, caves and beaches up to Carvoeiro light house.

If you want, you can visit the caves or go for a dive. On this three-hour tour you will experience the pleasure of sailing with a small group, either friends or family, and a trained and friendly crew that will involve you with the art of the sailing if you wish.

Full say sailing

Sailing Albufeira

full day sailing tour

If you think the previous described boat tour of half a day is not enough, com a board of our yacht for a full day. 

This experience is similar as the previous one but will take the whole day, to take it easy and relax while you sail along the stunning coast line of the Algarve. 

Also, there will be time to anchor on a quiet beach for a BBQ lunch and visit the caves or go for a dive in the refreshing Atlantic Ocean.

Coastline boat tour

Albufeira things to do: coastal boat tour

Coastal boat tour

By now we know that if you visit Albufeira, you MUST see the caves and typical coastline of its surrounding.

On this tour, on a very nice “pirate” sail boat, as soon as the the boat leaves the Marina, it sets sails and sail westward along the cliffs and sandy beaches of San Rafael, Castelo and Galé.

You can also observe the fisherman’s village of Armação de Pêra, the Chapel of Senhora da Rocha and go along the worldwide known beaches of Marina and Benagil.

On this trip there is also time for a visit to the caves or to have a refreshing swim in the blue Ocean. In sum, this is the ideal boat trip for you and your family to explore the must-see places of Albufeira, Algarve, on a typical and beautiful sailing boat.

Jet Boat adventure

Albufeira things to do: 30min jetboat

30min jetboat

Do you dare to come aboard on one of our powerful and super-fast boats? These types of boats are designed for fun and reaching high speeds thanks to their extremely powerful engines and aerodynamics.

This boat trip is a must while staying in Albufeira with your friends or kids who love speed! Join us and enjoy moments of pure emotion, freedom and excitement as if you were in command of a powerful jet ski, but in the company of your family and friends.

Slide around the waters of Albufeira on a thrilling 30-minute ride on a Jet boat. The boat will be driven by an expert captain who will make the boat speed, spin and splashe, so be prepared to have fun and get wet while enjoying views of Portugal’s scenic southern coastline.

Jet Boat – 1 hour adventure

Albufeira things to do: 60min jetboat

60min jetboat

The above described Jet Boat adventure takes about 30 minutes. For most people this is enough as it’s rather intense. You will enjoy moments of pure emotion, freedom and excitement as if you were in command of a powerful jet ski!

Are you a really adrenaline fan? Dare to come a board of this one hour adventure and explore the coastline even better while adrenaline flows through your veins!

As the Jet Boat takes off from the Marina of Albufeira, grab the safety bar in front of you and hold on tight — your captain is about to take you on a wild ride. Do 360-degree spins, power breaks and slides, generating waves that splash around you. It’s all part of the fun, so wear clothes that can get wet.

Rocket Boat

Albufeira things to do: ocean Rocket boat trip

ocean Rocket boat trip

A speedy ride combined with the beautiful scenery of the coast of the Algarve. Does that sound nice to you? The Ocean Rocket is right up your street!

This boat is capable of seriously fast speed. The Rocket Boat has 700 CV and is able to reach 50 knots! We recommend this cruise if you are looking for a cruise along white-sand beaches, caves, rock formations and enjoy speed too.

You might even be lucky to spot some dolphins. Crazy sharp turns make you think the boat will capsize then the pure acceleration kicks in again and you’re off like a bat out of hell, remember you have been warned!!! Do you dare to come and fly over the Ocean with us?

Jet ski from Albufeira

Albufeira things to do: jet ski

jet ski

What could be better than a sunny summer day on the cool waters of Albufeira? Jet Sking is a cool and refreshing way to enjoy your vacation in the Algarve.

Renting a Jet Ski is a great way to live life to the fullest. Pack your swim trunks, head to the Marina of Albufeira, and celebrate your freedom while you make waves on board a fast and fun jet ski.

No license is needed, as long as you’re fine with being in the ocean. We’re sure that your personal jet ski will add a whole new dimension to your day at the Albufeira beach.

Not only will you have the best view of the coastline, but you can also jump the waves in the choppy water or motor out to the caves to enjoy the typical rock formations.

Snorkeling

Albufeira things to do: snorkeling

snorkeling

Snorkeling is a beloved water sport by all ages. The Algarve, and in particular Albufeira has got some great spots for snorkeling as its waters are very rich in fish and other sealife.

Some people are not fond of the idea to be dependent on a diving tank or to be 20m below sea level, but still want to enjoy the underwater world. If you’re like that, let’s go snorkeling.

In fact, snorkeling gives you the chance to explore the colorful and interesting sea world just beneath the ocean’s surface without the complicated equipment and training required for scuba diving.

The give you the best snorkel experience, this trip is made by boat, such that we can take you to the nicest snorkeling spots, and all the equipment and insurances are included.

Scuba diving

Albufeira things to do: scuba diving

scuba diving

Scuba Diving is an amazing experience. To breathe underwater is incredible. If you agree, how about a Scuba Diving experience in one of the warmest and most beautiful waters of Southwest Europe?

For certified divers, the Algarve offers various dive sites, over 100 different ones from Faro to Armação de Pera.

Diving can be done in natural and artificial reefs, caves, wrecks, wall dives, among others.

Usually the Scuba Diving experiences from Albufeira take the whole morning, allowing two dives from one of our boats to assure you get to know the best places taking into account the water and sea conditions and also your experience as a diver.

You will be accompanied by a fully certified and very experienced instructor to assure a safe and fun day of your holidays in the Algarve!

First Scuba Dive

Albufeira things to do: scuba diving - first dive

scuba diving – first dive

As we mentioned in the Scuba Diving experience description, the Algarve is a heaven for Scuba Diving fans: warm water, good visibility and several types of diving site for a great diversity of marine life.

If you do not have any kind of diving certificate but would like to take your first breath underwater in Albufeira, we can take you on a “First Dive” is a program.

You do not need to be certified or an experienced diver to see and enjoy the immense existing life below the water surface.

This program consists of about half an hour of theory introduction, followed by practice in the pool with the full equipment and a dive in the sea to a depth of 12 meters.

The whole program includes assistance of a certified professional instructor, all the necessary equipment, boat trip, insurance and a certificate valid up to a year. Albufeira Algarve

Parasailing

Albufeira things to do: parasailing

parasailing

Parasailing consists of flying in the sky behind a boat and is suitable for all ages. This activity, despite of being rather short, will be unforgettable for the rest of your life.

You will start by ascending into the sky by the platform on the stern of the vessel, safely and without getting wet, until the maximum height of 150 meters.

You can chose if you prefer to fly individual, double or triple. With a privileged view over the city where you can enjoy an absolute silence and an extraordinary moment of peace and tranquillity.

For parasailing, we recommend booking in advance as parasailing depends upon weather conditions.

What’s your best thing to do in Albufeira?

Most likely one of the things to do in Albufeira described above suits you and your family or friends perfectly, make sure you book on time. During the busy summer months, from June to September, Albufeira’s ocean activities are very popular and some of them tend to get fully booked for days!

So, book now and make sure you won’t be disappointed and end your holidays without having done the experience that excites you most!

Also, if you’re looking for a kind of activity that is not listed here, please feel free to give us a call and we’ll do everything to help you!

Happy holidays!

The best things to do in the Algarve for groups – families

Traveling to the Algarve with a group? We recommend you to plan your things to do and to eat a bit ahead. Going out for dinner with a group of 8 or more may require a previous reservation. Otherwise, you may have to wait in line for a while. The same logic applies to things to do in the Algarve, like watersports and boat tours. In this blog post, we’ll share our top 5 best things to do in the Algarve for groups of families and friends. The segment we target is this post is the family and multi-age group segment. Previously, we’ve shared another 5 best activities in the Algarve for groups that are sporty and active.

Top 5 best things to do in the Algarve for groups

The best things to do in the Algarve for groups

BBQ sailing trip from Lagos – Algarve

  1. BBQ and grotto tour in Lagos

This relaxing sailing cruise in the Bay of Lagos is surely one of the best things to do in the Algarve for groups. Actually, when our grandparents and family com over to Portugal, we usually do this trip ourselves. During this sailing boat trip you will sail in the Bay of Lagos along the most impressive caves and rock formations.

You’ll anchor in a sheltered bay and the crew will prepare and serve grilled chicken, salad with our secret dressing, bread and wine. The lunch is delicious! Besides, we recommend you to bring your swimming and snorkel gear because the ocean will invite you for a swim. Beside the delicious BBQ, chance to swim and charming boat, another highlight of this trip is the famous caves of ‘Ponta da Piedade’. This cave will be visited by a smaller boat.

  • Duration: 04:30
  • Location: Marina de Lagos
  • Available Seats: 30
  • Price: 49 €

family fishing, fishing lagos - bomdia boat trips - boat trips in Lagos

Family fishing from Alvor

  1. Family fishing from Alvor

If you’re looking for the best things to do in the Algarve for groups and you’re near Alvor with your family or friends, check out this fishing tour! This will be the family highlight of your holidays in the Algarve! Come aboard on Donzela, a fully equipped sport fishing boat, and let’s sail to the best fishing spots, to find ground fish. While catching a broad range of fishes like breams and sea basses, you’ll have a great time together with family or friends. Who will be proud for the biggest catch of the day? You’ll be guided by local fishermen Miguel, who’ll be happy to teach you all about fishing and about the region.

  • Duration: 02:00
  • Location: Alvor
  • Available Seats: 8
  • Price: 25 €

Caves dolphin watching tour albufeira Algarve (1)

Caves & dolphin watching tour from Albufeira

  1. Caves & dolphin watching from Albufeira

Getting aboard of “Dreamer” in Albufeira is one of the best things to do in the Algarve for groups. If you’re travelling to the Algarve, most likely you’ve already heard about the impressive coastline. But did you know that you can find wild dolphins in the Algarve? Yes, you can! This boat trip takes you to the caves & dolphin watching from Albufeira.

This unforgettable boat excursion in Albufeira is the ideal thing to do in Albufeira for the whole family. The boat is very fast and stable and will comfortably depart from the Marina of Albufeira.

After visiting the famous cave of Benagil, the real adventure starts. The experienced skippers will do their best to find wild dolphins. You’re not guaranteed to see them because they are totally wild and not fed. Will you help us to spot them?

  • Duration: 02:00
  • Location: Albufeira
  • Available Seats: 20
  • Price: 35 €

Sailing Portimão (6)

Sailing from Portimão

  1. Sailing from Portimão

Portimão has strong historical ties with sailing and you can feel that yourself while having fun on one of our ships on the Atlantic. Get aboard on our luxurious yacht and enjoy Portimão from a unique perspective. Are you ready to feel the beauty of sailing while enjoying stunning landscapes, beaches and sheltered bays.

On this sailing excursion, you’ll take a break in a sheltered bay to relax or go for a nice swim. If you’d like to explore the underwater world, snorkelling equipment will be provided.

Sailing is one of the best things to do in the Algarve for groups. This half day experience is great. There’s also a full day experience, if you prefer.

  • Duration: 04:00
  • Location: Portimão
  • Available Seats: 10
  • Price: 45 €

Pirate boat Albufeira (2)

The pirate boat in Albufeira is a lot of fun for the whole family

  1. BBQ boat trip from Albufeira

“Leãzinho” is the favorite boat when we think about the best things to do in the Algarve for groups! “Leãozinho” is the wooden sailing ship from Albufeira that everybody loves. Beside the Captain Hook Cruise and the Coastal Cruise, this boat also hosts a full day BBQ boat trip. This BBQ boat tour is a lot of fun for families and groups of friends. You’ll be sailing to the most beautiful and hidden spots of the coast of the Algarve. From the boat, you can observe the magnificent rock formations and the paradisiacal white sandy beaches from a different perspective.

Then, we’ll anchor next to a secluded beach. Here you’ll have some free time for a refreshing swim and to enjoy the beach. The crew will serve you a typical Portuguese BBQ on the beach. Once we’re finished eating and having fun on the beach, we’ll slowly sail back to the Marina.

  • Duration: 06:30
  • Location: Marina de Albufeira
  • Available Seats: 22
  • Price: 48 €

In our opinion, these are some of the best things to do in the Algarve for groups that of families and friends. Of course there are many more. Please let us know if you’ve got any suggestions or questions. To book, don’t forget to be on time. Boat tours tend to get fully booked for days during the high season, specially for these best things to do in the Algarve for groups.

Sagres’ beaches

Sagres, also known as “the end of the world”, is located in Vila do Bispo, in the southwestern Algarve of Portugal. Sagres’ beaches are great for surfing and are a true nature gem of Europe. It’s known as “the end of the world” because Sagres is the most southwestern point of mainland Europe. Only the islands of the Azores, that also belong to Portugal, are more southwest. Given it’s location with a South and West coast, Sagres’ beaches are some of the prettiest of Europe.

Sagres is a rather small town. It has a tiny population of over 3000 inhabitants distributed over 34.28 square kilometres. This number rises significantly during the high season when tourists visit Sagres’ beaches and other attractions like nice restaurants and nightlife.

The area around Sagres is historically connected to the Portuguese Age of Discovery. The connection between Sagres and the Discoveries is thanks to its strategic localization. This location made Sagres one of the most important areas in the Algarve in terms of its rich heritage. In fact, Sagres significance to world history is incredible, testified by a wealth of historical events, stories and legends. For example, the cult of St. Vincent and Sagres are closely linked. For centuries, Sagres was the most distant point of the known world – known as Cape St. Vincent.

Let’s talk about what really matter: Sagres’ beaches. Sagres’ beaches that we like most are Baleeira, Beliche, Mareta, Martinhal and Tonel. The big advantage of these beaches is that some are on the south coast and others on the west coast. Like this, all beaches have different conditions. While some are great for surfing, others may be good to take you family too as they’re as flat as a pool.

The best of Sagres’ beaches:

Baleeira

Sagres Beaches SeaBookings (1)

Baleeira, Sagres by Quint Serviços Fotograficos

Praia da Baleeira is a small beach next to Porto da Baleeira. This Porto is the working fishing harbour in Sagres. Baleeira is a magnificent sandy beach with a few rocks speckled across the sand. The beach has a pretty view over Sagres bay and the fishing harbour. It’s a nice spot to sit and watch the boats go while enjoying the sun and the sand.

In terms of restaurants, there is one restaurant behind the beach. Behind the port, plenty of restaurants and bars can be found. This is not a supervised beach.

Beliche

Sagres Beaches SeaBookings (5)

Beliche, Sagres by Manolo Valiente

Praia do Beliche is a beautiful bay of soft sand surrounded by huge towering cliffs. Beliche lies between Sagres point and Cape St Vincent. It’s secluded location makes it a calm beach, even when the wild winds get up.

Beliche is still kind of a secret beach as not many tourist know it. As such, here you won’t find any amenities. It’s a true paradise for those who like the untouched character of this beach. We recommend you to pack a picnic to take with you or go for lunch at one of restaurants on the main road above the beach or in the town. Don’t forget that the only way to get  to the beach is down a long set of steps down from the car park, so don’t carry too much. Praia do Beliche is supervised during the beach season.

Mareta

Sagres Beaches SeaBookings (4)

Mareta, Sagres by agostinho1959

Praia da Mareta is maybe the most popular of Sagres’ beaches as it is the closest beach to the town. Mareta is another lovely sandy bay with stones at the back. This place is sheltered from the westerly winds. So you know where to head if wind is coming from the west. Mareta is great for those who likes to sunbathe. Not being very wavy and windy, Mareta is recommended for families.

To have a meal, there are three restaurants on the beach that serve delicious fresh fish (among others). Mareta is supervised during the beach season.

Martinhal

Sagres Beaches SeaBookings (3)

Martinhal, Sagres by Jonny Baird

Praia da Martinhal is a long bay of golden sands. It’s the first beach of Sagres, on the left right before entering the town from the main road. Praia da Martinhal has a marshy lagoon at the back and an island out to sea. This beach overlooks the fishing harbour and a cute lighthouse, being a beautiful beach to spend time on. While the other beaches are more popular for surfers and bodyboarders, Praia da Martinhal is a firm favourite amongst windsurfers. You can even find a windsurfing club here if you fancy giving it a go while you are there.

There are two restaurants on the beach. Parking is easy as there is a large car park behind the beach. As the car park is flat and runs straight onto the sand, it’s easier for disabled access. Martinhal is supervised during the beach season.

Tonel

Sagres Beaches SeaBookings (2)

Tonel, Sagres by nojive415

Praia do Tonel hides under the cliffs of Ponta de Sagres. Tonel overlooks the bay to Cabo de São Vicente. Depending on the wind direction, Tonel is a lovely sheltered bay. Tonel is very popular with surfers as well as those just wanting to relax in the sun. It’s right next to Sagres fortaleza and the turning is signposted on the right just as you reach the large car parking area for the fort. The beach has a restaurant and toilets. Tonel is supervised during the season.

The Atlantic along the coast of Sagres can be subject to strong currents, particularly around the rocks depending on tide and weather conditions. So while enjoying these stunning beaches, don’t forget to be safe. In Portugal, check the beach flag when you visit a beach. Beach season in Portugal with lifeguard supervision is normally April to the end of September. These are the flags you should be aware of:

  • Green flag = swimming permitted;
  • Yellow flag = swimming forbidden but you may enter the water;
  • Red flag = Swimming and entering the water forbidden;
  • Blue and white chequered flag = the beach is temporarily unattended.

To enjoy Sagres to the fullest, don’t forget to book a boot tour or some cool water sport 😉

Dolphins Albufeira

Dolphin watching experience in the Algarve

This summer we decided to try out the Algarve, Portugal for our yearly family summer holidays. We did some homework before booking everything and figured out that the best timing, also considering my job and my husband’s, would be the last two weeks of July. So, we then booked our flights, back in January and were lucky with a great deal for the four of us. We were going to travel with our two daughters, Laura (12) and Sarah (9).

Regarding the exact location in the Algarve, we followed the suggestion of my friend Caroline, who last year spent an amazing two weeks in Alvor. Alvor is a little typical fishing village in between the two cities Lagos and Portimão, about one hour drive from Faro Airport. We stayed in the apartments Caroline recommended and which were great since we had a shared pool and the girls loved it!

Alvor Portugal

Alvor is worth a visit, especially during sunset!

There are a lot of things to do in the Algarve, many cute villages and towns to visit, waterparks, stunning beaches for all tastes and delicious and good priced restaurants. The main highlight was, with no doubt and for the four of us, the dolphin watching tour from Albufeira. Again, we followed the recommendations of my friend and booked the earliest trip, at 8AM. The dolphin watching trips are very popular and that’s why we booked three days in advance on the internet, on SeaBookings.

On the day we booked, we woke up very early but it was not a big thing because we were all very excited to make a dream come true and meet wild dolphins in their natural environment. We prepared some nice sandwiches for breakfast to eat in the car since it was a 40min drive. In the Albufeira Marina it’s easy to park your car and we were 15min before departure at the tour operator’s office. After a safety briefing and short introduction about what to expect, the fully booked boat left the Marina on time.

Dolphin watching experience in the Algarve

The RIBs are really fast. The girls loved it!

The boat we went on was a so-called rigid inflatable passenger boat originally designed for rescue reasons and adapted to this activity. There are also other boats on which you can go dolphin watching like sailboats and catamarans. All kind of boats have got their pros and cons, but the pros of this boat are surely its security, speed and the fact that we sit very close to the water allowing an even more intimate interaction with the dolphins.

Within about a quarter of an hour, we found the first pod of wildlife. We were pretty lucky and got to see 10 to 15 dolphins that came so close to the boat that we were almost able to touch them. Thanks to the clear water we could not only see them on the surface but also underwater. To our surprise, there were two dolphin-moms that brought their babies along! It was beautiful to see how the mother and baby dolphins move together as is they were one.

It's hard to make good pictures!

It’s hard to make good pictures!

I think we spent about fifteen minutes with this pod of dolphins when the skippers suggested us to go a little more in the west direction because there were strong indications that would encounter another dolphin species there – bottlenose dolphins. The passengers agreed and as such, after sailing for about twenty minutes in West direction, some seagulls helped us to spot another pod of dolphins and in fact, it were the bottlenose ones. It’s common to find dolphins near seagulls because usually it on spots with plenty of fish.

Some came really close to the boat

Some came really close to the boat

This pod of dolphins was a little smaller (about 8) and had no babies but the dolphins gave us a real show jumping around the water! It was great! We had a lot of fun and made very nice pictures to show at home. We followed this group of dolphins for a while until it was time to head back to the Marina. On this last bit on the boat, the skipper made some fun curves and slides and I and the girls screamed as if we were on a rollercoaster!

The sights are stunning!

The sights are stunning!

When we got back to the Marina, it was time for some coffee and we stayed on the beach in Albufeira for the rest of the day.

If you are questioning booking a trip with dolphin watching, just call and book. You won’t regret it. It’s an amazing experience, both the boat trip itself and the special encounter with dolphins.

Best, Caty Jones (UK)