48 hours in the Algarve – Sunset, waves and culture

This is a guest post by Peter Jenkins, Owner and Luxury Villa Specialist, Sun-hat Villas and Resorts.

There’s something magical about The Algarve. From the instant you step off the plane, you are transported to a holiday haven and can feel an indescribable buzz; not just from the delightful climate, but also from the friendly locals, and let’s not forget the cuisine.

The region has become a hot spot amongst jetsetters who like a touch of elegance with their evening cocktails when overlooking the stunning beaches and enjoying the tranquility of the peaceful fishing villages. The area is also a firm favourite of chilled out surfers, hoping to catch some wonderful waves on Portugal’s widest swell.  With such a wide offering, we have gathered a list of our top recommendations, ideal for a short weekend or spread out over a long relaxing trip.

Day 1

Sunrise surf

The striking cliffs, impressive cliff-top fortress (and the most powerful lighthouse in Europe) can all be found in the glorious Sagres, which is one of the places to catch some waves – or at least watch some the cool surfers show you how it’s done! Check out Magic Seaweed’s handpicked guide for what to expect when out on the water.

After hitting the beach, Sagres is a fabulous place to spend your morning. With its joyful cafes this is a great spot to grab some breakfast (or brunch if you want a lazy lie-in). Terra is a great venue to head for breakfast. A glass of delicious fresh juice or a cup of roasting hot coffee teamed with either a nutella or peach filled croissant, can be one of the best ways to start the day. It is also a good option for vegetarians and vegans.

Explore Alcoutim

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Discover Alcoutim

After an extremely active and revitalising morning, you may be tempted to treat yourself to a slightly more laid back afternoon. On the exciting drive to Alcoutim, you will be able to discover the picturesque countryside views and see the sights of its warm riverside beach. This is a cool place to rest and watch the cheeky fish occasionally jump in and out of the water.

After bathing at the beach, take a stroll in the cultural and historical town, steeped in culture with a Moorish castle, 14th Century castle remains and 17th Century fort.

Sunset: From surf to turf

One of the places we love to dine at is Almancil’s hilltop restaurant Parilla Natural. This stunning eatery features its own wine cave and offers visitors an outside dining experience amongst tall trees and charming candlelight. If you’re feeling chilly, fear not as there’s an inside eating area too! From the menu, we particularly like Surf and Turf paired with Batatas Fritas Caseiras (hand cut potato fries), and for drinks, be sure to try the Lemon Cheesecake Martini.

Day 2

Climb the mountains

Foia - Highest Mountain in Algarve

Foia – Highest Mountain in Algarve

The magnificent Foia Mountain, also known as Monchique, is the highest in the Algarve. Adventurists, who want to partake in the challenge of making it to the top, will be able to walk around the area with a local guide and come face to face with cooling water springs and views of the coastline scattered with attractive little villages. Be sure to pack a tasty picnic breakfast, whilst you enjoy the view from the top.

An afternoon in Albufeira

Albufeira's beach

Albufeira’s beach

The old town of Albufeira is exceptionally captivating and is surrounded by a whole array of delightful restaurants and bars offering everything you could possibly imagine; from the imaginatively presented and tongue tantalising gourmet dining experience at Al Quimia, (some of the food is dished up in a goldfish bowl), to much loved authentic and inexpensive take-aways such as the Albufeira Gourmet Churrasqueira Take-Away, which serves mouth-wateringly good ribs and skinny fries.

The main square bursts into life in the evening with locals and revelers and the maze of cobbled side streets hold interesting hidden finds; it’s also great for finding a souvenir or too!

Sunset at Sea

Watch the sun as it comes down, whilst you’re cruising through the sea on a sunset boat tour. You’ll be able to witness all of the pretty colours of The Algarvian sun, whilst also visiting the moonlit caves, dancing under the stars, relaxing on the deck and taking a cooling night time dip in the ocean. Guests will be treated to one complimentary drink, and there’s also a bar on board for you to sample the local wines and beers. The tours depart from different locations like Vilamoura or Albufeira.

Book your accommodation on time

Book your accommodation on time

If you’re feeling tempted and want to plan your next Portuguese adventure, take a peek at the luxury villas in Vale do Lobo, and the rest of the Algarve, that Sun-hat Villas have available.

Albufeira Holiday Tips

Albufeira Holiday Tips

Albufeira, surrounded by 20 very different beaches to choose from, hugs the coast in Portugal’s southern Algarve region. It’s definitely one of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal, for many reasons: great weather, all your round, stunning beaches, delicious cuisine and wild nightlife. Are you coming to Albufeira soon? After having booked your flights and stay, we are happy to give you some inside information about one of our favourite cities in the Algarve.

Praia da Falésia

Praia da Falésia

 Beaches in Albufeira

Albufeira is very rich in a broad variety of beaches. Our favourite four are Praia da Falésia, Praia de São Rafael, Praia da Galé and Praia Olhos de Água. Praia da Falésa  – is a fantastic 6-7km long sandy beach with plenty of beach bars and sun-loungers. From this beach, you can do some watersports as there are motorised watersports available. The crystal clear water is very clean and good for safe-bathing. We recommend a walk along the beach to Vilamoura with beautiful views. It’s a beautiful walk where the beach bars provide ideal pit-stops. If you do not want to walk back and get a taxi, you can do so, but only from the Vilamoura Marina because taxis don’t go on the dirt tracks of the beach.

A bit smaller, Praia de São Rafael is absolutely stunning too and a must-see for another in the area! This beach is also sandy but surrounded by cliff face, caves and fascinating rock formations, which makes it popular on windy days. São Rafael has got one reasonably priced snack bar/restaurant. Things to do in Albufeira Portugal

Praia da Galé is massive and is known for its beautiful white sand. Another beach where the sea is very clear and ideal to swim in. The local beach bar is a nice place to have lunch since it serves fresh fish every day. Spoil yourself with a nice massage on the beach (10 euros for 15 minutes) and get a really relaxed holiday feeling!

Praia Olhos de Água is an old favourite since it’s close enough to Albufeira to go back and forth. It’s a rather busy and touristy beach but nice to alternate between the quieter one. There are many little Portuguese restaurants and bars.

The coastline around Albufeira is stunning

The coastline around Albufeira is stunning

Things to do in Albufeira

For the ones who love the ocean, Albufeira is a real paradise. You can just go for a refreshing dive in the Atlantic or choose one of the many ocean-related activities provided. The dolphin watching tours are definitely the most popular ones. Just pick the kind of boat you like most, from speedy rigid inflatable boats to comfortable catamarans, and get a board on this adventure. The BBQ tours, as well as the Pirate cruise, are very popular too, in particular for families. For the most audacious and looking for more intimate contact with the Atlantic, why not go for a scuba diving experience. All experiences related to the ocean are available to book online and we recommend booking in advance in order to avoid disappointments of fully booked tours.

Dolphins Albufeira

Dolphins watching in Albufeira is a must!

Let’s make some dust! The off-road tours are the ideal option exciting afternoon with the whole family. Quad Ventura will take you into the hills around the Albufeira region for some adrenaline! We ensure you, from the beginning to the end, a well organised, friendly and safe trip. The quad bikes are suitable for kids over 8 years and the guides will take their time to adapt the route to all levels of experience. The Algarve quad bike tours are not about speed; they are about funIt’s about allowing you to take in the beauty of the Algarve, where you will discover beautiful old villages, plunging valleys, and so much unspoilt terrain. We would recommend this trip to anyone visiting Albufeira!

Albufeira's downtown is still rather cute

Albufeira’s downtown is still rather cute

Restaurants and nightlife in Albufeira

Our favorite restuarant in Albufeira is Restaurant – Albufeira Gourmet . Traditional Portuguese dishes like the spare ribs and chicken are amazing, amongst the best we’ve ever had! It’s not fancy but combined with the low prices (Only €6 for chicken, chips and a soft drink!) and super friendly staff, this is the best choice in town if you want to grab a quick bite. Albufeira Gourmet is very easy to find; from the main road, just across the carpark to the left of Mc Donalds and the restaurants is in the street straight in front of you. You can have your meal (lunch or dinner) inside, on the few little tables outside or take it home with you.

One of our must-bars in Albufeira is Sherrys Bar. The extremely friendly and welcoming owners, Judith and Kevin, will do everything they can to make you feel welcome the moment you step into this cracking wee pub. At Sherry’s, all the drinks are low in price and big in measure and they serve the best pint of Guinness in Albufeira! In sum, it’s a great nightly entertainment where you’ll feel home.

If you’re looking for any further tips or recommendations about Albufeira, please don’t hesitate to contact us!