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.

The best boat tours for groups in Albufeira

The best boat tours for groups in Albufeira

The Algarve is a very popular holiday destination. Albufeira always stands out, especially for groups of families and friends. In fact, we’ve been receiving a lot of requests for private boat tours for groups in Albufeira. To give you an idea of the possibilities, we’ve chosen the best boat tours for groups in Albufeira. All tours depart and arrive in the modern Marina of Albufeira.

The options we present here are private tours, so you’ll have the boat for your group and crew.

Boat tours for groups in Albufeira

Sailing tour in Albufeira

1. Half day sailing tour

  • Max 14 pax
  • 3 hours
  • From 400 €
  • Includes: welcome drink
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

Feel like the owner of a beautiful yacht and have the best day of your holidays. Experience the pleasure of sailing with a small group, either friends or family, and a trained and friendly crew. You’ll go sailing along the coast with its impressive rock formations, grottoes and beaches up to the lighthouse of Carvoeiro.

Ganzer Tag Segeltour in Albufeira

2. Full day sailing tour

  • Max 14 pax
  • 6 hours
  • From 900 €
  • Includes: BBQ lunch and drinks during lunch
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

Beside the route of the half day tour, we’ll also cruise by the famous rock formations and caves of Galé and Benagil. We’ll visit the caves on a smaller vessel if you want. We will anchor on a quiet beach for a BBQ lunch. There will be time enough to visit the famous caves of the Algarve. Also, if you feel like a refreshment, go for a dive!

Catamaran in Albufeira Portugal

3. Motor catamaran to Benagil

  • Max 66 pax
  • 3 hours
  • From 910 to 1700 €
  • Includes: no drinks included on this tour
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

This cave tour to Galé takes about three hours and you’ll have the chance to relax and to enjoy the sun and the unique landscapes around the region of Galé. We’ll stop on a small bay to swim. During this stop, if you want, you can step over to a smaller boat to visit the caves. The smaller boat will allow you to truly enter the caves.

Sunset boat party in Albufeira

4. Motor catamaran sunset cruise to Benagil

  • Max 66 pax
  • 3 hours
  • From 910 to 1700 €
  • Includes: no drinks included on this tour
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

This sunset cruise from Albufeira will take you to discover the most beautiful spots of the Algarvian coast during an amazing sunset. We’ll cruise along the coast up to the area of Galé and Benagil. This area is famous for its outstanding rock formations. Here, we’ll enjoy the ever-changing light at the end of the day.

Bootsfahrt nach Benagil von Albufeira

5. Motor catamaran BBQ cruise to Benagil

  • Max 66 pax
  • 6 hours
  • From 1750 to 3630 €
  • Includes: BBQ lunch and drinks during lunch
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

This unforgettable BBQ cruise from Albufeira will take you to discover the most beautiful spots of the Algarvian coast and enjoying a BBQ on a private beach. We’ll take you to discover the coast up to the area of rock formations and caves of Galé, Benagil and Carvoeiro.

From the Captain Hook cruise in Albufeira you'll have stunning views

6. Wooden sailing boat coastal tour

  • Max 22 pax
  • 3 hours
  • From 638 € or 630 € (sunset)
  • Includes: welcome drink and snack
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

Aboard of “Leãozinho“, our friendly wooden sail boat, you’ll have the best day of their holidays in the Algarve! From the pirate ship, you can observe the impressive rock formations and beaches of Albufeira, São Rafael, Castelo and Galé. Relax on the deck of this nice ship and enjoy the beautiful views or go for a dive in the Ocean to refresh.

Passeio de barco em Albufeira no Leãozinho

7. Wooden sailing boat BBQ tour

  • Max 22 pax
  • 6 hours
  • From 1150 €
  • Includes: BBQ lunch and drinks during lunch
  • Optional: drinks and snacks can be bought on board. For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring your own drinks, sorry.

 

This BBQ boat trip from Albufeira is a full-day experience. The boat tour is a lot of fun for families and groups of friends on “Leaozinho”, our most beloved boat. The pirate boat will head from Albufeira to the Atlantic, passing by Praia do Castelo and Praia da Galé. We’ll then pass the fisherman’s village of Armação de Pêra, the Rock Chapel Senhora da Rocha and reach the beaches of Marina and Benagil. Then, we’ll anchor next to an isolated beach. Here you’ll have some free time for a refreshing swim and to enjoy the beach. Our friendly crew will serve you a typical Portuguese BBQ on the beach. When we’re finished, we’ll return to the Marina of Albufeira.

Please note:

  • All boat tours for groups in Albufeira are private and include skipper, fuel, insurance and taxes.
  • All tours have a route but it can be adapted according to your preferences and actual weather and sea conditions.
  • Catering options vary according to each boat, so feel free to contact us about that according to the boat you prefer.
  • Most boats have a sound system and you can bring your own music on your phone.
  • Schedules are flexible.

We hope you liked these boat tours for groups in Albufeira. Of course, we have many more options. Feel free to contact us at any time with your queries or suggestions. Also for bookings, feel free to contact our group-specialist, Bo: [email protected]

In 2016 we sighted 8 species of cetaceans in the Algarve

We chatted with our partner tour operator, Dream Wave, about the sightings of cetaceans in the Algarve. This tour operator, based in the Marina of Albufeira, specializes in dolphin watching tours in the Algarve (among other boat trips). The operator revealed that in the course of 2016, they spotted eight species of cetaceans in the Algarve.

cetaceans in the Algarve

Happy common dolphins! By Dream Wave.

The most observed species of cetaceans in the Algarve:

  • Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) – very dynamic and fun species. Bottlenose dolphins are the most famous and known species of cetacean in the world. These dolphins can be sighted anywhere in the globe except the polar seas. In addition, it is the most common species in the theme parks. Bottlenose dolphins can reach 4 meters in length.
  • Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) – is the most common species in the temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and can also be sighted in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Sea.

 

Other species of cetaceans in the Algarve are always present but are more difficult to spot. The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), for example, is not often seen because they are rather shy. The risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) and the orca (Orcinus orca) were also sighted this year, as in previous years.

cetaceans in the Algarve

Fin wahles are really impressive! By Dream Wave.

As far as whales are concerned, the maritime operator recorded the sighting of three species:

  • Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) – is the second largest animal after the blue whale. The Fin whale can reach a length of up to 25.9m!
  • Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) – reaching a length of up to 20 m and weighing up to 45 tonnes, it is the third largest balaenopteridae.
  • Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) – these marine mammals are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. They have a length of up to 9m, with females being larger than males.

 

The maritime operator says that in recent years the public interest in the observation of cetaceans in the Algarve has grown significantly. However, the operator is concerned about the amount of trash that they find in the sea and which can affect this interest, as well as affecting turtles, seabirds and cetaceans in the Algarve.

So the crews of Dream Wave are concerned with trying to fulfill their civic role, collecting most of that garbage they find. This is one of the reasons why we like working with this operator. The operator has an attitude of dedication, professionalism and a deep respect for the sea.

Cetaceans Algarve SeaBookings (4)

This year we also found orcas. By Dream Wave.

If you’d like to get to meet some of these species of cetaceans in the Algarve, yourself, book your dolphin watching boat trip now.