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!

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!