The Algarve coast was one of my favorite parts of the trip – I never feel like I’m really on vacation until I’m on a beach, and that’s exactly what the Algarve Coast is known for.After a long and frustrating night of getting our rental car back, we drove down to the coast (well, Ian drove – I napped, haha. Sorry, darling.) we arrived at our AirBNB around midnight – I let our host know we would be late, but I still felt terrible!!
After a few very long days of touring, we were both really excited to have a few days of pure relaxation. Even though the touring was amazing, we’re both our most comfortable chilling out in nature.
Aside from the beaches, there isn’t much else in the area, apart from some nice little port side villages. So naturally, we spent almost all our time at the beach!!
Now, the rumors you heard are true: Portugal’s oceans are freezing. However, not at the Algarve coast – that’s because the waters intercept the Mediterranean Sea, so the waters are never warm! They’re not warm in Lisbon, which we learned later on.
On our first day, we visited Praia da Rocha, a beach well known for its rocky surrounding and formations.
Ian swam out to one of the rocks islands and took pictures from it, but I’m a very weak swimmer so I didn’t go.
The beach was absolutely beautiful, and the water couldn’t be nicer.
Afterwards, we headed into town to get some and walk around. There were cute little stands of food everything, and music playing. There was also a live theatre in the park that we stumbled on! We also caught the most beautiful sunset on the port side.
On the second day, we headed to Benagil beach, which is famous for Benagil Cave. The beach itself is nothing special, but the Cave is beautiful.
Some people take boats out to the cave (as you can see in the picture) but we swam. It took about ten minutes – it’s a really short distance, just very wavey. As I said, I’m a very weak swimmer, so I took a pool noodle with me.
If you are ever on the coast, this would be my #1 recommendation.
TOP THINGS TO DO ON THE ALGARVE COAST
Relax!: The Algarve coast is known for its beautiful, warm beaches – take advantage of that. There’s a huge variety, and although the beaches are busy, they’re not nearly as busy as other European beaches I’ve visited.
My Top Recommendations are the beaches we visited, so there would be…
Praia da Rocha: This beach is huge, and it boasts gorgeous rock formations that make for beautiful, Instagram worthy pictures. They’re also lots of fun to climb! We especially loved that. The beach was about an hour from where we stayed – we drove, but there are buses and trains available as well.
Benagil Cave: Although the beach itself isn’t anything crazy, once you swim off shore to the cave, it is beyond worth it. To get to the cave itself, you can either swim (don’t worry if you’re a weak swimmer – there are stores selling cheap pool noodles everywhere!), or you can take a tour boat. I would definitely recommend swimming, since often the boats either don’t let you get off, or you have a very limited amount of time there. We very much enjoyed lazing around the cave for a bit.
Look for a party! The Algarve Coast is known for its parties, particularly bachelor/bachelorette parties.
How to get there: The Algarve Coast is about two and a half hours from Lisbon – although we were lucky enough to have a car to drive there, (which, to be honest, I wouldn’t do again – the tolls are insane), there are also trains that will take you there. Lisbon’s train and metro system is amazing!
Food: There are tons of local restaurants in the Algarve, so pick your favourite! The majority of them have the menus on boards outside, and open at 7pm.
Accommodation: Because of its popularity, the Algarve Coast is one of the most expensive areas in Portugal to stay. I would recommend staying in an AirBNB – we stayed in ours for four nights, at about 20 euros a night.
Read about our next spot, Madeira!