The best places to stay in the Algarve

Photo of Jacob LewisPhoto of Jacob Lewis
By Jacob Lewis

25 June 20245 min read

Vilamoura This golfer's haven is one of the Algarve's best places to stay.

Much like plates of Portuguese petiscos tapas, there’s a destination in the Algarve to suit every taste, style and budget.

There are so many reasons why holidaymakers flock to this sun-drenched region in Portugal: golden beaches, world-class golf courses, reliable weather and vibrant nightlife, to name a few.

Join them in ever-popular resorts like Lagos, which is a hit with families for its proximity to kid-approved days out, or buck the trend and head inland, where towns like Monchique reveal the Algarve’s other side.

From bustling resort towns to quaint fishing villages, discover your perfect base with our guide to the best places to stay in the Algarve.


Best all-rounder

With its stunning beaches, lively nightlife and charming old town, Albufeira has something for families, couples and groups of friends alike.

Spend your days lounging on the golden sands of Praia dos Pescadores or exploring the narrow cobblestone streets of the old town. When the sun sets, head to the famous 'Strip' for a night of bar-hopping and dancing.

There’s culture too, and you can get a taste of local life at the bustling fish market or take a boat trip to explore the coastline's hidden caves and grottoes.

Luna Solaqua

  • Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
  • 18 May 2025
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Manchester

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Best for families

With its beautiful beaches, rich history and loads of family-friendly activities, charming Lagos strikes the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure for all ages.

Spend lazy days building sandcastles on the sheltered Meia Praia beach or take a boat trip to spot dolphins in their natural habitat. For a dose of history, explore the 17th-century fort, Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, or wander through the narrow streets of the old town.

Kids will love the Lagos Zoo (a 20-minute drive from town) and the nearby waterparks, while parents can enjoy the local cuisine at kid-friendly restaurants in the marina.

Cascade Wellness Resort

  • Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
  • 22 October 2024
  • Self-catering
  • From Edinburgh

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Best for romantic getaways

Top-end hotels and amenities might give Carvoeiro a luxe air, but this whitewashed town nestled between dramatic cliffs and golden beaches has managed to retain its former fishing village charm.

Spend your days lounging on the picturesque Carvoeiro Beach or take a boat tour to explore the stunning Benagil Caves.

For a romantic evening, hike the Carvoeiro Boardwalk at sunset, enjoying breathtaking views of the coastline. Then, round out your night dining out at the town's intimate restaurants, savouring fresh Atlantic catch and local wines.

Rocha Brava Village Resort

  • Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
  • 14 August 2025
  • Self-catering
  • From Stansted

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Best for hikers

Nestled in the Serra de Monchique mountain range, far removed from the coastal crowds, picturesque Monchique is a refreshing change of pace and scenery.

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the lush forests and rolling hills surrounding the town. The trail to Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve, rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and countryside.

After a day of trekking, soothe your muscles in the thermal springs in the village of Caldas de Monchique or knock back a well-deserved glass of the local firewater, Medronho, made from arbutus berries.


Best for golfers

Golf enthusiasts will find their slice of paradise in Vilamoura. This upmarket resort town is home to some of the finest golf courses in Europe, making it the ideal destination for those looking to perfect their swing.

Choose from one of six world-class courses, all within easy reach of the town, including the historic Dom Pedro Old Course.

When you're not on the greens, unwind at the glamorous marina, lined with luxurious yachts, chic restaurants and stylish bars. For a change of pace, hit the golden sands of Praia da Falésia or try your luck at the Casino Vilamoura.

Parque Mourabel

  • Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
  • 8 October 2024
  • Self-catering
  • From Belfast Intl

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Best for surfers

Perched near the southwestern tip of the Algarve, Sagres is a mecca for surfers and watersports enthusiasts. This rugged coastal town has some of the best waves in Portugal, attracting surfers from around the world.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, you'll find a beach break to suit your level. Praia do Tonel and Praia da Mareta have excellent conditions for all abilities, while nearby Praia do Beliche is the one for more experienced surfers.

When you're not catching waves, visit the dramatic Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse or soak up the laidback surfer vibe in the town's cafes and bars.


Best party town

Seeking vibrant nightlife and endless entertainment? Portimão is the place to be. This lively port city comes alive after dark, thanks to its diverse range of bars, clubs and entertainment venues.

Start your evening with a stroll along the bustling waterfront promenade before hitting the bars and clubs around Praia da Rocha. From beachfront bars with live music to sleek nightclubs pumping out beats, there's something for every taste.

During the day, recover on the golden sands of Praia da Rocha or indulge in some retail therapy at the Aqua Portimão shopping centre.

Mirachoro Portimao

  • Portimao, Algarve, Portugal
  • 7 September 2024
  • Self-catering
  • From Gatwick

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Best for culture vultures

Step back in time in Tavira, a charming town that showcases the Algarve's rich cultural heritage. With its Roman bridge, Moorish castle and numerous historic churches, Tavira is a treasure trove for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

Wander through the picturesque old town, admiring the traditional Portuguese houses with their distinctive, sloped roofs that give the town unique oriental aesthetic. Visit the modern Camera Obscura installation in the historic Torre de Tavira for a unique 360-degree view of the town or explore the ruins of Tavira Castle.

Take a boat trip to the unspoiled Ilha de Tavira for a day of beachcombing, or time your visit to coincide with one of the town's many cultural festivals, such as the Easter ‘Carnaval’.

AP Cabanas Beach & Nature

  • Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
  • 5 October 2024
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From East Midlands

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