The best day trips to take in the Algarve
Many people embark on holidays for a well-deserved rest and to soak up the sun and the calming nature of the sea as you lie on the beach, and the Algarve is a great destination to do just that. However, if you want to break up the days of lazing around with a little bit of adventure, the Algarve has plenty of places for you to explore and activities to experience that will help you soak up the Portuguese culture, the region’s natural beauty and the historic sites. Therefore, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best day trips the Algarve has to offer.
The mountains and spa town of Monchique
Take a trip up the winding hills of the Serra de Monchique and view the stunning views of the Algarve from above. Foia, the highest point of the region, stands at 902 metres above sea level which means on a clear day the views are incredible.
Head to Caldas de Monchique and bathe in the thermal springs renowned for their healing properties. Once you have finished, take a detour along the paths leading away from the spring to find a small chapel nestled within the woods. If you are looking for a luxury spa day, try the modern spa complex hidden nearby in the woods. To avoid disappointment, we recommend booking in advance if you would like a treatment or to be pampered.
The town of Monchique itself is lined with traditional cobbled streets and quirky shops that sell everything from brass ornaments to tasty Portuguese cuisine. In the summer months when the weather is hot, the local park also has an outdoor swimming pool and picnic tables for an enjoyable afternoon out.
The most south-westerly town in the Algarve, Sagres is a beautifully quaint town filled with glimpses into traditional Portuguese life. Head to Baleeira fishing harbour to see the picturesque, brightly coloured boats docked along the harbour and watch the local fishermen at work. If you are an early bird, you may just catch the fish auction in action on a weekday morning.
If you love sightseeing and exploring historic sites, Sagres is home to a fortress named Fortaleza de Sagres which is made up of a restored chapel dating back to the 16th century, a blowhole and a giant stone compass behind the walls of the fortress.
The town is also home to several beaches that are a haven for surfers so if you’re tired after a day of exploring, you can head to the beach and relax whilst viewing the action.
The inland location of the town of Loulé means that it hasn’t yet been overrun with tourists who tend to head to coastal locations so it is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture. The colourful Neo-Islamic market is a wonderful place to visit to soak up the Portuguese way of life. Visit on a Saturday morning when local villagers come to set up their own stalls in the streets.
Although you may not know it, the Algarve is actually home to one of the most famous beaches in the world located in the Benagil Caves. From inside, look up to see the impressive eye of the cave through which the blues skies peek in. You will access the beach located inside the caves by boat, where you can take a dip in the water, feel the white sand in your toes or snap some breathtaking photos.
If you have children, then the family friendly Lagos Zoo is the perfect choice for a fun-filled day trip in the Algarve. The zoo is home to over 350 different species of animals and insects from all over the world so it’s a great place to not only experience them close up but to also teach the children some fun facts about different species. Extended summer opening hours mean that you won’t have to battle huge crowds either!