We recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Portugal’s stunning Algarve region in the south. It’s been on our bucket list for years, and we were so grateful to finally be able to visit.

Whenever we visit Portugal, it’s typically in the north just outside of Porto where our shoes are made, or Lisbon, the country’s capital city. See our Porto guide here, and Lisbon guide here. But after seeing all the amazing pictures and hearing stories from our partners in Portugal just how incredible the Algarve is, we decided to extend our trip a few days and head south this trip! 

In case you’re not familiar, the Algarve is Portugal’s southernmost region that’s about a three-hour drive from Lisbon. It’s actually quite close to Spain and Morocco! It offers something for everyone – golden beaches, dramatic cliffs, quaint villages, and a vibrant culture. We had the best time and hope to return someday for an even longer stay!  

Here are some of our top tips for planning a trip to the Algarve:

How to Get There

If you’re coming from the U.S., you’ll likely need to fly into Lisbon. Then you’ll need to rent a car or take a bus or short plane ride to Faro. We recommend renting a car as it’ll make getting around much easier to see all the spots. Budget about 2.5-3 hours from Lisbon. We upgraded our SIXT rental car to a convertible. The weather is ideal most of the year making it the perfect car for our road trip!

Where to Stay

Lagos: The Historical Hub

Lagos is a vibrant city that blends the old with the new. Its cobbled streets, ancient city walls, and stunning cliffs make it a perfect base for exploration. Stay in one of the charming boutique hotels in the old town to experience the local culture firsthand. Some of the best places to stay include: Cascade Wellness Resort and Boavista Golf & Spa. 

Albufeira: The Entertainment Capital

For those looking for a more lively vibe, Albufeira is the place to be. Known for its nightlife and bustling beaches, Albufeira offers a range of accommodations from luxury resorts to budget-friendly apartments. Albufeira offers a variety of hotel accommodations. Here are some of the top ones to check out: Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa, EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel, Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites.

Porches: The Hidden Gem

If you prefer a quieter, more laid-back environment, Porches is ideal. It’s where we stayed at this gorgeous resort called Vila Vita Parc, and ranked the #1 resort in all of Portugal. With over 50 lush acres along the Atlantic ocean, 11 restaurants,  a world-class spa and amenities, it did not disappoint! Another great option is Vila Thalassa next door.

Overlooking Vila Vita Parc

Must-See Attractions

Ponta da Piedade

Located near Lagos, Ponta da Piedade boasts some of the most stunning coastal views in the Algarve. The dramatic cliffs, natural rock arches, and crystal-clear waters are best explored by boat. We did this one day and had a blast! 

Benagil Cave

One of the Algarve's most iconic natural wonders, the Benagil Cave, is a must-visit. Accessible only by boat, this sea cave features a skylight opening to the blue sky above and a small beach inside. It’s a magical experience that shouldn’t be missed. 



The Algarve is renowned for its pristine beaches. From the expansive Praia da Rocha to the secluded Praia do Camilo, there’s a beach for every preference. Spend your days sunbathing, swimming, or trying out water sports like surfing and paddle boarding. Consider signing up for a cave tour either by boat or kayak. We opted for a two hour boat tour organized through our hotel and had the best time! 

Taste the Local Cuisine

Portuguese food is a delicoius blend of Mediterranean and Atlantic influences. Don’t miss trying fresh seafood dishes such as cataplana (a seafood stew) and grilled sardines. Pair your meal with a glass of Vinho Verde or a Portuguese beer. For dessert, try a traditional Dom Rodrigo or Pastel de Nata.

Dom Rodrigo = a local desert featuring egg threads, sugar, cinnamon and nuts

Wine Tasting

The Algarve’s wine scene is growing, and a visit to a local vineyard is a great way to sample some regional wines. Quinta dos Vales and Adega do Cantor are popular choices, offering tours and tastings.

Practical Tips

Best Time to Visit: The Algarve enjoys a mild climate year-round, but the best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant and less crowded. We went in May and it was in the 70s-80s during the day but cooled off in the high 50s-60s at night, so bring a sweater or blanket!

What to Pack

Aside from comfortable walking shoes (like our Joyasol Paisley Sneakers), you’ll want a pair of stylish sandals, like our Avas. Since the Algarve is full of beach towns, it’s a more laid-back, casual attire.

Lounging poolside in our Joyasol Ava sandals in white

However, the Europeans tend to dress up a bit more at night when they’re out to dinner (read more about how we’re stealing style tips from the Portugese here). 

Oceanside dining wearing our Ava sandals in Gold and White

Getting Around: Like we mentioned before, renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the Algarve, giving you the freedom to visit remote beaches and villages at your own pace.

Language: While Portuguese is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas. The Portuguese are very friendly and nice people, and appreciate a simple “Obrigado” meaning thank you. We love the DuoLingo app! 

Currency: The currency used is the Euro (€). Credit cards are commonly accepted, but it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases and tips. While tipping is not expected in Europe, it is appreciated!

Final Thoughts

The Algarve is a region that enchants with its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re lounging on a sun-drenched beach, savoring local delicacies or enjoying the Portugese wine, your first visit to the Algarve is sure to be unforgettable. We're already dreaming of the day we can return! 

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Have you been to the Algarve? Share your tips on your favorite places! Questions or want to know more? Email us at info@joyasolshoes.com. 

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