Come and enjoy a week in the Algarve behind the wheel of a scooter, the best way to discover all the charms of this unique destination known for being the “best hidden secret in Europe”. Here, you will find the best tips to visit and discover the most popular beaches, the most coveted restaurants and bars with lots of fun.
The Algarve is the southernmost region of mainland Portugal, having once belonged to the Arabs, who were the creators of its name, which means “the west”. The full expression was Algarbe Andaluz which means “Western Andalusia”, as this region was part of Muslim Andalusia.
As a region with a mild climate and more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Algarve is often chosen as the perfect place to spend holidays. Given the increase in the number of visitors during the summer season, the best way to avoid traffic and be able to easily park anywhere is by renting a scooter.
Day 1: Albufeira
To start the day off right, you can enjoy the crystal clear waters of Praia de São Rafael, having this Blue Flag and, being considered as “Golden Beach”, due to its environmental quality and the protection of the marine biodiversity that it has.
Its sand is framed by the cliffs and the ocean, making it a cozy and peaceful beach, where several imposing rocky specimens are displayed, resulting from the joint action between the force of the sea on the cliffs and the rainwater.
At lunchtime you can go to the restaurant “A Sardinha” on Arrifes beach, approximately 3 minutes by scooter from São Rafael Beach. In this restaurant with a breathtaking view and literally on the beach, you can enjoy the typical cuisine of the region, which is based on fish and seafood.
Then you can go to Praia da Galé, enjoying a nice walk along the sand by the sea, and you can still enjoy the famous sunset on the Rooftop of the Pedras Amarelas Restaurant while enjoying its famous cocktails. Praia da Galé is undoubtedly one of the most visited beaches in Albufeira, and in the summer it is very difficult to park a car.
After sunset, we suggest an Indian meal at the Clay Oven Restaurant in the center of Albufeira where you can taste all its cuisine and taste the famous sparkling wine sangria.
Day 2: Loulé
In the morning, set off to discover the Algarve countryside and start by visiting Queda do Vigário where you can enjoy and relax in the midst of nature. This is one of the most sought after places by tourists, but difficult to access. Then, head to Alte, one of the most typical villages in the Algarve, and take a dip in the famous Natural Fountains of Alte (a mandatory stop). On Algarve Riders quad bikes and buggy tours, you will also visit these places in an off-road adventure experience.
For lunch you can go to Os Arcos Restaurant, where you can enjoy traditional Portuguese and Mediterranean food.
After lunch we recommend a visit to the Loulé market. This was built in 1908, its construction being inspired by Islamic buildings and is considered one of the most emblematic buildings in the city of Loulé.
After visiting the market, you can head to Vilamoura Marina to enjoy the sunset at the Thai Beach Club. At the Marina, most of the restaurants have decks suspended over the water and there are options for all tastes, from Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Indian, Swedish cuisine and much more.
Day 3: Faro - Olhão
Free day to get to know the famous Ria Formosa and spend the day on Ilha do Farol, in Faro. Its name is due to the fact that it has a lighthouse that controls the boats that pass through it. To get to the island it is possible to take the boat either from Faro (only in the summer months) or from Olhão (all year).
You can have lunch on the island by going to the À do João Restaurant, which is famous for its typical Algarve dishes, from Açorda de Camarão to Arroz de Lingueirão.
Later, after enjoying a day at the beach on the island, you can enjoy a cocktail at Maramais, overlooking the sea and watching the sunset, in the same place.
For dinner, you can eat some delicious snacks at the Lagar Mar Restaurant, which has typical Algarve dishes, both meat and fish. If you're not too hungry, you can enjoy some tapas at 7imeio Wine Bar, which is known for its shrimp and octopus tapas. Both are located close to the Olhão Market. The first Mercado de Olhão was built in 1866, but this was just a shed supported by 26 columns. Later, in 1912, new buildings were built for the fish and vegetable markets. These began to be built, having been inaugurated in 1916. Stealing space from the Ria, the consolidation of the buildings was carried out in a particular and curious way, as each one of them is supported by 88 piles linked together by brick masonry arches.
To end the day, you can go to the Columbus Bar in the Marina de Faro, one of the bars you must visit given the quality and diversity of cocktails it offers to its customers.
Day 4: Albufeira
Before venturing into Albufeira, you can have breakfast at Pastelaria Riviera, which is one of the most emblematic pastries in Albufeira and also where you can taste some mouth-watering typical Algarve sweets. Next, for the more adventurous, we recommend a buggy ride across the terrain, while those who prefer to rest can do so at Praia dos Pescadores, as this is the most central in the county and at the same time easily accessible.
At lunchtime, you can enjoy the food at A Ruína Restaurant, with the possibility of enjoying the sea view.
To end the day on a high note, we advise you to take a boat trip along the Algarve coast departing from the Albufeira Marina. On this walk along the coast you can watch the sunset and at the same time enjoy a barbecue by candlelight on a private beach, with exclusive access via the sea. One of the companies that provides this activity is AlgarExperience.
Day 5: Portimão-Monchique
In the morning, you can go to Rocha Beach, enjoy the sea air that it offers. This beach is very popular during the summer, which makes it difficult to park your car at that time of year.
At lunch, you can enjoy a fish-based meal at the Retiro do Peixe Assado Restaurant, which is very famous for its grilled sardines, one of the most delicious Algarve delicacies.
After lunch you can visit the Portimão Museum which is very close to the restaurant. The Museum of Portimão has as a permanent exhibition the making of sardines in the past, being designated as "Portimão, Territory and Identity", which was once the fish preserve factory, Féu.
After visiting the Museum of Portimão, we recommend that you continue your journey to Monchique, more specifically to Fóia (the highest point in the Algarve), to enjoy a beautiful sunset, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Going down the Monchique mountains, we suggest having dinner at Luar da Foia Restaurant and trying the black pork ham and black pork cheeks with chestnuts for the main course. Finally, and believe me you won't regret it, you have to taste the honey pudding (you have to cry out to the gods).
Day 6: Aljezur-Lagos
Amado Beach on the Costa Vicentina, in Aljezur, is a very well-known beach and sought after by surfers, so if you are a person who prefers a more radical environment, you can enjoy a surf lesson in the morning at Amado Beach.
For lunch, you can go to the Arc’da Velha Restaurant, in Lagos, to enjoy a beautiful fish cataplana.
After lunch you can enjoy sunbathing at Ponta da Piedade, later watching the sunset. There are two ways to enjoy a wonderful sunset at Ponta da Piedade. The first is through a boat trip, including a wine tasting. The second is due to the fact that parking is scarce in this area and therefore, having a scooter, it will be easier and faster to get to Ponta da Piedade before the sun goes down.
Ponta da Piedade is a 3-minute scooter ride from Praia do Camilo. Near this beach there is a restaurant with the same name. The O Camilo Restaurant is very famous for the traditional Portuguese food it offers and the stunning sea view it offers.
Day 7: Lagoa
If you are more artistically inclined, you can enjoy a morning at Fiesa, also known as the city of sand, where you can marvel at the works of art there, each year having a different theme, from music, cinema, celebrities, among other topics.
At lunchtime, you can eat at the O Algar Restaurant, well known for its seafood cataplana.
After lunch you can visit the Benagil Caves, either by boat or by scooter, and you can also enjoy the sunset at Algar Seco, more specifically at Boneca.
For dinner, we recommend the Sul Mar Restaurant, which specializes in seafood and fish dishes. You can try the seafood cataplana, which is a favorite dish.
In summary, this Algarve itinerary is just a suggestion to help you make the most of your stay in the region.
Come, enjoy your holidays and venture into this wonderful destination with so much to discover...