The best way to explore the Algarve region in Portugal is by car. Spectacular indented coastline with hidden beaches, sheer cliffs lapped by turquoise sea and quiet fishing villages. Rent an SUV as soon as you arrive at the airport so nothing can surprise you during your adventure.
Day 1: from Lisbon to Sagres
Ideally, as soon as you arrive in Lisbon by car, begin a three-hour drive in a southern direction and head out to Sagres, located in one of the least developed regions. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get bored there. Quite the opposite, from Sagres it is not far from Cape Saint Vincent, the westernmost part of southern Europe. It is the best place to enjoy the sunset from. On the way from Sagres don’t miss the traditional dinner, stop by the Terra restaurant and try the fresh fish in olive oil with grilled potatoes and vegetables.
Day 2: Praia do Beliche
After a slow breakfast in Sagres, explore the ancient city fortress of Fortaleza Sagres. You’ll learn about the times when Portugal was a maritime superpower and enjoy panoramic ocean views. After that, it’s finally time to visit the Praia do Beliche beach, surrounded by massive rocks and located in a small bay. There is a fisherman’s restaurant right next to the beach. If you get tired of the beach, the small shops with local ceramics are a good change.
Day 3: Ponta Ruiva and Vila do Bospo
Is your secret dream to learn to surf? The Ponta Ruiva beach is made for you. You can book the first surf lesson and equipment directly in Sagres. The waves there are mild, ideal for beginners. The name of the beach can be translated as Red Heads Beach after the red rocks rising up from the water. After lounging, sunbathing and swimming visit the town of Vila do Bospo with five thousand inhabitants and from there you can discover other hidden beaches like Praia das Furnas. After the whole day you can spend the night in a tent or in an apartment on the beach.
Day 4: Lagos
About 30 minutes by car to the east is situated the city of Lagos. There you will find alleys with the typical tiles, many shops and restaurants. Order ice cream, try pastel de nata filled with cream of egg yolk and stroll along the palm-lined promenade. Lagos offers you an ideal opportunity to experience the Portuguese nightlife.
Day 5: Faro
Faro, the largest city in the Algarve region, is located south of Lagos. It’s a pity that most tourists only see the airport. In the historical center you can find architecturally interesting buildings. There are also remains of the city walls from Roman times or churches from the 18th century. One of the biggest attractions is the 17th-century Teatro Lethes, where theatre, dance or music performances still take place. If we had to recommend just one place for dinner, it would be on the roof of Hotel Faro with a beautiful view of the port and especially the city park.
Day 6: Tavira
On the last day of your excursion, go to discover the surrounding islands, especially the island of Ilha Deserta. The last unforgettable dish order in the city of Tavira, which is also called the capital of octopus fishing. This delicacy is on the menu of almost every restaurant in the city. Finally, go for a walk to the port and fly back home from Faro or Lisbon.Photo source: Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Unsplash.com