The Best 4 Day Travel Itinerary for the Algarve, Portugal

Central West Benagil Cave
Benagil Cave

The Algarve, considered to be one of the most beautiful beach destination in Europe, is located in the southernmost region of Portugal and framed by over 120 (200 km) of coastline. Known for boasting more than 300 days of sunshine per year, award-winning beaches, top rated gastronomy, Michelin starred restaurants, and nature excursions, the Algarve is the ideal getaway for couples and families year round. Visitors will tour through historic villages, taste a wide range of cuisine, walk along cobbled streets, play golf, see dolphins, and partake in so much more.

This 4-day travel itinerary highlights what to see and do, where to eat, where to shop, travel tips, and how to make the most of your time in The Algarve, Portugal.

Cabo de Santa Maria Lighthouse
Cabo de Santa Maria Lighthouse. Credit: Algarve Tourism

Fast Facts

  • The capital of the Algarve is Faro
  • The most popular months to visit are June and August
  • June and September are considered to be the best months to visit
  • It takes about two hours to drive across The Algarve
  • The people of The Algarve love cats
  • Look out for White Stork nests inland on top of buildings
  • Wine is very reasonably priced and very high quality
  • There are currently 5 Michelin starred restaurants in The Algarve



Traveling to The Algarve

  • Faro Airport is two and a half hours from London by plane
  • Visitors can fly into Faro from the United Kingdom from 26 UK airports
  • UK and Irish airports account for the top ten most popular flight routes
  • Direct flights to Faro include operating flights via British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, and Aer Lingus
  • From the United States, connecting flights are available with TAP Portugal via Lisbon

The Algarve, Portugal: Day 1

Portimão beaches
Portimão beaches. Credit: Algarve Tourism

Benagil Sea Cave Sunrise Tour

Portimão is your first stop in this exquisite journey of discovery, where you’ll embark on a thrilling sunrise tour of the Benagil Caves. This guided boat tour offers panoramic views of the Algarve coast, giving you a chance to spot playful dolphins. The highlight is the famous Benagil Caves, one of the world’s most beautiful sea caves, where you can capture stunning photos.

Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Next, take on a scenic adventure by hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail along the South Coast. This path unveils the wonders of nature, with dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and dramatic rock formations.

Don’t miss Praia da Marinha, a renowned beach adorned with mesmerizing arches and sinkholes. Top on the list of Algarve’s most picturesque beaches, this amazing destination marks the start of the 5.7 mile trail adept of natural and geological wonders. This makes it stand out in the ideal vacation package to Portugal for those after a thrilling adventure. Each suspended valley along the trail holds unique stories, making this journey truly captivating.

Lunch and Tour at Morgado do Quintão wine farm

family at table together outside drinking wine
Family Gathering at Morgado do Quintão wine farm

Lunch and a tour of Morgado do Quintão wine farm is a must. Start with a guided tour of the lush vineyards, where you’ll learn about the winemaking process, from soil to barrel. Afterward, enjoy a sumptuous lunch under the dappled shade of gnarled olive trees, featuring Portuguese delicacies paired with exquisite wines. The rustic charm of the vineyard and the enchanting melodies of birdsong create a unique atmosphere.

Shopping and Sightseeing in Faro

Central East Faro city
Central East Faro
stork nest in faro
Stork nest in Faro

In the afternoon, explore Faro, a charming city in the Algarve. You can indulge in shopping and sightseeing. Begin your shopping adventure on Rua de Santo António, a cobbled street lined with boutique stores showcasing Portuguese handicrafts, ceramics, and clothing. Visit the modern shopping mall, Forum Algarve, for international brands and dining options.

Best times to shop in Faro are in the late afternoon or evening to avoid the midday heat. Sightseeing in Faro offers historical treasures and vibrant culture. Explore the Faro Old Town with its cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, and iconic Arco da Vila. Visit the grand 13th-century Cathedral of Faro for stunning architecture and panoramic views from the tower. You can also take a boat tour to the Ria Formosa Natural Park to admire coastal lagoons and wildlife.

Dinner at Hábito at 3HB Faro Hotel

HABITO restaurant interior skyline Algarve
Credit:3HB Faro
MORGADIO DE CORTICA dessert in Faro
Moragadio de Cortica. Credit: 3HB Faro

Hábito is located on the rooftop of the 3HB Faro hotel, with a panoramic view over Faro and Ria Formosa. The menu features inventive, regional dishes by Chef Adérito Almeida. Every meal at Hábito includes bread, hummus with avocado and chives, and the classic Algarve carrot with crushed olives from Tavira and goat butter with herbs.

The Algarve Day 2

Albufeira street
Albufeira

Breakfast in Albufeira on the Dock

Albufeira dock colorful buildings
Credit: Vanessa Gordon

Day 2 of your Algarve adventure promises a day filled with coastal delights and luxury experiences. Your morning begins with a scrumptious breakfast at Albufeira on the Dock, a delightful café perched on the water’s edge. The panoramic view of the Algarve coastline will take your breath away as you indulge in a menu that showcases the region’s diverse flavors. From freshly grilled sardines to a refreshing octopus salad, and the famous pastéis de nata, every bite pays tribute to Albufeira’s rich maritime heritage.

Boat tour from Albufeira with DreamWave

dreamwave boat dolphin watching
Credit: DreamWave
beautiful cave in the algarve
Credit: DreamWave

Following your satisfying breakfast, it’s time to set sail on an unforgettable adventure with DreamWave Boat Tours. As you glide along the picturesque coastline of Albufeira, you’ll be captivated by the rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and the hypnotic clarity of the waters below.

The boat tour takes you on a journey through enchanting sea caves and provides the chance to spot playful dolphins frolicking in their natural habitat. The sun-kissed decks of the boat invite you to relax, take refreshing swims in the crystal-clear waters, and relish delectable snacks on board, leaving you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Spa Treatment at Vila Vita Parc Resort & SPA

Golden Quartz Spa treatment at Vila Vita Parc
Golden Quartz Spa treatment at Vila Vita Parc

In the afternoon, it’s time to pamper yourself with a spa treatment at the opulent Vila Vita Parc Resort & SPA. Nestled on the pristine Algarve coastline, this spa promises an array of indulgent treatments, from soothing massages to rejuvenating facials, all tailored to your personal preferences.

Surrounded by an atmosphere of sheer elegance and the gentle melodies of ocean waves, this spa experience transcends mere relaxation; it recharges your spirit, leaving you feeling revitalized and serene.

Dinner at Adega at Vila Vita Parc Resort & SPA

As night falls, your culinary journey continues at Adega, located within Vila Vita Parc Resort & SPA. Nestled within a breathtaking garden setting, Adega offers an enchanting ambiance, with the rhythmic sound of ocean waves as your backdrop. The menu is a true celebration of Portugal’s culinary heritage, featuring locally-sourced ingredients expertly prepared to create dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.

The Algarve Day 3

Grand Beach Club The Algarve
Credit: Grand Beach Club

Visit Salmarim in Castro Marim to learn about salt harvesting with tasting

salmarim building exterior hashtag
Credit: Vanessa Gordon
sal marim salt harvesting field blue sky
Credit: Vanessa Gordon

Day 3 is all about exploration and culture, starting with a visit to Salmarim in Castro Marim. Here, you’ll step back in time to witness the captivating art of salt harvesting, experiencing the centuries-old techniques used to collect and process sea salt. You’ll learn about the deep-rooted cultural and ecological significance of salt production in this picturesque region. Knowledgeable guides share tales of the land and the sea, giving you a true appreciation for the heritage behind every grain of salt.

The grand finale is the chance to savor artisanal salts produced at Salmarim, including citrus-infused salts and herb blends. Don’t forget to indulge in salted chocolates that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Shopping and sightseeing in Vila Real de Santo António

Vila Real de Santo António
Vila Real de Santo António

Shopping and sightseeing in Vila Real de Santo António offer a magical blend of culture and natural beauty. Stroll down Rua da República, a vibrant street teeming with boutiques and traditional shops, offering everything from stylish clothing to locally crafted souvenirs. Discover the heart of local culture at Mercado Municipal, where fresh produce and regional delicacies tempt your taste buds.

Sightseeing in Vila Real de Santo António includes a visit to lively Praça Marquês de Pombal, where the central square buzzes with colorful buildings and cozy cafes, perfect for people-watching. Stroll along Vila Real de Santo António Marina, a picturesque waterfront offering serenity and views of beautiful boats and yachts. Escape to Praia de Monte Gordo, a stunning beach with golden sands and crystal-clear waters perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Explore the historic wonders of Castelo de Castro Marim in nearby Castro Marim, where you can soak in panoramic views and uncover the rich history of the region.

Lunch at Grand House Beach Club at Grand House Hotel

tuna tartare and avocado with black sesame seeds
Credit: Grand Beach Club

Lunch at Grand House Beach Club at Grand House Hotel offers a serene ambiance by the private beach. The culinary delights include fresh seafood and global-inspired dishes prepared by skilled chefs.

Visit Vila Nova de Cacela and Cacela Velha

Vila Nova de Casela cliff
Credit: Vanessa Gordon

Located close to the border of Spain, Cacela Velha in the small town of Vila Nova de Cacela overlooks the Ria Formosa. The present fortress, pictured above, was built during the reigns of King John III and King Sebastian of Portugal. On the ruins of the medieval church, in 1538 it housed the Church of the Assumption of Mary (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção).

Cacela Velha is a magnificent viewpoint over the sea and the islands of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Close by, at Fábrica, there are small fishing boats that provide a link to the islands, where you can enjoy the quiet sandy beaches.

Dinner at Al Quimia Restaurant by Epic Sana Algarve

Epic Sana Algarve dessert plated fancy
Pratos Mesa Osta. Credit: Epic Sana Algarve
fancy restaurant dark painted interior
Al Quimia Restaurant. Credit: Epic Sana Algarve

Al Quimia is a fine dining restaurant at EPIC SANA Algarve that features local, seasonal and sustainable cuisine by Executive Chef Luís Mourão. The restaurant also features an impressive impressive Portuguese wines menu.

The Algarve Day 4

Loulé Market sunshine Portugal
Loulé Market. Images courtesy of Algarve Tourism (unless otherwise noted).

Shopping and sightseeing in Loulé with breakfast at the market

Day 4 starts with a visit to Loulé, a town known for its historic architecture and picturesque streets. Begin your day with breakfast at the Loulé Municipal Market, where you can sample local delicacies and explore artisanal crafts. The market is a bustling hub with colorful stalls overflowing with fresh produce, artisanal goods, and a rich array of local products.

Golf or Tennis at Quinto do Lago

quinto do lago tennis campus-min
The Campus. Credit: Quinto Do Lago

In the afternoon, engage in a round of golf or tennis at Quinta do Lago, a paradise for sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re perfecting your golf swing on world-class courses or fine-tuning your tennis skills, Quinta do Lago offers a luxurious sporting experience.

Lunch at Casa do Lago

family having lunch Caso Do Lago-min
Credit: Caso Do Lago

For lunch, relish in the flavors of Algarve at Casa do Lago, a lakeside restaurant offering a menu filled with local ingredients and a setting of serene beauty. Whether you’re dining indoors or on the terrace overlooking the lake, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable culinary experience.

Afternoon of Relaxation or Scheduled Activity

beautiful countryside of the algarve
Credit: Morgado do Quintão

The afternoon is flexible, offering various options for activities. Golf enthusiasts can explore nearby golf courses like Oceanico Victoria and San Lorenzo Golf Club, both known for their impeccable design and stunning views.

Dinner at Casa Velha restaurant

Casa Velha honey dessert fancy gourmet
Credit: Casa Velha

In the evening, indulge in a relaxing dinner at Casa Velha Restaurant, located at the Conrad Algarve Hotel. The restaurant beautifully combines traditional Portuguese dishes with modern culinary creations. The menu features a variety of seasonal gourmet dishes, from Algarvian specialties to international cuisine. Notable dishes include Piri Prawns Corn ‘Xerem’, Lamb Stew ‘Ensopado’, and Roasted Q Farm Fricassée.

 

This 4-day travel itinerary presents an in-depth exploration of the Algarve, offering a combination of natural wonders, cultural treasures, and luxurious experiences. From the captivating Benagil Caves to sea salt harvesting in Castro Marim, and from boutique shopping in Vila Real de Santo António to sports and leisure activities at Quinta do Lago, this itinerary provides a taste of the diverse and enchanting Algarve region.