We didn't spend our first winter as parents in the gray The Netherlands, but we explored the south of Europe for months. We fell in love with the Algarve in the far south of Portugal, where we spent over a month with our travel baby. In our self-built camper we explored all corners of this little piece of Europe, where we lost our hearts to the orange cliffs along the coast and the picturesque villages. In this blog, we'll tell you exactly why we fell so in love with the Algarve – and you undoubtedly will too.
Table of contents
1. The beautiful beaches of the Algarve
In the south of Portugal you can enjoy the most beautiful beaches of the Algarve† The Algarve coast stretches from Sagres in the west to the border with Spain. The southern Portuguese coast is characterized by high cliffs, steep cliffs and white sandy beaches. The Algarve is a popular destination among beach lovers because of the pleasant climate, the beautiful nature and the beautiful sandy beaches.
The most popular sandy beaches in the Algarve are Praia da Marinha, Praia de Benagil, Praia do Camilo and Praia do Vau. Praia da Marinha in particular is a real gem, because there you can admire the most beautiful orange cliffs of the Algarve. Be sure to take the time there to walk to the rock arches and viewpoints for the best views in the south of Portugal.
2. The impressive hikes in the Algarve
In a place as famous for its idyllic sandy beaches as the Algarve, you might not expect this to be the perfect hiking destination. Yet you are good here for the most beautiful hikes in the Algarve† And also nice: did you know that most trails in the Algarve are very well marked with yellow-red posts? We didn't have to bother with difficult navigation on your phone, but we were able to fully enjoy the views. In our weeks in the Algarve we took dozens of walks with our baby in the carrier or with Sebastiaan on his shoulders.
Of course we also have our favorites! There is the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a beautiful coastal strip with shallow coves, sandy beaches and dunes. The area is also compared to the Dutch Wadden because of the sandbanks and islands directly off the coast. You will find beautiful walking routes through this beautiful area, such as the Ludo Trail not far from Faro where you can spot flamingos. You walk through a beautiful saltwater area with special birds, but also pink lakes and huge white salt mountains. A special face!
Another popular walk is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, which takes you for miles along the orange rocks of the Algarve. This walk is located near the picturesque coastal town of Carvoeiro and the beach Praia da Marinha. An alternative that also runs along the cliffs is the Trail of Headlands. This walk is less popular, but also offers beautiful views. You'll find the Trail of Headlands near picturesque Ferragudo.
Also read: 5x beautiful hiking trails in southern Portugal | Lovely walk in nature
3. The nice villages and towns
The Algarve has a high concentration of picturesque villages and historic towns. The best known is of course Faro, the capital of the Algarve. In Faro you will not only find the international airport, but also a historic center with monumental buildings and nice streets. Yet Faro is certainly not our favorite in the Algarve. Our favorite city in the south of Portugal is Lagos. Lagos is known for its beautiful bays and beaches, but the historic center is also very nice to visit. Don't forget to have a drink on one of the pleasant squares!
There are also many cute villages in the Algarve. Ferragudo might just be our favorite. This small coastal village is located on one of the most beautiful bays of the Algarve with lovely sandy beaches and has a cozy, small center with shops, restaurants and terraces. The photogenic streets make this fishing village one of the most beautiful in the region.
Also read: RV Route through Eastern Algarve | Fun things to see and do
Another recommendation is the castle town of Silves. Silves is one of the oldest towns in Portugal and is home to a number of historic sites such as the castle, the old bridge and the cathedral. You can wander through flowery streets and lanes of the old town. Because Silves is located a bit more inland, it is less visited by other tourists and it is therefore a bit quieter here.
4. The wonderful climate of the Algarve
One of the reasons why the Algarve made us so happy during our winter trip with our camper and baby, was of course the wonderful weather. While everyone at home in the Netherlands was struggling with rain and cold, we walked around in our t-shirts and shorts after taking a dip in the ocean. To enjoy!
The climate in the Algarve is wonderfully warm. That means warm summers, with an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, and mild winters. It is therefore not too hot in the summer and a wonderful destination to combine beach life with visiting towns and wonderful hikes. But also in the winter months it is warm enough for a beach holiday.
Also read: Motorhome route through southwest Algarve | The ultimate #vanlife experience
5. The beautiful nature in the Algarve
As nature and hiking enthusiasts, we also got very warm from the beautiful landscapes of the Algarve. The nature in the south of Portugal is really beautiful. You will find many mountains, jagged coastlines and cooling forests here. We already mentioned the rocky coast and the wadden region, and that is actually how you can summarize the south coast of Portugal.
The west coast of the Algarve is dominated by dramatic rocks, cliffs and bays. Here you can take walks on rocky cliffs and visit photogenic beaches in bays. These rock formations are iconic for the region and you can definitely recognize them from photos and brochures. The most famous are the rocks at Lagos where you will find the Ponte de Piedade rock formation. We also found the rocks at Praia da Marinha and Praia da Falesia particularly beautiful.
The east coast of the Algarve is like a wadden region. The Ria Formosa Natural Park extends here. You will find flamingos everywhere, but real bird watchers will also recognize countless other, rare birds. The nature park is a good place for beautiful walks, but there are also lovely sandy beaches. Praia do Barril, located on the island of Tavira, is highly recommended. Here you take a beautiful short walk to the coast, right through a saltwater marsh with special birds, and then enjoy a vast sandy beach.
Isn't it too touristic in summer...
I've also heard a lot of hotels are crammed with hotels?
Is that right
So the weather in winter is always pleasant in temperature?
Would love to visit Algarve and travel the entire coastline!