23 Things to Do in the Algarve in 2023
Below is some inspiration for things to do on your next visit to the Algarve. There are free-to-enjoy things to do, gourmet dining experiences, views to soothe your soul, and parties to make you shake your hips! In Southern Portugal, much of life is enjoyed outdoors especially during the summer, and there are many glorious experiences awaiting you here.
For your 2023 trip to the Algarve, some advance planning can make all the difference.
- Make sure you get your accommodation and car hire booked in advance, as demand can outstrip supply.
- If you're visiting at peak summertime, then advance reservations for restaurants are a good idea. The same is true for pool clubs, such as WELL or NoSoloÁgua, particularly for larger groups.
- And if you wish to enjoy a luxury day at sea in a private yacht, early booking is essential, to ensure you get the date you want.
So, here are 23 fabulous and fun things to do in the Algarve in 2023!
1. Walk the cliffs at João d’Arens – located between Praia da Rocha and Alvor, this is an unspoilt area of cliff-top trails, pine trees and stunning views. Perfect for picnics, amazing sunsets and selfies! Start the walk by Praia do Vau, follow the wooden path to Praia do Alemão, then follow the dirt trails along the cliffs. It is not a long or difficult walk, and the views from the cliff-tops are stunning at just about every point along the way.
If you continue to the end of the cliff walks, you can follow the trails that eventually lead to Prainha - a lovely, low build, development with lots of green space and amazing views. It's also home to Caniço Restaurant (see below). From Prainha, you can make your way onto the boardwalk at Alvor.
See more great walks in the Algarve.
Or for a different experience, explore the waterways and rock formations by kayak. The Wooden Boat Experience runs daily boat and kayak tours here.
2. Drink wine underground – the Algarve is home to several excellent wineries which you can visit. One of the most unique wine experiences is to be enjoyed at the VILA VITA Parc Cave do Vinhos. 9 metres underground, this is a secret world of wine, the brick walls hiding nooks and crannies where fabulous wines nestle. Home to over 11.000 bottles of wine, you can opt for some wine tasting and tapas or even a private, romantic dinner at the cellar.
Advance booking is required and more information is available from Vila Vita Parc.
3. Dance at fun sunset sessions by the sea – NoSoloÁgua in Portimão is one of the very best beach clubs around. Stylish, sunny and with great sounds by the sea, their sunset sessions are unmissable. Relax first with some sushi and cocktails, relax on the day beds or with friends, before enjoying the sunset beats and beach vibes.
4. Pool parties – DJ sessions, live music, cocktails and champagne, a sunny pool party is hard to beat. Gather the gang and prepare to party in style.
NoSoloÁgua Pool Club, adjacent to NSA Beach Club (mentioned above), has gorgeous pools overlooking the beach and ocean. Open from early to late, it's a great day-to-night venue. Find out more about NoSoloÁgua in Portimão
WELL in Vale do Lobo is a super spot for fun and stylish pool days. Located at the famous Praça, and overlooking Vale do Lobo beach, you have several experiences to enjoy at WELL. The huge, circular, upper pool area has Bali beds, massage stations, fresh food and fabulous cocktails to go with the views and chilled vibe. Right by the beach is WELL restaurant, where you can enjoy fresh and tasty food served by the second pool and overlooking the ocean, with regular live music and entertainment sessions. At night WELL becomes a glamorous restaurant serving outstanding sushi in a beautiful setting.
Find out more about WELL Vale do Lobo
You can add some adrenaline to the day with a speedy jetski ride from the WELL Beach Club
5. Sea Parties – for some fun at sea join a sunset Boat Party. Live DJ sessions, great sounds and gorgeous sunsets in a fabulous mix of a boat trip along the coast and a sunset party. Bring your friends and enjoy an iconic Algarve summer experience.
Check out :
AlgarExperience Belize Boat Parties which runs from Albufeira
Ophelia Sunset Boat Parties which runs from Portimão
6. Take a boat trip – the Algarve coastline is ridiculously beautiful and often the best way to see it, is from the sea. Go fancy and hire a private yacht, hop aboard a speedy rib to zip along the coast, relax on a sleek catamaran or dance on board a party boat. Either way, a day at sea is one of the best things to do when visiting the Algarve.
There are boat trips available from various points along the coast. The larger marinas are at Vilamoura, Albufeira, Portimão and Lagos. However, boat trips also depart from Alvor, directly from Carvoeiro beach, from Faro, Olhão and Tavira.
You can opt for 6- to 7-hour trips that can include BBQ lunch on a secluded beach, shorter trips to explore the magical caves at Benagil and Ponta de Piedade (see below), dolphin-watching trips, or enjoy the luxury of a day at sea on your own private yacht.
Find out about boat trips in the Algarve.
7. Discover the world-famous Benagil cave - a massive dome-shaped sea-cave, that has been propelled to fame with the help of Instagram, Benagil is beautiful and unique, the cave can only be accessed from the sea. Swimming to the cave is not recommended for safety reasons.
There are many boat trips available to Benagil cave, as well as kayak and SUP tours to the cave. Find out about boat trips to Benagil
It’s not the only amazing spot along the coast though. Ponta da Piedade is a fantasy landscape of caves and grottoes, just west of Lagos. Bom Dia boat trips run cruises to this area. João d’Arens near Portimão has beautiful rock formations, and the Ria Formosa is endless miles of sandbanks, transparent lagoons and barrier islands.
8. Hire a car - one of the best things about hiring a car in the Algarve is that you can explore at your own pace. There are so many lovely little spots awaiting discovery, both by the coast as well as inland. Travelling independently by car allows you to stay as long as you like in one spot, with no timetable to keep except your own.
Demand does tend to outstrip supply in the summer, so book your car rental well in advance.
Find great Algarve car hire deals here - there are massive savings to be made.
Discover some scenic Algarve drives
9. Eat at a restaurant carved within a cliff – Caniço, located near Alvor, is one of the most spectacular restaurants you will find. Not only is it famous for delicious, fresh seafood, the setting is unique. The main dining area is set within the cliffs, with bare rocks as the walls. Just getting to Caniço is fun – you take an elevator that descends through the cliff, emerging into a tunnel that opens onto a beautiful cove beach.
10. Beach Days – One of the best beach destinations in the world, the only problem with beaches in the Algarve is choosing your favourite (see some top beaches). For a beach experience with all the services you could want, try the main beaches at popular resorts such as Albufeira, Vilamoura, Alvor or Vale do Lobo. The beaches are superb and there are plenty of restaurants and bars as well as watersports and sunloungers. You can even book a private Beach Explorer tour, including stops at different beaches, all the beach gear you need, plus a picnic and a cooler with drinks! Or…
11. Discover the Ria Formosa - add a little adventure to your beach day and take a ferry from Olhão or Tavira over to the island beaches of the Ria Formosa. There’s even a deserted island here! The Ria Formosa is a protected area and well worth exploring all year round. It is made up of barrier islands, clear lagoons and fishing communities with deep roots.
12. Go west to the Costa Vicentina – the beaches on the Costa Vicentina, the west coast, are more dramatic, with bigger waves, sea-soaked air and darker cliffs, than the south coast beaches. Popular with surfers, there is a laid-back vibe along the coast with some fabulous eateries too. Favourite beaches include Monte Clerigo, Arrifana and Amado.
13. Ride the current at Odeceixe – located on the west coast, on the border with the Alentejo region, the sea currents here are very strong and great care is advised. However, the incoming tides that flow inland along the estuary, curving for miles behind the beach, are calmer. Fling yourself into the estuary waters and ride the currents past the cliffs. Great fun, and you won't believe how fast the currents transport you.
For the gorgeous end to a wonderful day, stay to watch the sunset.
Discover the best beaches to escape the crowd.
14. Enjoy the sunset or sunrise - The Costa Vicentina is a super spot for spectacular sunsets, as the sun sinks into the ocean, as is Ponta da Piedade, near Lagos. At Praia da Falésia, near Vilamoura, the setting sun and the cliffs share vibrant shades of orange to make it even more amazing. East-facing Praia dos Arrifes near Albufeira is perfect for sunrise, as is Praia de Faro. And for a little extra magic, visit Senhora da Rocha, where the whitewashed chapel, perched atop the cliffs, reflects the hues of the sun.
15. Eat a Bola de Berlim on the beach – During the summer months, doughnut sellers tramp up and down the beaches selling sweet goodies. Cream-filled or plain, eating a fresh sugary doughnut on the beach is an essential act of summer. Lick those sea-salty, sugary fingers for maximum enjoyment. Summer in the Algarve wouldn't be summer for many people without the pleasures of nibbling on a bola de berlim at the beach.
Find out about more quintessential Algarve summer fun
16. Try Padel – one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, padel is very popular in Portugal and Spain, but less well-known in much of Europe, although that is beginning to change. A racket sport played on a glass-enclosed court, it’s fun and sociable, with après-padel chilled drinks part of the fun. Find out about padel in the Algarve
17. Sign the kids up to play rugby with Brian O’Driscoll – yes, really. The rugby legend hosts regular junior rugby camp at The Campus in Quinta do Lago, usually to coincide with school holidays at Easter, summer and autumn breaks, Fun and action-packed, the camps are for boys and girls, aged 5 to 15. Details for 2023 will be available soon.
Or if football is the sport of choice, there are Soccer Camps too throughout the year at The Campus in partnership with Football Escapes.
The camps take place at The Campus, on the stadium quality pitch, giving junior players the chance to experience top-level facilities.
18. Play Foot Golf or Racket Golf – for something a little different, head to ATF (Algarve Tennis and Fitness Club) near Vale do Lobo. Here you can play a special kind of golf – either with your feet or with a racket! Great for all ages and for groups, no special expertise is required to play Foot Golf and Racket Golf.
19. Visit a fish market – every town has its own fresh produce and fish market, however one of the best-known fish markets is at Olhão, the Algarve’s largest fishing port. Expect to see all sorts of fish and shellfish, some that may not be so familiar to you. The markets can be pungent, noisy affairs - a great way to get a whiff, literally and figuratively, of the local culture.
20. Appreciate some art – there are several art galleries across the Algarve and a growing community of artists that have made the region their home. Art Catto in Loulé is a great gallery, housed in a lovely restored townhouse building. The gallery also holds regular pop-up exhibitions at the Conrad Algarve. For a more urban art experience, visit LiR Gallery which is located in the functioning Lagoa wine co-op.
And discover a secret treasure trove of amazing art at Côrte-Real Gallery. Off the beaten track, this is a charming gallery that has a very unique ambience. Just getting to Côrte Real is a bit of an adventure. It is quite some way off the beaten track. Well worth visiting.
21. Have a Waterpark day – always fun, and not just for kids, there are several waterparks in the Algarve. Slide and Splash and Aquashow are pure waterslide fun, while Zoomarine, the Algarve’s biggest attraction not only has water slides and rides, it is also a marine park with a strong environmental message, with an aquarium, dolphins and sea lions. And pirates, for extra fun.
22. Learn to surf or scuba dive – Surfing in the Algarve offers great conditions for novices and experienced surfers. There are many surf schools in the region, particularly on the west coast, where the surfing conditions are usually great. Diving is also a popular activity in the Algarve with some fabulous dive spots, including wreck dives. You can learn to dive and enjoy try-dives at Easy Divers in Albufeira.
23. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant – the food in the Algarve is generally very good - fresh, tasty, healthy. Gourmands can enjoy Michelin star experiences at no less than eight restaurants in the region, two of which boast two stars each – Ocean Restaurant and Vila Joya.