Top 10 Watersports and Boat Tours in the Algarve
A round up of the best watersports, boat trips and water fun in the AlgarveThinking about the Algarve as your next holiday destination? Already booked your break here? Whether you’re visiting this stunning region of Portugal during winter or summer, you shouldn’t leave without enjoying the Atlantic coast. Many watersports and boat tours in the Algarve are more suited to the summer months, but some can be enjoyed all year round.
To help you make the most of the Algarve’s breath-taking Atlantic coast, we’ve teamed up with SeaBookings, a specialist in watersports and boat tours in Portugal, to bring you their Top 10 list of ocean-based activities in the Algarve, from Sagres to Albufeira.
Cape of São Vicente boat tour
The uttermost southwest point of mainland Europe is the Cape of São Vicente. São Vicente is located in Sagres, a cool surfer-village about 100km west of the Algarve’s main airport in Faro.
The Cape of São Vicente boat tour is a great way to explore this area, characterised by dramatic rock formations and stunning beaches. Departing from the port of Sagres, the boat heads towards the Cape of São Vicente. The trip cruises past the Ponta de Sagres, a 300m promontory with steep cliffs sweeping up from the sea and then passes by Fortaleza de Sagres, an important Portuguese monument. The tour continues around the Cape of São Vicente, with its emblematic lighthouse. It’s at this point that you get the chance to appreciate the Algarve from a totally different angle - from ocean level, the amazingly high cliffs (70m high in places) are particularly awesome!
The Cape of São Vicente boat tour is the perfect way to escape the busy tourist areas and see this unique stretch of coastline. The trip lasts for one and a half hours and is a great choice for families and groups of friends who love the ocean, nature and local culture.
Windsurf in Praia da Luz
Windsurfing is one watersport that can be enjoyed year round in the Algarve - if you fancy trying something sporty on your Algarve holiday, windsurfing is the ideal choice. Praia da Luz, near Lagos, is blessed by the well-known "Nortada", an offshore wind coming from the northwest, which affords Praia da Luz excellent conditions for those looking to learn the art of windsurfing.
This five-hour windsurfing experience in Praia da Luz is aimed at the complete beginner - it’s suitable for all ages, so it’s a great family activity. You’ll learn the basics of windsurfing using the right equipment, enabling you to sail in several directions. Windsurfing is a great way to see the Algarve coastline and it’s a lot of fun too!
Grotto tour of Lagos
The grottoes and rock formations of the western Algarve are renowned worldwide. This boat trip is a must-do grotto tour which takes in Lagos’ spectacular rock formations. This one-hour trip departs from Lagos Marina and travels to the caves of Ponta da Piedade. This is an unforgettable experience for the whole family, as well as a great opportunity to sunbathe, swim or simply lay back and enjoy the inspiring scenery.
Kayak tour of Lagos
Did you know that Lagos has won multiple tourism awards thanks to its stunning and unique rock formations? If you’re looking for a good way to see Lagos’ impressive sweep of coastline while keeping fit, grab a kayak! The kayak tour of Lagos allows you to discover the coastline from Lagos to Ponta da Piedade by sea, under your own steam!
Travelling by kayak is a quiet and tranquil way to appreciate the natural environment and to admire the beautiful cliffs, caves and hidden beaches. The tour takes around two and a half hours and includes stops at secluded beaches, where you can rest and enjoy a refreshing swim.
Kayak tour or boat tour from Benagil
If we're talking about caves in the Algarve, we have to mention the marine cave of Benagil. The Benagil cave is the largest and most impressive in Portugal and maybe even Europe. You can reach this cave by swimming from Benagil beach, near Lagoa, when the tide is right, but the best way to visit the cave is by boat or kayak. You can grab a kayak or boat tour from Benagil beach.
The kayak tour to the Benagil cave takes about two hours. One of the benefits of this tour is that it heads towards the beautiful Marinha beach, with stops at four different beaches or caves. If you’re concerned about being able to paddle all the way, don’t worry, a motor boat is on hand throughout the trip.
If you decide to take the tour by motor boat, the trip lasts about one hour and will take you to the Benagil cave and up to 20 caves around Benagil.
During the busy summer season, we recommend that you book the kayak and boat tours to Benagil in advance, as they are very popular. You can book online.
Dolphin watching in Portimão
This dolphin watching trip from Portimão is a truly unique holiday experience for the whole family. On board an inflatable rib boat, you’ll really feel the excitement of searching for these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
Dolphin watching is a genuine adventure, as the dolphins are living in their natural environment and are not fed by humans. Thanks to experienced skippers, the success rate in finding dolphins is 95%. There’s always a small risk of not encountering any marine wildlife, but the boat trip is a great experience in itself. The rib is powerful, fast and a lot of fun, and there are some amazing sights to see along the way.
This dolphin watching boat trip from Portimão takes approximately two hours and you can be sure that the memories will last forever!
Caves and dolphins from Albufeira
Like in Portimão, along the coast of Albufeira thousands of dolphins can be sighted every year. This excursion is the perfect combination of the two most popular things to do in Albufeira: cave boat tours and dolphin watching. This boat trip is a great way to enjoy the remarkable coastline in between Albufeira Marina and Carvoeiro beach. During this tour you will have the chance to discover beautiful caves and rock formations, with a stop for a quick dive into the refreshing Atlantic Ocean.
On the return journey, the boat travels away from the coast to start your search for wild dolphins, which the experienced skippers almost always find. This two-hour trip is a real adventure, however, we can’t guarantee that you’ll see dolphins, since they are totally wild and not fed by humans. Your help is counted on to spot them though!
This trip is suitable for all ages and you can choose to take it on the stable and comfortable “Dreamer” boat or feel the adrenaline rush on our speedy inflatable rib boat “Insomnia”.
Island tour in Ria Formosa
This island boat trip in the Ria Formosa Natural Park is the ideal tour for nature lovers who want to discover the Ria Formosa, a Nature Reserve near Olhão and Faro. This island-hopping trip, which boards at midday in Olhão harbour, is the ideal way to discover and enjoy the diversity of the islands, villages and beaches in the Ria Formosa area. The route takes in Farol Bay (“Farol” means lighthouse) and the Santa Maria Lighthouse on Farol Island. There’s a stop for lunch in the fisherman’s town of Culatra, where you can opt for a delicious lunch of fresh fish in one of the typical restaurants or go for a relaxing picnic on the beach. After lunch, the boat heads to Armona Island for a short break and a chance to take a refreshing dip in the cool ocean. Finally, the boat returns to Olhão, passing the Tuna Factories on its way.
The skipper is your guide and will tell you all about the area, fauna and flora. Plus, you’ll be provided with book guides and binoculars to enhance your experience. This four-hour boat tour is ideal for families and groups of friends who love the ocean and nature.
Coasteering between Lagos and Sagres
Ever heard of Coasteering? It’s one of our favourite ways to explore the Portuguese coastline. Coasteering involves progressing along the coast between the tides of the stunning rocky shore. To progress along the shore, you’ll be swimming, climbing, abseiling, jumping into the water and walking a little too.
You’ll be transported to a stunning Coasteering location, right between Sagres and Lagos. To get to the secret spot, you’ll be picked up at your hotel/accommodation. After getting you ready with a wetsuit, buoyancy aid, helmet and shoes, and assessing the conditions, you’ll be given a safety briefing. Then it’s a walk down to the water’s edge to start your adventure. For adrenaline lovers, Coasteering is the perfect way to explore the coastline, hidden beaches, amazing cliffs, rock formations and clear ocean waters, and to learn about the marine environment and some of the local traditions. The total duration of this experience varies between four and five hours.
Coasteering is one of the ocean activities that can be enjoyed all year round, depending on the weather and ocean conditions.
Boat tour in Lagos with lunch
If you’re on holiday in the Algarve, a boat tour along the Lagos coast is a must. This tour of Lagos with lunch is one of the most popular in the region, because it combines an ocean experience with a chance to sample the local cuisine.
This three-hour cruise passes alongside the charismatic rock formations and pristine beaches of Lagos. Of course there’s a visit to the famous caves of Ponta da Piedade and plenty of time for sunbathing, taking stunning photos and a refreshing dip in the sea.
The typical Portuguese lunch consists of starters, roasted chicken with fries and salad, pastries and fruit. Lunch will be served on board in a sheltered bay in between Lagos and Alvor. Before returning to Lagos Marina, you’ll be invited to raise a toast with some famous Port wine.
We’re sure that your family or group of friends will love this boat tour of Lagos and that it’ll be the highlight of your stay in the Algarve.
This is our Top 10 watersports and boat tours, but there are many more ocean-based activities to choose from that are equally enjoyable. Take a look, compare and book them on www.seabookings.com.
During the busy summer season these trips get booked up very quickly, so we recommend that you book your boat trips and watersports in advance, in order to avoid disappointment.
It’s simple to book online.
Have fun and enjoy our beautiful Algarve!
Written by: Michele Frasca
PUBLISHED: Apr 29th 2017 | UPDATED: Jun 9th 2017