Luxury Travel to the Algarve
Striking rock formations extend skywards from azure waters as the sun warms the sandy coastline. The southernmost part of Portugal, Algarve is most known for these Mediterranean beaches, quaint coves, fishing villages and luxurious hotels and eateries.
The coastline is littered with stunning limestone grottos and caves best explored and viewed by boat. Among the area’s most popular beaches are Marinha Beach to Armação de Pêra.
Extending over 4997 square kilometres, the Algarve is home to the Monchique mountain range, several islands, and the Ria Formosa lagoon. This expansive nature reserve is popular with keen bird watchers due to the hundreds of species that frequent it.
Stroll along the cobbled streets of Tavira on the banks of the Gilão River, or soak up the sun on the large beach at Albufeira as you relax after a busy day discovering all the resort town has to offer. For more dramatic cliffs and inviting beaches, head west to Lagos. The bustling town has a fascinating history and no shortage of places to enjoy local cuisine.
If you are keen on an active holiday, there are a variety of water sports to keep you occupied as well as numerous walks and hikes through the countryside and villages. Or, if you find art and culture fascinating, there’s a world of hand-painted ceramics to discover. Learn more about the azulejos (tin-glazed ceramic tiles) that adorn many of the churches and palaces.
The Algarve is home to so many hidden delights, as well as the beautiful beaches it is known for. The region still has a very proud fishing community and you can visit the local fish markets and admire the daily catche, or if you are the beach at the right time you will see the locals wading into he shallows looking for cockles. As well as being the perfect place to relax and unwind, you can also get active and enjoy the nature – from bird watching, dolphin spotting and great hikes, there is plenty to see and do.
What to do
- Hop from beach to beach along this mesmerising coastline
- Explore mysterious limestone grottos and caves
- Go birdwatching around the Ria Formosa lagoon
- Wander the charming and authentic cobbled streets of Tavira
- Experience the vibrant nightlife and dining scene in Albufeira
- Get adventurous across a range of water sports
When to go
As the Algarve is something of a haven for lovers of the sun, sand and sea, the warmer months experienced between April and September, peaking in July and August, ensure that this is the most rewarding period to visit. For great weather and fewer crowds, the shoulder season enjoyed in May, June and September is particularly rewarding.
Itineraries including Algarve
Accommodation in Algarve
Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options
Vila Vita ParcVila Vita Parc sits in the centre of the Algarve, offering direct access to the beach. The stay is built in traditional Portuguese style with subtle nods to the region’s Moorish heritage. Inside, discover a collection of luxury rooms, suites and villas with private pools. Ranging from two-to-five bedrooms, each of their 5 villas benefits from the services of a personal butler who ensure your holiday goes seamlessly. Combining the breathtaking beauty of its unspoiled setting with the vast array of amenities it has to offer, Vila Vita Parc is among Portugal’s best luxury hotels. On property, guests have access to seven pools including one heated and three for kids. There are tennis courts, mini-golf, a kid’s club, as well as personalised well-being programmes at their incredible wellness centre which is the only Sisley spa in Portugal. When it comes to dining, Vila Vita Parc features a wide array of options with 11 restaurants, two of which are Michelin-starred. There are 6 bars and an incredible wine cellar. If you’re after a special evening, we suggest you try their Ocean’s Tasting Menu which features a superb gastronomic adventure, paired with Portuguese wines.
VilaLara Thalassa ResortRising from the cliffs of Praia das Gaivotas, VilaLara Thalassa Resort tops the list as one of the best luxury hotels in Portugal. And for good reason: set on 11 leafy acres of magnificent seaside gardens, this destination resort invites guests to enjoy the beauty of the region with direct access to the buttery sands of the Algarve. VilaLara Thalassa also benefits from a central location – it is an easy 30 minutes drive from Faro’s airport. Facing the sea, the resort consists of 104 junior suites, 7 suites and 12 apartments, each of which is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities. What’s extra special about this retreat is that it features 5 swimming pools (one heated), 3 tennis courts and 1 Padel court – making it the ideal base for families traveling to the Algarve region. There is also an immense focus on personalised wellness. Vila Thalassa resort has one of the best thalassotherapy centres in the world, in partnership with the acclaimed Longevity Medical Spa. Everything here is completely customised, with treatments ranging from anti-ageing, detox and slimming. Anti-ageing checkups are also available. Much like its beautiful setting, the restaurants at the hotel are also known to be exceptional. Where possible, ingredients are locally sourced and of course seafood takes the centre stage at each of their 3 dining venues. Guests also get to enjoy a variety of local Portuguese wines.