Camilo Beach and Benagil Cave are definitely worth the trip.
- More about your oliver guide: Megan Shoflick
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Beach, City
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: 4 days-1 week
to & from
This trip is best as an add-on/extension of a trip to Lisbon or another spot in Portugal. Algarve is absolutely wonderful but not enough to make for a stand alone trip.
I would suggest renting a car in Lisbon and driving the 2.5 – 3 hours to your spot in Algarve. The drive is easy and it is probably one of the cheaper/ fast ways to get there. There is an airport in Faro but could be near or far (like 1.5 hours) from where you are staying because the region is so large.
Where to Stay
Start with a location, or pick your location based on your hotel preference. The largest hubs are probably (from west to east), Lagos, Portimao, Albufeira and Faro. Lagos is a nice town with a good central core for restaurants and some shops (tourist shops). It is closest to the caves and there are a number of beaches that are relatively hidden along those caves. Portimao is smaller than Lagos and very touristy. Albufeira we were told is the biggest of the resort areas and the biggest party scene and we did not visit Faro.
- We stayed at the Bela Vista in Portico. Hotel was very nice, service great. Has a decent spa and a nice pool. It’s in Portimao, so it is somewhat central, but it’s a 20 – 30 min drive to Lagos and 30- 40 to Albufeira.
- Another spectacular hotel we are told is Villa Vita Park. Very nice too, but much larger! Has 400 + rooms and 9 restaurants.
- Probably the nicest (i.e most expensive) place is the Villa Joya – it is small and quite (not sure kids are even allowed?).
Where to Eat and Drink
Things book up here because it is so touristy. I would recommend contacting your concierge in advance and getting reservations.
- We drove to Silves and ate at Café Ingles - quaint spot just below the castle. Food good, wine cheap, setting nice. There is no town here, so it’s just a dinner spot.
- Friends had insisted we try out Villa Joya, a 2 star Michelin restaurant overlooking the water. It is very expensive (180 euros per person just for the meal) but fantastic! The Prix Fixe menu that was supposed to be 7 courses, ended up with about 13 as they kept bringing “surprises”. The menu changes daily but each dish was amazing. If you are a foodie, do it.
What to Do
- Camilo Beach, Benagil Cave, definitely worth the trip. (We got a private boat, but there are lots of tours – close to Lagos. Our boat only took 30 minutes from Portimao), the Beach of Three Brothers (Praia dos Três Irmãos), and the lighthouse at Piedade Point.
- Ria Formosa lagoon system and its islands, a natural treasure that is listed as one of Portugal’s Seven Natural Wonders and located around Faro’s coast.