The former capital of the Algarve, Silves.


6 Highlights Of The Algarve


In the south of Portugal, golden sands, colourful limestone features and emerald green waters make up the landscape of the Algarve. Arguably one of Portugal’s most naturally beautiful regions, there’s a lot to do in this premier holiday destination, so check out our list of six of the best things to see and do.

1. See the Algarve countryside from a different perspective

Many visit the Algarve for its amazing natural scenery, and a great family day out can be spent taking the easy train journey from Lagos. The train tickets are cheap and cheerful, and on the journey you’ll weave inland through the stunning Algarve countryside, towards Faro.

This is a really easy way to go sightseeing, and it will give you a taste of authentic Algarve life. Once in Faro, you can spend time exploring the historic Roman town, and you’ll get a wonderful view over the city if you climb the tower of Faro Cathedral.

2. Explore the village of Porches

The Algarve is full of hidden charms, but one that is particularly special is the village of Porches. Nestled between some better-known tourist destinations, this village is a really romantic place to while away a relaxing afternoon.

Stroll hand-in-hand through the cobbled streets alongside whitewashed buildings, and check out the many chapels that are dotted throughout the village. Porches is famous for its traditional pottery, and you’ll find many pottery and craft shops, where you can purchase some beautiful handmade pieces.

3. Visit the former capital, Silves

A place of historical importance, Silves was once the capital of the Algarve, and has a history dating back to Palaeolithic times. If it’s not too hot, take a walk around the surrounding hillsides, and see if you can spot any standing stones (menhirs).

One popular spot is Silves Castle, due to the fact that it’s incredibly well-maintained, despite having been built between the 8th and 13th centuries! The castle was built using beautiful red bricks, which can be seen throughout the city. Nearby the castle you’ll find the Sé – Silves’ cathedral. Inside there are original Gothic features, as well as several tombs.

The green mountains of Caldas de Monchique in the Algarve

A view of Caldas de Monchique surrounded by the lush forest-covered mountains

4. Traverse the Monchique mountains

In the western part of the Algarve you’ll find the stunning Monchique mountain range, a forest-covered landscape boasting its own Roman spa town – Caldas de Monchique. Famed for its waters, which are said to have healing properties, Caldas de Monchique boasts beautiful waterfalls and geothermal spas.

The area has been popular since Roman times, and you can bathe in the very same waters that have been used for over 2,000 years. The mountain range is named after the town of Monchique, which sits four miles from the famous spa town.

5. See the coastal rock formations by boat

The Algarve coastline is a labyrinth of limestone caves and secret coves, which are waiting to be discovered. Boat tours leave from the east at the glamorous Vilamoura marina, or alternatively depart from the western town of Portimão.

The coastal sea caves are amazing to behold, carved into the cliff by harsh ocean currents, you can see the many layers of limestone that make up the rocky landscape here. One popular place to see pillars, archways, and coves is Ponta Da Piedade, one of the most beautiful natural areas in the Algarve.

The amazing rock formations at Ponta da Piedade in the Algarve

The amazing wates and rock formations at Ponta da Piedade in the Algarve

6. Wander through the local craft and delicious fresh produce markets

The Algarve is famous for its sumptuous fresh produce, such as almonds, olives, and oranges. Picked fresh from the trees and sold in the local markets, this is a great way to see how the locals spend their free time and gives you a chance to appreciate the healthy Portuguese cuisine of the area.

After you’ve taken a break and eaten a fresh orange in the shade, be sure to see some local handmade crafts such as copper and silver jewellery, leather shoes, bags and stunning handmade ceramics. All of these make great gifts for loved ones, or are a lovely keepsake to remember your Algarve holiday by.

If you’re inspired to explore the Algarve and its amazing culture, check out our villas in the Algarve for a great range of places to stay.

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Alex is a Marketing Communications Manager at James Villa Holidays.

Known as the 'unique' one in the team, I have been with James Villas since November 2013...

See all articles by Alex

See all articles by Alex

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