About to go on a magical holiday to Portugal? If that’s the case, you’re probably considering where to stay in Algarve, the breathtaking southern coast of Portugal!
I live in Portugal, and the Algarve coast is definitely one of my favorite places to visit in the country!
In short, Lagos is always the travelers’ choice for a first-time trip to the Algarve coast because it has the most stunning beaches in the region!
Read this post because you will learn about 8 beautiful places in the Algarve, all perfect for tourists. I also went ahead, and compared pretty much all the accommodation there is and handpicked the best ones for you!
On top of that, I sorted those hotels by area AND by price – this way, you will surely find your ideal place in no time, no matter the budget!
Here is the trick, though – Algarve is a popular destination for a beach holiday, so good hotels are quick to go! Make your reservations in advance and enjoy a hassle-free holiday!
If you are in a hurry
These are the best hotels in Lagos:
- If you are in a hurry
- Understanding the area
- 1. Lagos – where to stay in Algarve for the first time
- 2. Albufeira – where to stay in Algarve for nightlife
- 3. Portimao – where to stay in Algarve for a local vibe
- 4. Quarteira – where to stay in Algarve on a budget
- 5. Sagres – where to stay in Algarve for surfing
- 6. Faro – where to stay in Algarve for Culture Enthusiasts
- 7. Tavira – where to stay in Algarve on a family trip
- 8. Carvoeiro – for a relaxing vacation
- FAQs about where to stay in Algarve
Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:
Here’s a map of the 8 Algarve areas I recommend in this article:
Understanding the area
The Algarve is a large region (almost 5000 km2 (~2000 sq mi)) in southern Portugal, but most people are going to want to stay on the Algarve Coast
The coast stretches across 200 km (approx. 124 miles) and hosts different towns on it. The central part of Algarve is the most popular amongst tourists since this is where they have the most serene beaches, but the East and West sides are also extremely beautiful (though they can be more cliffy).
Do not worry! We’re going to cover all areas on the coast in this post and explain which one is better and why.
1. Lagos – where to stay in Algarve for the first time
Lagos is located in the western Algarve, and the first thing to know about Lagos is that it boasts the most impressive beaches, so if you’re planning a beach holiday, this is the place to be!
Besides beaches, Lagos has plenty to offer in terms of history and culture. During your time here, you should explore the Old Town Lagos (map) and its main attractions – Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, Castle of Lagos and the Igreja de Santo António.
When you embark on your ‘beautiful beach tour,’ your first stop should be Praia Dona Ana (map), a sandy beach surrounded by massive rock formations (a great photo op!).
While you’re there, you’ll want to explore more of the famous beaches in Lagos. If so, you have to spend a day at the iconic Praia do Camilo (map) (actually 2 beaches connected by a tunnel). To get to the beach, you’ll have to go down a long, wooden staircase (hint: Instagram-worthy).
Lagos is also famous for its surfing beaches; the main beach, Meia Praia (map), is an excellent spot for surfing, but Praia da Luz (map) is also a good option. And if you’re not into surfing, you can try other water sports – kayaking, SUP, and windsurfing are just some of the possibilities.
If you’re traveling with kids, you can’t miss the Zoo de Lagos, home to many amazing animals. Plus, there’s a Portuguese restaurant within the zoo where you can have a lovely family lunch!Below, you’ll find the best hotels in Lagos, but if you want more options, check out our post on the ultimate spots for a Lagos stay!
A luxury boutique hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and uniquely furnished rooms, each with a private balcony or terrace. The hotel provides easy access to the beach, but you can also get a massage or attend a yoga class. There’s a panoramic terrace with gorgeous views and a dedicated reading room.
Other accommodation options in Lagos
A Mediterranean-style hotel with two swimming pools and a fantastic breakfast experience that includes a Portugues corner with local delicacies
In a central location in Lagos and within walking distance of the beach, the hostel offers comfortable and clean rooms
This Airbnb is centrally located in the town center and offers fully equipped rooms with free Wi-Fi
Things to do in Lagos
- Join a kayaking tour to see the natural beauty of the Lagos caves
- Attend a dolphin-watching tour
- Visit the Église de Saint Antoine church
- Venture out to the Castle of Lagos
- Get tapas at Casa do Prego
- Take the family to the Zoo do Lagos
2. Albufeira – where to stay in Algarve for nightlife
Albufeira in the western Algarve is a cute fishing town known for its long stretch of beaches, scenic views, and, most of all, lively nightlife!
The Strip that runs from the Montechoro area to the beach abounds with clubs and bars! Legends Bar serves delicious cocktails, and Wild & Co is a bit further down The Strip, but it’s a great spot for live music shows!
On your night out, you’ll probably want to grab a bite to eat. You won’t go wrong with The Market Restaurant, serving international cuisine.
During your stay in Albufeira, you can explore Albufeira Old Town or head to Praia da Falésia (map) – the most amazing sandy beach worth a visit.
And if you’re looking for other things to do during the day, I suggest you take a tour of the Benagil Cave and watch the dolphins!
An adults-only hotel in a great location, only 2 minutes from the beach. You can also relax on the sun loungers by the outdoor pool and order a drink from the pool bar. You can hit the gym after your night of partying or, even better, sweat the night off in the steam room.
Other accommodation options in Albufeira
A boutique hotel with elegantly furnished rooms and luxury bathrooms, offering private parking and bike and car rentals
A guest house located in a historic building with an on-site shop, close to many beachfront bars and restaurants
A comfortable room and access to a shared living room, garden, pool, and barbecue facilities
Things to do in Albufeira
- Go to Zoomarine Algarve, Portugal
- Join a whale watching and cave tour
- Embark on a Jeep safari to the Algarve Mountains
- Have fun at the mini golf courses at Adventure Mini Golfe Park
3. Portimao – where to stay in Algarve for a local vibe
Portimao is a fishing village 70 km (40 mi) west of Faro, and it’s less touristy than some other parts of the Algarve region. So, if you want to feel the authentic Algarve vibe, book your stay in Portimao.
I absolutely loved my time in Portimao; I stayed there for a couple of days and really want to go back one day! You can find everything from a normal beach vacation to nice hikes there!
In Portimao, you will find a scenic fishing port – you can just stand there and watch the boats as they come and go!
And since it’s a fishing port, you have to try freshly caught fish! There are plenty of seafood restaurants, like A Fábrica Portimão, where you can order the seafood platter and try a little bit of everything!
Once you’re done exploring the town, you can hit Praia da Rocha (map) for a fun day in the sun. Swim, surf, or sunbathe – the choice is yours!
From here, you can also go on a catamaran cruise to the Benagil Cave, which is only reachable by boat! This cave is known for the hole in its roof – it is unique experience and the pics turn out great too!
There are a few other beautiful beaches – Praia dos Três Castelos (map), known for its incredible rock formations, and Praia dos Coreanos (map), a small, private beach – perfect if you want to escape the crowds!
If you want to get a taste of local life, you mustn’t miss Portimão market, which sells everything from fresh meat and produce to sweet delicacies and flowers.
A beachfront hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, fitness and massage rooms, and an on-site bar serving drinks and tapas. All the suites at the hotel have a contemporary design, and each has a living area, a king-sized bed, a sofa, and a balcony.
Other accommodation options in Portimao
Surrounded by greenery, the hotel has a swimming pool with sun loungers and offers a complimentary breakfast
A hostel with its own private pool, offering both private and shared rooms, continental breakfast, and free Wi-Fi
This luxury self-catering apartment offers fully furnished rooms with a large terrace and a 3-minute walk to the beach
Things to do in Portimao
- Visit the fortress at Fortaleza de Santa Catarina
- Learn about the history at the Museu de Portimao
- Spend a day at the Beach Tres Castelos
- Go shopping at Aqua Portimão Shopping Centre
- Hit the Algarve International Circuit
4. Quarteira – where to stay in Algarve on a budget
Quarteria is a coastal town in the Algarve region about 30 min by car East from Albufeira.
What once was a fishing community transformed into a resort town, offering a variety of accommodation options, including plenty of budget-friendly options.
Even though Quarteira is not as well-known as other spots in Algarve, it offers everything other popular tourist spots do – sandy beaches, fun activities, and many eateries serving delicious food.
A must-visit while in Quarteira is the Aquashow Waterpark, where you can have endless fun in the wave pools, on the many, many water slides, and in the indoor part of the park!
If you’re looking for spots to eat and drink, there are quite a few beach bars along Quarteira Beach. Here, you can try delicious dishes and drinks without breaking the bank – another reason why this is a great destination for budget travelers.
If you’re looking for other things to do in the area, there are quite a few golf courses in the area. You can check out Vila Sol Golf, a golf course with an on-site clubhouse.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the great hotels in Quarteira!
This hotel abounds with luxury amenities! It has both an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, a hammam, a sauna, and a fitness center. Guests can order room service, dine at the on-site restaurant, or enjoy one of the many programs or activities provided by the entertainment staff.
Other accommodation options in Portimao
All the hotel rooms are air-conditioned, with private balconies, while the 24-hour reception can organize both car and bike hire
This apartment has 1 bedroom, a modern bathroom, a full kitchen, and a living room with a flat-screen TV
Just 5 minutes away from the beach, this accommodation can fit up to 3 guests and offers free parking
Things to do in Quarteira
- Spend a day at the Aquashow Waterpark
- Take a surf lesson at Falésia Beach
- Go on a segway tour of the Vilamoura and Quarteira seaside
- Go out to the Vilamoura Marina to watch the boats
5. Sagres – where to stay in Algarve for surfing
Sitting at the tip of western Algarve, Sagres is renowned for its pristine beaches. However, the golden sand is not the only thing that makes these beaches special – it’s the waves that make this secluded Algarve spot perfect for surfing.
The famous Portuguese beer, Sagres, was named after this part of the Algarve. The beer has been produced since 1940 and is one of the most popular beers in Portugal.
Praia do Zavial (map) is one of the most frequented surfing beaches in Sagres. It gets both big and small waves, so it’s a good choice for both experienced surfers and beginners.
TIP: if you want to go surfing on Praia do Zavial, the best time to go is winter. But before you go, I advise you to check the surf forecast so you know what to expect.
While you’re here, I suggest you visit the impressive Farol do Cabo de São Vicente and Sagres Fortress, and you can continue to the Cape Sagres viewpoint to get the best views of the Atlantic Ocean.
A luxury resort overlooking the beach featuring boutique-style rooms, as well as private villas with balconies or terraces. As a guest, you can use 5 pools, but the main pool is on a lovely wooden terrace and has its own bar!
Other accommodation options in Portimao
Each room has either a sea or garden view, and the hotel can help you arrange different outdoor activities
A boutique hotel with modern rooms and friendly staff, offering easy access to the beach
Calm and private Airbnb, with modern amenities, a comfortable bed, and a lovely patio for relaxing holidays
Things to do in Sagres
- Go on a sunset secret spot tour
- Visit the church Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça
- Try delicious Portuguese food at Retiro do Pescador
- Stop for Italian-style ice cream at Alice Gelateria
- Take a day trip to Cape St. Vincent
6. Faro – where to stay in Algarve for Culture Enthusiasts
Faro is the largest city in the Algarve region (~440,000 people) and one of the most attractive destinations in southern Portugal, with spectacular historic buildings and beautiful churches.
As you walk along the cobbled streets of Faro, you’ll discover amazing shops, bars and restaurants, but keep your focus on Faro Old Town.
Some of the main attractions are Faro Cathedral (or Santa Maria Cathedral) and Arco da Vila, the Old Town’s main gateway.
During your Faro explorations, you have to take the time to visit the Municipal Museum of Faro, which is actually a historical convent that has been later repurposed into a museum.
And, of course, you cannot miss out on the natural beauty of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Admire the landscape, embark on a kayak or a boat tour of the park, or get your binoculars and get ready to see some birds!
Of course, if you’re visiting Algarve, you probably want to hit the beach! Praia de Faro (map) is the most popular beach around Faro, so it’ll probably be crowded during the summer months.
If you want something more unique, I suggest taking a boat to Culatra Island (map), an amazing island near the coast, and spending your day at Praia da Culatra.
If you’re staying in Faro, you’ll either have to take public transportation or rent a car, as you can’t get from the city to the beach on foot. TIP: if you are traveling to Algarve, but haven’t been to the capital, I highly recommend you do! Explore the best places to stay in Lisbon, and find out why everyone falls in love with Portuguese cities.
A 5-star hotel with 2 swimming pools, an outdoor fireplace, and an exceptional spa/wellness center. Guests can spend leisure time on the terrace or stay in their comfortable, air-conditioned rooms and order room service. But if you prefer to eat outside your room, there are 2 on-site restaurants to choose from!
Other accommodation options in Faro
The hotel offers spacious rooms with sea views and free Wi-Fi, and Faro Airport is 10 km (6 mi) away
A charming hotel with a sun terrace, restaurant, and a shared kitchen. Snug, cozy, and budget-friendly – perfect for young couples
A fully equipped apartment, surrounded by Algarvian fruit trees, and an amazing choice for a quiet holiday
Things to do in Faro
- Visit the Municipal Museum of Faro
- Take a surf lesson at Praia de Faro
- Spend the day shopping at Forum Algarve
- Take a relaxing walk along Faro Marina
- Feel the chills at Capela dos Ossos de Faro
7. Tavira – where to stay in Algarve on a family trip
Situated in the eastern Algarve, Tavira is a picturesque town with a unique atmosphere and much calmer than the other resort towns in Algarve.
The town and the beaches are not as crowded with tourists, even in peak season, making it the perfect choice for a family stay.
One of the best things you can do in Tavira is take a walk along the coast before moving inland to follow the cobbled streets that will lead you to Tavira Castle.
Keep in mind that the road to the castle is steep in some places, so it is not convenient for very young children.
Don’t forget to stop by the Tavira Old Bridge and walk along both banks of the Gilão River. When you’re done exploring the town, head to the beach.
Praia da Ilha de Tavira is a short ferry ride from the town center and a fun activity for the kids. This is one of those long, sandy beaches with clear water where you can swim and build sand castles, creating lifelong memories with your family.
The rooms at this hotel are a blend of modern and vintage decor, but they’re all air-conditioned, spacious, and comfortable. There are 2 swimming pools and 2 restaurants. Play equipment, board games, and puzzles provided free of charge, but you can request child services for an additional cost.
Other accommodation options in Tavira
The hotel has an outdoor pool and provides extra beds upon request – free of charge for children under 5
This guest house features family-friendly rooms and has 2 fully equipped kitchens on each floor
Recently renovated Airbnb with 2 bedrooms and a functional kitchen, a great choice for a family of 4
Things to do in Tavira
- Take the kids on a Tuk Tuk tour of Tavira
- Go shopping at Centro Comercial Tavira Gran-Plaza
- Make the ride to one of the theme parks like Slide & Splash
- Plan a day trip to Castro Marim
8. Carvoeiro – for a relaxing vacation
Carvoeiro is centrally located between the central and western Algarve, it is only about 30 min away from Albufeira, my #1 in the list (if you want to move around and discover the region, I definitely recommend renting a car.
Carvoeiro’s main activities include, you guessed it… – spending a nice relaxing day on the beach.
Praia do Carvalho, for example, is a small beach, but it’s one of the most stunning beaches in the entire Algarve region!
It’s a bit further away from the center of Carvoeiro (but totally worth the drive!). If you want something closer by, Praia do Vale de Centeanes is your best bet.
Restaurant hopping is another great way to spend leisure time. In the city center, where you will find the best seafood restaurants. My top pick is Restaurante Casa Algarvia with the finger-licking soup Cataplana!
Finally, if you want some action, seek out the golf courses! Vale de Milho Golf is a good option because it’s quite close to the central city area.
Another good activity to add some adventure to your trip is visiting the Algar Seco, a popular boardwalk along the coastline, famous for its many caves and breathtaking rock formations!
A 5-star hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms, recently refurbished with modern amenities. To relax, head to the Tivoli Spa, where you’ll find a sauna, a steam room, and an indoor pool. There’s also an outdoor pool that provides a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Other accommodation options in Carvoeiro
Hotel Carvoeiro Plaza is a beachfront hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and an amazing open rooftop bar
A year-round pool, free parking, and a delicious breakfast are just some of the perks of staying at this property
In a central location, the apartment features a bedroom with a comfy bed, a living area, and a functional kitchen
Things to do in Carvoeiro
- Walk on the Carvoeiro Boardwalk
- Grab a coffee at Earth Shop & Café
- Spend a day at Marinha Beach
- Take a boat tour to the Benagil Cave
- Go for a drive along the coast and stop by the Algar Seco Rocks
|👑 Luxury price:
|📍 Best area:
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:
|AP Eva Senses
|👛 Best budget hotel:
FAQs about where to stay in Algarve
🗺️ What is the best area to stay in Algarve?
👫 Where should couples stay in the Algarve?
🏖️ What are the best beaches in Algarve?
The best beaches in the Algarve are Praia dos Três Irmãos, Praia de Benagil, Praia do Camilo, and Praia da Marinha.
🛎️ What is the best resort in Algarve?
Martinhal Sagres Beach is an amazing luxury resort in Sagres with all the amenities you will need for a comfortable stay. If you were wondering where to stay in the Algarve without a car, this is your best choice.
👨👩👦👦 Where to stay in Algarve for families?
Tavira town is a great place to stay for families. Albufeira and Carvoeiro are also great options because they offer waterparks, a family-friendly atmosphere, and beaches.
🌝 What is the best time to visit Algarve?
The most popular time to visit the Algarve is between June and August, but if you want to avoid the crowds, I suggest going in either September or October.
⏱️ How many days do you need in the Algarve?
Algarve is a big region, and there are many nice beaches and towns to discover. That’s why I suggest you take at least 5-7 days for your stay in the Algarve.
📅 Where to stay in Algarve in November and March?
If you’re planning an off-season visit to the Algarve, I suggest you stay in Albufeira. It’s a lively city with vibrant nightlife and amazing hotels such as the Hotel California Urban Beach.
👨👩👧👦 Where to stay in Algarve with a toddler/baby?
For a family with young children, I suggest Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort in Quarteira – they have a fun kids room and separate zones with swimming pools for kids.
⛳ Where to Stay in Algarve for Golf?
The best Algarve areas for golf are Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago, while Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa is one of the most sought-after resorts for golfing.
Here we came to the end of our tour! I hope you enjoyed the journey and this blog post helped you decide where to stay in Algarve!
I know I’ve already told you about the top areas and the best hotels and beaches, but to sum up, here are my 2 best hotels in the Algarve.
- Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda – with an amazing outdoor spa pool and spectacular beach views
- Costa D’Oiro Ambiance – uniquely decorated rooms and delicious Portuguese food
I would also like to remind you how important it is to book in advance as Algarve is a very popular holiday destination.
If you have any other suggestions or questions about Algarve, Southern Portugal, please leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to reply!
Have an amazing holiday,
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