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Sun holiday in the Algarve: discover this part of Portugal

As I was strolling along the sea with my bare feet in the sand, I realised how this part of Portugal keeps surprising me every time I come back. Apart from the unbelievable beach, the Algarve is home to gorgeous natural reserves and the friendliest locals you'll ever meet. During my first trip to the Algarve, I got caught up in a conversation with an old man. He asked if I like fish soup and invited me home for dinner with him and his wife. It turned out to be an unforgettable evening with great company and the best fish soup I’ve ever had. My passion for discovering unique locations was actually born that night. I completely understand why the Portuguese like to choose an authentic quinta or rustic B&B in the Algarve for a small-scale holiday destination. Compared to the adjacent region of Alentejo, the Algarve is much smaller. Which makes it perfect for a sun holiday away from the masses. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else!

Small-scale hotels & apartments in the Algarve

Every time I drive around the Algarve in my rental car, I find absolutely beautiful spots. Finding something to do here is easy as pie, whether it be in May or for Christmas. This also makes it the ultimate destination for a holiday with the family or with children. My recommendations are nice and spacious with something to do for everyone. I always prefer to stay at a quinta, which is an authentic Portuguese holiday home. Some of them were converted to a bed & breakfast. I was even lucky enough to discover a couple of exclusive hidden gems. They all have something special to offer and a sweet owner who is always ready to help. Some boast a delightful spa while others offer yoga classes for some ultimate relaxation. The Algarve has many romantic locations for you to explore, making it a remarkable destination for a honeymoon. It just doesn’t get any more romantic than this!

My small-scale recommendations in Portugal are very popular and tend to be fully booked in advance. Do you want to book a flying holiday to the Algarve? I recommend to book your unique stay away from the masses in time. Check out my last minute stays in Portugal or my latest discoveries.

Fly & Drive in the Algarve

Good to know: my flying holidays to the Algarve always include a rental car and a place to stay.

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Eliza's tips

What to do in the Algarve?

Exploring all the beaches during my tour in the Algarve was a great way to spend my days and well worth the effort. With its stunning rock formations and caves, the coastline is absolutely unique. Highly recommended for a holiday by the sea. And if you prefer an active holiday, the Algarve offers plenty of hiking and cycling options. Temperatures are especially pleasant in spring and autumn for walking or cycling the unbeaten paths. I left my bed & breakfast early in the morning to explore the inland. I had spotted my hiking shoes in my suitcase and decided to undertake a serious hike. Serra de Monchique would be my destination for the day, which turned out to be a lovely walk among the hills. I stopped to relish the magnificent views of the Algarve in the shade of cork oaks and eucalyptus trees.

My evenings in the Algarve are all about finding a charming city or town for a delicious conclusion to my day at a local restaurant. Always a piece of cake thanks to my rental car. Characteristic cities such as Faro and Sagres will give you a great impression of the rich history of the Algarve. One of my favourite towns to visit is Tavira. It has a beautiful river with an old Roman bridge. A stunning sight!

Culinary trip in the Algarve

The best way to get to know the Algarvean cuisine is to eat with the locals. That is how I discovered their delicious fish soup. In this Portuguese region, they like to use the sun, sea and earth in their cooking. Popular fish dishes include bacalao, salted fish and arroz de peixe, a mouthwatering fish dish with rice. And don’t forget to try the "bolinhos de amendoa", handmade almond pastries featured on most dessert menus. And despite my favourite pastry being from the Costa de Lisboa , you'll find Pastel de Nata in the Algarve as well! My final holiday tip is only for the brave: aguardente. This is burning water, a remarkable experience. Or go for some delicious strawberry brandy. Plenty of choice for a culinary experience during your trip to the Algarve.

The weather: from the Algarve with love

The Mediterranean climate in the Algarve is affected by the ocean; the temperature feels a lot more pleasant and mild as a result. Most of the rain falls between November and March. Evenings are also a bit cooler than in the summer period. I recommend packing an extra sweater for your late summer or winter sun holiday. If you’re looking for a warm sun holiday, summer is the best season to visit the Algarve. With an average sunshine duration of around 3,000 hours per year, the Algarve is one of the sunniest regions in Europe. And because the sea wind doesn’t reach the inlands, they tend to be warmer and dryer than the coast. Make sure to get yourself a place with a swimming pool for the summer holiday so you can freshen up whenever you want to.