The perfect Algarve itinerary for a 1 or 2 week road trip

The perfect Algarve itinerary for a 1 or 2 week road trip

Discover your dream Algarve itinerary: Explore stunning beaches, historic towns, and natural wonders in Portugal’s southern paradise.

Explore the Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a beautiful region in southern Portugal and has been a popular tourist destination for many years. I myself travel to the Algarve every year, often for 1 or 2 months at a time. I think it’s a wonderful destination.

The people are incredibly friendly, it has a slower pace compared to the sometimes stressful times in The Netherlands, and the landscape is absolutely gorgeous. Over the past few years, I discovered many beautiful places in the Algarve, and I traveled both by public transport (bus and train) and by rental car. Traveling by car is definitely my favorite way to explore the Algarve. You get to visit so many incredible places!

What makes the Algarve so suitable for a road trip?

The Algarve offers an impressive diversity of landscapes. From golden sandy beaches to rugged cliffs, from lush green hills to historic towns, there is plenty to explore. In addition, the Algarve (like the rest of Portugal) is also known for its delicious gastronomy. You can enjoy fresh seafood, local dishes such as Cataplana (a fish or shellfish stew), and the famous Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts).

And, of course, the Algarve is known for its breathtaking beaches. Whether you want to sunbathe, surf, swim, or just relax by the shore, there is a beach for everyone. It is also a great destination for outdoor sports, there are plenty of beautiful hiking trails and you can also do more adventurous activities such as kayaking and climbing.

Algarve itinerary

All in all, I can tell you that a road trip the Algarve is an unforgettable adventure! In this article, I share two different itineraries, one for a 1-week road trip and one for a 2-week road trip. With the first you see mostly the highlights, in the second you also get to some lesser-known (but also incredibly beautiful) places in the Algarve. In both cases, a road map is included.

Algarve road trip 1 week

Would you love to explore the Algarve in one week? This 1 week Algarve road trip itinerary is a great introduction to this beautiful Portuguese region.

Day 1: Faro

You begin your adventure in the Algarve’s capital, Faro. Although it is not the most bustling city in Portugal, it is still fun to spend a day wandering around here. Walk through the beautiful Arco da Vila into the old city center, which is full of narrow cobblestone streets. Here, visit the Igreja de Santa Maria, a church with an unusual chapel. You can also climb the tower here for a great view.

Igreja do Carmo is another church absolutely worth visiting. The interior is richly decorated with wood carvings. Outside, you can view a chapel made of human bones. A bit sinister, but very interesting at the same time.

Another thing that stands out in Faro is the many stork nests. You see them everywhere (especially on church spires) and you hear clattering all the time. And because Faro is located roughly in the sea, you can eat incredibly good fish here. Take a look at the port and enjoy the tasty Portuguese dishes. A day in Faro is a perfect start to your Algarve road trip!

  • Where to stay: Senhor Gigi – I myself have already slept here twice and I really love the place! Tucked away in a quiet street in the center of Faro, this small guesthouse is a perfect base for exploring the city.
Day trip to Faro

Day 2 & 3: Armação de Pêra

After a short city break in Faro, it’s time to explore the beautiful beaches of the Algarve! The seaside resort of Armação de Pêra is a good base for this. From here you can easily take trips to bustling Albufeira and the picturesque village of Ferragudo.

In addition, nearby you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve: Praia da Marinha. This one is somewhat hidden among the high golden cliffs. For hiking enthusiasts, this is also a good place to visit, as this is where the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail starts. A scenic hiking trail over the cliffs and past several beaches.

It is also highly recommended to visit the impressive cave of Benagil. This is one of the most photographed spots in the Algarve and is only accessible by boat.

  • Where to stay: Vilalara Thalassa Resort (5⭐) is a great option if you want to start your road trip in luxury. This beautiful resort is located on the beach and has a large outdoor pool.
Benagil caves
With a boat tour, you can sail into the Benagil caves.

Day 4 & 5: Lagos

A road trip in the Algarve is not complete without a visit to Lagos. I myself “live” here two months a year, so I’m a little biased, but Lagos is the most beautiful city in the Algarve. Wander through the beautiful historic city center, relax on one of Lagos’ many beautiful beaches, and visit Ponta da Piedade, the most beautiful rock formation in Portugal.

From Lagos, you can also take many great day trips. For example, visit Sagres and Cape Saint Vincent, the southwest tip of mainland Europe. It really feels like you’re at the end of the world here.

Other great places to visit from Lagos are the cute artist village of Barão de São João, the picturesque fishing village of Burgau or Portimão, which is the second largest city in the Algarve after Faro.

  • Where to stay: The Salty Lodge is one of the best accommodations in Lagos. You can choose from a variety of studios and apartments and it is very centrally located in the old city center. You walk straight to the beach and it’s on a street full of great restaurants and cafes. Check out 20 beautiful B&Bs and hotels in Lagos Portugal for more tips on where to stay in Lagos.
Ponta da Piedade, Lagos

Day 6: Silves

After a few days on the coast, today you will head inland and travel to Silves, the Algarve’s oldest city. Although it is not very large, there is plenty to see and do. Be sure to visit the castle of Silves. From here you have a beautiful view of the city and the green hills surrounding it. If you look closely, you will also see many vineyards!

Furthermore, it is great to wander around the city center, there are many cozy streets with nice boutique stores and small cafes. If you want to learn more about the history of Silves, it’s fun to visit Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves.

  • Where to stay: La Maison Bleue Algarve is a blue house located just outside Silves. It is a B&B with nicely decorated rooms and there is even a small pool. A wonderful place to relax!
From the park you have a beautiful view of Silves

Day 7: Return to Faro

Unfortunately, today your road trip in the Algarve has already come to an end. Indulge in one more delicious Portuguese meal, return your rental car, and say goodbye to the Algarve. I am sure you will want to return someday to discover even more beautiful places in the Algarve.

1 week Algarve road trip map

Algarve road trip - 1 week

This is an image. Click here to zoom in on the map.

Algarve road trip 2 weeks

A week is nice, but it’s a bit short if you really want to explore the Algarve. My tip: explore the Algarve for at least two weeks. That gives you just a little more time to explore some of the fun lesser-known places as well. This is a perfect itinerary of 2 weeks in the Algarve.

Day 1 & 2: Faro

Since you have a little more time, it is a good idea to stay an extra day in Faro. Take a day to explore the old town. On the second day, you can take a boat trip through the Ria Formosa, a beautiful nature reserve on the Algarve coast.

In addition, you can visit the secluded Praia da Ilha Deserta for a beach day. Would you rather do something active? Near the beach behind the airport, you will find the Ludo Trail, one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Algarve.

  • Where to stay: Roots Hotel (4⭐) is an aparthotel and is located in a nice spot in the center of Faro, you can walk everywhere! It is beautifully decorated with natural materials.
Faro Marina
Faro Marina.

Day 3 & 4: Tavira

After Faro, explore the eastern Algarve. Your base is the beautiful town of Tavira. Tavira has a beautiful historic city center and you will spend about half a day to a full day exploring all the beautiful places. Be sure to take a walk across the Ponte Romana, a Roman bridge over the Gilão River.

To get to the beach (Praia da Ilha de Tavira) you have to take a boat, and then you’ll find yourself on this beautiful long sandy beach.

From Tavira, you can make several great day trips. Personally, I really liked the fishing village of Fuseta. This is not yet discovered by the crowds and it is very picturesque. The town of Olhão is also fun to explore.

Are you visiting Tavira between November and March? Then chances are you will see flamingos here! They are mainly found in the salt pans, for example in the Salinas da Fuzeta.

  • Where to stay: Formosa Guest House is located right in the center of Tavira. The rooms are nicely decorated with a nice mix of modern and antique furniture.
15 things to do in Tavira, Algarve

Day 5: Loulé

After a few days on the coast, head a little inland and visit the town of Loulé. Loulé is best known for its lively market between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. The Mercado Municipal de Loulé is famous for its colorful stalls full of fresh produce, artisan products, and local delicacies. Sample some fresh fruit or snacks as you stroll through the market and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.

It is also fun to explore the historic center of Loulé. Take a stroll through the narrow streets with whitewashed houses and admire the traditional architecture. In the center, you will also find Castelo de Loulé, a large castle from the second century, which was refurbished in the 18th century.

In Loulé, you can also enjoy delicious Algarvian cuisine in one of the many local restaurants. Try dishes such as “Frango Piri-Piri” (grilled chicken with spicy sauce) or “Cataplana” (a fish stew).

  • Where to stay: Loule Jardim Hotel (3⭐) is in a quiet, yet central location in Loulé. On the roof, you will find not only a lovely sun terrace but also a swimming pool.

Day 6 & 7: Armação de Pêra

After Loulé, continue with the same “progamma” as in the 1-week itinerary. If you don’t mind a little detour, it is nice to go to Quarteira/Villamoura before Armação de Pêra. Here you can check out some beautiful mansions and luxury hotels. The marina is often packed with luxury yachts and there is a casino. Nearby you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve: Praia da Falésia, with bright red high cliffs. Continue your way through Albufeira, which is a nice shortcut to Armação de Pêra.

  • Where to stay: Marsuites is a nice small complex in the center of Armação de Pêra. You walk to the beach in a few minutes.
Praia da Falésia in the Algarve

Day 8 & 9: Lagos

You have a little more time in this 2-week itinerary to explore Lagos and its surroundings. If you enjoy a bit of hiking, we recommend walking a section of the famous Fishermen’s Trail. This trail is part of Rota Vicentina and is considered one of the most beautiful coastal walks in Europe. The stage between Luz and Lagos is a lot of fun to do. In the beginning, you have a steep climb, but after that, you have beautiful views of the coastline and the blue sea.

  • Where to stay: 3 Marias Garden House B&B is a cozy bed and breakfast in the old town of Lagos. It has a beautiful garden and the breakfast is incredibly good.
Beautiful views from the Fishermen's Trail in Lagos

Day 10: Sagres

Today you have a full day to explore the southwesternmost tip of Europe. Sagres is a surfer’s paradise, you see surf shops everywhere and you have some beautiful beaches here. Must-sees, besides the aforementioned Cape Saint Vincent, include the great Fortaleza de Sagres and the extraordinary Praia dos Rebolinhos, a beach with round stones.

In Sagres, you will also find many nice restaurants. In addition to many seafood dishes, there are vegetarian and even vegan options. Sagres is a wonderful place to relax for a while.

  • Where to stay: Memmo Baleeira – Design Hotels (4⭐) is located just outside the center in a beautiful spot by the sea. There is a gym and a large outdoor pool.
The lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent

Day 11 & 12: Aljezur

Do you feel like exploring a lesser-known place in the Algarve? Then you will definitely like the next few days! Via a scenic route, you will drive from Sagres to Aljezur today. Make a stop in Carrapateira, a quaint village with a huge beach. Along the beach are some beautiful hiking trails and wooden boardwalks.

The town of Aljezur itself is also fun to explore, with lots of narrow streets and the ruins of an old castle on a hill. From here you have a beautiful view of the surroundings. From Aljezur, you can explore Praia de Monte Clérigo, with beautifully colored houses on the beach.

  • Where to stay: Vicentina Hotel (3⭐) is located in the green hills near Aljezur and has spacious rooms, studios, and apartments. There is also an outdoor swimming pool.
Aljezur to Arrifana - Fishermen's Trail section 7

Day 13: Monchique

Today we are going into the mountains! During the drive from Aljezur to Monchique, you get higher and higher, as it lies between the highest mountains in the Algarve. It is a beautiful place full of history. Beautiful narrow streets with cozy restaurants and there are many hiking trails in the area. If you can, take a look at the old monastery on the hill. Sometimes you are allowed a peek inside (be careful, though, because it is quite dilapidated).

On clear days, going to the Miradouro da Fóia is a must. Here the entire Algarve is at your feet. The Fóia is 902 meters high and you can get here either on foot (there is a beautiful route that starts in Monchique) or by car.

  • Where to stay: Vilafoia (4⭐) is a beautiful complex just outside Monchique and located on a mountain top. Consequently, the views are magnificent! There is a large garden full of nice seating areas and a large outdoor pool.
View from Foia at Monchique

Day 14: Return to Faro

And then it’s already the last day of your road trip in the Algarve. It was a nice varied trip with famous tourist attractions and picturesque villages that are yet to be discovered. From Monchique, it is just over an hour’s drive to Faro airport. Do you still have time to spare? Then make a stop in Silves or Portimão along the way.

Map Algarve road trip 2 weeks

Algarve road trip - 2 weeks

This is an image. Click here to zoom in on the map.

Extra tips for this Algarve itinerary

You have now seen the two routes for an amazing Algarve road trip. These are a few more helpful tips for your trip to the Algarve.

  • Toll road in the Algarve – The Algarve is crossed by two major roads: the A22 and the N125. The A22 is a toll road and tolls are settled electronically. When picking up your rental car, they will ask if you want a toll badge (for a fee). Definitely take this if you plan to drive on the A22. The N125 is a great alternative, but it will probably take you a little longer to travel from one place to another.
  • The driving distances during this road trip are quite short, so you have plenty of time to see all the beautiful sights along the way. Personally, I always enjoy sleeping in different places, but I can imagine that you don’t want to move around too much. In that case, it’s smart to pick a certain base for each location in the Algarve. For the east of the Algarve, Faro or Olhão is a good base. For central Algarve, Albufeira is a good place to stay. And to explore the west side, I recommend staying in Lagos.
  • Travel by public transport – Would you like to tour the Algarve without a rental car? That is possible as well! Many of the places I mention are also accessible by public transportation, which is very inexpensive in the Algarve. There are trains from Faro to Lagos and from Faro to Vila Real de Santo Antonio (via Tavira). There are also many local buses. Do keep in mind that travel time is long(er) and that buses sometimes only go once or twice a day.

Do you have more questions about traveling in the Algarve? Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below this article and I’ll add more information.

Book your Algarve road trip now!

Would you like to explore the Algarve? Then book your trip now!

✈️ Plane tickets – Faro Airport is the international airport of the Algarve and the best place to start your road trip. Check WayAway to find the best deals and get cashback on plane tickets.

🚘 Rental Car – For this Algarve itinerary, it’s useful to have a rental car. Check Rental Cars to find the best deals.

🛏️ Accommodation – At each stop of this road trip, you will find various tips for nice places to spend the night, but of course, you can also find a great place yourself! Check out for more options, availability, and prices.

💊 Travel insurance – Invest in travel insurance, it will give you peace of mind during your trip. Check out Insubuy (general) or Safetywing (for digital nomads and remote workers) to find the travel insurance that fits your needs.

🏄🏼 Tours & activities – There are lots of fun tours and guided trips in the Algarve. Check Get Your Guide for all the options.

Read more about the Algarve and Portugal

Don’t you think a road trip in the Algarve is a fantastic idea? For more tips and inspiration, these are a few handy travel guides:

DK Eyewitness Top 10 The Algarve

The Rough Guide to Portugal (Travel Guide with Free eBook)

In addition, you can find many tips and information for a vacation in Portugal on this website. I myself spend 2 months a year in Portugal, so I have visited a lot of beautiful places. These articles are also fun to read:

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As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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