If you are visiting Portugal, then just don’t stop at Lisbon (read this Lisbon travel guide here) but definitely make some time to explore Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal that is famous for its pristine, scenic beaches (many undiscovered by tourists) and beautiful landscapes. What brought us to Algarve was my dear friend’s wedding and we halted at Porches, the wedding venue. I highly recommend having at least on meal at O Leao de Porches, a Mediterranean fare serving restaurants (read this guide to dining out in Lagos, Algarve) with a villa like interior. The food is great, the service is extremely friendly and they also have an adorable pooch to welcome you. Unlike the seaside, this part of Porches will give you serious Santorini like feels with its blue and white houses.
EXPLORE ALGARVE: PORCHES AND LAGOA
Besides Porches, the adjacent city of Lagoa is worth exploring for its pristine beaches which are near empty. We spend some time at one such beautiful, near empty beach with the bluest of waters. You will find lots of beautiful houses with mosaic steps in the classic Portuguese style of blue and white. Also, do not forget to get some gelato from one of the nearby kiosks.
EXPLORE ALGARVE: BENAGIL SEA CAVES
When in Algarve, definitely book a tour of the sea caves off the shore of Benagil beach that you can explore via motorboat. We toured 20 odd caves and had a lot of belly-churning fun (pun intended) as our boat whizzed and whirred over the choppy Atlantic waters. All these caves are uninhabited and you can get to see some of them from very close quarters. After the tour, we drove Faro, had a quick lunch (where I tasted Portuguese beer), dropped the car off at the airport and boarding the bus to cross into Seville, Spain. Read my food tour adventure in Madrid here and a 72 hr guide to Lisbon here. You can also read Erika’s guide to the Algarve coast here and Lauren’s Portugal itinerary here.