online store
top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlejandra Bernard

5 Charming Towns You Shouldn't Miss in the Algarve

Ah, the Algarve. A paradise that stretches along Portugal's southern coast, known for its breathtaking beaches, glistening waters, and vibrant nightlife. Yet, beyond these well-trodden paths lie hidden gems waiting to be discovered by those who dare to venture off the main tourist trail. Today, we're setting off on an adventure to uncover the Algarve's best-kept secrets: five enchanting towns, each offering a unique glimpse into the region's rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. Pack your bags, and let's explore these hidden gems of the Algarve.


Picture of Monchique landscape in Portugal from the blog5 Must Visit Towns in the Algarve offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in the Algarve Portugal

Monchique


Escape the coastal crowds and ascend to Monchique, a mountain town nestled amidst the stunning Serra de Monchique. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and immerse yourself in the serene natural beauty. Explore the hiking trails that weave through cork oak forests, offering breathtaking panoramic views. Discover the town's rich spa culture, a legacy of the Romans, and unwind in the natural thermal springs.


Must-See:


  • Caldas de Monchique: Immerse yourself in the healing waters of the natural thermal springs, known for their therapeutic properties. Several spa resorts offer luxurious treatments and relaxation facilities.

  • Pico da Fóia: Hike to the highest point in the Algarve, Pico da Fóia, for breathtaking panoramic vistas that stretch all the way to the coast on a clear day.

  • Cascata do Chíllar: Explore this enchanting waterfall nestled amidst lush greenery, perfect for a refreshing dip or a scenic picnic.

  • Traditional Crafts: Discover the town's rich heritage of handcrafted products. Browse through shops selling cork items, embroidered textiles, and locally produced honey.


Foodie Delights:


Monchique offers a distinct culinary experience. Sample "Porco Preto" (Iberian black pig), a regional specialty known for its rich flavor. Don't miss the chance to try "Medronho," a fiery local brandy made from the medronho berries that grow in the mountains. Savor the region's unique cheeses and locally produced wines for a truly authentic culinary experience.



Aljezur beach from the blog 5 Charming Towns You Shouldn't Miss in the Algarve offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in the Algarve Portugal

Aljezur


Aljezur, a surfer's paradise on the Algarve's west coast, boasts a dramatic coastline and a laid-back atmosphere. Explore the windswept beaches, perfect for catching waves or simply soaking up the sun. Delve into the town's rich history, evident in the imposing 13th-century castle overlooking the ocean. Breathe in the fresh ocean air and discover a slower pace of life in this hidden gem.


Must-See:


  • Praia da Arrifana: This surfers' haven offers powerful waves, golden sands, and breathtaking cliffs. Take a surf lesson, relax on the beach, or explore the dramatic rock formations.

  • Castelo de Aljezur: Explore this imposing medieval castle, a testament to the town's strategic importance. Enjoy panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding countryside.

  • Rota Vicentina: Embark on a scenic hike along this unspoiled coastal path, offering stunning ocean vistas and hidden coves.

  • Aljezur Market: Immerse yourself in the local life at the vibrant market, brimming with fresh produce, handcrafted souvenirs, and regional delicacies.


Foodie Delights:


Savor the freshest seafood caught by local fishermen. Indulge in "Arroz de Marisco" (seafood rice) or "Cataplana de Peixe" (fish stew), bursting with flavor. Don't miss the chance to try regional cheese and locally produced honey for a taste of the Algarve's agricultural bounty.


Alte


Alte, a village nestled in the foothills of the Serra do Caldeirão, offers a glimpse into a traditional Algarve way of life. Wander through the narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant flower pots. Explore the 18th-century Igreja Matriz, a beautiful church showcasing Baroque architecture. Unwind by the serene Fonte Pequena, a natural spring surrounded by lush greenery.


Must-See:


  • Igreja Matriz: This imposing 18th-century church is a landmark in Alte. Explore its ornate interior and admire the intricate tilework.

  • Fonte Pequena: Relax by this natural spring, a popular spot for locals and a haven of tranquility. Enjoy a picnic amidst the lush greenery or simply soak in the serene atmosphere.

  • Hiking Trails: Explore the network of hiking trails that weave through the surrounding countryside, offering scenic vistas and hidden waterfalls.

  • Weaving Workshops: Witness the traditional art of wool weaving, a skill passed down through generations in Alte. Purchase a unique handcrafted souvenir to take a piece of the village's heritage


Foodie Delights:


Alte offers a taste of authentic Algarvean cuisine prepared using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Sample "Gaspacho alentejano," a chilled tomato soup perfect for a hot day. For a heartier option, try "Migas alentejanas," a savory bread and vegetable dish traditionally cooked in a fireplace. Don't miss the chance to savor "Presunto de porco preto" (black pork ham), a cured meat cured in smoked paprika, specific to the region.


For a sweet treat, indulge in "Folar de Alte," a traditional Easter bread studded with sweet sausage and nuts. Alternatively, try " bolos de mel," honey cakes flavored with orange rind and spices. Pair your meal with a glass of local wine from the Algarve region, or a refreshing glass of "medronho," a firewater distilled from the medronho berries.



Picture of Cacela Velha beach from the blog 5 Charming Towns You Shouldn't Miss in the Algarve offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in the Algarve Portugal

Cacela Velha


Cacela Velha, a village nestled on a dramatic clifftop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, offers a haven of peace and tranquility. Explore the charming, whitewashed houses adorned with colorful bougainvillea. Hike along the Rota Vicentina walking trails, soaking up breathtaking coastal views. Relax on the pristine Praia de Cacela Velha, a secluded beach accessible only by a scenic footpath.


Escape the Crowds:


  • Praia de Cacela Velha: Unwind on this secluded beach, a hidden gem with soft golden sand and crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and long walks.

  • Rota Vicentina Walking Trails: Embark on a challenging yet rewarding hike along the Rota Vicentina trails, offering stunning coastal panoramas and a chance to spot diverse wildlife.

  • Fortaleza de Cacela Velha: Explore the ruins of this 17th-century fort, a testament to the area's strategic importance and offering panoramic views of the coastline.

  • Boat Trips: Take a boat trip from neighboring Praia da Fábrica, spotting dolphins and other marine life in their natural habitat.


Foodie Delights:


Cacela Velha boasts a seafood-centric cuisine. Savor freshly caught fish cooked to perfection, or indulge in "Arroz de Marisco" (seafood rice). Don't miss the chance to try "Doce de Figo" (fig jam), a local specialty made with fresh figs grown in the Algarve.



Picture of Sagres beach from the blog 5 Charming Towns You Shouldn't Miss in the Algarve offered by the trusted real estate buyers agent Lagos Homes in the Algarve Portugal

Sagres


Sagres, a windswept town perched on the westernmost tip of the Algarve, is steeped in history and shrouded in mystery. Explore the imposing Fortaleza de Sagres, a 15th-century fortress believed to be the location of Prince Henry the Navigator's famed nautical school. Hike along the dramatic coastline, taking in breathtaking ocean views and spotting diverse birdlife. Visit the Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in Portugal, marking the southwestern tip of Europe.


Unveiling the Past:


  • Fortaleza de Sagres: Immerse yourself in history at this imposing fortress, exploring its towers, ramparts, and dungeons. Learn about the role it played in Portugal's Age of Exploration.

  • Cabo de São Vicente Lighthouse: Stand at the southwestern tip of Europe and witness the powerful Atlantic Ocean waves crashing against the cliffs. Explore the lighthouse museum and learn about its centuries-old history.

  • Praia do Martinhal: Relax on this beautiful beach with golden sand and clear waters, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.

  • Hiking and Biking Trails: Explore the dramatic coastline on foot or bike, following scenic trails with breathtaking ocean views and unique rock formations.


Foodie Delights:


Sagres boasts a cuisine heavily influenced by the sea. Savor freshly caught fish grilled to perfection, or indulge in "Arroz de Tamboril" (monkfish rice). For a unique local dish, try "Mexilhão à Bulhão Pato" (mussels cooked in white wine, garlic, and herbs). Don't miss the chance to try "Doce de Laranja" (orange marmalade), a delicious spread made with locally-grown oranges.



Conclusion - 5 Charming Towns You Shouldn't Miss in the Algarve


The Algarve's charm extends far beyond its famed beaches. This curated list has unveiled just a taste of the hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From the tranquility of Alte to the rugged beauty of Sagres, each town offers a unique tapestry of history, culture, and culinary delights.

So, ditch the tourist crowds and embark on an adventure unlike any other. Explore the hidden gems of the Algarve, and discover the region's authentic soul. Pack your walking shoes, a sense of adventure, and an appetite for culinary exploration – the Algarve's hidden treasures await!


Lagos Homes is your reliable partner for all your real estate needs in Portugal. We go beyond helping you find your dream property, offering expert guidance across all aspects. Do you have any inquiries? Feel free to contact us now!


Dona Ana panoramic beach view describing the blog post 7 benefits of working with a buyers agent in Portugal offered by the independent real estate buyer's agent Lagos Homes in the Algarve Portugal



Comments


bottom of page